10 Options Strategies to Know - Investopedia

Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Swaps* (*But Were Afraid To Ask)

Hello, dummies
It's your old pal, Fuzzy.
As I'm sure you've all noticed, a lot of the stuff that gets posted here is - to put it delicately - fucking ridiculous. More backwards-ass shit gets posted to wallstreetbets than you'd see on a Westboro Baptist community message board. I mean, I had a look at the daily thread yesterday and..... yeesh. I know, I know. We all make like the divine Laura Dern circa 1992 on the daily and stick our hands deep into this steaming heap of shit to find the nuggets of valuable and/or hilarious information within (thanks for reading, BTW). I agree. I love it just the way it is too. That's what makes WSB great.
What I'm getting at is that a lot of the stuff that gets posted here - notwithstanding it being funny or interesting - is just... wrong. Like, fucking your cousin wrong. And to be clear, I mean the fucking your *first* cousin kinda wrong, before my Southerners in the back get all het up (simmer down, Billy Ray - I know Mabel's twice removed on your grand-sister's side). Truly, I try to let it slide. I do my bit to try and put you on the right path. Most of the time, I sleep easy no matter how badly I've seen someone explain what a bank liquidity crisis is. But out of all of those tens of thousands of misguided, autistic attempts at understanding the world of high finance, one thing gets so consistently - so *emphatically* - fucked up and misunderstood by you retards that last night I felt obligated at the end of a long work day to pull together this edition of Finance with Fuzzy just for you. It's so serious I'm not even going to make a u/pokimane gag. Have you guessed what it is yet? Here's a clue. It's in the title of the post.
That's right, friends. Today in the neighborhood we're going to talk all about hedging in financial markets - spots, swaps, collars, forwards, CDS, synthetic CDOs, all that fun shit. Don't worry; I'm going to explain what all the scary words mean and how they impact your OTM RH positions along the way.
We're going to break it down like this. (1) "What's a hedge, Fuzzy?" (2) Common Hedging Strategies and (3) All About ISDAs and Credit Default Swaps.
Before we begin. For the nerds and JV traders in the back (and anyone else who needs to hear this up front) - I am simplifying these descriptions for the purposes of this post. I am also obviously not going to try and cover every exotic form of hedge under the sun or give a detailed summation of what caused the financial crisis. If you are interested in something specific ask a question, but don't try and impress me with your Investopedia skills or technical points I didn't cover; I will just be forced to flex my years of IRL experience on you in the comments and you'll look like a big dummy.
TL;DR? Fuck you. There is no TL;DR. You've come this far already. What's a few more paragraphs? Put down the Cheetos and try to concentrate for the next 5-7 minutes. You'll learn something, and I promise I'll be gentle.
Ready? Let's get started.
1. The Tao of Risk: Hedging as a Way of Life
The simplest way to characterize what a hedge 'is' is to imagine every action having a binary outcome. One is bad, one is good. Red lines, green lines; uppie, downie. With me so far? Good. A 'hedge' is simply the employment of a strategy to mitigate the effect of your action having the wrong binary outcome. You wanted X, but you got Z! Frowny face. A hedge strategy introduces a third outcome. If you hedged against the possibility of Z happening, then you can wind up with Y instead. Not as good as X, but not as bad as Z. The technical definition I like to give my idiot juniors is as follows:
Utilization of a defensive strategy to mitigate risk, at a fraction of the cost to capital of the risk itself.
Congratulations. You just finished Hedging 101. "But Fuzzy, that's easy! I just sold a naked call against my 95% OTM put! I'm adequately hedged!". Spoiler alert: you're not (although good work on executing a collar, which I describe below). What I'm talking about here is what would be referred to as a 'perfect hedge'; a binary outcome where downside is totally mitigated by a risk management strategy. That's not how it works IRL. Pay attention; this is the tricky part.
You can't take a single position and conclude that you're adequately hedged because risks are fluid, not static. So you need to constantly adjust your position in order to maximize the value of the hedge and insure your position. You also need to consider exposure to more than one category of risk. There are micro (specific exposure) risks, and macro (trend exposure) risks, and both need to factor into the hedge calculus.
That's why, in the real world, the value of hedging depends entirely on the design of the hedging strategy itself. Here, when we say "value" of the hedge, we're not talking about cash money - we're talking about the intrinsic value of the hedge relative to the the risk profile of your underlying exposure. To achieve this, people hedge dynamically. In wallstreetbets terms, this means that as the value of your position changes, you need to change your hedges too. The idea is to efficiently and continuously distribute and rebalance risk across different states and periods, taking value from states in which the marginal cost of the hedge is low and putting it back into states where marginal cost of the hedge is high, until the shadow value of your underlying exposure is equalized across your positions. The punchline, I guess, is that one static position is a hedge in the same way that the finger paintings you make for your wife's boyfriend are art - it's technically correct, but you're only playing yourself by believing it.
Anyway. Obviously doing this as a small potatoes trader is hard but it's worth taking into account. Enough basic shit. So how does this work in markets?
2. A Hedging Taxonomy
The best place to start here is a practical question. What does a business need to hedge against? Think about the specific risk that an individual business faces. These are legion, so I'm just going to list a few of the key ones that apply to most corporates. (1) You have commodity risk for the shit you buy or the shit you use. (2) You have currency risk for the money you borrow. (3) You have rate risk on the debt you carry. (4) You have offtake risk for the shit you sell. Complicated, right? To help address the many and varied ways that shit can go wrong in a sophisticated market, smart operators like yours truly have devised a whole bundle of different instruments which can help you manage the risk. I might write about some of the more complicated ones in a later post if people are interested (CDO/CLOs, strip/stack hedges and bond swaps with option toggles come to mind) but let's stick to the basics for now.
(i) Swaps
A swap is one of the most common forms of hedge instrument, and they're used by pretty much everyone that can afford them. The language is complicated but the concept isn't, so pay attention and you'll be fine. This is the most important part of this section so it'll be the longest one.
Swaps are derivative contracts with two counterparties (before you ask, you can't trade 'em on an exchange - they're OTC instruments only). They're used to exchange one cash flow for another cash flow of equal expected value; doing this allows you to take speculative positions on certain financial prices or to alter the cash flows of existing assets or liabilities within a business. "Wait, Fuzz; slow down! What do you mean sets of cash flows?". Fear not, little autist. Ol' Fuzz has you covered.
The cash flows I'm talking about are referred to in swap-land as 'legs'. One leg is fixed - a set payment that's the same every time it gets paid - and the other is variable - it fluctuates (typically indexed off the price of the underlying risk that you are speculating on / protecting against). You set it up at the start so that they're notionally equal and the two legs net off; so at open, the swap is a zero NPV instrument. Here's where the fun starts. If the price that you based the variable leg of the swap on changes, the value of the swap will shift; the party on the wrong side of the move ponies up via the variable payment. It's a zero sum game.
I'll give you an example using the most vanilla swap around; an interest rate trade. Here's how it works. You borrow money from a bank, and they charge you a rate of interest. You lock the rate up front, because you're smart like that. But then - quelle surprise! - the rate gets better after you borrow. Now you're bagholding to the tune of, I don't know, 5 bps. Doesn't sound like much but on a billion dollar loan that's a lot of money (a classic example of the kind of 'small, deep hole' that's terrible for profits). Now, if you had a swap contract on the rate before you entered the trade, you're set; if the rate goes down, you get a payment under the swap. If it goes up, whatever payment you're making to the bank is netted off by the fact that you're borrowing at a sub-market rate. Win-win! Or, at least, Lose Less / Lose Less. That's the name of the game in hedging.
There are many different kinds of swaps, some of which are pretty exotic; but they're all different variations on the same theme. If your business has exposure to something which fluctuates in price, you trade swaps to hedge against the fluctuation. The valuation of swaps is also super interesting but I guarantee you that 99% of you won't understand it so I'm not going to try and explain it here although I encourage you to google it if you're interested.
Because they're OTC, none of them are filed publicly. Someeeeeetimes you see an ISDA (dsicussed below) but the confirms themselves (the individual swaps) are not filed. You can usually read about the hedging strategy in a 10-K, though. For what it's worth, most modern credit agreements ban speculative hedging. Top tip: This is occasionally something worth checking in credit agreements when you invest in businesses that are debt issuers - being able to do this increases the risk profile significantly and is particularly important in times of economic volatility (ctrl+f "non-speculative" in the credit agreement to be sure).
(ii) Forwards
A forward is a contract made today for the future delivery of an asset at a pre-agreed price. That's it. "But Fuzzy! That sounds just like a futures contract!". I know. Confusing, right? Just like a futures trade, forwards are generally used in commodity or forex land to protect against price fluctuations. The differences between forwards and futures are small but significant. I'm not going to go into super boring detail because I don't think many of you are commodities traders but it is still an important thing to understand even if you're just an RH jockey, so stick with me.
Just like swaps, forwards are OTC contracts - they're not publicly traded. This is distinct from futures, which are traded on exchanges (see The Ballad Of Big Dick Vick for some more color on this). In a forward, no money changes hands until the maturity date of the contract when delivery and receipt are carried out; price and quantity are locked in from day 1. As you now know having read about BDV, futures are marked to market daily, and normally people close them out with synthetic settlement using an inverse position. They're also liquid, and that makes them easier to unwind or close out in case shit goes sideways.
People use forwards when they absolutely have to get rid of the thing they made (or take delivery of the thing they need). If you're a miner, or a farmer, you use this shit to make sure that at the end of the production cycle, you can get rid of the shit you made (and you won't get fucked by someone taking cash settlement over delivery). If you're a buyer, you use them to guarantee that you'll get whatever the shit is that you'll need at a price agreed in advance. Because they're OTC, you can also exactly tailor them to the requirements of your particular circumstances.
These contracts are incredibly byzantine (and there are even crazier synthetic forwards you can see in money markets for the true degenerate fund managers). In my experience, only Texan oilfield magnates, commodities traders, and the weirdo forex crowd fuck with them. I (i) do not own a 10 gallon hat or a novelty size belt buckle (ii) do not wake up in the middle of the night freaking out about the price of pork fat and (iii) love greenbacks too much to care about other countries' monopoly money, so I don't fuck with them.
(iii) Collars
No, not the kind your wife is encouraging you to wear try out to 'spice things up' in the bedroom during quarantine. Collars are actually the hedging strategy most applicable to WSB. Collars deal with options! Hooray!
To execute a basic collar (also called a wrapper by tea-drinking Brits and people from the Antipodes), you buy an out of the money put while simultaneously writing a covered call on the same equity. The put protects your position against price drops and writing the call produces income that offsets the put premium. Doing this limits your tendies (you can only profit up to the strike price of the call) but also writes down your risk. If you screen large volume trades with a VOL/OI of more than 3 or 4x (and they're not bullshit biotech stocks), you can sometimes see these being constructed in real time as hedge funds protect themselves on their shorts.
(3) All About ISDAs, CDS and Synthetic CDOs
You may have heard about the mythical ISDA. Much like an indenture (discussed in my post on $F), it's a magic legal machine that lets you build swaps via trade confirms with a willing counterparty. They are very complicated legal documents and you need to be a true expert to fuck with them. Fortunately, I am, so I do. They're made of two parts; a Master (which is a form agreement that's always the same) and a Schedule (which amends the Master to include your specific terms). They are also the engine behind just about every major credit crunch of the last 10+ years.
First - a brief explainer. An ISDA is a not in and of itself a hedge - it's an umbrella contract that governs the terms of your swaps, which you use to construct your hedge position. You can trade commodities, forex, rates, whatever, all under the same ISDA.
Let me explain. Remember when we talked about swaps? Right. So. You can trade swaps on just about anything. In the late 90s and early 2000s, people had the smart idea of using other people's debt and or credit ratings as the variable leg of swap documentation. These are called credit default swaps. I was actually starting out at a bank during this time and, I gotta tell you, the only thing I can compare people's enthusiasm for this shit to was that moment in your early teens when you discover jerking off. Except, unlike your bathroom bound shame sessions to Mom's Sears catalogue, every single person you know felt that way too; and they're all doing it at once. It was a fiscal circlejerk of epic proportions, and the financial crisis was the inevitable bukkake finish. WSB autism is absolutely no comparison for the enthusiasm people had during this time for lighting each other's money on fire.
Here's how it works. You pick a company. Any company. Maybe even your own! And then you write a swap. In the swap, you define "Credit Event" with respect to that company's debt as the variable leg . And you write in... whatever you want. A ratings downgrade, default under the docs, failure to meet a leverage ratio or FCCR for a certain testing period... whatever. Now, this started out as a hedge position, just like we discussed above. The purest of intentions, of course. But then people realized - if bad shit happens, you make money. And banks... don't like calling in loans or forcing bankruptcies. Can you smell what the moral hazard is cooking?
Enter synthetic CDOs. CDOs are basically pools of asset backed securities that invest in debt (loans or bonds). They've been around for a minute but they got famous in the 2000s because a shitload of them containing subprime mortgage debt went belly up in 2008. This got a lot of publicity because a lot of sad looking rednecks got foreclosed on and were interviewed on CNBC. "OH!", the people cried. "Look at those big bad bankers buying up subprime loans! They caused this!". Wrong answer, America. The debt wasn't the problem. What a lot of people don't realize is that the real meat of the problem was not in regular way CDOs investing in bundles of shit mortgage debts in synthetic CDOs investing in CDS predicated on that debt. They're synthetic because they don't have a stake in the actual underlying debt; just the instruments riding on the coattails. The reason these are so popular (and remain so) is that smart structured attorneys and bankers like your faithful correspondent realized that an even more profitable and efficient way of building high yield products with limited downside was investing in instruments that profit from failure of debt and in instruments that rely on that debt and then hedging that exposure with other CDS instruments in paired trades, and on and on up the chain. The problem with doing this was that everyone wound up exposed to everybody else's books as a result, and when one went tits up, everybody did. Hence, recession, Basel III, etc. Thanks, Obama.
Heavy investment in CDS can also have a warping effect on the price of debt (something else that happened during the pre-financial crisis years and is starting to happen again now). This happens in three different ways. (1) Investors who previously were long on the debt hedge their position by selling CDS protection on the underlying, putting downward pressure on the debt price. (2) Investors who previously shorted the debt switch to buying CDS protection because the relatively illiquid debt (partic. when its a bond) trades at a discount below par compared to the CDS. The resulting reduction in short selling puts upward pressure on the bond price. (3) The delta in price and actual value of the debt tempts some investors to become NBTs (neg basis traders) who long the debt and purchase CDS protection. If traders can't take leverage, nothing happens to the price of the debt. If basis traders can take leverage (which is nearly always the case because they're holding a hedged position), they can push up or depress the debt price, goosing swap premiums etc. Anyway. Enough technical details.
I could keep going. This is a fascinating topic that is very poorly understood and explained, mainly because the people that caused it all still work on the street and use the same tactics today (it's also terribly taught at business schools because none of the teachers were actually around to see how this played out live). But it relates to the topic of today's lesson, so I thought I'd include it here.
Work depending, I'll be back next week with a covenant breakdown. Most upvoted ticker gets the post.
*EDIT 1\* In a total blowout, $PLAY won. So it's D&B time next week. Post will drop Monday at market open.
submitted by fuzzyblankeet to wallstreetbets [link] [comments]

Using GPT-2 to "Sort by Controversial"

Be honest, you knew that someone was bound to do this sooner or later.
Inspired by Scott Alexander's famous post (is it true that it might be turned into a film?), I decided to train the publicly-available, weaker version of OpenAI's GPT-2 text generation model on a dataset of extremely controversial Reddit comments. I used PRAW (a Python library used for Reddit scraping) to grab every Culture War Roundup thread on here or /TheMotte, find the five most controversial comments from each thread (as determined by Reddit's algorithm), and spit them out into a text file. I then finetuned GPT-2's weights on this dataset (aided by this guide by the illustrious gwern) for a while, and then sat back and looked at what text was generated. Here are a couple of excerpts that the model generated (feel free to skip them if you just want a TLDR of my thoughts):
Blacks-Can-Be-White-Without-Blacks-Literalizing-Blacks, We-Are-Blacks explains the broad implications of the term Are We While Black and Can We Be We Like Red Without Blacks? and sums it up perfectly:
Blacks make up 1/8 of the world's population, but they account for only a 3/10 of global economic power. They are grossly disproportionate to the number of human beings on earth. While whites made up 17% of human populations between 3000 BCE and 3000 AD, whites made up only 8% of the world's economic power starting in AD 200. This disparity may explain why we currently have the world's highest homicide rates, worst health problems, lowest per capita income, lowest per capita education, highest per capita income, highest per capita income and highest per capita income being the United States’s two highest incarceration rates.
Our US overlords made us the descendants of European races much more advanced than jaywalking whites even if that bodes well for the racial survival of humanity. Also clearly explains why people in Latin America, Asia and Africa derive more from chattel slavery and darwinism than from the per capita average of whites living there.

The Nazi Daily Caller wrote a story on how Nazi Propaganda Factory and The Tranny State broke the rules and distributed propaganda across the world.

My response to the usual complaints about Rightist provocation, namely, that people start calling people fascists , I basically agree with that statement.

Brief history of SNL: The Onion's Culture war accuses, rallies behind Richard Mellon Scaife
As you might know by now, SNL [has] been running a series of interviews this week about the culture war for a while now, and it's been fun to watch them try and dig up some material from last week about themselves. Usually, I'm pretty blunt when I come across the same material over and over again, and the snarky assholes would like it that way.
I agree. Because that's exactly what you want to hear in this case.

It has to be said that the alt-right are all about conspiracy theory and "the art of the relationship". This is likely correct: while the art of the relationship may contain the Secret Service, the Secret Service may act to prevent a mofascist invasion of the USA by virtue of having little personal entanglement with the art of the relationship. In fact, in my experience, the art of the relationship is just as valuable for the alt-right as it is for conventional liberals. It is a logical consequence of having little personal entanglement with the art of the relationship, in that the very concept of power supersedes any sense of personal self-power. Making false claims/claims that are purely rhetoric are indistinguishable from making true claims (as I did in that instance). It is preferable that you have both power and authority when conflating power and authority. If the only distinction is between power to make claims about your opponents and power to make genuine claims about the enemy, then you may as well have both. You may think of consent as power to make claims propaganda by the leftists if you like, but it is very different if it is the strategy of fascism. The same applies to making claims about the enemies you are fighting against - you should dislike the fascists of the west and hate the alt-right, but at least you think that agreeing that the left is weak isn't somehow a sin. Alt-right have magic powers, see for yourself: http://www.reddit.com/TheMotte/
[Editor's note: that ending was hilarious to me.]

Affirmative Action Background

According to the relevant data, we have 1455 students who have taken AFAP (American Indian and Alaska Native Studies). Of these, 7 (58%) are boys, 6 (179%) are male, and 1 (97%) are non-binary (including the boys) and 1 (761) are genderfluid (all other numbers are in red). These are the students who have taken AFAP in the last year.
These are the AIs I did not count in last year's report:

For most of human history, the West was white. It was white collar, white people were rich, white collar. The West was white--investive, white people took care of their debts, white people worked hard, ate well, got married early, had kids early, died early, lived to 99,000, got a raise and got a good education. With the rise of the Internet and the physical reality of our times, the idea of 'the West' losing its male-dominated content has gained currency. I think it is important to put this in perspective, with regards to the second half of the 20th century. Even among white men who identify as belonging 'West' got laid off (despite obstacles). The first task is to account for the losses. The second major task is to present a plausible narrative for where the losses were. For example, the migration of white men to the East in the 1800s is not the founder of the West. The West lost its male-dominated content, but this did not stop white men from trying to claim a slice of the pre-industrial West. The first can be written as a retreat from Western culture. The second is far richer and more modern and therefore easier to justify as a Western narrative. But there is a huge difference. The first is something like the loss of 1) testosterone and 2) having a mate who is not white not related to being West is not worth it in the long run, whereas the loss of 2) is worth in the long run because it exposes the pop culture comparison to much more serious objection (i.e. whether it proves that the Culture War is really about men or only about MEN being West will be discussed at a much larger level) than making the same argument about how to justify it (i.e. male and female are going to have same wants and whatnot). The second thing is that MEN being West has a very specific meaning. Hence it is a taboo, what is not taboo is that we are discussing it for the norms, not for the men.
My thoughts
Reading through the samples generated by this model, I find that most of them don't make any arguments that have much relevance to our own Culture War. Sure, the model knows all the best buzzwords to throw in there, but it doesn't use those buzzwords to craft any statements that are meaningful on a global level. This was behavior of GPT-2 identified by either Scott or commenters (I can't recall which) in this post, or maybe this? As such, none of the statements seem all too controversial to me, because there is no meaning for me to agree or disagree with. But I'll make one last point: in the original story, nobody realized (initially) that the statements produced by the model were controversial. How frightening!
If you're interested in playing around with this finetuned model, I've uploaded the necessary files here. Now, I've never used GoFile before, so there's a good chance that it's slipping viruses into your downloads. But, if you're brave enough to press on, to use this model, simply create a new folder in the "models" subdirectory of the place where your GPT-2 is located, download all the files, drag all of them into that folder, and next time you run GPT-2, pass it the following option:
--model_name='FolderName' 
where "FolderName" is the name you chose for your folder. I'll let you know that I did a pretty bad job training this model. A good number of the comments in the dataset simply consisted of the word "[deleted]", and many others were decidedly non-controversial "Quality Contribution Roundups". (This was due to the fact that as stickied comments, they always showed up first in the threads, even when the threads were sorted by controversial.) Finally, I chose the 5 top controversial comments from each thread, but for some threads, there may have only been one or two really controversial comments. This means that many of the comments that the model was trained on were likely just bland, run-of-the-mill culture war comments, rather than the juicy truly controversial stuff that we love. I might try playing around with the dataset in order to train a better model; if I do, I'll make sure to update you all.
Have fun!
submitted by ratroj to slatestarcodex [link] [comments]

Party Composition Megapost (Part 3, H-Z Compositions)

Part 1
Part 2
HAUNTED PROCESSION
Houndmaster / Bounty Hunter / Vestal / Flagellant
AREA VIABILITY
Ruins B
Cove C
Warrens S
Weald B
Courtyard S
Torchless F
Collector A
Shambler F
Fanatic F
SKILLS, TRINKETS AND QUIRKS
Houndmaster .
Skills Hound's Rush / Cry Havoc / Guard Dog / Lick Wounds
Camp Skills Hound's Watch, Therapy Dog, Man's Best Friend, Release the Hound
Trinkets Bleed Amulet, Beast Slayer's Ring, Sun/Moon Rings, Sniper's Ring, Spiked Collar
Quirks Speed, Accuracy, Beast HateSlayer
Bounty Hunter .
Skills Collect Bounty / Mark for Death / Come Hither / Caltrops
Camp Skills This Is How We Do It, Tracking, Planned Takedown, Scout Ahead
Trinkets Sun/Moon Ring, Man/Beast Slayer Ring, Unmovable Helmet, Hunter's Talons
Quirks Speed, Damage, Accuracy
Vestal .
Skills Mace Bash / Divine Comfort / Illumination / Hand of Light
Camp Skills Sanctuary, Bless
Trinkets Profane Scroll, Sun/Moon Rings
Quirks Accuracy, HP, Damage
Flagellant .
Skills Punish / Reclaim / Redeem / Endure
Camp Skills Lash's Anger, Lash's Solace, Lash's Kiss, Lash's Cure
Trinkets Bleed Amulet, Resurrection's Collar, Punishment's Hood, Martyr's Seal, Fortifying Garlic
Quirks Speed, HP, Death's Door Resist, Bleed Resist, -Stress
STRATEGY
The Rank 2 Vestal composition revolves around using the Profane Scroll, which gives the Vestal increased healing and Debuff chance when she is in position 2 (also, damage and protection, but those aren't as important)
The Houndmaster can destroy the Beasts in any rank, and heal stress for his team. And of course, heal himself and guard, which sinergyce very well with this team's insane sustain.
The Rank 3 Bounty Hunter is very underrated, he has access to his more powerfull skills, while his low durability isn't that much of a problem now that he isn't in the frontlines. He can be anything you need him to be, a DPS class, a debuff-mark centered one, a disruptor with stuns and hooks...
He can move the Swine Skeevers to the front to prevent them from using "Cripple Them!", and can debuff the enemy accuracy with the Caltrops. His Mark works well with the Houndmaster, and he also abuses the Human type of many enemies in the Warrens and Weald.
The Vestal has a decent AoE healing ability, nice damage, and the strongest debuff in the game, as it debuffs enemy damage AND accuracy. Together with the Flagellant's healing, she can sustain the team for days, while the Flagellant and Houndmaster keep the stress levels low.
The Flagellant adds his Bleed damage and sustain, as usual. The Fortigying Garlic trinket is quite strong on the Flagellant, because of the lack of a Plague Doctor, it can get avoid his self bleed, and also boosts his disease resistance, which is nice to have in the Warrens. I do not reccomend to use the Cleansing Crystal on this composition, as it will reduce his chance of bleeding enemies.
It's just a strong and complete team that can take anything the Warrens or Courtyard throw at it. But instead of relying on speed and stuns like Bloody Brawlers, is more sustain-oriented.
.
HOLY JUGGERNAUT
Vestal / Jester / Crusader - Man at Arms / Leper
AREA VIABILITY
Ruins S
Cove B
Warrens C
Weald D
Courtyard C
Torchless F
Collector B
Shambler F
Fanatic F
SKILLS, TRINKETS AND QUIRKS
Vestal .
Skills Judment / Dazzling Light / Divine Grace / Divine Comfort
Camp Skills Sanctuary, Bless
Trinkets Tome of Holy Healing, Sacred Scroll, Chirurgeon's Charm
Quirks -Stress, Scouting Chance, Health
Jester .
Skills Dirk Stab / Solo / Battle Ballad / Inspiring Tune
Camp Skills Turn Back Time, Every Rose Has Its Thorn, Tiger's Eye
Trinkets Bright Tambourine
Quirks Speed, -Stress, Scouting Chance
Crusader .
Skills Smite / Stunning Blow / Holy Lance - Zealous Accusation / Inspiring Cry
Camp Skills Stand Tall, Zealous Speech, Zealous Vigil
Trinkets Tough Ring, Life Crystal, Stun Amulet, Defender's Seal, Knight's Crest, Paralyzer's Crest
Quirks -Stress, Scouting Chance, HP, Accuracy
Man at Arms .
Skills Crush / Rampart / Defender / Command
Camp Skills Tactics, Instruction, Weapons Practice
Trinkets Stun Amulet, Tough Ring, Rampart Shield
Quirks Speed, -Stress, Scouting chance, HP
Leper .
Skills Chop / Purge / Solemnity / Withstand - Intimidate - Hew
Camp Skills Bloody Shroud, Reflection, Quarantine
Trinkets Fortunate Armlet, Redeption Armlet, Heavy Boots, Sun/Moon Ring
Quirks Accuracy, Speed, Damage
STRATEGY
Oh man you have to check this one in the Ruins. The whole party is designed to support and complement one of the potentially strongest heroes in the game, who, if used right, will go in an onslaught through the enemy ranks.
The Vestal is there to keep everyones HP high, I do not reccomend to use an Occultist as a substitute, as you don't really want to go to the Cove with this composition, and the Vestal is a lot more consistent on healing. He can sort of work, but... gñe.
The Jester is quite central to the composition, because he can keep everyone's stress at 0, buff speed, accuracy and crit (which the Leper loves) and help set up the Crusader's Holy Lance if you decide to use it.
The Crusader can increase sustain even more, has a good stun, does insane damage to unholy enemies, and can crush the backline combined with the Jester. He can also take Zealous Accusation to have a way to hit Stealthed enemies.
The Man at Arms is a good alternative because of his buffs, but he will leave your party more open to attacks from the backline, and reduce overall damage. You will be forced to use Rampart and Purge if you want to reach the backline without taking the time to kill the frontline, and even worse, using Rampart will leave the Leper unable to use Intimidate. The party doesn't rely heavily on that skill, but you should consider taking Withstand isntead if you plan on taking the MaA.
The Leper is the star of the show with his devastating Chop's, and can shred most enemy frontliners while debuffing everything that makes them dangerous. His range is limited, but he can take good care of corpses with his crits and Purge's, while tanking any damage he takes in the process. Another option would be to take Hew as a way to deal with Stealth instead of relying on Intimadate to reveal it. Zealous Accusation + Hew will generally be enough.
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MERCENARIES
Houndmaster - Arbalest - Grave Robber / Occultist - Vestal / Bounty Hunter - Highwayman / Man at Arms
AREA VIABILITY
Ruins C
Cove B
Warrens B
Weald S
Courtyard D
Torchless B
Collector A
Shambler C
Fanatic F
SKILLS, TRINKETS AND QUIRKS
Houndmaster .
Skills Hound's Rush / Cry Havoc / Guard Dog / Lick Wounds
Camp Skills Hound's Watch, Therapy Dog, Man's Best Friend, Release the Hound
Trinkets Man Slayer's Ring, Sun/Moon Rings, Sniper's Ring, Spiked Collar
Quirks Speed, Accuracy, Beast HateSlayer
Arbalest .
Skills Sniper Shot / Sniper's Mark / Battlefield Bandage / Rallying Flare
Camp Skills Field Dressing, Marching Plan, Restring Crossbow, Triage
Trinkets Sun/Moon Ring, Sniper's Ring, Legendary Bracer, Bull's Eye Bandana, Wrathful Bandana**
Quirks Damage, Accuracy, Crit
Occultist .
Skills Abyssal Artillery / Weakening Curse / Daemon's Pull - Vulnerability Hex / Wyrd Reconstruction
Camp Skills .
Trinkets Debuff Amulet, Cursed Incense
Quirks -Stress, Scouting Chance, HP, Accuracy
Vestal .
Skills Judment / Dazzling Light / Divine Grace / Divine Comfort
Camp Skills Sanctuary, Bless
Trinkets Tome of Holy Healing, Sacred Scroll, Chirurgeon's Charm
Quirks -Stress, Scouting Chance, Health
Bounty Hunter .
Skills Collect Bounty / Mark for Death / Come Hither / Flashbang
Camp Skills This Is How We Do It, Tracking, Planned Takedown, Scout Ahead
Trinkets Sun/Moon Ring, Man/Beast Slayer Ring, Unmovable Helmet, Hunter's Talons
Quirks Speed, Damage, Accuracy
Highwayman .
Skills Wicked Slice, Point Blank Shot, Duelist's Advance, Open Vein
Camp Skills Gallows Humor, Unparalleled Finesse, Bandit's Sense
Trinkets Bleed Amulet, Man Slayer's Ring, Sun/Moon Rings, Dodgy Sheath, Sharpening Sheath
Quirks Speed, Damage, Accuracy, Dodge
Man at Arms .
Skills Retribution / Rampart / Defender / Command
Camp Skills Tactics, Instruction, Weapons Practice
Trinkets Stun Amulet, Tough Ring, Rampart Shield
Quirks Speed, -Stress, Scouting chance, HP
STRATEGY
Generic_weald_composition.jpeg
On a more serious note, this is a complex composition. It's probably the one with the most tricks and strategies, which is fantastic for a veteran player... but painfully confusing for a new one. New players who try it will be questioning every single move in combat: "Should I mark? Or heal? Is this a good moment to debuff? Should I try to kill that enemy or activate the Riposte?". And although that is inherently positive because it helps you to be more aware of the importance of everything you do in combat... well, it's still fucking confusing.
So how do you do it?
Despite all the team has more options than the ones listed, I have tried to simplify it by making every choice as binary as I could. So:
Houndmaster: Jack of all trades, he protec, but he also attac. He has ok damage thanks to marks, can guard, self sustain, and heal stress damage, just the perfect all-rounder.
Arbalest: She does the most damage of all characters... if she has a marked target to attack. If you constantly use the Occultist or the Bounty Hunter to mark your targets, she can be fantastic. That's also why you want her to be SLOW, and the reason you see the Legendary Bracer on her reccomended trinket list. She can also buff healing received by someone (which can be illarious together with the Occultist) and most importantly, get rid of enemy marks, which is FANTASTIC in the Weald.
Grave Robber: The last 4th rank DPS option, she doesn't bring any sustain, but she outputs constant and reliable damage even without marks, she is also incredibly mobile, which is a great tool, specially against the shuffles in the Weald. If you also bring a Highwayman, you can use Lunge twice in a row, maybe more with the help of the Man at Arms and Rampart.
Occultist: The main healer of this team, he also brings those sweet marks and debuffs, together with moving skills that help the Bounty Hunter. He can also reveal Stealth.
Vestal: You can use her as a healer if you don't trust the Occultist, but aside from healing, there isn't much she can do, especially in the Weald, where enemies have higher stun resistance.
Bounty Hunter: The frontline damage, with Marks and protection debuffs, combined with "Collect Bounty" he can cut the Human enemies like butter, while having a great stun and moving skills. Just a gud fecking hunter, sometimes that's all you need.
Highwayman: Another frontline damage option, he can't reduce protection, but he has strong bleeding effects, remember also that, much like in the Warrens, many Weald enemies have "setup attacks" which he can exploit to use his riposte.
Man at Arms: He can take a beating, Guard everyone from the enemy marks, stun the dangerous frontline enemies and melt the enemies with Ripostes, all while buffing the teams accuracy all the way up to the Moon.
In combat, you just need to learn which enemies to priorice, and choose a tool to keep them in check. Experience will probably be your best teacher here, because... well, the Weald has lots of dangerous enemies, you will quickly learn to debuff/stun Giants in the first round, or that the Hateful Virago should be eliminated first if possible, or to give the least possible actions per round to the ectoplasms... And more stuff that I can't explain because then I'd never finish the post.
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SCULPTORS
Flagellant / Shieldbreaker / Crusader / Leper
AREA VIABILITY
FUCK THE GARDEN GUARDIAN FUCK HIM
Flagellant .
Skills Reclaim / Redeem / Endure / Suffer
Camp Skills Lash's Solace, Lash's Kiss, Lash's Cure
Trinkets Countess' Fan, Cleansing Crystal, Resurrection's Collar, Chirurgeon's Charm
Quirks -Stress, Scouting Chance
Shieldbreaker .
Skills Pierce / Puncture / Expose / Serpent Sway
Camp Skills Snake Eyes, Snake Skin
Trinkets Dancer's Footwraps, Legendary Bracer, Berserk Charm
Quirks -Stress, Damage, Accuracy, Dodge
Crusader .
Skills Smite / Stunning Blow / Holy Lance / Inspiring Cry
Camp Skills Stand Tall, Zealous Speech, Zealous Vigil
Trinkets Tough Ring, Life Crystal, Stun Amulet, Defender's Seal, Knight's Crest, Paralyzer's Crest
Quirks -Stress, Scouting Chance, HP, Accuracy
Leper .
Skills Chop / Withstand / Solemnity / Revenge
Camp Skills Bloody Shroud, Reflection, Quarantine
Trinkets Sculptor's Tools, Fortunate Armlet, Redeption Armlet, Heavy Boots, Sun/Moon Ring
Quirks Accuracy, Speed, Damage
Fuck that boss. Fuck it. He IS endgame content, he IS a boss, and a composition designed with the sole purpose of royally fucking him shouldn't be on a list about general partying. But if you want the Crimson Court trinkets you will fight him so many times that he might as well be considered an extra region appart from the Courtyard, and I'm not even counting the failed attempts.
So fuck him.
Getting to the boss is quite simple:
I have already explained the backline Flagellant, he brings massive sustain for both HP and Stress, which this team will need. You will have the Countesses' Fan if you plan on farming this boss, so if you have a Flagellant with the Crimson Curse consider using it on him. His bleed resistance will be super low, making his Reclaim almost always bleed himself, and with the increased healing he will boost himself back to full HP with each Redeem. Or you can use a Cleansing Crystal to avoid bleeds completely and rely on enemy damage and Reclaim to lower his HP.
The Shieldbreaker can help the Crusader and his Holy Lance, move the enemy backline to the front for the Leper, or boost the Leper's crit chance.
The Crusader can contribute with some damage and stuns, a consistent stress heal, and some backline damage.
The Leper will be equiped with the Sculptor's Tools, which will make him terribly slow, but still deal respectable damage to Bloodsuckers while you make your way to the boss room.
And then there's the Guardian himself.
You will want to camp just before it, and use the Shieldbreaker's Snake Eyes to give everyone Penetration. Then heal stress and HP, or buff the Leper. You can also prevent a nightime ambush with the Crusader if you want.
During the fight, you should focus on killing the Fount in the 4th rank with Puncture and Holy Lance, while the Leper uses Revenge whenever the Guardian is guarded, and attacks when he isn't. The Flagellant should absorb all the bleeds and stress he can, and use Redeem to heal everyone. Once the Fount is killed, switch to the Guardian with all your heroes, keep using Holy Lance, and have the Shieldbreaker stop his Guard with Puncture, or directly attack with Pierce.
SEEKERS OF THE GRAIL
Vestal / Antiquarian / Bounty Hunter / Leper
AREA VIABILITY
Ruins A
Cove B
Warrens D
Weald F
Courtyard F
Torchless D
Collector B
Shambler F
Fanatic F
SKILLS, TRINKETS AND QUIRKS
Vestal .
Skills Judment / Dazzling Light / Divine Grace / Divine Comfort
Camp Skills Sanctuary, Bless
Trinkets Tome of Holy Healing, Sacred Scroll, Chirurgeon's Charm
Quirks -Stress, Scouting Chance, Health
Antiquarian .
Skills Festering Vapours / Get Down! / Fortifying Vapours / Protect Me
Camp Skills Resupply, Trinket Scrounge, Strange Powders
Trinkets Candle of Life, Fleet Florin
Quirks Speed, Scouting Chance
Bounty Hunter .
Skills Collect Bounty / Mark for Death / Come Hither / Flashbang
Camp Skills This Is How We Do It, Tracking, Planned Takedown, Scout Ahead
Trinkets Sun/Moon Ring, Unholy Slayer Ring, Unmovable Helmet, Hunter's Talons
Quirks Speed, Damage, Accuracy
Leper .
Skills Chop / Withstand / Solemnity / Intimidate
Camp Skills Bloody Shroud, Reflection, Quarantine
Trinkets Fortunate Armlet, Redeption Armlet, Heavy Boots, Sun/Moon Ring
Quirks Accuracy, Speed, Damage
STRATEGY
This is the closest I have been to making the Antiquarian viable in endgame dungeons. By "viable" I mean that I managed to do a Long Champion level dungeon when they where just at resolve lv3, without anyone dying or becoming afflicted.
The Vestal is just your friendly neighborhood Healbot.
The main idea behind the Antiquarian to spam "Protect Me!" on the Leper while finding some holes here and there to blight enemies and do some healings, Fortifying Vapours may not be the strongest skill in the game, but it can get people out of Death's Door. The "Protect Me!" spam makes the Leper into the most durable character in the game (specially when combined with his self-sustain skills). In fact, he will take less damage than usual, even if he is receiving twice as many hits.
The Bounty Hunter can attract the enemy backline while still doing respectable damage to them, moreover, he can also debuff enemy protection, making the Leper's job easier, lastly, he can use stuns to get rid of enemy Guards.
The Leper just swings at things and kills them, just remember that he doesn't have anyone who can give him accuracy buffs, equip him with the appropriate trinkets. As the Bounty Hunter can already move enemies, this opens up a slot for one of the most underrated abilities in the game: Intimidate. It has fantastic accuracy (yes, some of the Leper's skills have accuracy by themselves), can hit ANY rank, and debuffs both Protection and Damage, and of course, reveal Stealth. Combine it with the Bounty Hunter's Protection debuff and enemies will just fall like flies.
On a last note, this team has surprisingly good camping, the combination of Strange Powders and Bloody Shroud can make the Leper resist absolutely everything the enemies throw at him. While the Bounty Hunter gets sweet accuracy and crit chance, which helps the team deal with stress, as the don't have a dedicated healer for that.
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THE LEGENDS
Leper / Leper / Leper / Leper
AREA VIABILITY
Your mother SSS
Ruins SSS
Cove SSS
Warrens SSS
Weald SSS
Courtyard SSS
Torchless SSS
Collector SSS
Shambler SSS
Fanatic SSS
SKILLS, QUIRKS AND TRINKETS
Giantdad .
Skills R1
Camp Skills Well! What is it!
Trinkets Havel's Ring, and Favour and Protection
Quirks 48 Vitality, 66 Endurance, 12 Attunement, 16 fucking Strenght, 10 Dexterity (but don't tell any1 you leveled that up)
STRATEGY
Ask You Know Who
.
VENDETTA
Vestal / Houndmaster - Jester / Highwayman / Man at Arms - Shieldbreaker
AREA VIABILITY
Ruins C
Cove B
Warrens A
Weald B
Courtyard S
Torchless B
Collector A
Shambler A
Fanatic B
SKILLS, TRINKETS AND QUIRKS
Vestal .
Skills Judment / Dazzling Light / Divine Grace / Divine Comfort
Camp Skills Sanctuary, Bless
Trinkets Tome of Holy Healing, Sacred Scroll, Chirurgeon's Charm
Quirks -Stress, Scouting Chance, Health
Houndmaster .
Skills Hound's Rush / Cry Havoc / Guard Dog / Lick Wounds
Camp Skills Hound's Watch, Therapy Dog, Man's Best Friend, Release the Hound
Trinkets Sun/Moon Rings, Sniper's Ring, Spiked Collar
Quirks Speed, Accuracy, Beast HateSlayer
Jester .
Skills Harvest / Slice Off / Battle Ballad / Inspiring Tune
Camp Skills Turn Back Time, Every Rose Has Its Thorn, Tiger's Eye
Trinkets Bright Tambourine
Quirks Speed, -Stress, Scouting Chance
Highwayman .
Skills Wicked Slice, Point Blank Shot, Duelist's Advance, Open Vein
Camp Skills Gallows Humor, Unparalleled Finesse, Bandit's Sense
Trinkets Bleed Amulet, Sun/Moon Rings, Dodgy Sheath, Sharpening Sheath
Quirks Speed, Damage, Accuracy, Dodge
Man at Arms .
Skills Retribution / Rampart / Defender / Bolster - Command
Camp Skills Tactics, Instruction, Weapons Practice
Trinkets Stun Amulet, Tough Ring, Rampart Shield
Quirks Speed, -Stress, Scouting chance, HP
Shieldbreaker .
Skills Pierce / Puncture / Expose / Serpent Sway
Camp Skills Snake Eyes, Snake Skin
Trinkets Dancer's Footwraps, Legendary Bracer, Berserk Charm
Quirks -Stress, Damage, Accuracy, Dodge
STRATEGY
Probably the strongest Courtyard composition, it has great sustain, combined with the best damage type for the area, Ripostes. Ripostes are amazing because they are a heavy counter to the most annoying skill in this area: The Thirst. As I have already explained, if a hero with Riposte gets targeted by it, the hero can kill the enemy before he gets the heal effect, making Bloodsuckers a LOT easier to deal with.
The Vestal just heals, like always.
The Jester can buff and stress heal, but his bleeds are quite effective in the Courtyard, so consider using them sometimes.
The Highwayman can dance in the frontline with the Man at Arms while doing massive damage, he has an amazing Riposte, an okay bleed skill, and a very effective nuke with Point Blank Shot.
The Man at Arms has an inferior but still useful Riposte, a fantastic stun/move on Rampart, and some good buffs. Bolster in particullar is great to use, as it will often make the Highwayman both dodge and Riposte a enemy attack.
The Shieldbreaker is a solid alternative if you want more raw damage. Her blights aren't very useful in the Cortyard because of the enemy healing and resistance to it, but there are many enemies that benefit from Protection and Guards in there. She also has some interesting combos with the Highwayman, try Expose (on the rank 1 enemy)+ Point Blank Shot. It just melts the enemy frontline.
Also, have I mentioned that Puncture spam can force the Crocodilian to stay in rank 1? Where he can't use Submerge, which means he can't use Apex Predator? Yeah... let that sink in...
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ZEALOUS CRUSADE
Vestal / Bounty Hunter / Vestal - Houndmaster - Crusader - Flagellant - Leper (choose 2)
AREA VIABILITY
Ruins A
Cove B
Warrens A
Weald B
Courtyard B
Torchless D
Collector A
Shambler F
Fanatic F
Vestal .
Skills Judment / Dazzling Light / Divine Grace / Divine Comfort
Camp Skills Sanctuary, Bless
Trinkets Tome of Holy Healing, Sacred Scroll, Chirurgeon's Charm
Quirks -Stress, Scouting Chance, Health
Bounty Hunter .
Skills Collect Bounty / Mark for Death / Come Hither / Flashbang - Caltrops
Camp Skills This Is How We Do It, Tracking, Planned Takedown, Scout Ahead
Trinkets Sun/Moon Ring, Beast/Man/Unholy Slayer Ring, Unmovable Helmet, Hunter's Talons
Quirks Speed, Damage, Accuracy
Vestal .
Skills Mace Bash / Divine Comfort / Illumination / Hand of Light
Camp Skills Sanctuary, Bless
Trinkets Profane Scroll, Sun/Moon Rings
Quirks Accuracy, HP, Damage
Houndmaster .
Skills Hound's Rush / Blackjack / Guard Dog / Target Whistle
Camp Skills Hound's Watch, Therapy Dog, Man's Best Friend, Release the Hound
Trinkets Sun/Moon Ring, Caudgel Weight, Sun/Moon Cloak
Quirks Speed, -Stress, Damage, Accuracy
Crusader .
Skills Smite / Stunning Blow / Holy Lance / Inspiring Cry
Camp Skills Stand Tall, Zealous Speech, Zealous Vigil
Trinkets Tough Ring, Stun Amulet, Defender's Seal, Knight's Crest, Paralyzer's Crest, Unholy Slayer Ring
Quirks -Stress, Scouting Chance, HP
Flagellant .
Skills Punish / Reclaim / Redeem / Endure
Camp Skills Lash's Anger, Lash's Solace, Lash's Kiss, Lash's Cure
Trinkets Bleed Amulet, Resurrection's Collar, Punishment's Hood, Martyr's Seal
Quirks Speed, HP, Death's Door Resist, Bleed Resist, -Stress
Leper .
Skills Chop / Withstand / Solemnity / Intimidate
Camp Skills Bloody Shroud, Reflection, Quarantine
Trinkets Fortunate Armlet, Redeption Armlet, Heavy Boots, Sun/Moon Ring
Quirks Accuracy, Speed, Damage
STRATEGY
This is quite versatile.
You already know what the Vestal does, spam heals all day.
The Bounty Hunter can do about everything, and works like a charm with the Leper. Seriously, I think this is about the 3rd time I have mentioned how effective these two are when put together, try it.
The Rank 2 Profane Scroll Vestal can destroy Unholy enemies while adding even MORE sustain, and her sweet debuffs.
The Rank 2 Houndmaster sinergices whith the Bounty Hunters Mark, and comes with a Guard, a great stun, and even more debuffs for enemy Protection.
The Crusader can also kill Unholy enemies, stun, and stress heal.
The Flagellant is a solid choice if you don't plan to go to the Ruins or the Cove, providing even more sustain (Ves-BH-Ves-Fla just never fucking dies), stress relief, and bleed damage.
The Leper just Lepers the fuck out of enemies, and together with the Bounty Hunter and the Rank 2 Vestal or Houndmaster, he can debuff a Champion Bone Captain into Apprentice Bone Rabble, getting rid of both his damage and Protection.
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ENDING
So... here we are... I have no more tips, and I'm all out of cool or effective compositions, now it's time for you to go into the game and check them out by yourself. Remember that you can give me your feedback in the comments, and that I would love to read about your favourite party composition. The more in-detail you can explain yourself, the better.
And that's about it.
Have fun, I guess.
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Saga of The Devouring World: Ch 5 What is Dead Can not Die

Chapter 5 - What is Dead Can not Die Time/Place 403 010.M42 / Battle-Barge Courage of Carolus in orbit of Grim Salvage.
The Shuttle’s doors opened with a burst of atmosphere, and Ex-Inquisitor Kryptman was lead via chains into the Hanger by two Deathwatch Members. Countless weapons were trained on him and an explosive collar was wrapped around his neck. Yet with all that, Stigler still felt wary and uncertain. A century and a half of experience told him that Kryptman was exactly where he wanted to be and the Heretic was holding all the cards.
The shuttle also housed boxes upon boxes of scrolls and records of Kryptman’s research and experimentation. A mixed group of Servitors and Acolytes emptied the Shuttle and scuttled off with the data for it be examined and copied. Chapter Master Gustavus and Inquisitor Heimdall waited at the end of the Hangar watching all this. “Could having one of your Librarians dig the information we need out his brain work? The quicker we can be done with him and execute the madman the better” whispered Heimdall. “Sadly no, Stigler’s Mystic tried already and is still comatose.” replied Gustavus.
Kryptman and his guards strolled up to them and reached out his hand to shake the hands of his other captors. They looked at him as if he had just held out a chunk of human offal to them. Rolling his eyes the disturbingly calm ex-Inquisitor sighed and began to speak “I must thank you for rescuing me from the Iron Warriors but is the bombardment of Grim Salvage really necessary?” He spoke of course of the righteous fury the Imperial Lions were unleashing upon the Chaos Infested world below. Inquisitor Heimdall snorted in derision “As if you're one to talk about unnecessary actions, we are conducting our duty as servants of the Imperium. You committed acts infinitely more destructive than this, and on loyal Imperial Worlds!”
Smiling a soft sad smile Kryptman responded “I did what I had to do, I did not have the luxury to count the costs. Those of the Ordo Malleus should know that better than any-” Kryptmans speech suddenly stopped and his eyes widened. “We need to leave now, it's found us.” before anyone could respond they all felt it, everybody in the system felt it. The horrid Psychic scream of Hive-Fleet Ghoul reverberated in every sentients mind as it ripped into reality.
Constant never ending screaming, constant constant constant. Except for those few moments… so short...so sweet. Another voice sang in the void, it was so small and weak. Then the song was snuffed out while still in the beginning of its melody. Now there was nothing but Screaming. Screaming and my hunger.
Time/Place 403 010.M42 / Battle-Barge Courage of Carolus In the New Lochos System.
Sensors and scanners began to light up as the abomination lumbered into realspace. The Chapter Master, The Inquisitors and their prisoner rushed to the command bridge, just to see the Warp Rift shut and the Devouring World began to moved. Gustavus paused mid stride and looked at the Monster taking up most of the Viewport. “It's much bigger than it was” was all The Chapter Master could say. The Devouring World had swollen from Luna Size, to at least twice that of Terran standard.
The grotesque Super-planet’s surface was smeared with wreckage of Starships, Hive Cities and even entire armies that had dared to attack the beast. Its maw and tendrils were hidden, and the corpse world was drifting slowly but steadily towards Grim Salvage. Its growth had changed it, new layers of twisted flesh and broken stone had increased its size and gave it a almost organic look. All those in the fleet with even a modicum of Psychic talent could physically feel its immense pressure, and even the psychic neutrals had a vague sense that something was horribly wrong.
Inquisitor Heimdall gritted her teeth against the foul presence, in her years of service she had encountered many horrifying monsters. Nothing came close to this, even the assault on a partial Daemon World 15 years back was nothing compared to this. The worst part is it was not even attacking them, and had not seemed to have noticed the Fleet watching it. This effect was simply its presence, the presence of a being of such intelligence and power that reality itself trembled at it. It was Kryptman who broke the dreadful silence with the curt comment “Hmmm I thought we would have more time before it found me.”
Whirling on the imprisoned heretic the Joint-Leaders of the task force almost in unison ordered him to explain what he meant. “Well once we figured out what exactly the Devouring World was we conducted some experiments in order to reproduce the phenomena, it worked too well and the experiments results started calling out for its “kin” I killed when I realized what it was doing. Apparently Ghoul knows this and is non too pleased with me for personally executing its only relation in the universe.”
Before any more questions could be asked The Devouring world began to morph. Tendrils erupted from it and so did its maw but other new adaptations arose. Great orifices opened on its side allowing clouds of creatures to spill into the void. Everything about it looked sharper, more vicious, more deadly... Every sentient in the sector suddenly felt as if had something brushed up against their mind. Something had, The Devouring World was using its incredible psychic might to look for its Kin-Slayer. Sifting through a the Nine billion minds of the New Lochos System as if they were grains of sand on a beach the Monster found its target.
Space/time shivered as a great Psychic roar of fury came from the Beast. The Psychic Pressure suddenly increased and was focused on the Task-Force Fleet. A few hundred serfs and other weak willed crew members died from raw power focused on the ship before the Gellar Fields could be initiated. The pressure alleviated due to that, but the Tech Priests informed Fleet Command that the Gellar fields were experiencing Warpstorm class interference from the Devouring Worlds assault. After almost being shot/stabbed/throttled by the Inquisitors Kryptman begin to Explain as the Fleet moved to distance themselves from the rapidly approaching Monster.
“No that was not an attack it was its equivalent of focusing its attention. Mentally and physically we are to it what bacteria and viruses are to us. We are the Yeast in its bread. This thing is beyond us and I am a infection that killed its brother.” Everything snapped into place for the Inquisitors. Echidna's Womb was moving between worlds to run from this thing, Kryptman was so eager to work with them because he knew this thing was after him, and even Chaos could not kill it.
Heimdall growled “We want answers Kryptman, all of them. Torture might not work get us the information we want, but it would be intensely cathartic for the annoyance you have caused us.” Kryptman smiled slightly and spoke “You will have them, but first we have more pressing concerns. I have escaped from Hive-Fleet Ghoul four times and I believe my expertise will be invaluable in surviving this. Before Inquisitor Heimdall could retort Chapter Master Gustavus turned from the helm and said “He is right, the last time I fought this thing we barely drove it off. It besmirches my pride as a Astartes but we will need his knowledge to slaughter the Devouring World.” With surprising speed he moved in front of Kryptman and held the Heretics head in between his massive hands giving him a slightly painful squeeze as he whispered “But remember Madman, The Enemy of my Enemy Dies Second.”
Time/Place 403 010.M42 / Battle-Barge Courage of Carolus, Two Light Seconds from the Devouring World.
Kryptman smiled wryly at them and began to speak. “First Keep your Distance, it possess no known weapons capable of hitting outside of Luna Orbit distances. Second anything that come in contact with it must be purged with holy promethium. Lastly we should avoid Exterminatus if we can, the Black Legion tried that and it's biomorphs intercepted the Weapons and detonated them before they could get close enough.” with that data the fleet prepared for combat.
One Battle Barge, Two Inquisitorial Black Ships, Four Battle Cruisers, and 15 Escort craft were the forces at the disposal of the Task Force. Macro Cannons and Lances blistered the Crust-Hide of their foe in great barrages. Its great psychic roars flexed the Gellar Fields of the ships as it pursued them. They were well outside the maximum engagement distance for Imperial Vessels, but they could more than afford the decreased accuracy with their target being literally planet sized. They led the abomination like a kite on a string throughout the system, attempting to whittle away ats its considerable bulk.
Kryptman approved of this sensible strategy, he had told them quite ardently to stay as far away as possible from it and its “Dragnet” of Bioforms that it was leaving a trail of was. This strategy seemed to be working, the beast was splintering bit by bit, that was until long range scans showed it had suddenly stopped its pursuit. Even Kryptman was confused at this, even as the scans showed a massive energy spike coming from their foe. They had no time to react before a blast of Heat and light tore through the fleet. Three Escort craft were atomised, and one Battle cruiser was neatly bisected by the Beam of energy.
It seemed the Devouring World had gained a Nova Cannon class weapon. Thankfully the Task-Fleet had spread out to allow them to lead their shots or they would all have been destroyed in gout of energy. “Well it appears Ghoul has developed a long range weapon” was all Kryptman could say. Scattering the fleet even further, void servitors collected samples for the Magos’s to study. They quickly identified it as a superheated bile equivalent. The Devouring World had vomited its leftovers at them at nearly the speed of light.
Auger Probes circling the Monster indicated that it had grown huge fleshy turret/spouts. That seemed to be built to launch this type of Bio Plasma at them in a colossal shotcannon spread pattern. Worrying enough other Growths were appearing to form, these of unknown nature. Their one advantage was gone so the Inquisitors agreed final measure must be undertaken.
Time/Place 404 010.M42 / Battle-Barge Courage of Carolus, 1/2 Light Seconds from the Devouring World.
Inquisitor Stigler's vessel held a particular weapon that could be their salvation. A Two Stage Cyclonic Torpedo. This holy weapon of righteous doom did not simply annihilate a planet's surface but it shattered it into stone and dust. This bane of many Necron Tomb Worlds was their final option against their foe. Kryptman relented in his protests when they explained the plan. A Flight of Attack Craft would protect the Torpedo from the Ghoulspawn biomorphs. The Brave men and women of the 42nd Lion Interceptor Squad knew their chances of surviving this sortie were slim to none. They were honored with their last prayer being led by the High Chaplain of the Imperial Lions, and they faced their mission with the grim resolve and steadfast courage that has allowed humanity to conquer the stars.
The Attack Wing had attached themselves to the Inquisitorial Black Ships and prepared for the battle. As the Black Ship ripped open reality and prepared to micro jump with the 300 hundred pilots of the 42nd in its hangar the rest of the Fleet opened fire. This was no kiting or whittling operation but the full force of a Astartes Chapter Fleet blasting away at the Cannibal Planet. They closed the distance allowing for more vicious and accurate attacks.
They weaved through the void dodging the massive geysers of Bioplasma spat at them. Their Shields and Armor held out against huge towers of Spiked Bone that erupted from the Devouring World as hideous Macro-Cannon shells. From every ship except the Inquisition’s a battle cry roared out “KEISER MIT UNS!” the Imperial Lions home dialect for The Emperor is With us! They had a target worthy of their hate and they intended to blast this crime against the Imperium and all that was sane and holy out of existence.
With the Monster focused on them it payed no attention to the Warp ripple behind it. Using secret archotech The Black Ship silently entered reality directly behind the Devouring World and let loose its ultimate sanction. The Colossal Torpedo roared into the void, it's machine spirit guiding it onward with insane self destructive glee. It was born to die and would kill all it could. The Pilots swarmed around it guarding and guiding the instrument of Doom. The advance wing that flew at the tip of the formation were the first to feel it. As if something was whispering in the back of their mind. They were also the first to die. Masses of hands teeth and claws suddenly lunged out of the void. Thousand mile chains of rotting malicious flesh hung behind the Devouring Moon like the stingers of a jellyfish of Ancient Terra. A great net of corrupted and contorted tissue lay between them and their target, and the net was alive and hungry.
Time/Place 404 010.M42 / The 42nd Lion Interceptors, in the Devouring Worlds Net.
The Void Came to life as the Interceptors fired at the great chains of flesh that undulated and grasped out at them. They ducked and dodged through the net tearing it to pieces with flurries of Multilaser shots. The Torpedo kept lumbering forward as its escorts shredded the Bioforms. They did not even have to aim or track their shots for the void was thick with living offal that fought back. Fighters would occasionally be caught by masses of tissue that would grab hold of the vessel and slither into it eating the it and its pilot alive.
Furiously the Interceptor Wing cut through the organic net keeping it away from their apocalyptic cargo. Their guns and missiles reduced hundreds of tons of the corpse-web into thin paste, but it constantly reconnected and grew more. For every blow inflicted it mutated something new and the Net was becoming more and more tangled around them. They were close, the Planet's gravity was now helping the Torpedo as it thundered closer to the Devouring World. Its exhaust and the Crafts attacks could only burn away some of the corruption congealing around them. The 42nd found themselves in a pocket of void surrounded on all sides by the web of mutation.
Yet they pushed forward, blasting and purging a path. All the while screaming hymns of hate and fury to none but themselves as more and more of the 300 craft were tangled up and consumed. Four hours they battled in a mad push to reach the bane of life that was before them. The last contact the Black Ship had with any of the pilots was a garbled Vox transmission “Hail, Emperor, those who are about to die salute you!” None know how that message came through for it was a impossibility to the laws of the material for the signal to make it through the walls of flesh and taint.
Soon after that the Devouring World convulsed and stopped firing at the Task-Fleet that had lost all but one of its Battle Cruisers and eleven of its escorts. Great cracks opened up on the twisted crust of their foe as the Torpedo burrowed deeper and deeper into its fetid heart. The Machine Spirit of the weapon of Exterminatus laughed psychotically in binary, as its melta charge cooled and it felt its existence come to a close. With a blast of righteous flame and fury the Devouring World was shattered.
Continent sized chunks of stone and boiling flesh were hurled into the void. As the corona of the Cyclonic Torpedo faded and the shattered world came into view Kryptman was the first to speak. His voice bitter and ugly “We need to leave now, It's not dead.” Inquisitor Heimdall began to protest but Gustavus stopped her and pointed to two of the larger chunks of what had been their foe. City sized cords of sinew and muscle were reaching out and lashing the pieces together. Even after being obliterated by the fury of the Inquisition and the Astartes it was reassembling itself. It was a cancer on reality that refused to be excised. For it is dead and what is Dead can not Die.
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