Thursday, February 8, 2007

The Black Crusade of Jihar the Lacerator

I finished The Black Crusade of Jihar the Lacerator, the fourth and final campaign in Black Library's Tactica Imperialis. This has the air of 'old' 40k about it - a lot of Rogue Trader flavour. For starters it is 'written' by Corwen Quilp, Field Notary (a cookie to anyone who can tell me where he first appeared), but it is mainly in the resolution of the campaign that it reveals it's 1st edition take on Chaos. However, I'm getting ahead of myself.

The action takes place in The Gloom Worlds, just outside the Eye of Terror. It's systems are home to many mutants, who are used as slaves; a source of cheap labour. Jihar, an Emperor's Children Marine, attacks several worlds and causes the mutants to rise up against their oppressors. Imperial Guard Regiments are sent out to quell the rebellion and to lure Jihar out so that the Inquisition can finally nail him. Things don't quite go according to plan.

Again, I believe this section was written by Andy Hoare. The narrative isn't as compelling as some of the other campaigns and lacks a little focus. It ends very abruptly without trying up all the story threads. It is very in keeping with the game background, though.

The art in this section is of variable quality. The Chaos characters are presented in colourful, cartoony art which look comical rather than threatening (and Jihar looks worryingly similar to Lucius). The Mordant 13th are more grittily depicted in black and white illustrations. The maps of the Gloom Worlds are better, but still under detailed, as are the battle maps.

Altogether I think Tactica Imperialis is a worthwhile effort. It could have been better - more detailed maps, less recycled art, more focused writing - but it could have been a lot worse. The final section of the book hints that this is simply the first volume in a series. I hope so.

I will be using this source book as inspiration for my own Skolarii Sector and to help me write up the historical campaigns of the sector.

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