While the Imperial Navy and the Adeptus Astartes fight the wars of the 41st millennium, the forces of the Adeptus Arbites take on a more subtle but no less important role. They are the police, the hand of justice in Imperial space. Not only do the Arbites operate planetside, but they also possess some naval forces with which to hunt down small pirate bands and other petty criminals.

The Arbites Punisher class strike cruiser is a policing vessel which is used to provide local system security, to quell small rebellions in nearby systems, and to root out pirate bases. The design of the Punisher is very similar to that of its Space Marine strike cruiser equivalent. Much of the design is similar, with the exception of the more typical Imperial prow, which (to the untrained eye) can give the Punisher the appearance of a Dauntless light cruiser. There is also slightly less armour plating on the ship's engine ports compared to its Astartes counterpart.

During the Gothic War, the Inviolable Retribution, under the command of Arbitrator Jamahl Byzantine, provided invaluable assistance in the evacuation of the Imperial world of Belatis. Arbitrators Byzantine and Korte, along with the crew of the Lord Solar Macharius went above and beyond the call of duty to rescue Captain Leoten Semper and several loyal Imperial citizens.

Inviolable Retribution

Arbites Punisher Class Strike Cruiser
180 pts
Type/Hits Speed Turns Shields Armour Turrets
Cruiser/6 25cm 90° 1 6+/5+ Rear 2
Armament: Range/Speed Firepower/Strength Fire Arc
Port Weapons Battery 30 cm 4 Left
Port Launch Bays Eagles: 30 cm 1 Left
Starboard Weapons Battery 30 cm 4 Right
Starboard Launch Bays Eagles: 30 cm 1 Right
Dorsal Bombardment Cannon 30 cm 4 Left/Front/Right
Prow Torpedoes 30 cm 6 Front

Special Rules:

Adeptus Arbites ships are rare compared to their naval counterparts, and rarely participate in joint fleet actions. An Imperial player may take one Punisher for every 1000 points. It would be appropriate for a corresponding scenario or subplot to be used to explain its appearance.

The Punisher class strike cruiser carries regular Imperial torpedoes as well as barrage bombs. Arbites vessels are also supplied with a single salvo of melta torpedoes. Rules for these and other special torpedoes are provided on page 4 of Warp Storm. Remember, if the Punisher receives a prow critical hit, the melta torpedoes (if they have not yet been fired) will detonate causing D3 fire critical hits to the Punisher itself. This ship may not make any further rolls on the special torpedoes table.

The Punisher class strike cruiser has been designed with the intent of scanning the surrounding star system to root out pirates and heretic strong holds. As a result of this, Arbites vessels benefit from an improved sensor array. When any enemy is on special orders, Arbites vessels receive +2 bonus to their leadership instead of the usual +1.

Barrage bombs, the bombardment cannon, and special drop pods make the Punisher quite adept at assaulting planetary targets. When assaulting a planet, the Punisher is worth 1 assault point. The Punisher receives a +1 in all boarding actions (not hit and run attacks) because the Arbites excel at close quarters fighting and cleansing enemy strongholds.

The Punisher has limited attack craft capability for the purposes of defense and advance scouting. It can launch squadrons of Arbites Eagle Interceptors. The ships only carry fighters, and do not have the facilities to service and launch bombers or assault boats.

Adeptus Arbites ships have a unique leadership table shown here:

D6 RollLd. Value

Representing an Arbites Punisher Class Strike Cruiser: Basically, our Punisher is a Space Marines strike cruiser with the bridge, wings, and part of the prow from a standard Imperial cruiser. Find out how to build a Punisher Strike Cruiser.

This article is part of our Execution Hour series based on the novel by Gordon Rennie. Surf over to The Black Library and grab a copy.

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