Faith and Betrayal

"Chaos Theory"

While in the process of carrying out sensitive courier duties within the Orpheus Salient, Kill-Team Kronus is suddenly diverted to the Vanir System by orders of the Inquisition. It appears that Hive Fleet Dagon is on the move and its tendrils are branching out toward nearby areas containing various Imperial holdings- one of these is an Adeptus Mechanicus research orbital called the Perihelion. Mainly a research station, the Perihelion does house advanced medicae facilities and a section dedicated for use by the Inquisition. Lead elements of Hive Fleet Dagon are approaching the facility, with a larger force in tow, and Imperial command had ordered the evacuation of the station.

These evacuees are being shuttled to a responding Imperial Naval cruiser, the Stoic Judgment, and it is here that the Kill-Team will proceed to pick up a secret Inquisition prisoner that was being held on the Perihelion for medical treatment. This prisoner, Namor Tarinten (designated under the codename Subject Atlas), officially listed as executed, was one of the Monarchs of the Kingdom of Vanir and responsible for many atrocities against the Imperium and his people, including the deaths of over 3.5 million citizens. Not known to many, in addition to be a tyrant, Tarinten is a Chaos-worshipper and powerful champion of Khorne. He was being held by the Inquisition and recently was critically wounded during an escape attempt. Additionally, the Inquisition never received the final transmission from the Interrogator in charge of Tarinten and the Kill-Team is ordered to recover this data.

With a proven record, Brother G’heirnat is again selected as leader for this mission and the Kill-Team arms up from the limited armory aboard their frigate, the Mark of Honor. By chance, the frigate was in the process of delivering the famed Deathwatch relic, the Cruciform of the Crusade, back to Watch Fortress Erioch and Brother Angelos decides to arm himself with its destructive power.

Arriving at the location of the Stoic Judgment the Kill-Team proceeds to the naval cruiser for what should be a simple prisoner pick-up. They find the docking bays a bustle of activity as personnel from the Perihelion are accounted for and arrangements are made to house the additional people. With assistance, the Kill-Team discovers that Tarinten never made it to the Stoic Judgment despite all of the shuttles responsible for his section having returned. Further interviews of the shuttle pilots responsible for that area finds that one of them, pilot Vaush, admits that he did not proceed with docking for his final evacuation run due to sighting several Tyranid spacecraft in the area as well as creatures infesting the orbital itself. He claimed that it was not cowardice that caused his decision to terminate his mission but a logical course based on the circumstances.

The lead elements of the Tyranid fleet vanguard are five to six hours out and Imperial high command has ordered that all Imperial forces be out of the area before the fleet arrives. With the mission clock counting down, time is of the essence as the Kill-Team must get to the orbital to retrieve or confirm Tarinten’s status before the Tyranids overrun the place. The Kill-Team goes to work preparing for departure to the Perihelion. Floor plans of the orbital are obtained and the team comes up with a plan to approach the Perihelion using their servitor-piloted Aquila shuttle as a decoy while they take one of the medically-modified Arvus Landers (volunteered to be piloted by Vaush on Brother G’heirnat’s orders) and use the distraction caused by the Aquila shuttle to sneak in and dock with the orbital.
Upon arrival at the Perihelion, everything goes as planned and despite the destruction of the Aquila shuttle, the Kill-Team is able to dock with the Perihelion. Exiting their lander in a zero-gee bay, Brother Dante notices that Tyranid Termagants are attempting to conceal themselves amongst the floating debris to ambush the Kill-Team. Passing warning to his teammates, this launches a firefight between the opposing forces and the Kill-Team is easily able to destroy and rout the enemy with minimal injury.

After successfully docking with the Perihelion, Kill-Team Kronus proceeds to the prisoner’s location. As they navigate the twisted, and sometimes damaged, corridors of the orbital they find the facility abandoned and operating only on emergency power with minimal life-support systems functional. Arriving at the quarters of the prisoner, they find him hooked up to several experimental medicae life-support machines and under the care of a Chirurgeon; he is also under the guard of two Crusaders, which, as can be seen from several bodies, have been busy dispatching probing Genestealers.

Brother G’heirnat provides the Crusaders with the proper authorization code and the Kill-Team is briefed on the current situation. Interrogator Gavin went to the comm tower several hours ago during the evacuation but has not been heard from since. The prisoner is in poor health and requires constant care from the experimental machines he is hooked up to sustain life functions. His health is deteriorating due to the fluctuation of power on the orbital and he needs to be taken to stable facilities as soon as possible.

Brother G’heirnat immediately orders everyone to prep the prisoner for immediate transport to their shuttle. With the additional people, and the prisoner’s life-support machines, the shuttle is going to be over capacity by one and Brother G’heirnat decides to wait till departure time to figure out this dilemma. Locating the Interrogator and the data will wait until after the prisoner is secure.
While enroute to shuttle with the prisoner and Inquisition Agents, the team receives word from Palatine Ruby (who is with their shuttle) that the shuttle is under attack by Tyranids. Brothers Dante and Vectis are immediately dispatched to respond while the rest of the kill team escorts the prisoner. Pushing their genetically enhanced bodies to reach the shuttle in time, the Space Marines speed through the corridors to the docking bay and find the shuttle besieged by a horde of hormagaunts and two Raveners. No stranger to the Tyranid menace, Vectis’ confidence and presence strengthens Dante’s resolve and the two Space Marines open fire on the Xenos. The Hormagaunts respond by charging and swarming the two Space Marines and nearly overwhelm them by sheer numbers before the two Space Marines are able to affect a counter-attack that decimates the horde. Turning their attention to the Raveners, each Space Marine takes on a Ravener in single-combat. Despite their wounds, each Space Marine is able to dispatch their foe- Vectis smashing his Ravener with a mighty blow from his servo-arm and Dante splitting his in half in a shower of gore from his chainsword.

Still proceeding to the shuttle bay, Tariten tells G’heirnat that the Inquisition plans to re-instate him in power on Vanir so that he might use the power of Chaos to slow down, and maybe even stop, the Tyranid advance in that system. G’heirnat disregards the prisoner’s words as blasphemy and has him sedated. Shortly afterward, the Kill-Team is ambushed by two Lictors. The Crusaders and Space Marines have no problem fending off this attack and terminate the Tyranids with the loss of only one Crusader. Arriving at the shuttle, Brother Vectis informs the team that the shuttle has sustained some damage from the Tyranids that will need to be repair prior to departure- a task that will take at least an hour. With the mission clock ticking away, Vectis secures the help of Ruby and Vaush and the three of them begin the repair work.

With the prisoner secure in the shuttle under the guard of the remaining Crusader and two of the Kill-team, G’heirnat, Angelos and Dante proceed to the comm tower to locate the Interrogator and his last transmission data. They are easily able to locate the comm tower and find the Interrogator’s body laying at one of the comm consoles apparently killed just prior to transmitting the data. Brother G’heirnat sends the transmission and secures the data-fax just before the team is ambushed by Genestealers.
The Genestealer assault is quick and deadly and soon Brother Angelos is wounded and unconscious and Brother G’heirnat and Brother Dante are on the verge of being incapacitated. Relief comes in the form of some hospital patients that assist the Kill-team in dispatching the Genestealers. Greeting the three patients, the Kill-team finds that they are war heroes from various units of the Imperial Guard that are known for the acts of valor they accomplished fighting the Tyranids in the Orpheus Salient. They were left behind during the evacuation. Recognizing the value of these individuals, the Kill-Team decides to evacuate them as well- making them over capacity by three.

The repairs to the lander are finished just as Brother G’heirnat and his team returns with the war heroes in tow. Over capacity by three, Brother G’heirnat assess the importance of personnel and surprises the Kill-team and evacuees by dispatching the Chirurgeon by breaking her neck. Many of the Kill-team do not approve of G’heirnat’s actions while Tarinten looks on with glee. A heated debate breaks out between the Team, evacuees and the remaining Crusader over who stays. Veiled threats are exchanged, posturing, and even a duel between the older and more experienced Brother G’heirnat and younger and ambitious Brother Angelos, which G’heirnat wins, before it is decided that G’heirnat and Angelos will remain on the Perihelion. Relinquishing the Cruciform of the Crusade to the care of Brother Vectis so that the relic may be returned, Brother Vectis passes his signature power axe to Angelos so that he may be armed against the massive Tyranid force about to descend on the orbital.

With the Tyranid vanguard minutes away, the lander takes off to rendezvous with the Stoic Judgment before it departs. The Kill-team is two members short and the odds of survival for Brother G’heirnat and Brother Angelos are slim to none. Against an overwhelming enemy force in a failing space orbital it would be a miracle if the two Space Marines are ever again seen alive.

  • GM’s Note: This mission was created by the GM and inspired by The Unit television episode “Force Majuere.”
"Dead Stars"- The Blind Tesseract

“The future is no more or less than the hell we fashion for ourselves in the present and gift to our children.”

-Inquisitor Arnulf Gentry, Notes on the Ninth Adrantian Trade War

Red Cell and Inquisitor Herrod and his retinue seem to fall for an eternity before finding themselves in a large thirteen-sided chamber enclosed with walls covered in closed archways that are filled with elaborately carved images. The massive ceiling is covered in huge glass windows showing a strange star and nebula-filled night sky and the center of the room is dominated by a strange mechanical contraption with a realistic statue of a young robed woman at its base.
After Mir places the keystone into one of the statue’s outstretched hands, the mechanical contraption goes into operation and the statue appears to come to life and speaks to the party. The statue confirms that the machine is indeed the Blind Tesseract and that she is the Iron Daughter (once a stepchild of the Haarlocks named Epiphany Belasco now enslaved to the Blind Tesseract). The Iron Daughter relays information and answers questions in a cryptic fashion, but the Inquisition Agents are able to gather that Eramus Haarlock built the Blind Tesseract to manipulate time. It provides an intersection where the paths of times past, future and present can be walked. The party must walk on these paths to see what did and may happen. Completing the path will allow them the chance to keep contained or free Eramus Haarlock, but they must make haste if they want a chance to decide because two people (Miss Book and Master Nonesuch) have already passed through the portal. Two of the thirteen archways become mirrored-doorways and Red Cell is directed to one while Herrod and his retinue are directed to the other.

Stepping through their portal leads Red Cell through a series of mirrored portals- each portal a scene from the past or possible future. While some of the scenes have the Acolytes acting as mere observers that cannot interact or be interacted with by their environment, others are very real indeed with pain and the possibility of death being all too real.

The Acolytes see many things of interest and cause for concern. Some are tragic, such as witnessing the murders of Eramus Haarlock’s wife and daughter and the betrayal he suffered at the hands of his family, while others are horrific and puzzling. There are two episodes in which the Acolytes witness the destruction of a large Calixis battle fleet from the Imperial Navy and accompanying Adeptus Mechancius ships over the world of Lathe Het by the Spear of Destiny and another showing a desperate boarding action by Inquisitor Herrod and Inquisitor Sand, with accompanying Acolytes, against a superior armed force in an effort to stop something that was set in motion after Haarlock was freed on Mara.
Ghost ark2

The scenes of destruction related to freeing Haarlock are equally offset by scenes showing the death and destruction caused for not freeing Haarlock. One of these shows the planet of Sinophia infested and under the control of a Genestealer Cult with no hope for salvation; a looming darkness has blocked out half the stars in the night sky. Another shows the war-blasted city of Hive Sibellus and the ruins of the Tricorn. Here the Acolytes are shocked to find the deceased body of Inquisitor Quint and a partial audio recording where he explains how not freeing Haarlock plunged the Calixis Sector into civil war and complacency and vulnerable to threats within and without. Just as the recording finishes, the Acolytes are attacked by a group of the city’s invaders- unknown humanoids that look like metallic skeletons armed with strange weapons that fire powerful beams of sickly green energy.

Disembarking from a skimmer transport, these metal abominations unleash massive amounts of firepower and many of the Acolytes are severely wounded. Mir cuts down several of the enemy and is horrified to see some of them repair themselves and rise again to attack. The Acolytes decide that the enemy is too powerful to fight and flee to the mirror doorway that leads out. They are assisted in their retreat by the convenient arrival of Inquisitor Herrod and his retinue on the opposite side of the battlefield and the enemy becomes distracted by this new threat. With the exception of Lazarus (who Mir forces through the mirror door), the members of Red Cell decide to leave Inquisitor Herrod and his acolytes to face the mysterious foes on their own.

Passing through the mirrored doorway brings the Acolytes to their strangest encounter of all- a battle against an opposing team of themselves. This opposing team is not evil or good, but merely the alternate timeline of the Acolytes making the opposing choice of whether to free Haarlock or not. In order to prevent this from happening, the opposing acolytes must be stopped. This results in an intense battle in which fellow acolytes face each other and themselves with deadly consequences. Every Acolyte will die in a matter of speaking and one of them, Lysandros will not survive the encounter at all- one of the Lysandros falls to his inner daemons and kills himself after losing all hope, while the other Lysandros finally finds hope only to be killed by the opposing Uriel.

The victorious team passes through the mirrored doorway at the completion of the battle and finds their team leader, Inquisitor Herrod, waiting for them. The Red Cell from the alternate timeline won and this changes some of the background for the mission. This Red Cell serves the Tyrantine Cabal in secret and were dispatched to Mara by the Cabal under Inquisitor Herrod’s command to locate the Blind Tesseract and Haarlock, and investigate their connection with the Tyrant Star. Arriving with a unit of elite Maccabean Janissaries, the group arrived over Mara and became involved in a massive ship battle with the Spear of Destiny and ships from other Factions. In a haste to make it to the planet’s surface, the group teleported into the station and proceeded to the Blind Tesseract facing enemies and the horrors of Mara along the way.
Passing through the final mirrored doorway brings the team, and their sole surviving Janissary, Cpl. Sufal, back to the present time on a feral swamp world that they later find out is Dusk. The mirrored doorway is still present- a standing doorframe on a shallow hill with the image of the Blind Tesseract and a weeping Iron Daughter seen through the doorway. Above in the sky, an eclipse is starting as Komus, the Tyrant Star, begins to block out the native sun and shed its dark corrupting light on the planet.

A group of the planet’s natives, accompanied by a powerful rogue psyker, approaches the group and leads them to the Dusk Hag- an ancient and powerful being that resides on the planet. The Dusk Hag tells the Acolytes and Herrod about how Eramus Haarlock came to her looking for answers and how he paid her the ultimate price for the answer, which could be found in the Tyrant Star. For hundreds of years Eramus was trapped in the Black Sun’s corrupting influence and he needed those on the outside to light the way out so he could come back to the here and now. The trials and murdering that the Acolytes and other faction members have done has lit the way and before the eclipse reaches its apex, the group must decide whether to allow Eramus release or keep him trapped. There are consequences for either choice with the future of the Calixis Sector, and possibly the Imperium, at stake. Has Haarlock been corrupted by Komus’ power of has his iron will bent the Star to his service? Will he bring death and destruction or will peace and prosperity be a possibility?

Though their personal reasons may differ, Herrod and the Acolytes unanimously agree to free Eramus Haarlock and with no fanfare or awe-inspiring display of power, Eramus descends from the Tyrant Star at the apex of the eclipse and walks through the doorway into being. With only a small gesture of acknowledgment, Eramus walks back through the doorway to Mara and the door goes inert. Standing on the surface of Dusk in the black light of Komus, Herrod and Red Cell ponder whether they have made the right choice.

  • GM’s Note: This mission was ran with modifications from Fantasy Flight’s “Dead Stars” book by Alan Bligh and John French. It can be found here:
"Dead Stars"- Ice Station Mara

“To our eyes, human existence is filled with hopes, desires, nobility and weakness. To see mankind through their eyes is to see the corn waiting for the reaper’s scythe.”

-Inquisitor Herrod, A Discourse on the Enemy Beyond.

The Acolytes explore some of the Mara Arbites surface complex, which consists of a tall fortified wall surrounding three structures- the towering command fortress, a hanger/defense laser housing, and a landing pad/control center. They inspect a well-maintained lander on the landing pad (that the team suspects belongs to one of the competing factions) and Hadrian (with Quint’s assistance) is able to bypass a booby-trapped security lock and reprogram it with their own code in the hopes of keeping the lander for a later escape from the planet. They also explore one of the surface structures and are puzzled to find evidence of recent occupation, but no one can be found.

There is definitely a strong malignant Warp presence on the planet and the feeling grows stronger by the moment. Lazarus and Kessa inform the others that the Warp is bleeding into reality and there is even some visual manifestation of this when the party observes strange near-transparent eel-like creatures flying in and out of the walls, ceiling and floor; they appeared to be surrounding the group and Mir orders everyone to exit the area by taking a stairwell to the sub-surface levels of the prison complex and closer to their goal.
From beyond
The complex’s sub-surface levels are a dark maze of corridors and rooms lit only by the occasional faint or flickering lumen globe. Ice covers everything and damage from past conflicts and deterioration from ill-maintenance is visible in the abundance of hanging wires, ducting and damaged panels. All is not as it seems- the corridors and rooms seem to be constantly shifting after the group passes through and they often catch glimpses of things in the corner of their eyes moving away. The veil between the Warp and reality grows thinner the deeper they travel. No map could navigate this twisted hell and Arbitrator Lysandros’ experience with being stationed at similar facilities proves valuable in general navigation to lead them in the right direction.

After a time, the party enters an octagonal room containing nine bodies of people that appeared to have died of self-inflicted gunshots. At this moment, the madness of Mara finally takes one of the Janissaries and he starts using his flamer to douse members of the party- setting Red, Hadrian and one of the Janissaries on fire before being dispatched by a headshot from Quint’s dueling pistol. Only Red and Hadrian survive the promethium inferno and despite being exhausted from the intense heat and smoke, the group wisely decides to continue on deeper into the complex without rest. Only a little over half of the original group remains at this time.

Continuing still deeper in the dark twisting ice and frost-covered corridors, they arrive at a area that appears to be the scene of a recent firefight- shell casings litter the ground and las strikes and bullet impacts can be seen in abundance. Present are two bodies- one is a powered armored tech-priest that appears to have suffered from a teleport mishap that partially merged his body with a piece of machinery and the other is a decapitated adept in the high-ranking robes of an Administratum official. There is a strong sense of predatory Warp-taint in the area but Mir decides that gathering information is vital and orders the group to remain alert while Hadrian attempts to decrypt the contents of several data-slates found on the adept’s body.

Mir’s order to have the party wait until Hadrian de-crypts the data-slates proves to be potentially deadly when two powerful daemons materialize into reality and attack the party. Kessa is seriously wounded in the fight and one of the daemons even comes close to slaying the daemon-hunting Crusader Mir before it is dispatched. While a few remain to fight and banish the daemons back to the warp, most of the group flees in terror- their minds slowly breaking from what they have witnessed thus far on Mara.

At the conclusion of the battle, all the members of the party re-group and Lazarus uses his psychic healing to augment the medicae treatments of Hadrian and Uriel. Hadrian also finishes decrypting the data-slates and their contents contain information they already possess (planetary information on the planet and the complex) but there are several notes addressing someone named Herrod.

Continuing deeper into the sub-levels of the prison complex, the group continues to hear and see strange things. Mir notices that Kessa appears to go into a trance periodically and upon questioning, she relates that she is astropathically keeping their masters updated on their progress. One of these trances appears to be taxing to Kessa when she is seen with blood weeping from her empty eye sockets. Not trusting Kessa, Mir accepts the psyker’s explanation for the moment but orders Lysandros to keep an eye on her.

The horror of Mara suddenly takes an unexpected twist when the group passes by one of the prison’s underground Imperial Chapels. This long abandon place of worship has new occupants- ones that are very interested in the Acolytes and have a vendetta with some of them. Standing at the befouled altar with the severed head of Rasar, Tomas of Shale, Priest of the Crow Father (who the Acolytes believe was killed at the House of Dust and Ash) confronts the party- telling them that his master told him where they would be and he has been waiting for them so he may take their souls.
A fierce battle breaks out between the Acolytes’ group and Tomas and his cultists. Psychic and sorcery powers, and their accompanying phenomena powered by Mara’s close proximity to the Warp, prove to be the main factor in this battle. Tomas uses his power to transfix Mir to a state of helpless daydreaming while the cultists attempt to shoot to death the seemingly impervious Crusader. The rest of the cultists engage the rest of the Acolytes backed by Tomas’ sorcery and while the cultists prove little match for the Acolytes, it is the psychic phenomena that is manifested with the use of warp-fueled powers that causes the most danger. Both parties are battered against the ceiling and floor as strange back-to-back reverses in gravity affect the area. Many are seriously wounded and unconscious. Even Mir lays against the ceiling transfixed as the life is slowly taken from him.

On the brink of defeat, the Acolytes and their Janissaries are able to launch a desperate counter-assault that terminates Tomas and the rest of his cultists. But with the battle over, the team is surprised to find that there is no sign of Tomas and his minions, and the only evidence of a battle even taking place are the wounds that the team bares and the shell casings and damage caused by their own weapons.

A few hours after this battle, the group hears the sounds of an intense firefight taking place and when Quint scouts ahead to investigate, he finds a large group from the Amaranthine Syndicate in battle against a rag-tag mob of black-robed individuals supported by minor daemonhosts called Dybuks. Quint is surprised to see that the Amaranthine Syndicate group is being led by a man and woman and he recognizes that the man is a person he met a few years ago named Master Nonesuch during the auction of Haarlock items at the House of Dust and Ash. Not wanting to get involved in the conflict, Quint merely observes and sees the Amaranthine Syndicate annihilate their opponents before continuing deeper into the complex. Quint decides not to follow and goes back to the group to report.

The group finally makes it to the Panopticon section of the prison and amongst the rows and tiers of empty cellblocks they observe a lone man disappear into one of the cells. Interested in locating the man, the group gives pursuit only to be attacked by mobs of ghostly inmates. Lysandros again brings the Emperor’s judgment on some these figures before he is knocked unconscious in the ensuing melee. Red single-handedly stands firm against a large majority of one of the mobs, sustaining several injuries before dispatching his foes. The rest of the group does their part dispatching the rest of the apparitions but sadly Sgt. Makrade is torn apart by the ghosts and only Cpl. Sufal remains as the last surviving Maccabean Janissary.
After tending to their wounded, the party locates the mysterious figure in a makeshift living space in one of the prison cells. The man introduces himself as, Eramus Haarlock’s Navigator, Nostromo, and he tells the Acolytes that by order of his master, he has been waiting specifically for the Acolytes for the past several months (though he gives the Acolytes a current date that is several hundred years past) so that he may act as their guide to the Blind Tesseract. He also tells the Acolytes about the campaign of fratricide that Eramus committed against his relatives in response for their killing of his wife and child, which resulted in him being the surviving heir to the Haarlock’s powerful Warrant of Trade. Eramus used his vast power and wealth to learn of the Blind Tesseract and entered it in an attempt to bring back “what he desires the most” but he has not returned. Nostromo is clearly insane, but Red believes that the man truly intends to help them so he accepts the Navigator’s help.

Nostromo explains that in order to navigate through the ever-changing and twisting corridors of the Mara prison complex, and open the “Door of Darkness” of the Blind Tesseract, the Acolytes need three elements- a Guide (which Nostromo will act as), a Pattern (which the Acolytes do not possess but believe that the Greyskin Psalter that is in the possession of one of the rival groups is a possibility) and a Talisman (which the Acolytes possess in the form of the Keystone from the Steel Clock). The Acolytes decide that they must seek out these rival factions and see if they can obtain from them the elements that they are missing- most likely these rivals will be seeking the same from the Acolytes. Indeed, Nostromo confirms that he has seen some of these rival groups navigating the corridors of Mara.

Nostromo takes over the task of guiding the party deeper into the complex and the veil between the Warp gets noticeably thinner and thinner. Voices and screams echo through the corridors and a strange buzzing noise of unknown origin starts to fill the cold silence. Kessa’s mental state is deteriorating the further down they go. What started as the occasional lapse in composure has escalated to fits of screaming terror, babbling about the buzzing and a weeping helplessness. Lazerus has chosen to comfort Kessa as much as he can to no avail and he and Cpl. Sufal take turns carrying Kessa when she no longer walks on her own.

Hours after traversing the constantly changing corridors, rooms and stairwells, the Acolytes find a mercenary reclaimator named Kort Luther (who they free from a collapsed beam that has him trapped). He tells the party that he was hired by merchants from the Amaranthine Syndicate and that the group’s leaders, a man named Master Nonesuch and a woman named Miss Book, are utterly ruthless and he does not believe they are human. Not interested in working for suspected Xenos and their quest to locate ancient technology, Kort fled and was trapped by the collapsing beam and left for dead. While he tries to convince the Acolytes to return to Mara’s surface to flee the planet, Mir displays his Inquisition Sigil of Inquiry and uses his authority to “convince” Kort to stay with the group in service.

Near the complex’s Generatoria, the party finds that someone has set-up a defensive perimeter in the area, complete with Chaos runes scribed in blood to ward off Warp predators. Further investigation proves that the stronghold is the base of a sect of the Chaos cult, the Pilgrims of Hayte, and they soon attack the party in response for the intrusion. The cultists have a strong defensive position and are supported by three daemonhosts. Their leaders were also present and both are powerful sorcerers that wear the face masks of animals- one wears a heron mask and the other a brass mask of a hound. Some of the party fought with Heron Mask over a year ago on the planet of Quaddis during the Festival of Tattered Fates but he escaped with the remains of a servant of Haarlock called the Widower.
Again, Heron Mask flees the battle with two of his minions while the other sorcerer remains to fight. The fighting was a brutal affair and many of the team are taken out by the Hound’s pyromacy spells. Quint, Hadrian, Mir, Uriel, and Lazarus were all unconscious by the end of the battle and the rest were heavily wounded. Interestingly, the savior of the party ended up being Cpl. Sufal, who was finally able to kill the hound masked sorcerer with a volley of Hellgun fire. His faith in the Emperor has been holding strong throughout this endeavor, despite the loss of his comrades.

Continuing deeper underground, the group comes face to face with another faction seeking the Blind Tesseract- Inquisitor Herrod and his retinue from the Tyrantine Cabal. A noted swordsman, who was thought to have perished at the hands of deadly Nurgle daemons called the Vile Savants, Herrod is very much alive, though his reconstructed body is now more machine than human.
Displaying their Inquisition credentials, the two parties decide to parley and come to an agreement to assist each other in their investigations. Both are seeking the Blind Tesseract and information on Eramus Haarlock, though the Tyrantine Cabal’s interests concern the links to the Tyrant Star. Herrod possess a Pattern (one of the daemon mirror fragments that his acolytes took from Red Cell on Sinophia, which is a point of contention between both parties) and added to Red Cell’s elements, the way to the Door of Darkness can be opened.

Together, the teams proceed deeper underground and it appears that, due to the sporadic mix of rough cut tunnels and partially completed construction, they are far below the planet’s surface and nearing the mines. The barrier between the Warp and reality grows yet thinner with sections of the complex phasing in and out during the Acolytes’ passage. With Nostromo as their guide, the parties are able to navigate the way and avoid potentially treacherous unstable Warp-terrain (though the Acolytes are horrified at one point to see Kort age in seconds before their eyes and turn to dust) and fight more Warp-horrors; though the combined power of the two Inquisition teams is more than adequate to dispatch these foes. Additionally, Nostromo leads them to a strange device built by Haarlock called the Clockwork Augur, which Hadrian and Uriel are able to analyze its data to get an idea where the “Door to Darkness” is located.

After Hadrian restores power to a cargo elevator, the two parties descend deeper into the mines and hours of travel finally bring them into contact with the band from the Amaranthine Syndicate. From positions of cover with covering lanes of fire, Master Nonesuch attempts to negotiate with the Acolytes- explaining that they want to take Nostromo and will return him when they are finished. Both Mir and Inquisitor Herrod are not willing to give up their guide and, since the Amaranthine Syndicate is not interested in surrendering, negotiations break down and battle commences.

This would prove to be the toughest battle yet on Mara as the Amaranthine Syndicate’s men are well-trained and equipped and both Master Nonesuch and Miss Book are armed with deadly anti-mater weaponry. Both Herrod and Mir carve a trail a death with their power swords but the Amaranthine Syndicate provides equal response- slaying and wounding acolytes. Master Nonesuch manages to slay Nostromo and the Acolytes watch horrified as Nonesuch uses a tendril to suck up all of the Navigator’s brain matter before fleeing by stretching his body into an air vent. The Acolytes soon find that Miss Book and Nonesuch are not human because they can sustain tremendous amounts of damage and their bodies appear to be made up of an intertwined collection of worm-like creatures.

During the battle Kessa’s mind finally breaks and she dies by ripping her face off and releasing three of the dreaded Warp Predators, the Psycheneuin, which stalk the parties but are hindered due to the presence of the Untouchables amongst them. Miss Book ends up fleeing by escaping through a vent and the Acolytes take the last surviving enemy prisoner.

Without their guide, the parties are left with using their skills and the data collected from the Clockwork Augur to locate the “Door to Darkness.” The path is a treacherous one without their guide and their minds are exposed to yet more horrors that threaten to take all of their sanity. Hours pass before they arrive at their location- a steel gantry spanning a shaft descending into darkness. Surprisingly, Nostromo is waiting for the Acolytes and states that he was not killed but has been waiting for them here since he fled the battle. He tells the group they must make haste because Nonesuch and Book have already gone through. Unsure of what to make of the Navigator’s appearance, the Acolytes listen to him as he explains that the Door lies below in the shaft and that he can proceed no further. He gives them more cryptic advice before fading from view.

Unsure of what awaits them, one by one the Acolytes leap into the shaft and plunge into darkness…

  • GM’s Note: This mission was ran with modifications from Fantasy Flight’s “Dead Stars” book by Alan Bligh and John French. It can be found here:
"Dead Stars"- Burning Heavens

“There are dark pitted corners of our universe that have bred the most unfathomable horrors and blasphemies that would burn and blind the sanest man. Fortunately sanity has never been a prerequisite of membership in the Holy Ordos.”

-Inquisitor Silas Marr

After their battle with daemons of Khorne on the planet of Tranch, Inquisitor Sand and his Acolytes found themselves in the hospitality of the Ordo Malleus at a secret base called the “First Cloister” debriefing Malleus officials on the daemonic incursion and undergoing screenings for Chaos-taint. Found to be within acceptable parameters, Inquisitor Sand and his Acolytes are released with the thanks of the Ordo Malleus for their victorious actions against the Chaos forces and are gifted with Sanctified weapons from the Ordo Malleus armory.

Returning home, the party has a few months to recuperate and carry out some of their more mundane Inquisitorial duties before their master summons them to accompany him to Scintilla by order of Lord Inquisitor Caidin. Reporting to the Inquisition headquarters of the Tricorn, the party again meets the shadowy Inquisitor Marr and learns that Marr has again used his official connections to take charge of Sand’s Acolytes to further explore the Erasmus haarlock matt bradbury 2 2
Haarlock Legacy. Marr’s research shows that activity around Haarlock holdings throughout the sector, and beyond, started up approximately three years ago, after being dormant for several hundred years since the infamous Rogue Trader’s disappearance. This sudden activity started when the Acolytes of Red Cell conducted their investigation on the planet of Sinophia and confronted a daemon in a tower-like structure called Haarlock’s Folly. Using extensive divination and further research into prophecy, Marr believes that this recent activity means that Eramus Haarlock is returning and that doom for the Calixis Sector and Humanity will follow.

Marr does not believe that the Acolytes’ past involvement with elements of the Haarlock Legacy to be mere coincidences and believes that the destinies of Red Cell and the Haarlock Legacy are somehow intertwined, which makes them the ideal candidates to proceed with the next step of the investigation- locating the Blind Tesseract. The Blind Tesseract is a device believed to somehow be related to the door that Erasmus Haarlock disappeared through hundreds of years ago and Marr’s research has located the Blind Tesseract deep in the subterranean caverns located below the abandoned Adeptus Arbites prison on the forbidden planet of Mara. Abandoned for hundreds of years, Mara is avoided due to its history as a place of death. It is rumored to be a place where the border between the Warp and reality is thin and Warp predators prey on those who walk the planet’s surface. Believed to be such a dangerous place, by order of the Inquisition, there is a standing Quarantine Zone around the planet that is enforced by the Imperial Navy.

The potential threat of the Rogue Trader’s return is too important to ignore and Marr has convinced Lord Inquisitor Caidin to reactivate Red Cell and grant Mir the Lord Inquisitor’s personal Sigil of Question to investigate the matter. Marr has also secured the use of one of Battlefleet Calixis’ fastest ships, the Sigillite’s Word, to transport the team to Mara with haste and Marr has also requisitioned a unit of elite Maccabean Janissaries to accompany them on the planet’s surface. Additionally, Marr is providing two of his own Acolytes to accompany Red Cell- an elderly Astropath named Kessa Silinus and a Battle-Psyker named Calium Samiel. Marr believes that this additional manpower will be needed because he suspects other factions, including an Inquisition Faction called the Tyrantine Cabal, are interested in acquiring the Blind Tesseract and the technology of the Haarlocks to further their own agendas.
Taking with them the Keystone from the Steel Clock, the team makes haste to Mara. The journey takes four days of Warp travel and when the Sigillite’s Word transitions from Warp space near the planet of Mara it finds itself in the middle of a large free-for-all space battle between the Battlefleet Calixis Security Monitors enforcing the Quarantine Zone and several ships of unknown allegiance. A shock comes to all when Eramus Haarlock’s personal ship, the Spear of Destiny, appears from nowhere and begins wrecking destruction on all sides. Braving the traffic of intertwining ships and the massive exchange of ship to ship bombardment, the Sigillite’s Word is able to punch through close enough to get the Acolytes’ guncutter in range to make planet fall, but the maneuver would be a costly one as the ship takes a massive pounding in the process resulting in its destruction as the Acolyte’s launch. Calium doesn’t make it to the guncutter in time as he is seeming possessed seconds away from getting aboard and burns in the dying ship’s fires after giving the Acolytes’ a cryptic message about Haarlock’s return.

Soon after entering Mara’s atmosphere, the Acolytes’ guncutter is targeted and shot down by an unknown force and Mir manages to gain control of the craft and save everyone from death by crash landing on the ice and snow-covered surface. Recovering in the ruins of their wrecked transport, Red Cell and their two squads of Maccabean Janissaries start taking hostile fire. Due to the blizzard-like conditions hampering their efforts to locate their attackers, the majority of Red Cell becomes pinned down and seeks shelter in the wreck of their guncutter while outside several of the Janissaries are wounded and killed while forming up to advance in the direction of the enemy, which Sgt. Childres is able to locate three-hundred meters away taking cover in the ramparts of the wall that surrounds the abandoned Arbites Prison Complex. Fearless in the face of the imminent danger, Astropath Kessa uses her psychic power to inspire the Acolytes in the guncutter with the divine light of the Emperor and they join the rest of their party and the Janissaries in a mad dash to close distance with the enemy.

With only the cover of the blizzard to protect them, the dash to the Complex proves to be a costly endeavor as nearly everyone is wounded to some degree and several Janissaries are killed. Quint activates his heretical-tech grav-flux harness and is able to sprint far ahead of the group and ascends the prison wall to bring the fight to the enemy. Despite dispatching a couple of foes, Quint is quickly overwhelmed in melee and knocked unconscious. His surviving comrades are eventually able to reach the complex and assault the wall where they are able to kill all of their attackers, except one that they take prisoner.

An interrogation of the prisoner reveals that their attackers are mercenaries hired by two merchants from the Amaranthine Syndicate who are seeking a valuable tech device that is deep under the Mara Complex. Part of the group accompanied the merchants into the complex while the rest remained to guard the merchants’ lander, which is parked on one of the complex’s landing pads, and to dispatch any other competing forces approaching the complex. Satisfied with the prisoner’s answers, Lysandros delivers the Emperor’s judgment.

  • GM’s Note: This mission was ran with modifications from Fantasy Flight’s “Dead Stars” book by Alan Bligh and John French. It can be found here:
"Dominion of Deceit"

“If not for such men, we would be at the mercy of every daemon.”

-Michael Yon, ancient Terran Warrior and Remembrancer

Back from a brief hiatus following their successful mission on the Ork-infested moon of Aeyras, Inquisitor Sand recalls the members of Romulus Cell for their next mission. Joining their Inquisitor, who is under direct orders from the Calixian Conclave, the Acolytes travel to the war-torn planet of Tranch to investigate a possible security threat in the Imperial ranks concerning Hive Navole- one of the few Hive Cities on the planet that is still under Imperial control.

After touching down planet side at the Imperial Operating Base Reflex Point, they learn that the hive’s current governor, Raymundo Caniz, is well liked by his citizens, but has been struggling to keep morale high in light of the recent rebel attacks that have been plagueing the hive’s resources and infrastructure. The most recent crippling blow to the hive’s security has been the total destruction of the hive’s entire Adeptus Arbite force by suicide bombers.

Departing the next morning via an armored convoy consisting of several Imperial tanks and two Armored Fist squads, the Inquisitor and his team finds that the route to Hive Navole traverses a harsh barren wasteland in unsecured territory. Ever alert for ambushes by rebels, the convoy is only a few hours from reaching their destination when they are attacked by a significant rebel force supported by two stolen Leman Russ tanks. The Imperial convoy’s250px krieg leman russ lead Leman Russ, which includes Red and Lazarus amongst its crew, is struck by a massive Improvised Explosive Device that turns the tank into fiery wreckage. The blast kills all on board except Red (who survives by being thrown from his position in the open turret hatch where he was manning the pintle-mounted stubber) and Lazarus (who is trapped and unconscious in the twisted wreck). A bloody battle between the rebel and Imperial forces ensuses and the Imperial convoy loses several tanks and sentinel walkers, as well as one of their Armored Fist squads, before they are able to rout the enemy with the assistance of fire support from Basilisk artillery.

After Hadrian is able to make some hasty field repairs, the convoy reaches Hive Navole with no further incidents. Departing from their Imperial Guard security detail at the Hive’s fortified gates to enter the hive proper, the party makes their way to the Chapel of Saint Infrium to meet with Father Freghius- who is the caretaker of the Chapel and who is also holding a care package for the Inquisitor courtesy of the Ordo Hereticus. In the Chapel, under the watchful guard of a pair of power-armored Sisters of Battle, Father Freghius shows the Inquisitor and his retinue the stasis-preserved body of Saint Infrium and his holy weapon “Earthshaker.” Legend states that long ago the Saint vanquished a mighty daemon with Earthshaker on the very spot that the Chapel was built on. The priest also presents the care-package, which contains a limited amount of Blessed ammunition for some of the Acolytes’ weapons. He also offers his religious services and blesses the party and their weapons in the name of the Emperor to aid in the success of their mission. To continue their investigation, Sand splits the party into two groups. Group one, consisting of the Inquisitor, Red and Hadrian, will proceed to the upper hive and seek audience with Governor Raymundo Caniz. Group two, consisting of the rest of the retinue, and led by Quint, will proceed to the lower hive to contact a person named Frheud, who is suppose to have inside information on the conspiracy taking place at Hive Navole.
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Upon arriving at the Government Adminstratum section of the hive, the Inquisitor and his companions find that the Govornor is currently unavailable due to a crisis involving an attack on some of the food stores, but the Lt. Governor, Travis Hult, is more than happy to assist them in their investigation- explaining to the Inquisitor about all of the recent attacks and assassinations of high ranking government officials that have taken place and also notifies Sand that the governor is putting on a formal ball in honor of the Inquisitor the following night (there the Inquisitor and his staff will have an opportunity to meet key hive officials and uplift the spirit of the people). The meeting concludes with Sand tasking Hult to gather an assortment of data for analysis by the Inquisitor’s team and the securing of accommodations in a private upper-level hive apartment.

After leaving Hult’s office, but before they have exited the government building, the group is attacked by several cultists supported by two daemonically-possessed humans. A fierce battle ensues in which the cultists are dispatched and Hadrian is wounded. Further investigation on their attackers reveals that the they are all government workers- scribes, clerks, and such that work in the building.

Meanwhile, Quint leads the rest of the retinue to the underhive of Navole where they locate Frheud at a local bar. After some haggling for Thrones, Frheud leads the group to a building under construction that he insists is being used as a meeting place by local cultists. Lazerus senses that there is something going on inside because he can hear chanting and can sense the bleeding of the Warp into reality.

300px chaos star svgLeaving Lysandros and Uriel to conduct surveillance, Quint and Lazerus head back to the Chapel to report their findings. While monitoring the situation, Lysandros and Uriel hear
gunfire coming from the inside of the building and shortly afterward three figures clad in black carapace armor flee the building. Further investigation of the building shows that one of the rooms contains the fresh bodies of several robed figures killed by shotgun blasts lying amidst a make-shift altar with the exsanguinated body of a man whose blood has flowed from the altar to create an eight-pointed star on the floor. A Chaos ritual took place here but its purpose is unknown.

The party members all gather at the upper-hive apartment that Sand has been provided with and exchange notes and conduct analysis on the massive of amounts of data that Sand requested from the Lt. Governor Hult; additionally, Hadrian makes contact with the hive’s senior Adeptus Mechanicus official, Magos Militant Addax, and secures the use of a Medicae Servo-skull replacement for Sand and an experimental Combat Servitor that Hadrian has agreed to field test for the Magos.

The following day is equally busy for the Inquisitorial party. Sand receives his official invitation for the Ball to be held in his honor where he will have the honor of escorting one of the hive’s most desired bachelorettes, Duchess D’varne. The party is also approached by the vigilante group, the Pride of Maggots, and meets their leader- a man named Bahaum. The Maggots seem to be devoted servants of the Emperor and explain to the Acolytes that they are fighting for the people against the cultists and the rebels since it appears that the hive authorities are not doing much to curb the violence and protect the people; it was their members that killed the cultists at the construction site. Through the interrogation of a cultist that the Maggots were holding prisoner, the Acolytes gain a dire warning about something the cultists have planned for the Ball.Red dress sexy women2

That night, dressed in fine Imperial livery, Sand and his entourage pick up the ravishing Duchess and proceed to make their entrance to the Ball where they are met with much fanfare. All of the hive’s ranking political officials and senior staffers are present and fine wine and food are in abundance. The merriment of the Ball only lasts for a few hours before the serving of a cursed bloody Khorne beverage circulates amongst the guests turning them into frenzied maniacs bent on killing everyone in sight.

Inquisitor Sand and his Acolytes manage to maintain their discipline in the midst of the bloody orgy of death that has overtaken the Ball and fight their way out of the building to link up with Bahaum outside. They learn that the bloody carnage is not an isolated event, but is taking place throughout the hive as mobs of cultists have revealed themselves and are slaughtering citizens and using promethium to start massive fires that are spreading through the hive. The hive’s limited response personnel are clearly unable to control the level of death and destruction taking place.

Bahaum and Sand’s party make their way to the Chapel of Saint Infrium where they meet up with Father Freghius and assess the situation but the forces of chaos have tracked down the party and hundreds of bloodthirsty cultists surround the chapel for the final confrontation with the highest official of the Emperor’s authority- Inquisitor Sand. Refusing to cower or run, Sand addresses the massive horde of enemies and pronounces their guilt of several crimes against the Imperium and declares their penalty to be death. Undaunted, the Chaos horde calls for more blood to be shed for their master Khorne and Sand and his allies wait in the chapel for the enemies’ assault.

The leader of the chaos forces smashes into the chapel to confront Sand’s party, and all are surprised to find that Governor Caniz is actually the leader of the Chaos insurrectionists- plotting all this time, and converting citizens of hive to turn against the Imperium. Another surprise comes when the Acolytes learn that Bahaum is actually the Governor’s son. They stand as polar opposites- one a zealous believer in the God-Emperor, the other a devoted servant to Chaos.John gravato bloodletter

The army outside the Chapel watches as their master (the daemon-possessed Caniz) and several Bloodletters supported by a Khorne Juggernaut, battle the Inquisitor and his small party of loyalists. Inspired by their Inquisitor’s presence, and the faith of the Emperor (for some), a massive melee ensues in which Sand and his allies are able to vanquish their foes. Red puts the skills he learned in daemon-slaying from Crusader House Vigilant to good use and it is he that vanquishes the Raymundo-fiend. Lysandros, despite torment from his own inner traumatic emotions, is able to banish the massive juggernaut back to the Warp with a well-placed shotgun blast.

Temporarily defeated, the army of Khorne, supported by newly summoned daemons, make ready for their next wave of attack on Sand and his remaining allies. Moments from certain death, it is only through the timely intervention of a teleported Brother-Captain and a squad of Grey Knight Terminators that saves them. The purging of Hive Navole commences.

  • GM’s Note: This mission was ran with modifications from the adventure of the same name by Randy Rocket. I could not locate it on the internet.
"Eleventh Hour"

“The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong in the broken places. But those that will not break it kills. It kills the very good and the very gentle and the very brave impartially. If you are none of these you can be sure it will kill you too but there will be no special hurry.”

-Ernest Hemingway, Ancient Terran Remembrancer

On the war-torn world of Kulth (and its neighboring jungle moon Aeyras), the Imperial high command has launched a massive military operation codenamed “Operation Hammerstrike” to re-take the planet from its Ork invaders. Inquisitor Sand and his Acolytes of Romulus Cell (including Mir, who has Gw catachan artworkrecently returned from completion of his Crusader training at the House of the Vigilant Sword), have been tasked to join the operation with the important mission of terminating Thorgoz Foerender- the Ork Lieutenant who leads the Ork forces on the moon of Aeyras. On Aeyras, the Orks have a fortified stronghold inside a massive ancient crater called “The Teeming” and Catachan scouts are constantly monitoring the area to track Foerender’s movements. The surveillance efforts pay off, and with Foerender’s position confirmed, Sand and his retinue, supported by Imperial Guardsmen from the Catachan 14th Recon Company and Scintilla 17th Regiment, launch an assault on the fortified Ork network of buildings and tunnels on the crater’s rim- an area the Imperials call the Scrap Forts.

The night time raid proves successful, but the intense fighting between the Ork and Imperial forces cost nearly the entire strength of the 14th Company and much of the Scintilla 17th. During the raid, Inquisitor Sand and his retinue were able to kill the Ork leader but Sand is critically wounded and his Acolytes are battered. Still inside one of the Scrap Fort complexes, the Acolytes overhear Imperial vox traffic describing a massive Ork counter-assault in response to the raid and death of the leader. Imperial forces are being annihilated from the unstoppable Ork surge and those between the Fallow River and the Teeming have been ordered to pull back to the main Imperial base on Aeyras- Firebase Long-tooth. Imperial forces only have eleven hours to make it back to Firebase Long-tooth before the Imperial fleet commences with a massive orbital bombardment to the contested area- hoping to wipe out as many Orks as possible to stop the surge from overrunning all Imperial holdings on the moon.
Orks 02
Inquisitor Sand, his retinue and a few surviving Catachans led by Sgt. Dryak find themselves still behind enemy lines when this announcement is made and with time starting to tick by, they begin to carry out their wounded all the while fighting their way out of the Scarp Forts as mobs of Orks begin to flood their position. This is the start of a desperate and deadly trek through the harsh swamp and jungle to get out of the bombardment area in time. The group fends off several Ork mobs and Red demonstrates that his Crusader training has made him quite deadly with the power sword as he slays Orks single-handedly, including two massive Nobz, while protecting his injured Inquisitor. In addition to the Ork menace, the group must negotiate through the masses of panicked Imperial forces fighting to get out of the bombardment area. The tenements of Imperial discipline have broken down and few care for the authority of an Inquisitor or ranking military officers.
With their two remaining Catachan guardsmen, the party is able reach the massive Mechanicus Bridge that spans the Fallow River to Firebase Long-tooth. Arriving just prior to the orbital bombardment, the group finds that a huge Ork force is fighting its way across the bridge and threatens to overrun the Imperial lines on the other side. With salvation waiting on the other side of the Bridge and death at their backs, Inquisitor Sand and his Acolytes fight and sneak their way to the mid-point of the bridge where the Ork advance has momentarily stalled. Upon defeating an Ork Mek Boy and his accompanying Ork mob, the group takes a moment to rest and treat their wounded only to learn that the Orks are on the verge of breaking through to the other side of the bridge and in order to stop this, the Military Command has ordered the imminent destruction of the Mechanicus Bridge (which has already been fixed with explosives). There is no way for the party to run and fight their way across the last of the Bridge span in time so Inquisitor Sand voxes to the Imperial lines an order for immediate extraction for him and his team. Though initially reluctant, Sand is able to push his Inquisition authority to motivate the Imperial forces to send a Valkyrie, which is able to arrive and fly the team to safety just as the orbital bombardment and detonation of the bridge begins.

  • GM’s Note: This mission was ran with modifications from Fantasy Flight’s free adventure by Owen Barnes. It can be found here:
"The Emptied Coffin"

Accompanied by the psychic-induced death of a nearby Deathwatch Librarian, the Omega Vault at Watch Fortress Erioch has opened to reveal several items of interest- a data-slate of pre-Heresy design containing information about the planet of Jove’s Descent (and the ancient but now extinct race of Xenos that inhabited the planet called the Ghanathaar) and a prophecy of an unspecified doom to befall, a strange crystal that appears to be a data-storage device that is accessible by using psychic powers and six shoulder shields of pre-Horus Heresy date that are made to be affixed to the left shoulder pauldron of power armor. More interesting is the fact that each of these shields bears a different Space Marine Chapter symbol (including some that did not exist pre-Heresy)- the Space Wolves, Alpha Scars, Black Templar, Ultramarines, and Dark Angels, and more strange, one bears the symbol of the Adeptus Sororitas.
Omega vault
The Deathwatch Command is vex by this incident, but deems that investigation of the matter is a high priority. Investigative theory immediately points to Kill-Team Kronus, which is the only known Kill-Team to have a Sister of Battle in service and whose make-up, with the exception of the Dark Angels shield, matches the Chapter symbols of the shields exactly. Coincidently, the opening of the Vault occurred at the same time that a newly inducted Deathwatch Space Marine from the Dark Angels Chapter, Brother Dante, arrived on station to begin his Vigil. Command does not believe that these are all mere coincidences and orders that Brother Dante be assigned to Kill-Team Kronus and the team be dispatched to the planet of Jove’s Descent to further investigate the significance of the shields and the prophecy.

Watch Captain Avincus is tasked with command of the operation and orders Kill-Team Kronus to arm and depart for Jove’s Descent via the Deathwatch frigate the Thunder’s Word. In addition, Master Apothecary Thann of Watch Commander Mordigael’s personal staff wants the Kill-team to field test toxin coated anti-Tyranid ammunition made from the research conducted by Magos Vyakai. The team selects Brother G’heirnat as the team leader for this mission (his fourth mission as Kill-team leader).

The long journey through Tyranid-infested space takes a little over a month and upon arrival at Jove’s Descent, the Deathwatch finds a pitched space battle taking place between Tyranid ships and unidentified human ships of unknown allegiance. Also of interest, the augurs of the Thunder’s Word show that there is a large human settlement on the planet that the Imperium has no record of. The Thunder’s Word is quickly engulfed in the battle but is able to insert the Kill-team planet side via Drop Pod before moving to a safe location. The Kill-team makes a hard landing in the jungle-covered surface of Jove’s Descent and heads toward the human settlement.
Upon arrival at the settlement, they find it under the cover of a large spore cloud and being besieged by flying Tyranid forces. The Kill-team can make out the shapes of gargoyles and winged-warrior Shrikes as well as a massive Harridan. With no fear, they decide to attack the Xenos and break cover from the jungle to close the distance to the enemy. The Kill-team and Tyranid forces clash and Brother Angelos is nearly killed after being struck by a massive bio-plasma blast. Another massive plasma blast from the Harridan wounds Brother Aoner but the Harridan’s shooting is devastating but inaccurate and most of the blasts miss the Kill-team. The kill-team continues to pour fire into the Harridan and while there are a few exceptional shots, the majority of the damage suffered from the Harridan is from the experimental geo-phage toxin coated bolter rounds. The influx of toxin begins to overload the massive beast’s body and eventually its body is too poisoned to go on. With its internal organs in failure, the Harridan plummets downward with an earth-shaking crash.

During the battle, Brother Aoner unleashes a powerful psychic blast into a horde of Gargoyles. Many of the winged creatures die to the psychic energies but the manifestation of the power has a deadly side effect when it pulls a Daemon Prince into reality. Brother Aoner has heard of this Daemon Prince, a traitorous Captain from the Black Legion known as Vargash the Black (who is known to plague the Jericho Reach from his cruiser hidden in the Hadex Anomaly). Bent on Aoner’s destruction for this inconvenience, Vargash charges Aoner- his massive form bowling the smaller Space Marine over. Brother Aoner begins to fight for survival as some of his Battle-Brother’s rush to his aid. Brothers G’heirnat and Dante are too late to stop Vargash from opening up Aoner’s chest with a massive Chaos Sword, but they attempt to spill as much of the Daemon Prince’s blood before he returns to his Warp gate, the object of his inconvenience dead. While the martial prowess of the Prince is too skilled for Brother Dante, Brother G’heirnat uses his hatred of all things Chaos to explode into a fury of blows. Hammering away at the daemon’s defenses, G’heirnat sheds some of Vargash’s unholy blood before the Daemon disappears in the Warp gate.
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Aoner was severely wounded, but he is still alive and Brother G’heirnat heals him enough to continue their mission, the Kill-team makes their way into the human settlement and finds that their presence is not welcomed. One of the settlers, a man named Ivan, addresses the Kill-team despite the hostile looks he receives from his comrades and he leads the Kill-team to the settlement’s leader, a man named Surantes. During their meeting with Surantes, the Kill-team learns that Surantes works for a larger Cold Trade organization that sells relics excavated from ancient Xenos sites on Jove’s Descent. He also explains that if it not for the smugglers’ fleet and planet side operation, Jove’s Descent would have long been in the control of the Tyranids. Brother Vectis discusses limited portions of their mission in order to obtain helpful information from Surantes and an agreement is reached between the forces that Surantes will tell the Kill-team about the location of some recent strange occurrences at a dig site called the “Winding Catacombs” in exchange for a level of discretion about their operation.

Entering the catacombs, the Kill-team finds themselves in an unnatural and alien tunnel system. The tunnels are made of a strange bone-like dense material and Brother Aoner senses a high level of psychic power in the catacombs. Evidence of the Cold Trade smugglers’ excavation operation is present and the Kill team passes by the workers and guards without issue due to Surantes’ orders. They eventually make their way deep to a part of the ruins that the smugglers have sealed off with a heavy door and entering this new section, the Kill-Team finds it untouched by the smugglers and filled with a strong psychic energy that threatens to break their minds. Their mysterious relic shields begin to glow with an eerie light, seemingly to protect them from this energy.

This section of the catacombs shows little evidence of excavation and the Kill-team eventually reaches an elaborate Xenos burial chamber- its walls and ceilings covered in alien relief carvings. The corpse of a Xenos creature (a bipedal crab-like humanoid) dressed in rich attire lies dead just outside a massive coffin located in the center of the room. Entering the room causes this figure to animate and with the assistance of similar crab-like apparitions, the Xenos creature attacks. The Kill-team finds that their foes’ attacks bypass their power armor and the fighting becomes fierce as the majority of the Kill-team joins up to assault the main Xenos creature which eventually falls from the sustained onslaught and vanishes, but not before gifting the Kill-team a vision of a fortified Imperial planet with a massive crevice in the surface of the earth at the foot of Hive city and below this a strange portal to the warp. The meaning of this vision is unclear and the Kill-team returns to Surantes.

Prior to their meeting with Surantes, the Kill-team meet up with Ivan and learn that he is an undercover agent of the Ordo Malleus and that he needs the Kill-team to extract him becomes his mission has been placed in jeopardy with the Kill-team’s arrival. The Kill-team agrees to take Ivan off-planet with them but not before terminating Surantes. Killing the crime lord causes his men to go on alert and in order to escape, the Kill-team and Surantes must assault the heavily guarded star port to steal a shuttle. The resistance by Surantes men starts off fierce but the Kill-team is able to route the starport’s defenders and secure a shuttle to make their escape.

  • GM’s Note: This mission was ran with modifications from the adventure of the same name by Dan Shook. It can be found here:
"Tattered Fates"- The 13th Hour

Ref: Inq/072391366/TFLogo
Subject: Verbal Transcript of Pict-Recorded Document
Date: 815.M41
Location: Private ship section of Inquisitor Sand on-board the Resurrected Faith- Adeptus Mechanicus Cruiser in orbit over Morwen VI with the Hippocrasian Agglomeration
Sector: Calixis (Adrantis Sub)
Original Transcription: Savant Falker, Ordo Xenos
Additional Notes: <awaiting>



[Stationary Pict-Source] Narrow angle view of an undecorated room with white-colored walls and flooring. A single bed is positioned in the room surrounded by various medical monitoring equipment attached to a prone figure laying on the bed [Subject I] who is being tended by a medical servitor. [Subject I] appears to be a beautiful woman in her early thirties of Malfian descent. She is wearing a hospital gown and her abdomen area is covered in bandages- positively identified as Du’Landra Melua, a minor noble from Malfi. [verified]
Sitting in a simple chair on one side of the bed, near [Subject I] [Melua] head is a handsome man [Subject II] with Scintillan noble features wearing a white and red robe holding a data-slate in his hands. An Inquisitor Rosette hangs from a silver chain around his neck- positively identified as Inquisitor Gramen Sand, Ordo Xenos. [verified]

VOICE (1) [MELUA]: Ughh! My stomach…it hurts.
VOICE (2) [SAND]: My Lady, careful not to move too much or else you will tear the stitches. I am instructing the servitor to increase you pain-killer dose three more units.
VOICE (1) [MELUA]: Thank you…The pain is near unbearable…But thank you Inquisitor Sand- you and your Acolytes saved my life.
VOICE (2) [SAND]: The pain should subside in a moment. And you’re welcome…My Acolytes and I believe you are important to our investigation and may still have a role to play. Now I know that this is a difficult time due to your recovery my Lady but I must obtain what information I can from you to assist me in this investigation…
VOICE (1) [MELUA]: Yes, yes…of course Inquisitor.
VOICE (2) [SAND]: Let’s start from where we left off- you had all just received your invitations from the Spider Bride to attend the Revel of Darkness at the grand manse of Gabriel Chase.
Gabriel chase
VOICE (1) [MELUA]: Yes, yes, what a creepy place. Never before in all the manses on Malfi have I seen such a place full of such wealth and history, but something was strange about the place. There was an “off-ness” about it.
VOICE (2) [SAND]: An off-ness?
VOICE (1) [MELUA]: Its hard to explain…it was a feeling that things were not right but nothing specific that I can place. Once inside, the feeling was less noticeable due to all the costumed Revelers, their entourages, and the serving staff. There were hundreds in the Manse and the food and drink were excellent. While many at the manse were there to party and witness the Grand Conjunction, there were several there to settle scores with other attendees during the “Dark Hour”- the time of the eclipse when one’s deeds cannot be held to consequences of the law.
VOICE (2) [SAND]: Red has briefed me on this ancient tradition that is unique to Quaddis at the time of the Revel. One can see how this would be a tempting venue to attend if one could afford an invitation. How did events unfold inside the manse?
VOICE (1) [MELUA]: Red said that it was important to find the Heron-masked Man and stop his plan. That bastard was responsible for all this! The death of Lar’ax and all those other people was his doing! The Pilgrims of Hayte are monsters. I heard the stories from my parents about the Bloody Solstice on Malfi but never could I imagine the destruction they seek to bring. These people are horrible and should not be allowed to breathe!
VOICE (2) [SAND]: I’m sorry for what happened to your brother…my Acolytes told me that they tried to restore him after you all found him in the manse in the zombie-state but unfortunately he was too far gone and the warp had taken his soul.
VOICE (1) [MELUA]: (sobbing for approx. one minute and thirty-three seconds)
VOICE (2) [SAND]: (Sand puts a hand on Melua’s shoulder) My Lady, you have my word that I will do everything in my power to track down this Heron-masked man and bring him the Emperor’s justice- for you and your brother.
VOICE (1) [MELUA]: (sobbing)…Thank you…thank you Inquisitor.
VOICE (2) [SAND]: (Sand takes a moment of pause before continuing) How did your search go?The black clock ifs
VOICE (1) [MELUA]: We spoke to several revelers, including Lord Tarrik Belasco from Malfi who was hunting his cousin Tobias. Guess he heard that Tobias was going to be at the Revel but he was not. We also met an old man and woman who had both been to a Revel before, the lady, Lady Obellia, she was really drunk but she showed us a secret passageways that were in the mansion’s walls. We saw the Theatre of Clocks- so many clocks on the walls of that room surrounding the central Steel Clock that counted down the hours to the thirteenth hours.
VOICE (2) [SAND]: This Steel Clock is where the stone that Quartiz (Quint) recovered was?
VOICE (1) [MELUA]: Yes, but that was much later on. There were several strange happenings before that as the hours counted down. People were throwing taunts and threats back and forth, people started going missing, we found dead bodies and servitors in the hidden passages, and the sun was steadily being blocked by the eclipse.
VOICE (2) [SAND]: Sounds like tensions were running high. Did you ever see the Heron-masked Man or this “Widower?”
VOICE (1) [MELUA]: We never saw the Heron-masked Man until the final hour, but we saw signs of his presence- the remains of a strange warp ritual and his minions wandering the manse.
VOICE (2) [SAND]: We’ll talk more in-depth about the Heron Masked-man and the Widower, but lets talk about what happened when the clock struck the Thirteenth Hour. When those notes were struck, what took place?
VOICE (1) [MELUA]: We were all in the Theatre of Clocks with other revelers when the Thirteenth Hour was struck. The Heron-masked Man was standing by the Steel Clock and he called out a challenge to the Widower who revealed himself. The two exchanged words and then the eclipsed happened, signaling the start of the Grand Conjuction, but the eclipse looked wrong- it was a bright burning sun of blackness. It was horrible to look at and many in the manse went mad.
VOICE (2) [SAND]: You were looking into the raw power of the warp I’m afraid. You must steel your will against its negative influence. We will continue to monitor you and the rest of the team for any lasting taint. What happened after the “Black Sun” appeared?250px pilgrims of hayte
VOICE (1) [MELUA]: Pandemonium and chaos…the Heron-mask Man and the Widower engaged in battle on the plinth of the Steel Clock. Pilgrims of Hayte emerged from the crowd and started attacking everyone. Explosions and gunfire were tearing up the place. The dead and dying were everywhere. I lost sight of Quartiz in the mayhem but I could see Chad (Lysandros) and Uriel taking cover inside the Steel Clock and Red fighting some of the cultists. Some of the cultists attacked me. Eventually I was able to kill them with my pistols.
VOICE (2) [SAND]: I have spoken with my Acolytes and they told me how bloody the battle was. Chad (Lysandros) was critically injured by the Widower, Hadrian was severely wounded by the cultists and Uriel had a brief instance where she lost her mind momentarily. I heard that some of the nobles you met, like Lord Belasco, helped you in your battle.
VOICE (1) [MELUA]: Yes, they helped us. I owe my life to the bodyguard of that drunk noble woman. He struck down some of my attackers. I know that Lord Belasco fought for us until he was struck down. Is he alive? I know that your men brought his body when we departed.
VOICE (2) [SAND]: He was critically injured but he is alive and recovering in the room next to yours. I will also speak to him about this incident when he is able. Back to the battle my Lady, how did it end?
VOICE (1) [MELUA]: The room was filled with dead people and the Widower was slaying the last of the survivors while Red was trying to free the pendulum from the Steel Clock. I saw the Heron-masked Man appear out of nowhere and attack the Widower and I started making my way to the battle. Something drew me to the Widower…a feeling or something. Is it true what your men said, that my family is distantly related to the Haarlocks?
VOICE (2) [SAND]: That seems to be what the research is showing but we will talk more about that later. Please, continue…
VOICE (1) [MELUA]: The Heron-mask Man was battling the Widower when Red finished cutting the pendulum keystone from the Steel Clock and with the separation of the pendulum, the Widower started unraveling into a blob of flesh that collapsed on the ground in the vague shape of a face that continued to talk and babble. The Heron-masked Man grabbed the Widower’s babbling remains and disappeared with them in a “door” that he created in the air.
VOICE (2) [SAND]: A “door?”
VOICE (1) [MELUA]: Yes, that best explains it. Red said it must have been a psychic power. We fled the manse after that, dragging the bodies of the wounded, and ran into your man- the guy named Pullo, who led us to you at the star port.
VOICE (2) [SAND]: So far everything seems consistent with the information I’ve obtained so far but there are some details that I want to revisit, and I would also like to talk to you about your initial investigation of your brother’s disappearance. But before we speak of that, I want to talk to you about a proposition I want to offer you…One that will change your life…


  • GM’s Note: This mission was ran with modifications from Fantasy Flight’s “Tattered Fates” book by Alan Bligh and John French. It can be found here:
"Tattered Fates"- Carnival of Blood

“In dread of the Traveler’s return we serve.”

-The Spider Bride, during a conversation with Acolytes of Red Cell

Emerging from the depths of the Red Cages, the Acolytes and Lord Melua find themselves in the gaming and arena section of Xicarph- the Promenade of Arenas. Packed with masked and costumed revelers and their entourages, all present for the Festival of Tattered Fates, the Acolytes assess their situation and evaluate their next move. With no money in their possession, Quint is able to pick the pockets of some of the revelers and this earns enough for the party to purchase a small amount of food. They also do some minor information gathering and come to the conclusion that they need to gather more funds to arm and equip themselves to complete their mission. Their information leads them to believe that the slum area of the city, known as the Collapsed Palaces, would be the cheapest (and more dangerous) place to find shelter to get some much needed rest.
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On the way to the Collapsed Palaces, the party passes by a sermon being given by an Imperial Preacher and his small flock. The Preacher’s message about the Emperor is not popular with the crowd of revelers and an attempt is made on his life. The Acolytes step in to intervene on the Preacher’s behalf and for their assistance the Preacher offers them food and shelter in his sparse dwelling in the Collapsed Palaces which the party accepts. During conversation with the Preacher, Obadiah Psalter, the Acolytes learn that the Preacher once had a larger following and a small Imperial Chapel in the Collapsed Palaces, but recently most of his flock was slaughtered and his Chapel taken over by a would be preacher wearing a Heron Mask. Obadiah begs the Acolytes to help him secure back his Chapel and the following day, Mir, Uriel and Hadrian agree to help while Lysandros attempts to locate the White Scholar and Quint goes off in an attempt to increase their funds.
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Obadiah leads the three Acolytes to the Chapel and upon entering, they find the Chapel has been abandoned but desecrated with the sacrifice of Obadiah’s men and the symbols of Chaos painted on the walls and floors. The party finds several interesting items left by the Heron Masked Man- several empty containers, which once held weapons and equipment, a file of documents on the lineage of several noble families, a file of documents with occult symbols and astrological data, and a painting of a large manse that Obadiah identifies as Gabriel Chase. The Heron Masked Man was gone but the chapel is guarded by a trio of Pink Horror daemons that emerge from the blood soaked floor and attack. Despite sustaining injuries from psychic attack, the party is able to banish the daemons back to the Warp. Gathering the evidence that the Heron Masked Man left, the party decides that the Chapel is too corrupted to be saved and set the place ablaze.

Quint and Lord Melua make their way back to the Promenade of Arenas to try their luck at some of the blood sports to make some much needed money for the party. Being a pistol duelist from Gunmetal City, Quint decides that his best bet is to compete in the Metallican Quick Draw completion. His winnings and side bets earn them a decent cash-purse and the two use some of the money to get a much needed shower and new clothes.

Lysandros uses some of Quint’s pick-pocketed obtained funds to hire a speeder carriage to take him to the other side of the city to the Refutation District (the location of the city’s colleges and scholarly establishments) in an effort to locate Inquisitor Karkalla’s Acolyte, the “White Scholar.” After questioning some of the local faculty, Lysandros makes contact with the White Scholar, whose name is Septimus Dexter, researching in one of the district libraries. After hearing Karkalla’s code phrase coming from a stranger, Septimus knows that ill-fate has befallen his master and Lysandros fills Septimus in on his meeting with the Inquisitor and his terrible demise at the hands of torturers. Septimus in turn fills Lysandros in on information discovered in the course of his research. He believes that the leader of the Pilgrims of Hayte is trying to destroy the planet and it has something to do with the strange celestial phenomenon that takes place during the Festival of Tattered Fates and also has something to do with a mythical creature servant of the Haarlocks known as the Widower. Firedemon31

A group of the Pilgrims of Hayte interrupt the meeting to attempt to take Septimus prisoner and a fight breaks out in which the enemy’s pyrokine suffers a backlash from the warp for the manifestation of his powers and is possessed by a fire-wielding daemon. The daemon starts to burn down the library and it isn’t long before the structure is aflame and many bystanders are burned to death in the warp-fire. As the daemon continues to wreak havoc in the Refutation District, Lysandros and Septimus are able to escape to the Collapsed Palaces.

Back at Preacher Psalter’s home, Red revels to the Preacher his group’s identity as agents of the Inquisition and their mission to kill the Heron Masked Man and stop his plan. Psalter pledges his service to Red’s cause and one of his acolytes, Jeremiah, tells Red the history of the Festival of Tattered Fates and the Grand Conjunction. Red decides that the group needs more money to equip and arm themselves and has Jeremiah lead them back to the Promenade of Arenas where they (Red, Sister Uriel, and Hadrian) go to the biggest and most affluent arena and gambling house- the “Fates Wheel.” At the Fate’s Wheel, the group (minus Jeremiah) signs up to compete in the gladiatorial games by taking on an opposing force of five cyber gladiators. Under the watchful eyes of thousands, the show is a crowd pleaser as the battle soon gets bloody. Everyone is seriously wounded and Sister Uriel would have perished if not for luck or the grace of the Emperor to save her from a killing blow. After a slow start, Red starts to do what he does best and his chain sword begins to make short work of their opponents. Though wounded, their win gives Red’s group some decent armor and melee weapons and a little cash to spend.

Their performance in the gladiator battle attracts the attention of two henchmen of the proprietor of the establishment, a man named Papa Grist, for a business opportunity. Grist is a successful businessman in both legal and illegal activities and he is interested in eliminating a local competitor, a mysterious long-time resident of Xicarph called the Spider Bride. Grist agrees to pay the group to kill the Spider Bride and return with proof. The Acolytes accept Grist’s offer and head back to the Collapsed Palaces to link up with the rest of their party.

Du landra meluaMeanwhile, Quint and Lord Melua go shopping for some much needed armor and equipment. They buy additional ammo and micro beads for the entire party and during their shopping they receive an unexpected visitor- Lord Melua’s older sister, Du’Landra Melua. The siblings are united and Du’Landra shares with her brother her efforts at tracking her brother since his disappearance at the House of Dust and Ash. What she found out about her brother’s abductors has her alarmed as she has found that they have ties to the Chaos cult- the Pilgrims of Hayte and a dangerous Wanted criminal from Malfi named Tobias Belasco. Lord Melua fills his sister in in the happenings since his arrival at the auction house till now and tells her about his new friends and their work with the Inquisition.

Sadly the reunion does not last long because shortly afterward while walking through the packed streets of Xicarph, Lord Melua is singled out and slain by a strange masked noble that is able to manipulate his body into all manner of deadly melee weapons. During this same attack, forces of the Heron Mask Man emerge from the crowd to attack the strange figure and capture Du’Landra. The street erupts in carnage as forces of the Heron Mask Man, the strange figure, revelers and their bodyguards and the city’s sentinels become engrossed in a massive battle. Quint and Du’Landra are able to flee from the scene to safety.

All the party, including Septimus and Lady Melua, meet back at the Collapsed Palaces to regroup and study the evidence secured from Obidiah’s now destroyed Chapel. Septimus concludes that the Melua family are distant blood relatives to the Haarlocks and also that the Heron Mask Man’s plan is to harness some type of power that will be released due to the Grand Conjunction.

After a short night’s rest, the Acolytes decide to pay a visit to the Spider Bride who resides in the pleasure gardens within the Akasen Follies. She receives them, laying on a giant web of circuitry that is tied into the network of the entire city, and the Acolytes discover that the Spider Bride knows about their agreement with Papa Grist and more- she knows their true identities and their mission on Xicarph. She offers them a counter-proposal of their deal with Grist (they only need to deliver the crime lord a box) and in return will give them information and an item that they need but do not yet know they need it. The Acolytes accept, and Spider Bride tells them that the Heron Mask Man intends to destroy this world. She also tells them that Widower is indeed real and that its power is bound in a Steel Clock (which can control and manipulate astronomical events) which is only vulnerable during the Revel of Darkness during which only “the blood may tame him if he has the will.”
They return to the Fate’s Wheel to present Papa Grist his gift. Believing the party has been successful in their mission, Grist accepts their box (which he believes contains the Spider Bride’s head) and upon opening it he is decapitated by an arachnid servitor which seizes Grist’s screaming head and scuttles away. Grist’s gambling den erupts in frenzy as his bodyguards, including his two main henchmen- a deadly psyker named Bliss and a massive bare-knuckle brawler named Crackmarrow, attack the Acolytes. Bliss attempts to unsuccessfully psychically Dominate Red while Crackmarrow lands several blows on the Legate Investigator. The rest of the party attacks back and Quint gets into range so that his Untouchable aura starts to affect Bliss’ ability to employ his psychic powers. The drain on his power causes Bliss to get desperate and he has to “Push” his abilities past safe levels to manifest them which allows his powers to go off but unfortunately causes a psychic backlash that kills several of Grist’s bodyguards and surrounding patrons and leaves Bliss a helpless catatonic on the floor. Several of the Acolytes are wounded in the blast but continue to fight and despite being bruised and battered, they are able to dispatch the enemy and flee the Fate’s Wheel before more of Grist’s security arrives.

  • GM’s Note: This mission was ran with modifications from Fantasy Flight’s “Tattered Fates” book by Alan Bligh and John French. It can be found here:
"Tattered Fates"- The Red Cages

The surviving members of Red Cell (Quint, Hadrian, Lysandros, and Sister Uriel) find that they have been taken captive by unknown forces. Unsure of how much time has passed since the ill-fated events that took place at the House of Dust and Ash, during which Rasar was killed by daemons, the Acolytes go in and out of consciousness witnessing unspeakable horrors and torment from their captors in the sporadic moments when they are awake. Eventually, the Acolytes wake to find themselves free of their bonds but lying naked at the bottom of a blood-soaked blood sport arena pit with several other captives, including Lord Melua; Red is not present and his fate is unknown.

A pack of deadly canine-like creatures are released into the pit and begin to devour the trapped humans. With the help of a Heron Masked Man, the Acolytes and Lord Melua are the only survivors of the blood sport pit, which they barely escape. Free from immediate danger, they discover that their rescuer is gone but he has left a dagger and a strange note pledging possible assistance. The party has little time to contemplate its meaning at the moment, and with pursuers hot on their heels, they flee from the pit and into the depths of a massive steel and concrete labyrinth with the constant sounds of machinery. The purpose and whereabouts of their location is unknown, but hours of walking bring them no exit or interaction with people other than the hunting parties of men tracking them with sensor-equipped servo-skulls. The party is able to defeat or evade these hunting teams and start to accumulate weapons from their hunters, or from the dead bodies of others discovered in the course of their travels.
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Hunting parties are not the only dangers that the battered party encounter in the depths of this hellish labyrinth. Strange deadly creatures, murderous servitors, a disturbing shrine and an ancient abandoned manse with the remains of a giant humanoid are sights that the party comes across. Eventually the party happens upon a group of beast wranglers herding a hideous and deadly looking creature to the doors of a location designated as Vault 13. Following safely behind, the Acolytes find Vault 13 to be a massive room that appears to be of some importance to the operations going on. It is filled with cargo containers, an overhead winch system, several large animal cages, a security monitoring station, an Imperial Guard field hospital pod and most importantly, an elevator that hopefully goes up to freedom. The area is heavily guarded by the beast wranglers and there appears to be special interest in guarding the hospital pod.

Quint and Sister Uriel come up with a plan to distract the guards by releasing some of the caged creatures to draw the guards’ attention and using the distraction to approach the medical pod and find out what is inside. Quint and Lord Melua approach a trio of cages while the others wait for their move. The first cage that they inspect contains hideous man-sized spiders with blades for mandibles and claws. Both Lord Melua and Quint lose their nerve at the sight of these creatures and Quint is so traumatized that he temporary loses his ability to speak. It is decided that the spider-creatures are too much and they move to the next cage and find a pack of the same type of canine creatures that were released to devour the Acolytes in the blood sport cage during their initial encounter in this place.
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The plan goes somewhat according to plan- one of the creatures pursues Lord Melua upon its release, two run after Quint and the rest charge toward a group of the wranglers. Using the distraction, the rest of the Acolytes begin their approach to the Pod. Wranglers begin to take up positions around the pod and security station while others go after Quint and the creatures he released. Of additional concern, a sniper on top of the medical pod makes himself known and begins engaging the Acolytes and the creatures.

A fierce run and gun battle with bouts of intense melee breaks out in the Vault. Surprisingly, Lord Melua demonstrates that he can be a fierce fighter when pushed and he single-handedly dispatches the creature pursuing him and then kills several of the slavers with an axe. Hadrian also shows that he can be quite deadly with the use of a sniper rifle that he repurposed from a slaver (a weapon that he is not trained on) and he dispatches several of the enemy.
Sister Uriel is the first to make it to the pod and upon swinging open its doors she finds their missing teammate and a gruesome sight. Under the guard of a torturer and a medical servitor, in a scene of blood-splattered gore, are two naked individuals strapped down on metal lab tables. One of these is the unconscious form of Red missing a large chunk of muscle from the thigh of his left leg and on the other table- a man missing his legs from the knees down, his right arm and with a crudely nailed Inquisitor Rosette nailed directly into his chest. The Acolytes and Slavers all congregate in the medical pod to finish the battle and eventually the slavers are defeated.

The party learns that other occupant of Red’s prison is an Inquisitor of the Ordo Xenos named Nazauth Karkalla. Karkalla tells the Acolytes that they are in Xicarph- the capital city of the pleasure planet of Quaddis during a great celebration called the Festival of Tattered Fates- a great celebration of decadence and sinful folly. The Inquisitor explains that he was in the process of tracking members of the criminal organization known as the Beast House to their operations on Quaddis when his team was ambushed by members of the Beast House backed by members of a Chaos cult called the Pilgrims of Hayte. With the death of all of his men but one, the Inquisitor was captured and has been tortured by a man known as the Heron Masked Man. Karkalla believes that the Heron Masked Man has a plan to bring death to this world and asks that the Acolytes stop it.

The Acolytes swear to the Inquisitor that they will bring the Emperor’s Justice and stop the Heron Masked Man’s plan and Karkalla’s instructs them to find his last surviving acolyte, the White Scholar. Upon giving this last bit of information, the Inquisitor breathes his last. Mir relates to his fellows how he and Karkalla were tortured and also shares his disturbing experience of having parts of his leg eaten by the Wanted heretic that they met at the auction at the House of Dust and Ash known as Tobias Belasco. Mir also tells them that he overheard the leader of the Beast Slavers, a man wearing a Jackal Mask, mention to his men that Marshek (a Rogue Trader that the Cell also met at the House of Dust and Ash) was working with the Heron Masked Man.

Grabbing what gear they can salvage from the dead slavers and the discarded piles of equipment and supplies in the Vault, the Acolytes make their escape from the vast underground nightmare and emerge on the surface of the city, which is enclosed in a giant glass dome. The city streets are crowded with costumed and masked revelers and the Acolytes find themselves in the gaming and blood sport arena section of the city.

  • GM’s Note: This mission was ran with modifications from Fantasy Flight’s “Tattered Fates” book by Alan Bligh and John French. It can be found here: