Note: Text descriptions are from Advanced Space Crusade and the official Games Workshop website
Across the stars, a locust-like swarm of aliens attacked the Imperium of Man and the other species of the galaxy with ravenous ferocity. Known as Tyranids, this race of bio-mechanical monstrosities is driven by a single, narrow purpose: to feed. By ingesting the biomass of entire worlds, the Tyranids grow while absorbing genetic material so they can evolve into more-lethal killing machines.
The first of the Tyranid Hive Fleets that attacked the galaxy were stopped by the forces of Humanity, but barely and at a terrible cost. Whether they can hold back the next wave of Hive Fleets is debatable at best. Humanity's only comfort in this is that the Tyranids are after all biomass in the galaxy, not just humans. Only fools confuse the ferocity of the Tyranids with a lack of intellect. The Hive Mind orchestrates the activities of the swarm to perpetuate the survival of their race with cold determination. They have consumed entire galaxies before and will not be stopped b any resistance.
In the warzones of Warhammer 40,000, the Tyranids are instinctive masters of swarm-tactics and close combat. They always outnumber their opponents, a fact that often guarantees their victory. Each Tyranid is equipped with diamond-hard rending claws, razor-sharp teeth, and a variety of other bio-weapons. What's even more fearsome are the monstrous creatures striding through a Tyranid swarm like Carnifexes and Hive Tyrants. In total, the Tyranids are a cold and brutal opponent to face. Even the best warriors in the galaxy can hope to only stall the Tyranids' advance.
In order of size, largest to smallest.
Planetary conquests often include the use of skyscraper sized bio-constructs. These include the Dominatrix, the Hierophant, the Hierodule, and the vehicle bio-constructs of the Harridan, Trigon, Exocrine, Dactylis, Haruspex and Malefactor. These creatures have no place in Battlestations unless the characters go planetside.
Description: The floors of the ship are soft and pitted; in some places they become ridged or split by deep crevices, in others, anything up to a foot of thick soupy fluid sluggishly flows along passages or pools in small chambers, bubbling as noxious fumes escape. The walls may be ribbed with chitinous plates or covered with polyps that drip mucus. In places, fronds and waving tendrils search the air for food and patches of luminous fungi spread with remarkable speed or grow into exotic shapes.
Honeycombs of small tubes lead deep into the hive ship's flesh and thickly-stranded capillaries throb as viscous ichors are pumped along them.
The atmosphere is hot and damp; rank smells are carried along by humid breezes. There is the constant background noise of a thousand different throbbing, rumbling, wheezing sounds echoing around the passages and carrying through the thick fleshy walls.
Scuttling and slithering through the passages are many of the lesser Tyranid bio-constructs: those creatures that are necessary to the functioning of the ship. Some eat away unwanted growths or repair damaged sections by covering the area with their own secretions. Others browse off fungi or drink from fetid pools and with their strange metabolisms convert what they consume into nutrients or proteins required by less mobile bio-constructs.
Rules: For all intents and purposes, the ship is a living being and should be treated as a character. With the actions available for its organs it can perform some, but not all, of them at a time. Each phase the ship can perform Size actions and can choose which organs it uses. Only some organs require actions to operate. These are-
The ships skill levels in all areas are equivalent to its size (ie a size 5 hive ship has Piloting 5, Engineering 5, Combat 5 and Science 5).
The board sections fit together in a huge number of possible combinations to represent the unpredictable twists and turns of the hive ship's innards. Each board section has passages and chambers connected by strange living archways called portals. Between one board section and another board section (or outer space) are Sphincter Doors.
Note: board 7 is from a white dwarf magazine. 5, 6&7 I scanned so they may be at a different DPI to the other boards
Each board is 7×8 squares in size.
Placement of Boards
All Tyranid ships are individual and unique. Boards should be placed randomly by the GM before play begins. Organs should be placed randomly where possible as well. Some Organs are too large for some boards. To determine hit locations and the silhouette, lay the boards out and define the central most five columns or rows as 7. To determine a random square within this area, roll a D6 for column and a D6 for row - ignore any 6s or result that is not an open space.
<html> <table border=“1”> <tr><th>Ship Size </th><th>Number of Boards to use</th> </tr><tr align=center“><td>5</td><td>3</td> </tr><tr align=center”><td>6</td><td>4</td> </tr><tr align=center“><td>7</td><td>5</td> </tr><tr align=center”><td>8</td><td>6</td> </tr><tr align=center“><td>9</td><td>7</td> </tr><tr align=center”><td>10</td><td>8</td> </tr></table> </html>
The portals are muscular valves that constantly dilate and contract without ever actually closing. Used by the hiveship to regulate the flow of fluids and gases, anyone can move and shoot through them as they battle inside the ship. A portal is represented on the board as a square contain a small gap between two walls. This square does not block line of sight diagonally (as would normally be the case).
In general the organs of a Tyranid Hive Ship behave as battlestations in a specific module of a ship belonging to another race. However organs are not linked to particular board elements. Every organ should be considered to be surrounded by battlestation squares next to it, except for Sphincter Doors and Teleporter Cysts which have special rules and do not require a battlestation to operate. Hacking a Tyranid organ is more difficult than other battlestations, and requires an additional -3 and a Medkit. Organs are not damaged in the same way as modules, they have armour and hitpoints similar to a character. They can also be stunned. For stunning purposes they should be considered to have an athletics of their armour rating. Organs cannot be disintegrated.
A Hive Ship does not normally have more than one organ of each type. However larger ships may have two Dermal Sphincters, Teleporter Nexes or Sensory Clusters.
The Organs on a Hive Ship never gain “used” markers.
Size: 1 square
Battlestation Equivalent: None
Hit Points: 10
Description: More secure than portals are the huge fleshy sphincter doors that separate different parts of the ship. These doors are bio-constructs, held in place by powerful tentacles that burrow into the walls of the ship and anchor themselves in place. The doors are opened by means of small nodules projecting from their outer rim - these are sensitive to pressure and cause the central fleshy part of the door to pull open, remaining that way until the nodules are touched again.
Rules: Doors block line of sight. A door can be opened or closed by anyone. If a door is opened into space, all non-Tyranid characters must make an athletics roll vs 8 or become space walkers. Doors separate board sections within the Hive ship.
Size: 1 square
Battlestation Equivalent: None
Hit Points: 10
Description: In many parts of the ship, there are large cysts growing from the floor. These are the openings to the Tyranids' teleporter system. Tyranids do not use a mechanical teleport system like other races, but travel by means of the Teleporter Worm, a bio-construct that has the main part of its body in the warp and only the ends of its many hollow feelers in realspace. These feelers attach themselves to different parts of the hiveship and a cyst grows where they burst through. Tyranids can enter these cysts and pass through the hollow tubes. Because both the Tyranids and the Worm are part of the hive mind, the Tyranids can direct their movement through the Worm's body in the warp to reappear at another point in the hiveship. The feelers are sensitive to secretions given off by Tyranids and Tyranid bio-constructs. If something that hasn't got the correct secretions enters a teleporter cyst, it is directed into one of the Worm's many digestive sacs. There it is trapped, stranded in the warp to be slowly consumed by the Teleporter Worm. The Worm's digestive juices aren't strong enough to break down armour so it closes off the sacs containing armour-clad victims, eventually expelling the indigestible mass months, years or even centuries later. Strange alien artifacts and creatures long-dead enclosed in armour of unknown materials are occasionally found near teleportercysts.
Rules: While the Teleporter Nexus is functional, any Tyranid may enter the square of a Teleporter Cyst and exit any other Teleporter Cyst on the ship. This counts as one square of movement. Any non-Tyranid entering a Teleporter Cyst is consumed. In all respects the Cyst behaves like a Telechute in Pax Galacticum, but for Tyranids only.
Size: 5 squares in a cross formation
Battlestation Equivalent: Engine
Hit Points: 10
Description: The Energy Cortex is a large ,multi-chambered pump that circulates vital fluids around the hive ship. At its centre, covered by thin carapaces, are leech-like creatures that draw their sustenance by sucking fluids from the arterial pipes, swelling or contracting with the varying rates of flow. As they do so they secrete a wide variety of enzymes that act upon the Cortex to regulate its pumping.
The Energy Cortex constantly pulses as the viscous fluids are pumped around its muscular tubes. This produces a deep throbbing sound at the lowest range of human hearing. The sound at this frequency is so powerful and penetrating that it can cause disorientation, nausea and temporary blackouts in those close to the source.
Rules: If a non-Tyranind character is within one square of the cortex it must make an athletics roll of 8+ each phase or be stunned. It is possible to receive many stunned markers unless the character is dragged away. While the cortex is operational it generates enough power for all systems on the ship with an additional 2 as though pumped, and it can move energy from any system to any other system on the ship automatically. If stunned it still generates energy but cannot redistribute or pump the engines. If killed, treat it as though all engines on a normal ship were slagged.
Size: 7 squares - 2×3+1
Battlestation Equivalent: Science Bay
Hit Points: 10
Description: The Sensory Cluster co-ordinates many of the hive ship's functions, sending out neuro-chemical signals that stimulate the ship's multitude of bio-mechanisms and keep all of the vessel's systems stable. Thousands of tendrils spreadout from the central Cluster along fine tubes that runthroughout the ship, monitoring the ship's organs and stimulating them into action when they're required.
Beneath the Cluster itself is a complex network of pipes, valves and small orifices. The valves continuously open and close with an eerie whistling, wheezing noise. The orifices are receptacles for nutrients fed to the Sensory Cluster by small slug-like creatures - the orifices suck the slug-creatures dry and let their empty husks fall to the floor.
Rules: While functional the Tyranid ship may make 3 Scans, collect 10 points of data and perform 2 ECMs per round up to a range of Size x 2. If stunned, then every other organ on the ship becomes stunned for one phase. If killed the ship may no longer perform science bay tasks, and all other organs are stunned for an entire round.
Size: 5 squares in a “C” shape
Battlestation Equivalent: Life Support
Hit Points: 10
Description: The Respiratory Vent cleanses the hive ship's atmosphere of impurities by drawing the air through itself and extracting many of the potentially poisonous chemicals. It stores these in sacs that are milked by small beetle-like creatures which in turn move around the ship and are consumed by the bio-mechanisms that require the chemicals to function.
Surrounding the Respiratory Vent is a dense cloud of toxic gases. The Vent emits a deep asthmatic croaking as it sucks these gases in; the many fibrous gills that line the Vent grind as the deadly atmosphere passes over them - to human ears,this cacophony sounds uncannily like a death rattle.
Rules: Any non-Tyranid within two squares of the respirator must make an athletics check vs 11 each phase or suffer the effects of Oucho. Unless that character is using EVA. The vent supplies enough life support for all Tyranids on board. If stunned, the gasses surrounding the vent dissipate after a round (so if only stunned for a round, they build up in the next round). If killed, the ship no longer has life support.
Size: 4 squares
Battlestation Equivalent: Missile Bay
Hit Points: 10
Description: The Dermal Sphincter is a large valve controlled by knotted bands of powerful muscle. It leads from the interior of the hive ship to the cold of space, usually being situated at the end of a cleft or indentation in the surface of the ship.
The Sphincter is used to evacuate the fluids and detritus that have been exhausted of all nutritional value and would otherwise accumulate in the hiveship. These waste materials are pumped or carried here overtime and finally released into space with explosive force.
Rules: A missile may be launched once per round for every 3 Sizes of the ship (ie Size 5=1/round, Size 6=2/round, Size 9=3/round) in addition the dumping the trash“ action may be performed Size times per mission. Stunning this organ stops it from functioning while stunned. Killing this organ will permanently stop it functioning.”
Size: 3 squares in a row
Battlestation Equivalent: Helm and Hyperdrive
Hit Points: 10
Description: The Hive Mind Synapse is a vital organ that connects the hive ship with the Tyranid hivemind, adding the ship's ponderous thought processes to the sum of experience shared by the Tyranids. Using the Synapse, the hive ship is able to think as one with the many millions of ships in the hive fleet.
As a side effect, the Hive Mind Synapse also amplifies and speeds contact between other members of the Tyranid hivemind. Its powerful emanations concentrate the effects of the hive mind and facilitate communication between the Tyranids and their bio-constructs on the ship.
Rules: While functioning the ship may perform one helm action per phase or program the hyperdrive. If stunned, the ship may do neither while stunned. If killed, the ship must immediately retreat to the nearest planet and land. This action is automated and is performed in normal space, not hyperspace. If the Synapse is not replaced, the ship and its contents are put into biological stasis until they land.
Size: 4 squares
Battlestation Equivalent: Teleporter
Hit Points: 10
Description: The Teleporter Nexus is the controlling hub of the teleporter system within the hive ship. Like the smaller cysts spread throughout the ship, its orifices are extensions in realspace of the Teleporter Worm, a Tyranid bio-construct that has its body and most of its internal passages and organs within the warp. The Nexus itself is a very sensitive organ - damaging it causes the Teleporter Worm to close off all its cysts as the shock sets in. The Worm pulls back its tentacles into the safety of the immaterium, leaving the cysts as decaying cancerous growths in the floor of the hive ship.
Rules: While functioning, the Teleporter Cysts continue to work. Once per round the Nexus can be used to teleport to an enemy ship in a similar manner to regular teleporters - except that a Cyst is placed on the enemy ship and Tyranids move through it as though it were a Cyst on their own ship. The teleport stays open to Tyranids as long as the Cyst is functional. If the Nexus is stunned the Cysts cease to function while stunned. If killed, all Teleporter Cysts are also killed.