An Onager Dunecrawler is a walker utilised exclusively by the warriors of the Skitarii Legions of the Adeptus Mechanicus. Onager Dunecrawlers decimate the foes of the Skitarii whilst channelling great swathes of battlefield information to their masters high above. Squadrons of these versatile walkers clank to war in long columns that stalk forwards in uncanny unison, clambering over shattered ruins and wading through toxic run-off without breaking stride. The enemies of the Cult Mechanicus have good reason to fear the Dunecrawler, for each of these ornate monsters is protected by an overlapping Emanatus Force Field, and bear some of the most esoteric and destructive tank-portable weaponry Tech-Priests can devise. When battle is joined, Onager Dunecrawlers fan out to form a gun line and, with each devastating fusillade of firepower, prove the supremacy of the Omnissiah's legions beyond doubt.
The Onager Dunecrawler owes its origins to the Mars Universal Land Engine (M.U.L.E). Fashioned by the techno-archaeologist Arkhan Land, the original M.U.L.E was inspired by a type of bad-tempered, insectile beast of burden that its maker believed walked Holy Terra in aeons long past. Intended as a workhorse that could escort its masters across the wastes of Mars in relative safety, the machine proved so successful it was soon rebuilt as a weapon of war. It was renamed, outfitted with Emanatus Force Shielding, replicated by the million, and sent to the front line.
The Dunecrawler of the 41st Millennium still bears very powerful weaponry, and the miniature fusion generator at its rear means it is able to outlast even the rugged vehicles of the Adeptus Astartes. Its guns are hard-linked to extensive databanks that can record its successes until it is as full as a tick bloated with stolen blood. The Dunecrawler's modifications allow it to send this hard data directly to its masters -- and conversely channel their imperatives to the Skitarii around it.
The Onager Dunecrawler's various armaments can blast apart squadrons of aircraft, punch holes through traitor battle engines, or atomise enemy commanders in beams of blinding blue light. When on the hunt, their scuttle-legged gait and bristling appendages make them seem like predatory insects with a mighty sting. These walker-engines possess a daunting amount of firepower for their size; so much so that the unenlightened men of the Astra Militarum often compare them to walking guns. To the Skitarii, the Dunecrawler is no mere weapon but a walking reliquary protected by the Machine God. To Tech-Priests, it is little more than a tool of destruction, albeit one tempered in the fires of history.
A Onager Dunecrawler holds two crew, enmeshed with their Onager host in a strange symbiotic relationship. Its gunner is a Skitarii Ranger, his formidable marksmanship bolstered by a variety of auto-scryer lenses. The machine's driver is a Skitarii Vanguard, his resilience to harmful energies allowing him to immerse himself in an electro-amniotic tank that allows communication with the Onager's Machine Spirit. Such crewmen will eventually be used up in the manner of energy batteries, but these drivers are easily replaced -- by inserting a new Vanguard into the filthy electrode-rich soup, the Onager can be given a new lease of life. The Skitarii crewmen meet their fate uncomplainingly -- to serve the Machine God is reward enough.
Because of their durability, Dunecrawler squadrons are a common sight in the Skitarii legions. To the pounding of hydraulic feet they drive the foes of the Omnissiah before them, stalking relentlessly through the ruins of war-torn worlds with neither compassion nor pause.
- 1-3 Onager Dunecrawlers
A standard Onager Dunecrawler is armed and equipped with:
Any Onager may replace their Eradication Beamer with any of these options:
Onagers may also have a variety of Skitarii vehicle equipment such as:
- Cognis Heavy Stubber
- Smoke Launchers (Not available for Onager Dunecrawlers equipped with an Icarus Array)
- Mindscanner Probe
- Cognis Manipulator
- Codex: Skitarii (7th Edition), pp. 31, 34-35, 37-39, 56, 63