Faith and Betrayal

"Desolation of the Dead"- A Pestilent Heart

“You can fear some far-off, mythical Inquisition and what might happen in the future. Or you can look again at the chainblade at your throat, and think upon what it can do to you right now.”

-Vornas Crimson, leader of the Red Walk

View
"Desolation of the Dead"- A Trip to the Gallows

“Do not fear death, for should you fall, I shall raise you up again to continue our grand conquest.”

-Ferrue Fayne, to a congregation of the Blessed Flesh

Following the near catastrophic events on Valos Krin, and the large-scale investigation that followed, acolytes Dume, Luck, Gunn, Bishop and Silvain have been tasked by Interrogator Jaxx to head to Hive Gloriana on the planet of Solomon to investigate a strange mass murder with the presence of a Xenos artifact. Fortunately, Solomon is Gunn’s home world and he is able to act as a guide for the group, briefing them on the inner-workings of the hive, the political atmosphere and the various rumors and urban legends that abound. This particular request for Inquisition assistance has come from the planet’s local enforcers, an agency under the Imperial authority of the Departmento Munitiorum called the Sanctionaries. Unlike normal planetary enforcers, the Sanctionaries hold both local and Imperial authority and while not as well-trained or equipped as the Adeptus Arbites, the Sanctionaries are far better equipped and trained than enforcers of most worlds.C46043C5-5891-4E29-B0ED-B8B99FEF7F0C.jpeg The acolytes proceed to an underhive area of Hive Gloriana known as the Gallows Way, where the massive unsightly industry of processing the hive’s deceased population into materials useful to the Imperium, such as corpse starch rations, takes place. The atmosphere and living conditions in the Gallows Way are atrocious- dirty water constantly drips from the ceiling (a product of the cumulative runoff from the hive levels above) and pools on sections of the ground, the stench is nauseating and lighting is slim to none. The inhabitants of the Gallows Way live a decrepit life, many working in one of the Carrion Guilds’ massive Charnel Houses (where bodies are received and stored till processing) or Factorum Mortuariuses (where the bodies are processed into usable resources). It is in one of these Charnel Houses (Charnel House 17 which is owned by the Fayne brothers) that the party makes contact with Oath-Captain Nils, the commander of the local Sanctionary Precinct.
DC571E9F-F896-48A8-88AA-B0E7C57F5E79.png Oath-Captain Nils shows the acolytes the mass murder scene, which is in one of the Charnel House’s massive warehouse-sized areas used for body storage. A literal mound of bodies lies in the open space of the room, surrounded by shelves full with bodies that have been preserved for storage. At the top of this mound lies an individual wearing a necklace bearing a strange obsidian-like crystal. There is an obvious feel of strangeness in the crystal’s presence and many of the Sanctionaries doing crime scene security report feelings of unease and paranoia. The crystal does indeed seem to be Xenos in origin and Gunn takes the crystal for safekeeping while the group investigates the scene. While the body at the top of the mound cannot be identified at the moment, many of the other bodies are identified as various underhive residents, many of which work in the various Charnel Houses. Of an additional puzzling note, it appears that some of the bodies, due to the levels of decay, appeared to have been deceased for some time prior to their participation in this mass murder event. The acolytes find Oath-Captain Nils to be a serious no nonsense individual that despises incompetence and hates the ganger scum that inhabits the underhive and below. She gives the acolytes a general overview of the Gallows Way and offers only the bare minimum of assistance. The acolytes decide to split up and explore different avenues of investigation. Luck and Bishop make contact with various workers in the Charnel House to see if anyone knows about the mass murder. Silvain and Dume go to the Scrap Market to question the locals and Gunn decides to maintain a vigil outside the Charnel House to watch for anything suspicious and question the passersby.

The crystal starts to play with Gunn’s perceptions and he can tell with his knowledge of psyinscience that there is a Warp connection with the object. While waiting, he is approached by a woman who offers to show Gunn something more exciting than watching a Charnel House. Gunn, unsure if this is real or a product of the crystal playing tricks with his mind, follows the woman through the underhive to a desert-like expanse of powder called the “Bone Yard.” Through a nearby passage that leads into one of the main weight-bearing walls of the hive, Gunn is taken to a reception area of sorts where he voluntarily relinquishes his weapons and is lead to a small stadium-like area facing a central stage where people are playing a high-stakes gambling card game. After he is securely strapped into restraints that have been modified to deal a lethal jolt of electricity, Gunn learns that he is one of many similarly restrained individuals that make up of the living currency of this highly proscribed gambling firedemon31.jpggame known as “Damage.” With a large amount of Throne Gelt waiting to be won, the game is being live-streamed to select underworld establishments and individuals. As the night passes, Gunn sees that the player that he is “currency” for is the last of two remaining players and in the last high-stakes hand, Gunn’s player loses. As the people around Gunn are killed by electrocution, Gunn utilizes his unsanctioned latent psychic ability to transform himself into living flame, burning through his restraints and freeing himself. Unfortunately, Gunn’s sudden transformation, and novice mental fortitude, opens his person to daemonic possession. No longer in control of his actions, Gunn watches trapped in his own body as the daemon brings havoc to the Damage game, killing player, spectator and security personnel alike with fiery death. Some of the destruction is live-streamed before the cameras go offline and no one survives the ordeal but Gunn, who collapses into unconsciousness amongst the burnt surroundings.
7C48B2DB-13BC-4200-BA51-54460A28361B.png Meanwhile, as Gunn is involuntarily participating in the Damage game, the rest of the party is combing the Scrap Market (that serves as the local business district) for information. Their inquiries lead them to a local information broker, reclaimator and seller of somewhat usable scrap materials named Cog Lostok. In exchange for information on the identity of the person at the top of the mound of bodies and who may be responsible for the mass murder, Lostok offers to provide the information to the acolytes if they complete a task for him. He names several jobs that could be completed as payment and the acolytes decide on taking the job of getting rid of Lostok’s competitor, a lieutenant of the Red Walk gang named Facebiter. While the Red Walk’s territory is under the underhive in the lawless area of the downhive, Facebiter has decided to come to the underhive during the day and sell scrap metal of his own. Badly in need of rest and food, the acolytes decide to wait till the following day to deal with Facebiter and wonder about the status of Gunn, who they have not heard from since leaving the Charnel House. Renting some slum accommodations in a shipping crate that has been converted into a bare bones living quarters and eating corpse starch rations, the acolytes take turns keeping watch and sleeping, wary of being robbed or killed.

Gunn wakes up in the burnt ruins of the illicit gambling house to find the burnt dead and dying around him. His clothes and possessions have been burnt away and he does not know where his weapons are. Playing dead he notes several robed figures with various sharp objects, such as rusty nails and rivets, barbed wire, hooks and broken bones pierced through their skin all over their bodies and causing festering wounds, pouring through the wreckage. One of them is examining the spot where Gunn was restrained and calls out triumphantly as he shows his comrades the Xenos crystal that Gunn was in possession of. The strange figures depart with their prize and Gunn uses his telepathic powers to project his image to Luck, who is bedded down with the rest of the group.

Gunn Requests help and Luck is able to convince the others that she knows where Gunn is and leads them (with Gunn’s projection offering assistance) to the burnt out gambling house. Upon arrival, Gunn explains his story (leaving out the part about manifesting psychic powers and becoming a daemonhost) to the group and while skeptical, Gunn’s story seems convincing enough. After Gunn salvages a weapon and clothing (but not able to find his prized swords), and the group completes a fruitless search of the premises, the group heads out to scout out the area where Facebiter sets up shop so they can plan their attack.
722834E6-325A-4750-AD69-7D89A3FF6A67.jpegAs they enter the main residential area of the Gallows Way, an area called the Drains due to the constant stream of water flowing through the streets from the levels above, where Facebiter has set up shop, Silvain is immediately converged on by the poor destitute masses pleading for blessings and assistance; apparently it has been a very long time since an official of the Ecclessiarchy has been in these parts to administer to the faithful. With an ever-growing crowd to deal with, the party decides that Silvain should tend to this impromptu flock while the rest deal with Facebiter. Scanning from an elevated position, Dume is able to locate Facebiter’s shop set up in one of the hab shipping containers. Dume also notes the presence of several other Red Walk gangers with Facebiter, easily recognizable by their attire and the presence of an assortment of bladed weapons that the gangers prefer for combat. The group hastily comes up with a plan to pose as prospective buyers and make contact with Facebiter and his crew while Dume sits in overwatch from up high. There is a moment of tense interaction as the gangers size up these unusual clients, but the parties appear to come to an understanding with the prospect of money and escort the acolytes inside where they are introduced to Facebiter.
66956C62-E68D-4ECD-ABBC-CCB6BB207D8C.jpeg As the negotiations with Facebiter commence, Silvain’s preaching to the crowd is interrupted by the arrival of an intimidating force of Ecclessiarchy and Inquisitorial agents, including two squads of Adeptus Sororitas Seraphim led by an Inquisitor of the Ordo Hereticus, Witch Finder Rykehuss. Rykehuss orders Silvain to provide assistance with calming and crowd and coordinating efforts to separate the residents for “Purity Assessments.” Silvain complies and during a moment of privacy with the Inquisitor, he discloses his identity as an Inquisitorial agent currently prosecuting a mission. After his credentials are verified, Rykehuss explains that there was a daemonic infestation during a Damage game the night prior. This manifestation was captured on the live-stream of the game and he is responsible for the joint Ecclessiarchy/Inquisition operation to identify and locate the psyker that caused the daemonic intrusion. Silvain’s starts to have suspicions about Gunn’s story. Rykehuss tells Silvain that he will utilize his services for the rest of the day to help with securing this area and then he will be released to go back to conducting his master’s task.

With the arrival of the Inquisition and Ecclessiarchy forces, and their accompanying Seraphim squads sweeping the hab-blocks for any who have not reported for Purity Assessment, the acolytes dealing with Facebiter become aware of this complication when both Silvain and Dume use their micro-beads to warn them. Gunn, Bishop and Luck commence hostilities, attempting to take the gangers by surprise, but the paranoid gangers are ready for any treachery and what follows is a brutal melee punctuated by loud explosive blasts from Facebiter’s bolt pistol. True to the Red Walk’s appreciation of fighting with bladed implements, the ganger lieutenant fights expertly with his well-crafted sword and bolt pistol, and surprises the acolytes when he reveals that his jaw has been bionically modified to extend. Luck becomes the first victim to Facebiter’s mono-edged teeth when a portion of her cheek is bitten off. D767C7A1-0D54-4172-92A2-2BC32A113986.jpeg The sounds of Facebiter’s bolt pistol and the roaring chainswords draws the attention of the Seraphim squads and they begin to converge on the scene of the battle. Bleeding from numerous wounds, the acolytes are able to dispatch Facebiter and his gang and flee in different directions to escape the incoming Sisters of Battle, Gunn grabbing Facebiter’s sword and Dume grabbing his bolt pistol. Everyone but Luck makes it to safety. Most head to the Purity Assessment area and submit themselves to Rykehuss’ authority (where Silvain will later identify them to the Inquisitor as other members of his party) but Gunn, believing that he will be imprisoned or terminated because of his status as an unsanctioned psyker, sneaks away using his native-born knowledge of Solomon to avoid detection. Luck refuses the Sister Superior’s command to disarm herself and this starts a chase through the converted shipping container hab-block between the jump pack Seraphim and an agile teenage girl. Unfortunately it’s a race that Luck cannot win and the Seraphim surround Luck in one of the shipping container habs, trapping her. In a blaze of promethium from hand flamers and explosions from bolt pistol rounds, the container is reduced to a molten slag of perforated metal. Satisfied their quarry has been killed, the Sisters return to their task of rounding up the hab-blocks inhabitants.

Scared for his life, Gunn makes contact with Cog Lostok seeking passage downhive past the Sanctionaries’ heavy-fortified Purity Gate that separates the underhive and downhive levels. Displaying Facebiter’s sword as proof of payment for the completion of one of Lostok’s tasks, the reclaimator agrees to assist Gunn and puts him in contact with a guide to navigate the secret routes that bypass the Purity Gate. Looking to make a run for it on his home turf, Gunn believes his career in the Inquisition is over.

Following a brutal battle with Facebiter and a long day working with Inquisitor Rykehuss’ forces to assist in the Purity Assessments, the acolytes (minus Gunn) arrange for sparse accommodations and food (corpse starch rations) inside of Charnel House 17. As they settle down to sleep with the dead, they are relieved when Luck arrives. She is badly burnt but, by the Emperor’s grace, she managed to survive the inferno of the Seraphim. The acolytes briefly touch base with Oath-Captain Nils and she explains that the man on top of the mound of dead in the Charnel House was one of the owners of the Charnel House, Darnis Fayne (the youngest of the Fayne brothers).

In the morning, with no idea where Gunn is or his status, the acolytes return to Cog Lostok to report their success with terminating Facebiter. They find the Scrap Market nearly deserted with the arrival of the large Inquisition force making their way through the Gallows Way. Lostok explains to the acolytes that he has already fulfilled his end of the bargain when Gunn used their termination of Facebiter to pay for information to go downhive. Learning this, the acolytes become upset at this turn of events, expressing anger with Gunn and Lostok. This starts a tense argument with Lostok for the promised information and Bishop gets visibly agitated with Lostok threatening to bring the nearby Inquisition to Lostok to inspect his non-Mechanicus sanctioned tech. Lostok reluctantly agrees to help the acolytes, identifying the man as Darnis (which they already know) and explaining that the word is that the Faynes are involved in some type of big business transaction having to do with moving the dead downhive.

After getting directions from Lostok, the acolytes decide to continue their investigation by focusing on the Faynes, and head to the massive Fayne Factorum Mortuarius to look for answers. The Mortuarius is a disgusting place dedicated to the systematic dismantling of the dead into usable resources- a ghastly process utilizing a variety of hazardous and archaic-looking machinery fitted with numerous cutting implements, giant syringes, and chemicals. The acolytes wander through the seemingly endless maze of the Mortuarius largely ignored by the workforce of tech-adepts and laborers. Eventually, a worker offers to guide them to the overseer’s office and leads the acolytes down one of the body processing paths. It is in the first step of this processing, while wading through waist-high sludge made up of blood, bile, promethium, water and grease that the acolytes come under attack from individuals hidden amongst the workers and on the catwalks above. These individuals are armed with autoguns and shotguns and their bodies are covered in festering piercings.

After surviving the initial ambush, the acolytes become involved in a deadly battle that takes them through the various body processing operations as their attackers attack and retreat and attack again. The gun fire is only one of many obstacles the acolytes have to deal with as navigating through the various implements used in the processing operation pose a threat of their own. Eventually, wounded and covered in filth and gore, the acolytes dispatch the last of their attackers in the bone grinder room and make their way to the overseer’s office. There, they find evidence linking Ferrue Fayne with a downhive merchant in the Gantry and references to a group called the “Blessed Flesh” and a “Temple.” It appears that the acolytes most go deeper into the hive to find the answers they seek. BF7A9589-6276-4211-AF1E-AA2DE976728F.jpeg
* GM’s Note: This mission was ran with modifications from The Dark Heresy 2nd Ed. adventure of the same name by Owen Barnes and Jordan Goldfarb. It can be found on the Drive Thru RPG website “here”.

View
"Valos Krin Sunrise"

BY ORDER OF HIS MOST HOLY MAJESTY THE GOD-EMPEROR OF TERRA INTERROGATOR JAXX’S PERSONAL LOGS- AUTHORISED PERSONNEL ONLY

• Log Number 673:51F:GB5:Mac
• Work Station Location: Krin354

Please enter your authority code> * * * * * * * * * * * *
Validating…
Thank you, Interrogator Jaxx.

You may proceed…

• Date: 815.M41
• Transcription: Interrogator Jaxx, Ordo Xenos, Taurus, city on the world of Valos Krin
• Subject: Attempted Summoning of a Greater Daemonic Entity Resulting in Catastrophic Loss of Life and Structural Damage
nad06_preview.pngStanding at ground zero of the event that nearly brought the second death of the world of Valos Krin (and very likely the destruction of much of the surrounding sub-sector and perhaps beyond) one can appreciate what this small group of acolytes have accomplished. As Inquisitor Sand’s query protocols suspected when Judge Capstan’s request for assistance first came across my desk, their investigative efforts led to the discovery of a chaos cult, most likely dedicated to the foul Chaos power of Tzeentch. The ritual-like sacrifice of its victims and the confirmed Warp-tainted radiation were only the start of a trail of clues that would reveal a cult conspiracy that was years in the making, starting in the deep network of subterranean tunnels that lie beneath Taurus city known as the Hole.

Based on the report that Judge Capstan had sent me, this cult was well connected and had been hard at work over the years stealing and secretly placing numerous mining explosives all over key structural points on Taurus’ protective dome. Despite amassing a large amount of resources from the local and Imperial agencies on the planet to locate and deactivate the explosives, there was no way to stop detonation of all the explosives without stopping the triggering of the detonators. But the combined efforts of Judge Capstan facilitating the locating and deactivation of the explosives combined with the acolytes’ success in stopping half of the cult’s triggermen appears to have been enough to reduce the number of mass sacrifice victims that the cult needed to summon their daemonic entity. The Emperor certainly protects.

This victory was still a costly one. Barely functional as a productive world before a billion plus of the population of its main city were blasted to ash as the planet’s harsh sun rose in the sky over the city with a partially destroyed protective dome, I doubt that Valos Krin will recover from this event. Much of the planet’s leadership, as well as many notable officials from around the sector, perished after they failed to heed the evacuation order that my friend Capstan gave. Capstan himself is amongst the dead. He served the Emperor to the end, working to disarm the explosives instead of seeking shelter in the deep levels of the Hole which were largely unaffected.

I have personally made planetfall, along with many other Inquisition, Imperial and sector officials, to assess the damage, and participate in the preliminary investigation of what will no doubt end up being a lengthy (probably spanning years and even decades) inquiry and review of the incident. Initial assessments show that the cult responsible has been cleansed but purity screening will have to occur just to be sure. Despite the acolytes’ confirmed report of a daemonhost being present and banished after the detonation, nothing can be left to chance and the agents of the Ordo Malleus have arrived in force.

I have submitted my decision to Inquisitor Sand for immediate approval of Gunn, Doomonue and Luck as acolytes in my master’s service. Emperor knows that I am in desperate need of manpower in light of the crisis taking place on the planet of Solace, where the great majority of my master’s resources and agents are positioned. These acolytes have proved their ability in this line of work and inquires to the Ordos have gained responses from their former masters that there is no interest in retaining the services of Gunn and Doomonue. Reasons for releasing them from service were not given but I was given the impression that their masters were not that invested in retaining them, perhaps this is linked to the circumstances of their capture by the Dark Eldar. Regardless, I will have to continue my scrutiny until I am certain of their loyalty to their new master. Even just a splinter of doubt will give me cause to aggressively deal with the issue.

I must close out this entry and return to my duties. I am also due to meet Gregoi who has just finished his taint assessment of the acolytes. Sometimes his formidable psychic abilities can detect things that an interrogator cannot.IMG_1277.JPG

* GM’s Note: This mission was ran with modifications from The Void adventure “Venusian Sunset” by Wildfire games. It can be found on the Drive Thru RPG website “here”.

View
"Contamination Principle"

After months of being captives of the Dark Eldar and making passage through the Koronus Expanse after their escape, acolytes of Inquisitor Sand finally return to the Calixis Sector with some potential recruits for service in the Inquisition. Their welcome is back is an immediate quarantine and an extensive battery of invasive tests to ascertain taint, corruption and suitably for service in the Ordo Xenos.  Many months pass before the acolytes are finally cleared for service in the Inquisition.  In order to test the ability and resolve of the potential acolytes, as well as to ensure the proficiency of the returning acolytes, Inquisitor Sand’s senior Interrogator, Interrogator Artandis Jaxx, dispatches them to the frontier world of Tygress I under the leadership of senior acolyte Vern to investigate an odd radio transmission coming from the secluded farming and ranching settlement of Valiant; the brief transmission only reports an unspecified Xenos sighting. After locally-stationed Imperial Guard fail to find anything of note in Valiant, the acolytes are sent to double-check the Guards’ work.  
 
After securing some military grade arms and equipment, as well as a Chimera Armored Personnel Carrier (APC), the team make their two day journey to Valiant.  Just outside the settlement Gunn gets the Chimera stuck and while digging the tank out the team happens to see a flock of carrion birds circling something in the distant woods. An investigation into the matter reveals a dead bear-like creature that has been viscously shredded and more importantly, the bear has evidence of mutations.  

IMG_1368.JPG The team pulls into the town of Valiant just as the locals are finishing a funeral service near the small Imperial Church. From here they spilt up with Luck and Doomonue heading to the local saloon, the Dirty Thirty, where they befriend a crippled (legless) ex-Imperial Guard sergeant name Silas who really enjoys alcohol. The others head to the church and speak with the town priest, Father Kincaid, who is busy burying the deceased.  
 
Both groups find that the townspeople are wary of talking to outsiders but appear to be Emperor-fearing folk and loyal to the Imperium. Following their conversation with Father Kincaid, that group of acolytes proceeds to the town hall to talk to Valiant’s mayor, a woman named Dahlia, and are able to learn the town’s secret- the townsfolk have recently become mutated with an assortment of physical mutations as well as a psychic gestalt where they can sense each other as well as a strange alien-like presence to the south of their town. The people are not sure what caused the mutations but since the affliction, something has been killing off the townsfolk.  
 
Luck and Doomonue come face-to-face with this killer (sort of) when Silas is just about to tell them about the dangerous creatures lurking in the area when he’s attacked outside the saloon and ripped in half. The creature responsible is imposing and chameleon-like, blending in with the surroundings. As Luck faints away at the sight of the thing, Doomonue fires an autogun volley at the creature (seeming to wound it) and it flees without a trace.  
 
After a heated discussion with the town’s leadership, mainly concerning whether or not the acolytes intend to report the townspeople’s mutant condition to the authorities, which would result in termination of all the population, the party decides to travel south to investigate this alien presence the townsfolk can “feel.”  Early the next morning the party heads out toward the south to investigate the unexplained “presence.”  They are joined by one of the locals to serve as a guide, a young man named Sebastian who comes highly regarded by the townsfolk as one of their best trackers and hunters.  A violent storm has moved into the area and their Chimera APC provides protection from the elements for the first half of their journey but when they reach the river, Vern does not want to risk the Chimera sinking and decides against using the Chimera’s amphibious capabilities. After parking the Chimera and leaving it under the guard of Vern’s massive combat servitor, Bjorn, the party makes their way on foot to where the townsfolk keep their boats.  It doesn’t take them long in the wind and rain to become soaked and Gunn fairs even worse when he decides to scout the area using his Dark Eldar skyboard where the sky offers no protection from the elements.  
IMG_1001.JPG 
After crossing the river by boat, the party continues to the source of the mysterious presence and it soon becomes obvious that they are heading toward the nearest mountain, one that is shaped vaguely like a chimney, of the nearby mountain range.  Halfway to this mountain, the party comes under attack.  Ambushing the acolytes from the cover and concealment of some trees and bushes, Xenos creatures (that the acolytes later find out are Tyranid creatures called Termagants) fire upon them with their organic weaponry. Despite some minor wounds, the party is easily able to dispatch the creatures and burn their remains.  
 
Upon arrival at the base of the mountain, the party is able to see that while most of the mountain is a natural formation, it has been augmented with some features made to look natural. A disguised set of stairs wind upward to a shallow alcove that hides a large reinforced door that appears to have been violently breached- from the inside.  The party enters the door and explores the interior of the mountain. What they find is a multi-level research complex of Imperial manufacture. There are signs of battle present but no bodies. Another thing of interest is that it appears that the entire facility has been wired with a network of explosives that were installed during the construction of the facility and not afterward.   
 
IMG_0965.JPGA search of one of the upper levels results in the party being attacked by extremely fast moving multi-limbed creatures armed with long deadly talons. A desperate battle occurs as the creatures negate the party’s ranged firepower advantage by quickly closing into melee with them. Despite the surprise attack by very capable close combat opponents, the acolytes are able to slay the creatures and flee back to the lower levels as Vern’s auspex alarms with the detection of a larger force converging on their position.  
 
During their flight, Vern is able to detect an Adeptus Mechanicus signal being broadcasted from the lower levels and makes the decision for the party to investigate despite the Xenos creatures hot on their heels and closing. Upon reaching the last level of the complex, they find a long corridor that ends in a set of heavily reinforced double doors. The corridor is lined with rows of sentry turrets with a variety of ranged weaponry and their effectiveness is evident from the large number of rotting Xenos corpses filling the corridor.  

Utilizing his vox-capabilities, Magos Vern is able to make contact with Magos Dolan, a fellow member of the Adeptus Mechanicus, and chief overseer of this mountain facility, who after a conversation with Gunn and Vern separately, grants the group safe passage and access into the command and control center of the facility.  Safe, for now, from the approaching Tyranids, the acolytes and Magos Dolan discuss the purpose of the facility and the local Tyranid threat.  Magos Dolan explains that the purpose of the secret facility is research on the Tyranids species and choice specimens (luckily there are no Genestealers present) were brought to the facility for study and experiments.  A few months ago, a containment breach occurred and the the Tyranids were able to escape confinement despite the facility’s security protocols.  All of Magos Dolan’s security personnel and research staff have been killed and the remaining Tyranids have been using the facility as their home and roaming the countryside unrestricted.  Magos Dolan states that the monthly inspection and resupply team is months overdue and its status is unknown.  Magos Dolan has remained in the Command and Control Center as its the only safe location in the facility awaiting reinforcements but this area will soon be compromised as the Tyranids are actively working to gain access. 

The Tyranids’ success in this endeavor soon becomes apparent as klaxon alarms alert everyone only moments before a Ravener tunnels out from the floor followed by a horde of Termagants.  The acolytes and Magos Dolan and his remaining two combat servitors are quickly fighting for their lives as the massive creature barrels toward them leaving a wake of destroyed cogitator stations while the Termagants provide massive volleys of fire support.  The ensuing combat is desperate as the acolytes combine their efforts to take down the Ravener and the horde of smaller creatures and some of them fall to the ground with serious injuries before their comrades are able to dispatch their foes.  Luckily all survive the battle but with the command and control center successfully breached, it is no longer is a safe place from the Tyranids.        
IMG_0957.JPG
With the Tyranid threat very real and options limited, Magos Dolan requests the acolytes to assist with triggering the facility’s auto-destruction measures.  When it was built, a network of explosives were installed in the facility’s infrastructure and high-threat areas but since their escape, the Tyranids became aware of the explosives and disconnected the master relay responsible for triggering the detonation.  Magos Dolan can activate the auto-destruct sequence as soon as the acolytes repair the relay, but the relay is located in an area that only Gunn (and one passenger) can reach via his skyboard. 

Magos Dolan warns the acolytes that the relay is guarded by a powerful Tyranid psychic creature and supplies them with some combat drugs to provide them an edge in the fight, as well as a boltgun containing special anti-psyker rounds and an underslung grenade launcher loaded with a special anti-psyker grenade.  Armed with these weapons, Gunn and Luck decide to proceed to the relay while the rest of their party covers their advance from intervening Tyranid creatures.  The approach to the relay is indeed covered by flocks of Tyranid Gargoyles, which the acolytes engage while Gunn and Luck proceed to the relay. The battle with the flocks of Gargoyles is tasking and deadly and many of the acolytes are wounded, and their guide Sebastian is killed.  Meanwhile Gunn and Luck reach the relay and face off against its guardian, a Tyranid Zoanthrope, which uses its formidable psychic powers to blast and torment them while Gunn attempts to fix the relay.  Luck and Gunn struggle to survive the creature’s onslaught of power and their lack of proficiency in the use of the boltgun and its grenade launcher does little to assist in their cause.     

Despite dire straits, the relay is reconnected and Magos Dolan is able to trigger the auto-destruct sequence with the acolytes barely escaping destruction from the explosive detonations and the mountain’s collapse. 

* GM’s Note: This mission was ran with modifications from the Rifts Savage Worlds adventure “Contamination Principle” by Darrell Hayhurst. It can be found on the Pinnacle Entertainment Group website “here.”

View
"Dark Frontier"

“You think man is the only race to dabble in the darkness of the warp? No my friend, there are creatures far older and evil than us out there among the cold stars- aliens whose worship of the warp makes humanity seem as naughty children screaming at the sky.”

–Interrogator Milos Helacania, Lost to the Warp 673M4

Several weeks have past since the slave rebellion in the Dark Eldar city the Nexus of Shadows. Escaping with Captain Shen and her crew aboard their ship the Hostile Transaction, the acolytes have joined thousands of other former prisoners seeking passage away from the wicked city. In an act of gratitude, or as a form of payment, many have dedicated themselves to the service of the captain, while others have elected to serve because they are seeking a new start. Two of the acolytes have decided to do this as well- Jak easily stepping into his role as Captain Shen’s first mate and Jez unsurprisingly joining her longtime companion as a senior member of the crew. Per an agreement negotiated by Bishop with Captain Shen, the rest of the acolytes, and their allies, eagerly await arrival at the port of Footfall so they can reestablish themselves back into their former lives.

Proceeding on the final leg of their journey, the Hostile Transaction is violently ripped out of the Warp and into real space by a mysterious force- the violent translation causing significant life-threatening damage throughout the ship that the crew and its passengers work hard to repair. While the ship and crew recovers from the event, Gunn, Luck and Doomonue are called to the bridge by Shen; the rest of the acolytes having been seriously injured by the translation, or helping the crew with repairs.

On the bridge, the acolytes find out from the Captain that the Hostile Transaction is located in orbit around an unnatural black sun in an uncharted region of space. The strange sun emits streaks of black energy to many small constructs that float in orbit around it while swarms of strange black crystalline-looking ships patrol the sun and its surrounding structures. Further away, locked in the same orbit as the Hostile Transaction, there appears to be a collection of ship debris, asteroids big and small, and a small moon with a shanty town-looking settlement made from various starship sections. Also locked in orbit is what appears to bit an armed transport ship intact and operational. Of more concern, Captain Shen tells them that a strange gravity field has locked their ship in orbit and something is keeping the plasma and warp drives from functioning pass the point of maintaining basic ship functions- they are trapped in orbit.

SteveHarris_total-eclipse_swh.jpg

Immediately the vox of the Hostile Transaction begins to pick up vox traffic from the moon town and the transport ship, identified as the Penance of Iocanthos. The vox traffic from both sources appear to be requests for meetings to discuss the current predicament they all face and potential plans of escape. While Captain Shen attends to the repairs of her ship, she instructs some of the acolytes (as proven architects of the successful slave rebellion and escape) to take the ship’s only Arvus lighter and make contact with these two parties and facilitate talks.

Gunn, Luck and Doomonue depart for the moon colony first and make contact with its leader, a man named Martek- a simple but competent man who claims to have been miner. Leading a population of several thousand, half of which are mutants, Martek tells the acolytes that he and his people have been trapped by the black sun for decades and he does not think the populace will last more than two more generations. Directing the acolytes to the black sun, he says that augur scans show that it conceals a fortress-like construct that appears to be the source of power that arcs dark energy to the many surrounding small relays around the sun. Martek believes that this is the cause of the strange gravity field locking the ships in orbit, and if the fortress is destroyed then the field will no longer exist.

Martek and his people were able to salvage a vortex torpedo warhead from the orbiting debris field and jury-rig it to a large makeshift push cart. Their plan is to transport the warhead to the black sun fortress and detonate it, but they lack the means to get the torpedo to the fortress or to make it pass the swarms of patrolling crystalline ships, which he calls wasps. If the acolytes could provide this, then all could escape; Martek requesting that the moon’s population be allowed to serve as crew on board the acolytes’ ship. The only potential issue is the lack of firepower to deal with the Wasps as their lighter is unarmed and the Hostile Transaction is locked in a position where it’s guns cannot be brought to bear.

With assurances that they will return after they speak with their Captain, the acolytes depart and head to the Penance of Iocanthos where they find a population in direct contrast to Martek and his mostly mutant population. Meeting Father Palar, an Ecclessiarchy priest that is head of what he calls the Brotherhood- a group of several thousand highly devoted Puritan servants of the Emperor, the acolytes find it obvious that the Brotherhood and Martek’s group despise each other and the hopes of both of them working together will be very hard, and potentially impossible to arrange.

The acolytes learn, from the Penance of Iocanthos’ captain, Captain Lynara Cobolt, who is not as devoted as the Brotherhood, but held to support the wishes of Father Palar and his followers because they vastly outnumber her crew, that her ship is in a prime spot to provide fire support for a flight mission to the black sun, but she will not commit her ship unless a business partnership can be agreed on between her and Captain Shen, as well as convincing Father Palar to agree to the escape attempt. She tells them that the black sun is a construct of an ancient Warp-dabbling Xenos race called the Yu-vath that were destroyed over two thousand years ago by the Imperial Crusades led by Saint Drusus and now thought to be extinct.

With some shrewd wheeling and dealing between all the factions involved, including Captain Shen, the acolytes are able to convince all to work together, despite their differences, to escape the black sun’s hold. The cooperation of Martek and his followers is secured after an agreement is brokered to transfer the entire population of the moon colony onto the Hostile Transaction before the operation to blow-up the black sun’s fortress is even attempted. The fire support of Captain Cobolt’s ship is secured after the acolytes broker an agreement between her and Captain Shen to work in an extended business partnership. They win the support of Father Palar and the Brotherhood after deceiving him to believe that Captain Shen is working with the Ecclessiarchy to round up mutants (the ones on the moon colony) for transport and proper atonement and execution by official authorities (Father Palar is still suspicious of these claims, and while he does not want to scorn away a potential escape attempt for him and his followers, he vows to the acolytes that he intends to follow-up on their claims once back in the Calixis Sector). Captain Shen also expects some concessions for her participation in this endeavor and the acolytes agree to work through their Inquisition channels to petition to exonerate and expunge past and future transgressions that Captain Shen and her ship will undertake in the future.

After months of preparation and the transfer of the moon colony population complete, the day of the escape attempt finally arrives. The vortex warhead is loaded onto Shen’s Arvus lighter with Gunn as the pilot. He is joined by The rogue psyker Neija, Pullo, Luck, Doomonue, Kelson and five of Father Palar’s men (who are still not wholly trusting in the word of the acolytes). Everything goes as planned as Gunn expertly pilots the lighter though the swarms of Wasps and their exchange of ordinance with the Penance of Iocanthos. With Cobolt’s ship drawing the Wasps, and taking damage, the team with the warhead touches down on the strange alien fortress in the black sun and makes haste to deploy their payload before the Wasps destroy Cobolt’s ship.
the-coming-of-shadows-04.jpg
With the intention of depositing the warhead in the heart of a central tower on the alien fortress, the team finds their destination surrounded by a strange maze constructed of durable crystal-like material that is black in color and lined with purple veins. The surface of the maze walls are covered in endless alien pictograms depicting strange horrific rituals and unnatural images. The psychological assault on the mind is too much for some of the Brotherhood and one runs away screaming to the lost depths of maze while another is restrained and left behind after he attempts to detonate the warhead.

Eventually the team finds their way out of the maze and into an alien forest filled with crystal trees and a crystal leaf-covered ground. The tower lies just on the other side of the crystal forest, and as the team makes their way with the sound of crunching glass underfoot, they are attacked by strange spider-like creatures that look like they are made of crystal. A desperate melee breaks out with sporadic weapons fire. Successful in destroying their enemies, many of the team are wounded and all of Father Palar’s men are killed. After reorganizing the muscle to carry the warhead, the remnants of the team enters the strange Xenos tower.

Inside they find a vaulted chamber that houses a central pedestal of crystal over which a large luminescent orb hovers and discharges dark energy to the roof high above. The floor of the chamber is littered with piles of bones and desiccated bodies of human and Xenos creatures alike. Neija tells the party that the raw presence of the Warp can be felt here.

With a plan to set the warhead on the pedestal next to the glowing orb, the group cautiously approach and are taken back when a vortex of wind and energy swirls and engulfs the piles of bones and dead on the ground, ribbons of dark energy animating the dead mass. Luck faints away at the sight while the others, unsure what to do fire into the thick mass of bodies. Shattering bones and corpses, the hail of fire seems to destabilize the power holding the animated mass together and the bones and bodies fall still to the floor. While Luck still recovers, and Kelson providing overwatch, the rest of the group pushes the warhead closer to the platform and are standing amongst the bones when the dark energy animates them again. Caught up wholly in the whirlwind of dead matter and energy, those inside are bludgeoned and serrated by the swirl of broken bones and dead matter. Gunn is nearly gutted by the assault and crawls onto the pedestal to rest while the rest of the team again brings the swirling mass down with concentrated fire. Against Gunn’s will, Neija uses her psychic powers to heal the more serious of his wounds- his flesh resealing before everyone’s eyes.

As the team works to getting the warhead on the pedestal, the security measures of the chamber change as the orb blasts dark energy at them to foil their efforts. Despite being wounded by the assaults, the team is able to get the warhead into position, and battered and burned, they flee from the tower, once again traversing the maze of madness and back to their lighter. Fleeing the black sun, Kelson triggers the warhead which explodes in a brilliant blast of energy that destroys the Wasps and surrounding relay constructs before imploding the fortress itself. A moment of silence passes before ragged cheers flood the vox network as reports flood in that the mysterious field that kept the ships locked in orbit has dissipated.

* GM’s Note: This mission was ran with modifications from the Rogue Trader adventure “Dark Frontier” by Owen Barnes. It can be found on the Fantasy Flight Games website “here.”

View
"The Soul Reaver"- Maelstrom of Souls

“Never trust what you have observed observed when dealing with the Dark Eldar. The only certain truth is that you saw exactly what they wished you to see.”

-Relhadhar Antariel, Eldar Corsair

While Jak was entertaining the arena spectators by dismembering Anyalra’s Wych Champion, Unarlan, and Kelson and Magos Domos had just initiated their manipulations of the vestiges of the Gaelan Sphere’s Machine Spirit to teleport and release the imprisoned Dark Eldar slaves and deadly creatures of the arena unto their captors, the rest of the party had been rounded up for interrogation after a fellow slave, Obedhiaus Fyst, told the Dark Eldar about the group’s plan to start a slave uprising and escape. Fortunately for the group, while the chaos and carnage caused by the actions of Kelson and Domos were taking place, some of their newfound allies, fellow slaves Relhadhar (an Eldar Corsair), Rucker and Doomonue (two humans), and Nashrik (and the remnants of her Kroot clan), were able to free them. The Cult of the Withered Blade are hard pressed to contain this sudden release of thousands of prisoners and beasts, which had them outnumbered, and they tried unsuccessfully to contain the outbreak, which eventually broke out of the Shadowspine Pits and into the city proper.
Hellions.jpg
The Acolytes, with the exception of Jak (who has decided to join up with Captain Anja Shen and her crew to fight to reclaim the Captain’s void ship, the Hostile Transaction), and their allies grab what weapons they can from the numerous dead and join in the fight to break out. Wyches, Grotesques and Kabalite Warriors from the arena try to stand in their way but are brutally dispatched and, under Magos Domos’ direction, the slaves are able to break into the Wych and Kabalite armories and further increase their fighting capabilities.

After linking up briefly with Magos Domos for a status update, and to pick up their ally, a rogue psyker and fellow prisoner named Neija, the group takes a remote and little used route in the Shadowspine Pits with the objective of opening up a non-defended access way into the Dark Eldar city. They are surprised to find Succubus Anyalra and a cadre of her elite Hekatrix Bloodbrides waiting for them. Interestingly, Anyalra has accepted that she cannot contain the slave uprising, but wants the acolytes to pay for their role in facilitating it. She challenges to fight each of them, one at a time, and should they succeed in defeating her, her retinue will let them pass. The challenge is accepted and one by one the acolytes, and their allies, take on the Succubus. From the onset it is clear that Anyalra is a master of melee combat and she doesn’t even break a sweat as she easily flips and somersaults away from attacks, parries strikes and lashes out with her own, sometimes in a playful manner but with vicious results. Each of the acolytes and their allies are defeated, and only Bishop manages to actually wound the Wych with a lucky close-range shotgun blast.

Luckily, before Anyalra can take them back as prisoners, the group is saved by an unexpected explosion on the nearby wall, which was caused by demolition charges set by another one of their allies, an elderly Scintillan nobleman named Heneris who represents an unnamed patron who is interested in acquiring the Soul Reaver and the services of Neija for reasons unexplained. The blast collapses the wall and part of the ceiling onto Anyalra and her retinue and the acolytes join Heneris and his entourage into the Dark Eldar city where they assist in the slave uprising against their former masters. The slave population in the Nexus of Shadows vastly outnumbers the Dark Eldar, and the losses that the slaves sustain are quickly replenished as they start to liberate the slaves that serve the various Kabals of the city. It would be here that Jez would start to demonstrate her leadership abilities by periodically taking command of both her comrades and groups of slaves, and directing them forward in several victorious assaults.
Rogue_Trader_The_Soul_Reaver_Spires_of_Death_MarkMolnar.jpg
Initially slow to respond because the forces of the various Kabals were taken by surprise by the slaves’ sudden revolt, the slaves are able to gain momentum and territory as the Dark Eldar throw forces piecemeal at them while they muster their armies and battle fleets. Scourges, Hellions and Reaver jet bikes attack and harass the slaves from the skies, while Kabalite warriors on foot and mounted in Raider and Venom skimmers set up blockades and assault forces. This provides Archon Salaine Morn with the perfect time to start her initial attack on the Nexus of Shadows and her infiltrated ground forces begin their assault on holdings of the Kabal of the Splintered Talon while she moves her ships into position to bombard enemy forces from afar while waiting for the acolytes to bring down the city’s deadly anti-ship defense grid, the Razor’s Web. Some of Morn’s ship captains appear too eager to close the distance with their rivals and the Razor’s Web goes to work unleashing devastating barrages of lethal energy to push them back.

Untitled.pngUsing makeshift vox-casters that Magos Domos and Kelson were able to covertly construct, the group is able to maintain contact with the Magos, as well as make contact with Archon Morn who instructs them to meet her on top of one of the city’s towering spires for further instructions and support. The group breaks off from the main army of revolting slaves and breaches the structure- taking on its Kabalite guards and fighting their way to the roof. Luck appears to have been deeply influenced from her imprisonment by the Wyches and has taken to trying to emulate their dress and fighting-style; donning Wych armor and even wielding Wych weapons. The Kabalite Warriors put up a fierce defense, but the acolytes and their allies reach their objective despite being seriously wounded. On the roof, Archon Morn provides the group with Raiders and Venoms for transportation to Archon Zaergarn Kul’s palace (where the Soul Reaver resides), additional weapons, explosive charges to free the Soul Reaver, a “severing” device to deactivate the Razor’s Web and Xenos medical treatment that heals their various injuries but leaves their bodies feeling tainted and corrupted; Silvain turns down this offer of treatment and elects to manage the rest of the mission with his battered body.

DE_Reavers.pngWhile Archon Morn departs back to her ship to wait for the deactivation of the Razor’s Web, the group heads out with their allies in a small convoy of skimmers toward Archon Kul’s palace. The trip to the palace is a fast and treacherous one as the skimmers navigate at high speeds through other skimmer traffic and stationary obstacles, as well as volleys of lethal gunfire unleashed from the Razor’s Web, capital ships, Hellions, skimmers and jet bikes. Despite struggling to keep up with Relhadhar’s expert piloting skills, Gunn’s newfound proficiency in operating the Xenos craft is good enough, and with only the losses of a couple of Heneris’ men, the convoy makes it to the palace where it lands on the roof near Kul’s Deathworld Gardens. Relhadhar assures everyone that the garden has a secret passage that leads down into the palace where they can then make their way to the Soul Reaver’s berth. Defended by an elite cadre of Kabalite Trueborn Spire Guards, the group becomes engaged in a brutal battle where Gunn attempts to crash a Raider into the ranks of the guards but misses his target and crashes into an elegant staircase instead. Luckily, he is able to jump free of the wreck before it bursts into flames and manages to catch some of the guards in the blast.

With the guards vanquished, and more on the way, the group makes haste into the Deathworld gardens to brave the dangers inside. Ever alert, the group makes it through the deadly flora and fauna with only a few minor injuries and finds the door leading into the palace. Luckily for the group of intruders, the Dark Eldar are more concerned with mobilizing their forces to fight the slave rebellion and the rival Kabal outside the palace walls than with internal security. With Relhadhar leading the way through the maze of twisting corridors, stairs and rooms, and bypassing Kabalite patrols, the group is able to make it to the massive chamber that houses the Soul Reaver.

Anchored by massive gantries and a tangle of cables, the Soul Reaver is actually a massive Eldar battleship. Its hull is corrupted and pitted and it does not appear to be void-worthy. There is an eerie unexplained feeling that emanates from the ship and Relhadhar again, states his belief that the ship should be destroyed for the betterment of all. No one openly agrees with this, with the exception of Gunn, who tells the Eldar Corsair that they can explore that option once the ship is free. The massive chamber is patrolled by roving squads of Kabalite Warriors and the group breaks up into four smaller groups to better avoid detection and to carry out their mission- three of the groups will set up the three explosive charges to free the ship and the last will enter the ship to plant the “severing” device on the Soul Reaver’s bridge.
Soul.jpg
Responsible for setting up the explosive charges, Kelson, Jez, Pullo, Rucker, Nashrik, Neija and Heneris and his followers split into groups. Each group is successful in locating the proper place to set up the charges and insuring they are placed correctly, but Pullo’s group (also containing Heneris, Neija and some of Heneris’ followers) are noticed by the Dark Eldar guards and are attacked; during the battle Pullo is seriously wounded but their task is successful.

Meanwhile, Gunn, Luck, Silvain, Doomonue, Bishop, and Relhadhar proceed into the Soul Reaver to set the “severing” device. They find the Soul Reaver deserted, but note the strangeness of the place and its deteriorated interior. They reach the ship’s bridge and find it to be a huge empty chamber with only a gem encrusted pedestal of crystal in the center. An examination of this pedestal shows that there is a Dark Eldar figure laying on top who is well-preserved, but appears to have been dead for some time. The crystal of the pedestal has encased the figure, like a cocoon. Relhadhar identifies the figure as Archon Zaergarn Kul and suspects that this is why no one in the Nexus of Shadows has seen the Archon for quite some time.

haemonculus_txt_by_depingo-d879g9w.jpgAfter placing the “severing” device, the group is attacked, via Webway portal, by Haemonculus Drecarus (the interim leader of the Kabal of the Splintered Talon in Kul’s absence) and some of his Wrack disciples. What follows is a desperate and brutal battle where the Dark Eldar unleash pain and agony from a variety of weaponry that utilize toxins and corrosive properties. Drecarus, an expert gunslinger, fires his dual stinger pistols with uncanny precision and one of his shots tears out one of Luck’s eyeballs and pins it to the crystal pedestal. Relhadhar goes into a rage upon seeing his longtime torturer and his twin swords cut down several Wracks before confronting Drecarus himself. Relhadhar’s fury and swordsmanship is not enough to kill the Haemonculus, but he seriously wounds him before Drecarus sends twin stinger shots into the Eldar Corsair’s body that contain toxins that cause Relhadhar’s body to expand and explode in a gruesome fashion. With the Soul Reaver’s blood-splattered bridge containing only the dead or dying, only Doomonue and Bishop remain standing against Drecarus and one remaining Wrack. A carefully aimed shot from Doomonue’s hand cannon glances off the Haemonculus’ skull and stuns the Xenos as he tries to regain his bearings. Seizing upon this opening, Doomonue and Bishop unload their guns on Drecarus and the volley of gunfire is too for even the altered physique of the wounded Haemonculus to handle and he collapses to the floor while the remaining Wrack flees back through the Webway portal.

Meanwhile, with the “severing” device in place and the Razor’s Web deactivated, the ceiling of the chamber that houses the Soul Reaver collapses after several loud explosions are heard outside. With the ceiling now open to the void, a Stryxis capital ship can be see maneuvering into position to tow the Soul Reaver from its berth; per Bishop and Hobhyoos Gies’ agreement, the Stryxis merchant has arrived for the ship. Many grapnels and lines are sent down from the ship and a small army of voidsmen begins to attach them to the Soul Reaver. Gies sends a shuttle down to pick-up the group. With this massive breach in the Archon’s palace, Kabalite Warriors of the Splintered Talon respond in force and Jez steps up again as the leader to coordinate the defense of the theft operation- setting up fields of fire, calling out weak spots and warning of flanking operations. Her efforts are enough for the group to hold off the Dark Eldar while the Soul Reaver is properly secured. In an act of treachery during the ongoing firefight, Heneris and his followers ambush Pullo and Rucker so they can seize Neija and commandeer the shuttle sent by Gies. With Rucker dead and Pullo on the edge of joining him, the shuttle takes off leaving the acolytes and the rest of their allies behind.

Meanwhile, on the Soul Reaver’s bridge, the group inside the ship are tending to their wounded comrades and mourning Relhadhar’s death when they are approached by one of Archon Kul’s lieutenants, Dyrac Nyr, and his retinue. Taking in the scene, including his crystal-encased master and the dead Haemonculus, Nyr demands that Gunn (who he’s had interactions with previously in the Pits) explain what his group is doing aboard his master’s ship. Despite the concerns over what Nyr might do if he finds out what the group intends to do with Kul’s ship, Gunn decides to tell the truth about their plans to take the ship. Nyr listens to this without comment, and after a long uncomfortable silence, he and his entourage leave without further discussion.

With the ship finally secured, and no time to waste because of the Splintered Talon forces converging on the palace to stop the theft of the Soul Reaver, Gies’ ship begins lifting the Soul Reaver free of its berth and into the void above the palace. With death sure to follow if they remain behind in the palace, Jez leads her allies and comrades onto the Soul Reaver to join with the “severing” team. Rejoined aboard the towed ship, the groups are relieved to find that despite the decrepit state that the Soul Reaver appears to be in, it seems to be void-worthy. Pullo tells the group of Heneris’ treachery and follow-up vox traffic with Gies seems to indicate that Heneris and the Stryxis have come to some type of business agreement. With no other options, those aboard the Soul Reaver settle in for the ride out of the Nexus hoping the Stryxis can get them out of the battle zone with their prize.

Unfortunately, no one counted on Zaergarn Kul having plans of his own. With the battle for the Nexus of Shadows raging on outside, the Soul Reaver comes to life in a terrorizing cacophony of tortured screams, and spirit manifestations powered by the raw power of the Warp. Archon Kul rises from his resting place and screams his anger at the traitors that defied him and promises death for everyone. The sight is more than some of the acolytes can take and all choose to flee as the Archon directs its wrath through the Soul Reaver’s power. Gies’ ship is destroyed by lances of devastating energy and ghostly tendrils that appear to be made up of Warp apparitions of the dead. Many of Archon Morn’s ships who attempt to engage the Soul Reaver in hopes of crippling it so it can be captured also meet the same fate. Fighting their way through corridors filled with the angry spirits of the dead, the acolytes and their allies hope to get to a docking bay to secure a shuttle to escape. The ships of the Kabal of the Shadowed Thorns besiege the Soul Reaver with waves of assault boats packed with Kabalite Warriors, Wyches and Wracks to conduct boarding actions, and while these forces rush forward into the ship’s interior, the acolytes and their allies run away seeking passage off. Luckily, Neija is able to telepathically contact Bishop and tells him that she was able to escape her captors. By mind-controlling one of Gies’ men, she was able to secure a shuttle and leave the Stryxis ship before it was destroyed. Landing on the Soul Reaver with the Dark Eldar assault boats, the acolytes and their allies join her and head as far away from the battle as they can. Below, the city is on fire and the heavens are burning as the Dark Eldar forces and the uprising slaves tear the Nexus of Shadows apart.
Kabalites.jpg
Solace arrives for the acolytes and their allies as Jak makes contact with them as the new first mate of the Hostile Transaction. After helping Captain Anja Shen and her crew secure their ship, Jak was able to convince the pirate captain to look for his old friends, particularly his best friend Jez. After safely aboard the Hostile Transaction, the ship makes haste to the Webway gate leading out of the Nexus. The last thing they see before going through the portal is the destruction of the Soul Reaver by Archon Morn’s forces.

* GM’s Note: This mission was modified by the GM from the Fantasy Flight Rogue Trader book “Soul Reaver.” It can be found here.

View
"Johari Window"

The forest fire was one of the largest in the planet’s recent historical record. The entire valley filled with an abundant amount of fallen autumn leaves from the numerous trees available on the undeveloped land proved to be an excellent source of fuel for the flames. Early estimates have noted the fire consuming at least 2.5 million acres and counting. To the east of the town a huge column of gray black smoke and a few other smaller pillars, rose into the sky- the smoke so thick that the wind carried it and ash to the surrounding areas and the sky looked hazy despite the bright cloudless sky. Noble House Vermillion was mustering as many personnel and resources as they could to the area so that the fire could be contained before it decimated population centers and valuable crop land.

autumn.jpgCorporal Draggi watched the shuttle lift off in the hazy sky, departing with Father Lupus and his one-eyed bodyguard, Flak, to the orbital above Hilarion where the duo would no doubt catch a ride aboard one of the passing void vessels to their next destination. Good riddance was what Draggi thought as the Catachan medic lit up an Ilho-stick and took a drag despite the ashy smelling air that had sent most people seeking shelter indoors. Normally Draggi would have been seeking the company of one of the local ladies (he had certainly vetted a couple since his arrival), but the recent events and the lost of all but one of his squad had put a dampener on his mood. Draggi was not a stranger to losing comrades- he had seen more than his share of combat on planets throughout the Imperium and beyond, and had lost more brothers and sisters in arms than he could count, but this mission had been different.

Draggi realized that something was amiss when his squad had been tasked with escorting a priest through the remote woods of a loyal and compliant planet to ensure there was compliance with the Imperial Creed, not to mention having the squad led by Lieutenant “Colonel” Braxton- a tough as nails hard case officer that had been busted down from the rank of Colonel to Lieutenant for disobeying an order from high command (or at least that’s what the rumors said). On face value, this assignment could have been something that the local militia handled, and certainly wouldn’t have required an elite squad of Catachans and a Lieutenant to prosecute. The woods they were sent to were creepy, there was no doubt about that, and Draggi had been to a lot of creepy places and there was definitely something strange about the backwoods Hacklin family that lived in them and claimed that their patriarch was a prophet of the Emperor that had tasked the family with fighting their backwoods neighbors, the Runols family, and protecting humanity from the “taint” of invisible supernatural beings that were infected by the forest.

thumbnail_Catachan_sniper_1.jpgThe danger was certainly real, that could not be denied for no one but Draggi, the Lieutenant, Lupus and Flak, survived the final assault on the cave that the “Prophet” stated was the source of the taint. After his eyes had been bathed in animal blood, Draggi saw the horrific nightmares walking and tearing through his comrades and he remembered the Lieutenant convincing Private Sasha to throw herself into the dark pit while Lupus recited something from the scroll that the Hacklins’ “Prophet” gave them. But none of that matter much now- it was all a vivid nightmare as far as Draggi was concerned. The rampaging forest fire (unintentionally caused by his squad’s liberal use of flamers in an early encounter before going to the cave) had consumed the entire valley- the Runols and Hacklin farmsteads, the cave and even the hilltop cabin of the “Prophet” should all be ash now.

Maybe a drink and some companionship was what he needed Draggi suddenly thought. He had some time to kill while the Lieutenant worked on getting them a ride out of here. He didn’t have any money but he did have that silver trident that the Hacklin guy had gave him to fight the “tainted.” Perhaps he could sell it to a local and get a hefty amount of Throne Gelt merely for its silver content. Its craftsmanship was certainly exquisite Draggi thought looking at the trident where it sat propped next to his seat and the prongs were extremely sharp he noted feeling one with his left hand.

He quickly jerked his hand back and his Ilho-stick fell from his mouth as he felt an intense cold on the spot where he touched the trident prong- so cold that it felt like he was being burned. He studied his hand for injury and saw nothing out of the ordinary. Strange, Draggi thought to himself. He touched one of the prongs with his other hand and there was no strange reaction. Puzzled, Draggi reached down and grabbed his Ilho-stick. He couldn’t think of anything that caused the strange reaction. Maybe it was just an adverse reaction to the ointment that Draggi had put on his hand after he got that insect sting as they made their way back to town.
thumbnail_coc_10.jpg
*GM’s Note: This mission was modified for Dark Heresy from Ethan’s Trail of Cthulhu Scenario “General Order 11." Listen to his great actual play session with his friends at RPPR. It can be found “here.”

View
"The Fall of Solace"- Binding Contracts

With the capital hive of Solace still reeling from the cataclysm caused by the crashed Imperial cruiser and the awakened Necrons, Inquisitor Sand creates two teams made by combining members of Kill-Team Kronus with some of his available acolytes. One team is tasked with hunting down and exterminating the Genestealer threat while the other is tasked with locating and terminating prominent and highly dangerous criminals and heretics.
gg.png
Planetary officials provide Inquisitor Sand with three persons of note whose termination would assist in quelling the rebellious activities taking place amongst the populace- an unsanctioned psyker named Lericet Slaus, a behemoth mutant, and suspected Chaos worshipper, named Grens Scadegung and a heretek named Magos Vorrenius Corosz. With Brother Angelos chosen as Kill-Team leader, Chaplin G’heirnat, Palatine Ruby, Magos Hadrian, Father Lupus and Flak are successful in the locating, and terminating Lericet and Grens, but fail to terminate Magos Corosz. When the Kill-Team makes contact with Vorrenius, Hadrian and the heretek enter private negotiations and at their conclusion, Hadrian informs the team that Corosz is not an immediate threat and actually provided information on a threat of grave concern regarding a war band of Chaos cultists, that included several traitor Space Marines, that attempted to gain his assistance in conducting a ritual to summon a daemon in the upper hive spires.
Grens_revised_II.png
Departing from Corosz’s domains to investigate this potential threat, the Kill-Team is able to use the Arcadia’s powerful augur arrays to locate a building up of strange energy wave lengths in the estate of a prominent nobleman named Lord Nereus. A search of Nereus’ manse brings the Kill-Team into contact with a Chaos war band, which includes traitor Space Marines from the World Eaters, Red Corsairs and Alpha Legion. A bloody battle ensues, but the Kill-Team is able to vanquish their foes and stop the ritual with the termination of Nereus before he is able to complete his incantation.

* GM’s Note: This mission was created by the GM and borrowed heavily from Fantasy Flight’s Black Crusade adventure Binding Contracts by John Dunn with the addition of parts borrowed from The Heart of the Vortex adventure found in Fantasy Flight’s Black Crusade book, The Tome of Decay, the Vigilant Sword adventure in Fantasy Flight’s Deathwatch book, The Emperor Protects, and the New York section of the Call of Cthulhu adventure Masks of Nyarlathotep.

View
"The Fall of Solace"- Salvaging Solace

Mid-level in what remains of the capital hive city of the planet of Solace following the impact of the Imperial cruiser the Ardent Crown.

“…my priests inform me that the lower spires are in complete anarchy and there are barely enough enforcers, arbites and military personnel from the PDF and Cadian forces to secure the main transit lines that remain intact, let alone the general…”

Deacon/Acting Planetary Governor Coleridge was still droning on. The man was definitely pious (there was no doubt about that) but he was certainly no leader and his complaints and concerns of the various plights currently facing the hive world of Solace, especially the calamitous state of the planet’s capital hive, were constant and ongoing. Inquisitor Sand had long since lost interest in Coleridge’s words and feigned interest in a status report that sat on the meeting table in what he hoped would be a polite hint to the Deacon to finish. Sand reflected on the popular theory circulated about Lord Inquisitor Caidin wearing masks to conceal his true identity, and suddenly thought of another reason how wearing a mask could be useful at this moment.

“…food and water stocks are not adequate at all. The upper spire nobility have flooded my Office’s vox-networks and I have personal assistants, attaches, and secretaries lined up for miles to talk to me and my staff…”

It had been a week since Inquisitor Sand arrived at Solace, and three days since he and his acolytes were successful in boarding the crashed Genestealer-infested Imperial cruiser, the Ardent Crown, and shutting the ship’s massive engines down before they self-immolated with catastrophic results. Sand pondered how the planet might have been better off if the Ardent Crown’s engines had completed their Rite of Self-Immolation and detonated taking the rest of the crippled hive city and surrounding area with it. Reports were constantly flooding in about fires, flooding, suffocation, structure collapses, food and water shortages, mass rioting and criminal activities. And then there were the reports that really concerned Sand, Genestealers loose amongst the populace, confirmed Chaos cult activities, and even more concerning, reports of strange attacks and raids all across the planet whose vague descriptions lead Sand to believe they were related to the Necron (at least that was what he believed the Xenos species called itself) tomb complex hidden deep underground. Of course, Sand did not speak of the Necrons to any of the planet’s leadership, and had not even sent a transmission out to his peers and superiors about this unheard of threat, deciding that more information would be needed to compile an adequate report. The continued investigation of Quint and the Logicians that initially brought Sand to this planet had taken a back seat to more immediate concerns.

“…and we have not even broached the subject concerning the planet’s trade stocks…”

Solace was very much like a dying animal in its death throes, hemorrhaging all manner of plights- civil unrest, resource shortages, and Xenos, heretical and Chaotic infection. Unfortunately, the needed political, military and law enforcement personnel and infrastructure to restore order was basically non-existent. The ionization in the atmosphere had only two days ago cleared up enough to allow off-world communication and the reports coming in were just as bleak as those on-world. Many of the commerce ships that were in orbit had fled the region to safety after rumored sightings of Eldar ships and the reports of what was going on planet side.

“…Inquisitor Sand? My Lord?”

Coleridge had finally stopped talking and was looking at Sand, as were the other meeting attendees that were the highest-ranking officials that could be located for their respective offices. The meeting room of the mid-hive Arbites precinct that Sand had requisition as his new command center was packed shoulder to shoulder with people wanting to know how he, the Inquisition, was going to fix things.

Inquisitor Sand settled his unflinching gaze on Coleridge for several long seconds before turning it to the faces of the rest of those present. "Do not view this challenge as a crisis. Consider it an opportunity to demonstrate your faith in the Emperor.”

Sand’s micro bead chirped quietly in his ear signaling an incoming message on his secure vox-channel and he held up a hand to hush the meeting attendees. “I’m still in my meeting,” the Inquisitor told the person on the other end.

“My apologies Inquisitor Sand,” Melua’s voice replied, “but this could not wait.”

Sand could hear the barely contained excitement in the Rogue Trader Captain’s voice and this peaked his interest. “What do you have to report Captain Melua?”

“Space Marines my Lord. Well, technically five Space Marines and one Sister of Battle. We just pulled them into one of the Arcadia’s docking bays a few minutes ago. Found them orbiting the planet in a boarding torpedo.”

“Really, Adeptus Astartes here? This is good news for a change…”

*GM’s Note: This mission was modified by the GM from the Fantasy Flight Only War adventure of the same name. It can be found “here

View
"The Fall of Solace"- Shedding Light

BY ORDER OF HIS MOST HOLY MAJESTY THE GOD-EMPEROR OF TERRA INQUISITOR GRAMEN SAND’S PERSONAL LOGS- AUTHORISED PERSONNEL ONLY

• Log Number 327:22V:GB5:Gac
• Work Station Location: Lumin12

Please enter your authority code> * * * * * * * * * * * *
Validating…
Thank you, Inquisitor Sand.

You may proceed…

• Date: 815.M41
• Transcription: Inquisitor Sand, Ordo Xenos, Rogue Trader Cruiser the Arcadia, in orbit over the hive world of Solace
• Subject: Discovery of Unknown Xenos Race and Interrogator Quint’s Status

Nearly a year has passed since I dispatched Interrogator Quint and acolytes Pullo and Rylak to the frontier world of Faldon Kise to recover a stolen exterminatus weapon, and nearly three months has passed since I dispatched acolytes Bishop, Jez, Luck, Silvain and Jak into the Eldar Webway to attempt to rescue Quint and Pullo after I received information that they had been captured by the Dark Eldar and were slaves in a city called the Nexus of Shadows. Surprise and concern do not even begin to describe the feelings going through my mind when during an investigation into what was originally presented to me as the suspected location of a lost cache of Dark Age Technology on the prosperous hive world of Solace, I find an excavation operation being conducted by operatives of the heretical tech-cult known as the Logicians that is being overseen by Interrogator Quint and a heretek, and known Logician agent that has been designated exocummincate traitoris by the Inquisition and Adeptus Mechanicus, named Magos Caerivus.

Operating in secret using Rogue Trader Melua’s Writ of Trade to facilitate the sale of war stocks to support the combat operations going on in the Spinward Front, I made my way down to the planet’s surface accompanied by my ever faithful Crusader bodyguard, Red, and acolytes Flak, Hadrian and Lupus supported by three combat servitors. The location of the cache was easily found using the coordinates that my sources provided- housed in the interior of one of Solace’s many unremarkable mountains and accessed by an opening that the Logicians had excavated.

We breached the well-guarded security perimeter the Logicians had set up at the cost of the combat servitors we had brought with us and proceeded into the mountain’s interior. What the Logicians had uncovered beneath the desolate wasteland of Solace was no cache of Dark Age Technology, but a subterranean realm of precisely machined fluorescent-lit corridors and rooms decorated in geometric patterns and symbols.

One of these antechambers the Logicians had turned into a scientific laboratory in which to study the ancient ruins and its denizens- strange metallic humanoid beings that looked like advanced robots, which initially appeared to be in some type of stasis or hibernation. Despite their bipedal human-like appearance, there was something so utterly alien about the creatures that I have no doubt they are of Xenos design. I have never heard or read of creatures such as these in any of the Imperial records I have accessed, with the exception of the report that Red turned in many years ago documenting Red Cell’s deadly encounter with similar beings in one of the alternate timelines he visited while investigating Rogue Trader Eramus Haarlock’s Blind Tesseract on the planet of Mara; it was unsettling when Red confirmed that these indeed appeared to be the same type of creatures.
3f9cf8b4b17ce2eca70706c7bcbbf73b.jpg
Our presence did not go unnoticed, and immediately after entering this research area we were attacked by Logician forces led by Interrogator Quint and Caerivus. Quint showed no remorse or hesitation as he fired on my party nearly immolating Red with a deadly shot from an inferno pistol. During the battle, a sudden and violent earthquake shook the area and collapsed the passage that we had used to enter the mountain. Fortunately there were other passages leading out of the room that could hopefully be used to return to the surface but the earthquake brought more than just the danger of being trapped in a subterranean tomb. It appears that the earthquake triggered something which caused the inanimate robots to “awaken.” They rose from their evaluation beds while hundreds of metallic beetle-like constructs began pouring into the room from circular orifices in the room’s walls.

Armed with destructive energy weapons that seem to strip away flesh, and even more resilient materials, such as that found in carapace armor, down to their basic molecular components, and eventual nonexistence, the constructs attacked Logician and Inquisition Agent alike- their movements efficient and precise and seemingly eerily coordinated at times. They seemed to be impervious to all but the most powerful weapons and demonstrated the fascinating ability to self-repair damage at times and rise up to continue fighting. My team barely survived the encounter while Quint and Caerivus escaped during the fighting down one of the room’s other passages. Of the metallic constructs, no evidence remained- their broken and destroyed bodies seeming to have disappeared when they finally sustained sufficient damage.
Necron_4258.jpg
We continued in pursuit of our quarry, as well as searching for a way out, with the various corridors and rooms introducing us to more variants of the horrific metallic constructs. We fought many of the creatures, including ones that appeared to resemble strange armed serpents that could phase in and out of existence allowing them to pass through walls. Later we encountered a huge hovering spider-like construct tending to a large green gem that was inscribed in various symbols, which I suspect must be the written language of these Xenos creatures. This spider-like construct was accompanied by a huge centipede-like construct, as well as a humanoid construct that appeared to be a leader figure. This figure spoke in emotionless Low Gothic as it inflicted pain on the heavily injured form of Caerivus, who was laying at its feet, while Quint watched from the doorway of what was later discovered to be an exit; Quint decided to flee, leaving Caerivus to his fate.

I suspected that the large gem would be valuable in learning about this previously unknown foe, and dispatched my team to secure it and escape down the corridor used by Quint. Despite the devastating energy weaponry and regenerative properties of our foes, my team was able to secure the gem and flee down the corridor with the huge metallic centipede-like construct in pursuit. I am pleased to report that prior to leaving I was able to administer the Emperor’s justice on the traitor Caerivus with a point-blank inferno pistol blast to the face.
Tomb_Stalker.jpg
We were lucky to find that the corridor offered a way out in the form of a large crevasse, most likely created by the recent earthquake, that exposed the corridor to the open sky above. As we clambered out onto the planet’s surface, we were greeted by a guncutter (which I suspected was occupied by Quint), which sent a volley of missiles in our direction before flying away toward the nearby hive city capital. Luckily, my team and I were able to avoid the main blast zone of the missile strike, and injuries were limited to a few broken ribs and minor cuts. This same strike appeared to obliterate the centipede-like construct and collapse the crevasse leading to the underground passage. My team and I started back toward our lander not realizing that the worse was yet to come…

* GM’s Note: This mission was modified by the GM from the Fantasy Flight Rogue Trader adventure of the same name. It can be found “here.” *

View

I'm sorry, but we no longer support this web browser. Please upgrade your browser or install Chrome or Firefox to enjoy the full functionality of this site.