Inquisitor Battle Report: Death of a Vagabond, part 2

I’m running an Inquisitor campaign, The Gorgon Crystals, at my FLGS Asgard Wargames, and this is the second Prologue mission.

The setup is the same as the first mission, designed to introduce new players to the game with pre-made warbands and set the scene for the campaign. Although there will be many different versions of the events that happened on board the Sojourner, these will all just be part of the usual rumour, speculation and conflicting reports the Inquisition has to deal with.

Setting the scene

Our two warbands were meeting in the cargo hold of an ore hauler, the Sojourner. The cargo crews had built a city of sorts among the ore, and it was among these ruins our explorers would come to blows.

Upon arriving, the warbands find the crew butchered by their own hands – some had clawed the skin from their flesh in a horrendous bout of insanity. The cause for this wave of madness wasn’t clear, but drag marks, manic wailing and strange energy readings indicated the source was in the cargo hold.

Full scene-setting details are in Part 1 here.

The Warbands

We once again had two players, both new to the system, and a pair of deranged crewmen NPCs who are defending their junk totem in the centre of the cargo bay. Both players were using pre-made warbands, picked from a roster of 5.

The warband of Colonel Vaux

From left to right: Sergeant Honeis, Colonel Vaux, Trooper Grey

The radical Inquisitor Vanth is not one to miss an opportunity like the Sojourner. He is, of course, too busy to attend himself so sends his right-hand man, Colonel Chase Vaux, and a pair of guardsmen to back him up.

On the left is Sergeant Hugo Honeis, first-rate medic and vital to the survival of the team. He has been called upon countless times to patch up whatever’s left of Vanth’s warband after a run-in with his usual foes. Colonel Chase Vaux is in the centre – a steely-eyed sharp shooter armed with bolt pistol and power fist. Finally is Trooper Michael Grey, an unassuming guardsman with autogun and a secret power – traces of the Pariah gene. Vanth seeks out pariahs for his warband, and has ordered Grey along on the expedition. Whatever they find on the Sojourner, Grey’s powers against the warp and daemonkind would certainly come in useful.

Trellio’s hired help

From left to right: Conan, Trellio and TJ Razor

Hecate Trellio is an ex-guardsman turned smuggler, with dubious links equally to the Inquisition as to the criminal underworld. In this instance, she has been ‘requested’ by a former Inquisitorial associate to investigate the Sojourner and bring back whatever she can. Speed is vital, so she has rounded up two hired thugs from Port Impetus to help her – Conan the Unkillable and TJ Razor.

Conan was born in a hive city and brought up a criminal racket called the Red Hand Gang. His pigmentation mutation was largely overlooked for his convenient ability to see in the dark (although he has to wear special shades to see in the daylight), but none were prepared for his final party trick – regeneration. After ‘dying’ too many times to be believable, he moved to the fringes of space to make a living as a nigh-unkillable mercenary.

Razor was born into servitude in the belly of a great voidship, falling in with a labour gang called the Pursers Grim. His survival skills were sharpened as keenly as his knives, and his skills are highly sought after for those who need something dealt with quietly.

The investigation begins

Once again, our warbands start on opposing corners of the map with the objective in the centre. Unlike the first Prologue mission the map is dense with terrain, making progress along the ground safer but slower, whereas taking the high ground across the platforms would be quicker, but far more exposed.

Vaux’s warband on the left, Trellio’s warband on the right

Trellio’s mercenaries quickly move to cover, scanning the terrain ahead of them for the origin of the insane cackling they can hear. Trellio spots a pair of crewmen covered in dried blood on the central tower, the base strapped with metal like a bizarre totem pole.

She taps her microbead and informs her colleagues of the situation while TJ Razor sprints ahead.

Even in the guttering emergency lumens, the remaining crewmen can be seen welding chunks of metal to the loading tower, talking to themselves in a lilting cackle, occasionally breaking into wails of laughter. Trellio takes no chances, signalling both to her team as hostile.

Vaux’s warband are less fortunate with their initial checks – identifying the sound but not their source. They clamber up gantries and cautiously head to the centre, double-checking corners and scanning horizons for movement.

Trooper Grey mounts the base of a ladder, intending on taking the exposed catwalk directly to the centre.

Hearing the green light for a kill shot, Conan gets over-exuberant with mounting the walkway. He learns the importance of a Risky Action check, and clotheslines himself in the gut trying to leap onto the platform (right next to a perfectly good ladder).

Pretending not to notice Conan’s performance, Trellio scales the catwalk and crouches behind some railings. She clocks both crewmen and a mysterious third party – a military figure in dark uniform shouldering a rifle at the crewmen. She keeps her head down to see how it plays out.

The crystal is revealed! As Trellio squints through the gloom, she notices a sickly purple glow emanating from a cluster of crystals in the centre of the totem tower. The crewmen seem to be coveting it, talking to it as an exhausted father would a newborn.

An ill wind surrounds it, and staring too long strains the eyes and gives an overwhelming sense of nausea.

As Trellio looks on, Trooper Grey executes his orders. He squeezes his autogun’s trigger. Hot lead spatters the metal totem, chewing through the padded work gear of the crewman and biting into his gut.

The sound of gunfire is punctuated with the sound of manic wailing. Everyone hears and quickens their step.

Sergeant Honeis shoulders his lasgun and sets his sights on the second crewman. He looses a burst of fire but they patter harmlessly off the totem around his target. He curses under his breath as the crewman dips out of sight, hammer raised, screaming into the darkness.

The first crewman bounds towards his aggressor, dropping his welding torch en route from a heavy blow to the arm. Grey keeps his cool and keeps plugging shots into the mad deckhand until he stumbles and falls to the ground.

As far as she could tell, the dark-uniformed guardsman (and, presumably, whoever else was with him) hadn’t noticed her or her team yet. Trellio sneaks over to the vacated welding torch to see if there is a cunning distraction she could concoct with it, but locks eyes on the prize instead – a trio of incredible, glowing, nausea-inducing xenos crystals.

Meanwhile TJ Razor has secreted himself into a perfect striking position on the other side of the loading bay. TJ takes a huge huff on his inhaler of Spur, readying himself for a few turns of thrilling heroics.

The raging crewman on the walkway hasn’t noticed TJ at all, more predisposed with Sergeant Honeis peppering him with las fire. The crewman looses an unhinged laugh and bounds from platform to platform trying to close the gap.

Honeis realises the sudden danger of his situation and snaps his rifle to his cheek. The crewman was moving too fast to get a clear shot , ducking and weaving behind railings and exhaust stacks. The crewman leaps from the final platform…

Meanwhile, Vaux has moved into a central position and takes cover behind some low crates. He has been kept appraised of the unfolding situation by his inferiors, and has chosen this moment to place his considered shots.

Slowly and purposefully, he raises his bolt pistol to eye line and squeezes. The bolt rounds explode across the crewman, carving out huge chunks of flesh with every round. He is knocked from the air mid-flight and tumbles to the ground.

TJ Razor finally makes it to where the crewman was, only to see him tumble to the ground below. Not wanting to waste an opportunity, he leaps onto the wounded crewman, knife flashing in the lumen-light.

The blade plunges deep into the crewman’s shoulder, blood pouring from the wound. The crewman’s struggles bleed away in moments, leaving a lifeless body on the floor.

With all the enemy guns seemingly pointing everywhere except her, Trellio makes a break for the crystals. She thumbs a few snapdragon shells into her shotgun in case she needs to make a quick getaway, but Grey is too busy finishing off the crewman on his platform.

Conan, having spent the entirety of the game failing to climb ladders or roll more than 1 Action at a time, suddenly finds himself with a glut of energy.

With all four Actions being rolled every turn until the end of the game, he throws himself onto the platform and lays down a punishing hail of fire in Grey’s direction.

Vaux takes cover behind the crates and squeezes off a shot at TJ Razor, who returns fire with a throwing knife. Both marksmen fidget around cover, trying to land a definitive shot without revealing themselves.

TJ’s microbead pipes up – Trellio shouting over the sounds of gunfire and boots pounding on metal. She had secured whatever they’d come here to find – it was time to evac.

Protected by the withering covering fire from Conan, Trellio effortlessly covers the distance between her and the evac point. She makes off with the prize, ensuring she hands in the three two crystals to the appropriate authorities, as requested.

The last few warband members take a final few pot shots at one another to cover the retreat, but the scenario is over – victory goes to Trellio’s warband.

And yet…

With Trellio’s warband in hasty retreat with the crystals, Vaux and his team take a few moments to pore over the carnage the crewmen left behind. They discover the crystals were only one set of a much larger shipment – a shipment that is now conspicuously absent.

Scavengers must have made off with the other crystals, and with Port Impetus being the nearest convenient fence point for stolen xenos artifacts, it seems that they might have a much larger problem on their hands…

What next?

Thanks to our players and to our gracious hosts, Asgard Wargames! We’re pretty much done on prologue missions now, maybe squeezing in another if there is more interest among new players, but otherwise it’s on to the main event! Watch this space…

Inquisitor Battle Report: Death of a Vagabond, part 1

All the essentials

I’m running an Inquisitor campaign, The Gorgon Crystals, at my FLGS Asgard Wargames. The campaign will run over two weeks and comprising up to six scenarios, with a prologue period of almost a month to introduce people to the game and help build warbands.

We played our first prologue scenario this week – Death of a Vagabond.

++++Message Incoming++++

“We have received reports of a vagabond-class merchant vessel, the Sojourner, on a collision course with Port Impetus. It is non-responsive to hails, and at least one scavenger crew has boarded the Sojourner and not returned.

The Imperial Navy has been dispatched to intercept and destroy before it reaches Port Impetus, but the question remains: what happened on board the Sojourner?

Assemble an insertion team to investigate before it is destroyed and report your findings. Emperor protects.”

++++Message Ends++++

Setting the scene

Our two warbands were meeting in the cargo hold of an ore hauler, the Sojourner. The cargo crews had built a city of sorts among the ore, and it was among these ruins our explorers would come to blows.

Upon arriving, the warbands find the crew butchered by their own hands – some had clawed the skin from their flesh in a horrendous bout of insanity. The cause for this wave of madness wasn’t clear, but drag marks, manic wailing and strange energy readings indicated the source was in the cargo hold.

Environmental conditions

Emergency lumens still flicker here and there from fading batteries – it would require an Awareness check to successfully see another character.

Warbands

We had two players for this prologue game and some NPCs – a pair of deranged crewmen who had taken to building a pile of miscellaneous junk in the centre of town. One player used their own warband, the other was from a selection of pre-made warbands I had put together to introduce people to the game.

The Crimson Wake

From left to right: Zenkhang, Karo and Kraw

The Crimson Wake are a group of traitors, scum and heretics that have banded together to pursue whatever power is fueling the unrest in Haimm. They don’t care what it is, they just want to pinch it and use it for their own ends.

The first is Traitor Guardsman Zenkhang, an ex-soldier blessed with a strong constitution and a warp-tainted Plague Knife. The second is Arch-Heretic Lurz Karo, an ex-planetary governor who plunged a city into the abyss to further the whims of his dark patrons. The third is Traitor Guardsman Kraw, a gunslinger with an uncontrollable ability to phase in and out of reality.

Haimm Mercenaries

From left to right: Esmeralda, Sophia, Maxwell

This band of mercenaries were once part of a pilgrimage beyond Imperial space, but their vessel was torn apart by the gravity riptide of Haimm and they were stranded. They rebuilt themselves (literally, in some cases) as mercenaries capable of any job, and on the fringes of civilised space, there were plenty of jobs for those who needed to slip between the cracks.

First is Esmeralda, a bionic woman with a powerful terror-sword, a semi-powered two-handed weapon easily capable of cleaving a man in two. The leader of the group is Sophia, packing a sawn-off shotgun pistol, duelling blade and hidden conversion field. Finally there’s Maxwell, the team’s ranged support. His scoped rifle has put many holes in many heads.

The investigation begins

Our warbands begun at opposite corners of the table, with a pair of maddened crewmen in the centre to act as a buffer.

It is eerily quiet, without even the familiar hum of a plasma drive, and both warbands advance cautiously.

Zhenkang takes point for the Crimson Wake

Maxwell takes up an observation point in some ruins to the north of the clearing, picking out two figures in the gloom ahead. They seem to be dragging detritus onto a central pile – perhaps some kind of storage? It’s not clear. They also appear to be talking to themselves and covered head to toe in dried blood.

Poor crewmen, just want to make their awful sacrilegious totem in peace

Esmeralda wastes no time closing the gap between her and her prey. Maxwell had tagged two potential hostiles around the storage pile, and Esmeralda was having none of this ‘potential’ nonsense.

Maxwell sees Esmeralda moving up and places a shot straight into the crewman’s gut with his suppressed rifle. He rolls around in agony, wailing to himself. Someone’s sure to have heard that…

Meanwhile, the Crimson Wake have been taking an uncharacteristically cautious approach. Lurz wants whatever has turned these crewmen mad, and isn’t that fussed as to how he gets it.

He gives the nod to Zhenkang who unleashes a hail of lead from his shotgun, striding across the barricades and open ground, firing wildly from the hip. He’s having such a good time.

Gunfire fills the hangar bay. Sophia recognises the familiar sound of a pump-action shotgun – something none of her comrades carry – and identifies a third party threat. She microbeads a warning to her team – expect a fight.

Maxwell spots a strange purple glow emanating from the top of the garbage pile – a collection of crystals that churn the stomach to look upon. The crewmen seem to have been building this totem in reverence of the crystals – nobody has any idea what they could be, but it is undoubtedly the source of the crew’s madness.

With the objective revealed, Sophia breaks cover and sprints for the detritus heap in the centre. Maxwell covers her advance by putting a rifle round through the hip of the second crewman, who had been left bloodied by Zhenkang’s shotgun assault.

Esmeralda charges the crazed downed crewman, bisecting his top half from his bottom half in a single swing of her terror-sword.

Sophia scrambles up the side of the garbage heap to come face to face with a masked man covered in symbols of the Arch-Enemy. His mouth twists into a grin, warmed by the purple glow of the crystal, and bares jagged teeth.

“Oh, how I’d hoped I wouldn’t be the only one!”

Kraw had finally drawn a bead on Esmeralda, loosing off shots with his revolvers but unable to stop the relentless charge of the sword-wielding mercenary. Kraw’s dimensional instability had helped him avoid detection, but it didn’t help him against an overhead blow from Esmeralda’s terror-sword. A huge gash across his chest sends him sprawling to the ground.

Karo and Sophia pause, eyes locked, trying to guess the other’s intention. They both lunge for the crystal, Sophia’s hand grasping it first. Karo lurches awkwardly to one side, his play for the crystal was a fake!

She finds herself staring down the barrel of a mid-magnum stub revolver, just in time to hear the hammer crack against the firing pin.

An incredible burst of light erupts from Sophia’s chest. A concealed conversion field, undetected until now, exploded into life. The stub round’s kinetic energy reborn as a burst of sound and light, protecting Sophia and dazzling everyone unfortunate enough to be looking at her.

Karo raises his arm just in time, but Kraw and Zhenkang receive the full concussive blast, leaving them gasping for air. Maxwell had sighted up Zhenkang ready to land another shot only to have his optics fried by a sudden burst of light. He cursed, knowing full well what had happened, but was powerless to do anything about it.

Sophia raises her sawn-off, aiming for centre mass. Karo’s erratic movements throw off her aim and she tears a hole from the cloth on his arm. His twisted smile writhes into a manic grimace, his crooked teeth like a tray of used needles. He feints again, this time thrusting his sword straight towards Sophia’s face.

Her reflexes fail her, and she feels the cold steel inside her cheek, cutting a jagged tear from mouth to ear. Pain overwhelms her and she drops to a knee, spitting blood and broken teeth.

Her vision sharpens enough to see the red-robed figure of Karo escaping across the hangar floor, purple glowing crystal under his arm, with Zhenkang in tow. She makes a quick headcount, her senses still spinning. All her team were alive, but that flickering guardsman Kraw was nowhere to be seen.

Karo had escaped with the crystal, but Sophia was sure it wouldn’t be the last she saw of him.

Inquisitor campaign: The Gorgon Crystals

“Beware the dead, even as you fear death. For the God-Emperor protects us after death, but that which slumbers eternal may rise again.”

-From the journal of Acolyte Mora ‘Darksight’ Valerius

For the attention of the conclave of Asgard

Dissent stirs on the fringes of civilised space. Mines have gone silent. Warp-infused artefacts have washed up on the shores of Port Impetus amid reports of madness and violence.

With so much conflicting information, the Holy Ordos have dispatched their finest agents to contain and control what they can, and to eliminate what they can not.

The Inquisition is not the only organisation to have interests here – members of the Adeptus Mechanicus, Rogue Traders and agents of the Arch Enemy have all been reported converging on the cursed system of Haimm, eager to find the source of the artefacts for their own purposes.

The shadow war for the Gorgon Crystals has begun.

The Gorgon Crystals

The Gorgon Crystals is a short Inquisitor 54mm campaign held at Asgard Wargames. It is being run by me and a few assistant GMs.

I have plenty of spare warbands for other players to run around with, so the intention is to get people into the game as quickly as possible without asking them to invest in a bunch of 54mm figures.

The campaign structure

The Gorgon Crystals campaign consists of three parts:

  1. Prologue – Introductory games to set the scene across a 2-4 week period to give players time to build warbands.
  2. The Investigation – Four scenarios played over two weeks (Wednesday and Friday evenings). Complete objectives and gather evidence to uncover the secrets of the Gorgon Crystals.
  3. The Finale – One large game to determine the outcome of the campaign, played with warbands who complete the most objectives

Players don’t need any models or knowledge of the game to play. Pre-made warbands are available for those who want to take part in the campaign without investing in minis, and every game will allow players to drop in or out as they wish.

The narrative nature of Inquisitor requires a certain level of continuity, and although the campaign is designed so you don’t need to attend every scenario, it’s helpful for the GM to know who is likely to be playing in advance. It’s first come first serve, but priority will always be for those who build their own warband or book a slot in the scenario.

Scenario format

Two scenarios are played each week – a Primus and a Secundus. These scenarios are from the same stage of the investigation but from different theatres of conflict. 

Each scenario has three objectives – one for each faction: Puritan, Radical and Selfish. Objectives are often conflicting (even with warbands of the same faction), but they can also overlap with other faction objectives, meaning it can be wise to seek impromptu alliances or backstab erstwhile colleagues to complete your goals.

Completing an objective gives you a boon you can utilise in your next game. Completing a Primus objective also earns you a piece of Vital Evidence – those warbands with the most Vital Evidence will play in the finale. Completing a Secundus objective will guarantee you a place in the next Primus scenario.

Would you like to know more?

Keep an eye on the Gorgon Crystals tag – there’ll be battle reports, scenarios and more as the campaign progresses. Hit up Dreadquill on social media and come say hi!

Orthesian Herald 17 – The Conclusion and the Cutlass

PreviousSession 16: Terrors of the Gallionic Passage
First: Session 1: The Unbroken Resolve and All Those Who Sail Therein

+++++

[Image from the internet, artist sig in bottom right]

Proximity alarm! Augers detect plasma drive activation 8 VUs off starboard side and closing!

Last time our intrepid explorers translated safely into the Gallionic system and straight into an ambush at the hands of Captain Firmstep.

Privateer Captain Firmstep – art by Stanislav Galai

Captain Firmstep, flying the armoured Heimdall-class transport ‘Foregone Conclusion’ moves into weapons range, clearly signalling his hostile intentions while the crew of the Unbroken Resolve scramble to power up all defensive systems after translation.

The other vessel, the smaller and more nimble Viper-class raider ‘Sulphur Cutlass’ lurks on the peripheries on the battle.

As a side note, both vessels used the newly-developed (at the time) Grimdark Ship Name Generator as a naming tool. Some are great, some are odd, all are Grimdark.

While the Conclusion and the Cutlass drop countermeasures and graviton flares to baffle the Resolve’s sensors and targeting solutions, the Resolve respods with defensive measures of their own.

Thanks to the Expanded Space Combat Actions, there are now some extra options the crew can pursue in between moving, shooting and intimidating the crew to move faster and shoot better. One of those is Flak Storm.

Extended Action – Flak Storm

The point defence gunners receive the order to go weapons free, saturating all the space around the ship with a thick wall of gunfire – the storm of flak scattering debris and shattering asteroids, making it difficult for enemy gunners to draw a bead on the ship. This action is a desperate one, as the wanton and unsustainable waste of resources has a lasting effect on the crew.

Command or Intimidate: Impose a -5 to all enemy BS tests targeting your ship next turn, plus an additional -5 per Degree of Success. Reduce your own Morale by D5 each time you perform this Extended Action, regardless of the success of the test.

The Conclusion peppers the Resolve while the Cutlass gets a little too close
Crushing the cutlass

Astropath Gil utilises some extended actions from the Navis Primer, namely Control the Weak Mind. A powerful psychic technique that no Astropath should be without – with a Psyniscience -40 test he can target a nearby enemy vessel and telepathically control some of the gun crews to fire on erstwhile colleagues.

Not only do you pick an enemy’s weapon component and immediately resolve it against a target of your choice, but the weapon component can’t fire next turn as the crews are too busy reloading!

Astropath Gil Virgant

With the Cutlass’ void shields down (and it foolishly closing range), the Unbroken Resolve was free to open fire with its powerful close-range macrocannons. A disgustingly good round of shooting left the Cutlass crippled and most of its components unpowered or venting air into the void.

With very little left to contribute and the Resolve now engaged with the Conclusion at close range, the Sulphur Cutlass disengages and skulks away into the darkness.

Having lost both the shooting game and the numbers game, Captain Firmstep turns to his ship’s own speciality – prepare to board!

The Conclusion is only a transport, so not designed to threaten the players’ own ship very much in terms of armour or armament. It did pack an unpleasant surprise, however – a barracks full of void-hardened warriors, a Tenebro Maze arrangement of interior corridors and a talented Captain to buff the crew.

They got a +30 to any attempts to repel boarders, meaning the Captain would have to work extra hard to cause their crew concern.

Voidmaster Zill and Von Gunn lead a Hit and Run attack around the outside of the vessel, crippling their plasma drive. Gil gets spooky and summons a Dark Labyrinth, making their own ship’s interior impossibly complex to navigate to boarders, giving them a buff during boarding actions. It all seemed for naught after the first dice roll.

In the opposed test, the Captain rolled a critical success, the crew of the Conclusion rolling a critical fail. We did the numbers.

The Captain lead a boarding party that butchered over 15,000 crew in one hour of the boarding action. Down to the last ~200 or so crew, the unsurprisingly threw in the towel and surrendered to the gore-soaked boarding party of the Orthesian Dynasty.

After a rousing speech about how lucky they are to be shown mercy, the Captain orders the survivors to be absorbed into their own crew to bolster casualties. Captain Firmstep however, is nowhere to be found…

New ship sheets

This space battle prompted a discussion about ship character sheets. The rulebook rightly describes the ship as a character in its own right, shared between the players, but we felt the default ship sheet wasn’t nuanced enough to cover the myriad components, knick-knacks and acquisitions the players would come across.

So we made our own!

Click for the full PDF

Removing the massive ship image and shuffling the tables round a bit gave us loads of extra room to play with. The reverse is a bunch of space for cargo and acquisitions – you don’t need to print it off double-sided, but we found that we used the reverse to track all the players’ booty anyway, so it just made sense.

Get the PDFs here.

Cleaning up and clearing out

After exploring the bloody remains of the Foregone Conclusion, the crew agree there isn’t much to be done about the vessel. Legally Firmstep is a pirate, so nobody would come looking for their ‘legitimate salvage’, but they didn’t have the manpower or inclination to tow it back to Mercy themselves.

They agreed to grab what they can (the Captain pinching Firmstep’s heraldry hauberk), make a few calls to Captain Acheron at Mercy and get on with the expedition.

Into the black

The Captain prefaces the unknown warp journey with another rousing speech to the crew, congratulating them on overcoming the heretic Captain Firmstep. The crew had taken a hit to Morale in the fight, and this was just the ticket to artificially inflate their sense of self-worth before their sacrifice on the altar of the unknown.

Set a course for Sigma-459!

We use our own warp travel rules, which is a blend of the core rules (too simple) and the Navis Primer rules (too complicated) with another dozen or so warp encounters added to the table. Take a look:

As the Navigator is played by an NPC, the players take it in turns to roll for warp travel, using Mahd’Naz’s Navigate (Warp) stat of 50. They are allowed to use their own Fate Points to re-roll, knowing full well the consequences of failure…

They make an accurate estimation of 35 days and as its a brand new warp route, roll ‘Indirect Path’ for the Route Stability, adding +1 day to the journey.

They successfully translates in, failing by less than a degree, and avoid all but the worst of the warp travel encounters (ie, they take a bunch of Insanity Points from seeing their dead relatives at the foot of their bunks, but that’s par for the course right?).

In it for the long haul

To spruce up long travel times, I’ve started writing in mini-encounters, moral quandaries or opportunities for advancement for some minions, often prompted by players’ desire for not-quite-as-shit scrubs. One such instance was when the Captain wanted to train up Felicity, one of the more proactive armsmen, personally training her to be an assassin.

The premise was simple – if the captain can pass a relevant check every week (Weapon Skill, for example), his personal tutelage has paid off and she can slightly bump her stats in that area. She won’t be wearing rags for long!

To help them claim ownership of their space, I’ve also started asking them to build the world in their image, starting with their quarters. The Captain described his quarters as a neat and tidy office space, filled with books of tactics of admirals of old. In the chaos of universe, this is his haven of stability. He also has an expanding trophy cabinet (Thanks, Firmstep!) and you could bounce a penny off the bedsheets. And, naturally, a glass of amasec is always ready on his desk.

The Zoologist

For Voidmaster Zilla, he was presented with a conundrum involving his Xeno-arcanist:

The Dynasty’s paper-pushers have flagged up erroneous expenses with your cut of the profits. Several large purchases have been made under your name, more so than the usual Telasco’s bar tab, and after doing a little digging you discover your xenoarcanist “The Zoologist” has been making a number of covert purchases. When you confront them about this, you discover they have been building a library of proscribed, illegal or otherwise morally dubious books and tomes about xenology and alien culture.

If the Zoologist is allowed to continue his studies, he improves his Forbidden Lore (Xenos) to +20.

Unfortunately for our Voidmaster, he failed to locate any trace of what the Zoologist was spending his money on, so he assumed it was booze and/or space floozies. The mystery continues unsolved!

via GIPHY

The sketchy Astropath

For the Astropath:

You have an interesting and somewhat valuable collection of something in your quarters, what is it? (One of them goes missing, a junior has pawned it for gambling)

The player tells me he has a collection of sketches made during meditative trances, most are strange but important to him. One of his Juniors tries lying to him (a bold strategy for a bunch of telepaths), which results in his gambling privileges revoked.

Still causing problems

For the Explorator:

A senior Engine Priest has reported some strange goings-on in some of the crawlspaces. Apparently some of your Engine Crew have made copies of the Cilice Gin Distillery and have set up a bootleg still in some of the less-used areas of the ship. Not only is this a flagrant misuse of Dynasty property, but an incorrectly-assembled is an explosion waiting to happen, and encourages the most heinous crime of all amongst your underlings: innovation.

Freeman wastes no time in locating the secret Gin still, storming in with Engine Guard. He flogs everyone responsible, scrutinises the construction and takes it all apart. He decides to keep the details of the entire debacle to himself.

Everything filters upwards of course, and when the Captain inevitably finds out about an entire work gang being publicly flogged under orders from Master Freeman, he wants to know why. Freeman is inexplicably evasive about the entire situation, keeping the plans for himself, leaving everyone with a sour taste in their mouths.

I’m sure elements of trust between the crew and Freeman’s Secret Projects(tm) will never come up again…

Gil uses The Tower to find out about Factor Silica

Gold in them thar cargo holds

Finally, the Captain was presented with a (mild) moral quandary. After raiding the estates in the Golden Valleys of Cilice, the crew had found themselves with an awful lot of miscellaneous booty once belonging to faithful Imperial servants that Brother Espin would appreciate returned to him. Alternatively, Orthesian adepts on Mercy could slowly tap the reserve, laundering the goods through Mercy’s infamously untraceable markets and turn a few pennies for the Dynasty.

The Captain mulls it over and elects to pass – keep hoarding the loot. Don’t sell it, but don’t tell Espin we’ve got it. I’m sure he’ll never find out…

More Auction Intel

And finally, Gil tasked his new intelligence gatherer, The Tower, to scrounge up some more intelligence on some of the potential auction-goers. This time it was Factor Silica, emissary of Varnstrom Industries, the largest Adeptus Mechanicus conglomerate in the subsector.

Factor Silica – by artist Blazbaros

Intel: Presiding mostly in Imperial space, Varnstrom Industries are the largest Adeptus Mechanicus conglomerate, owning more than half the ruling sects and having the controlling share of the forge world ‘Forlorn Hope’.

Reason for attending: They are staunch traditionalists and loathe to see Adeptus Mechanicus secrets being traded so carelessly between undesirables.

Not a lot to action at this point, but knowing that they’re going head-to-head with the biggest cog the Mechanicus can throw at the problem, they’ll need something extra special to win that ship.

With our journey coming to a close, it was time to make one final translation into realspace and arrive safely at our destination.

Or so they thought…

+++++

Orthesian Herald 16 – Terrors of the Gallionic Passage

+++++

What could go wrong?

Last time we were mid-warp on our voyage to the unknown – the Void Sea. This had a small stop-off at Gallionic, an “entry point” to the Skylar’s Lie domain, catalogued as such due to its proximity to other systems and relatively calm warp currents.

Many Domains in the Nomad Stars have these entry points, and navigating across the sector is quicker (and usually safer) to hop from entry point to entry point. However…

An alarming turn of events

Beat to quarters! Boarding alarm! The canteen on Deck 7C has been breached!

It quickly becomes apparent from the horrified screams over the vox that there has been a daemon incursion in the canteen. Almost a dozen souls were lost before they were able to seal the bulk head.

Voidmaster Zilla in the top right, the Covenant in the bottom right.

The crew waste no time investigating. Missionary Lyoness brings two of her newly-minted retinue, the Covenant, that were rescued from the pilgrim ship “The Penitent Traveller” and then armed by the generosity of Brother Espin. The Captain brings along his new military-grade cyber-mastiff, Seymour, and an apprentice officer named Felicity.

Freeman wants in on the meatshield action and brings along a few engine adepts, only to have them terrified to death nearly instantly.

They hear a throbbing, rhythmic noise coming from inside the canteen…

“We’re here for a health and safety inspection, we heard you had an infestation of lesser daemons”

Von Gunn wins the initiative roll (hah, sucker) and kicks the door down to the canteen. Inside they are faced with a canteen ablaze – flames lick the walls and in the centre are half a dozen crewmen wreathed in warpfire, forced to dance along to the awful sound created by a pair of writhing pink creatures – Pink Horrors of Tzeentch.

Despite their ever-shifting nature, they both seemed to be carrying music instruments that were creating the terrible noise, and as they flicked and twirled their rubbery fingers about, forced the terrified crewmen to dance along to their sadistic music.

A Horror of Tzeentch

The horrors hurl balls of iridescent warpfire at the opening, pinning many of the crew. Those who aren’t pinned return fire, the Astropath enjoying his new killer combination of magically guided aim and overcharged plasma pistol.

Everyone down!

The captain issues his orders:

The Captain charges into glorious melee combat in a bid to break the impasse. He spits prayers of the Emperor’s Mercy as he strikes down the terrified crewmen, unable to control their own bodies moving to the foul music.

Sorry lads. This’ll hurt me more than it hurts you.

He then promptly catches fire.

Freeman blasts the Bongo Horror (new band name, I call dibs) and it melts into a puddle of warp-riddled goo, before changing hue and reforming into a pair of blue horrors. Gasp!

Horrors are some of my favourite lesser daemons because of their weird mechanic of spawning two slightly smaller variations of themselves on death. They are weaker and do slightly less damage, but now the number of targets has gone up…

Meanwhile, under the will of the pulsing music, the firedancing voidsmen charge the canteen opening and engage the retinue. To make them interesting enemies to fight, I used regular voidsmen stats but gave them Unnatural Toughness, a 20% forcefield and flaming melee attacks. Their objective was to gum up the players while the Horrors continued to lay down warpfire attacks, and it seemed to be working.

A few Brimstone Horrors crawl out of the flames of the perimeter of the canteen, eager to contribute to the weird dance party. They spit a few tiny fireballs and are extinguished pretty quickly by the crew.

With most of the Firedancers dealt with, there was the matter of the Burning Captain (new band name, I call dibs). Missionary Lyoness leaps into action, using her surprisingly impressive Strength of 50 for a 90-year-old to cover the distance, and helps put the Captain out while struggling with the final few Firedancers.

One of the Covenant, Beef Loaf (they’re all named after Ancient Terrain Hymn-writers) is killed by warpfire from the Horrors. Her name will be etched into a shrine when we’re done cleansing this horrid place.

The Captain is struggling from a few turns of fatigue from being on fire, so Lyoness (the closest thing to a healer the group has) stabs him in the neck with some stims to keep him awake. Once more into the fray!

Stay still, this won’t hurt much…

Meanwhile Von Gunn has puts the killing blow on the Fiddler, who splits into two blue horrors. Freeman moves into position to try out his illegal plasma gun ‘salvaged’ from the Grin Estate on Cilice. It’s like a regular plasma gun, except it shoots it’s plasma in a 30 degree cone like a flamer, doing plasma gun damage over a flamer-wide area. Yikes.

Better not put anything beloved in the way of that!

Oh no! Something beloved was in the way of that!

After some heated discussion about whether a cone exists in three dimensions or not (GM’s note: it absolutely does), Freeman accidentally catches Seymour in the blast of the plasma-flamer while trying to obliterate the last two horrors, much to the gasps of horror from the rest of the team.

Seymour the dog catches fire, and the whole incident was put down to a gross miscalculation of angles, because surely there’s no way the Explorator would be callous enough to fire the weapon again, knowing the Captain’s cyber-mastiff is definitely in the blast radius.

Oh, okay.

RIP Seymour. Your time on this crew was short but sweet.

Seymour is reduced to slag from the plasma blast, taking a considerable chunk out of the canteen and obliterating what was left of the horrors. The crew are genuinely stunned.

After heated discussion about what constitutes an accident, the Captain agrees to forgive Freeman’s transgressions (he did kill the final few daemons, after all), but he promises never to forget.

Licking their wounds, both emotional and physical, the crew return to the last few days of their warp journey.

Through the fire and the flames

Lyoness leads a team to consecrate the canteen. It’s beyond repair, so they replace it as a shrine to Saint Drah’Gunforz, the patron saint of fire and flames. They move an organ from the church deck down to the canteen and appoint someone to play hymns during the day, just to make double sure the daemons don’t return.

Out of the frying pan

You translate safely into the Gallionic system, your vessel adrift in a sea of rocks. Augers show high concentrations of atomic material contained in the asteroids 

The yellow light of Gallionic’s sun fills the bridge with its warmth. The drifting sea of rocks and radioactive haze throws strange lights through viewports – An eerie yellow patina, like drowning in a jaundiced ocean.

Proximity alarm! Augers detect plasma drive activation 8 VUs off starboard side and closing!

Bridge officers raise void shields and order deck crews to battle stations. There is an incoming vox from the unidentified vessel:

“This is Captain Firmstep of the Foregone Conclusion. You have trespassed on a trade route that is legally mine and I consider your ship forefeit. Surrender it to us and we’ll let you live.”

The Captain, normally a beacon for diplomatic behaviour and etiquette during confrontation, takes the vox directly and responds:

“You caught us at a bad time. We had to flee our last engagement, we’ve had a bad warp jump and someone just shot my dog. Prepare to die.”

+++++

Orthesian Herald 15 – A New Heading

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The roar of the crowds is electricity in your bones and the air is heavy with the smell of blood and recycled sweat.

You are in a private balcony overlooking the main Bazaar arena, a wide sandy pit several hundred metres across. High above is a great plexiglass dome, through which the statue of the god-emperor is haloed by the rippling fury of the Telos star.

The crowd encircling the arena is cheering on a cybernetically-enhanced gladiator as he twists the head off an Ambull, holding it up for all to see.

Chief Wrecker Davit holds up a hand at the spectacle and grins at you with golden teeth. A boy in silk pours more wine into your goblets.

”So what do you say? Do you want to play a game to win your ship parts, or perhaps you’re looking to sell? The arenas are always looking out for new and exotic attractions.”

Previously we left our intrepid heroes in the Mercy Bazaar Arenas to do battle over.. uh.. an arena. A Resolution Arena ship upgrade for the Unbroken Resolve, to be precise, and without the funds to acquire it at present, they agreed to do battle in one of the most infamous blood sport arenas outside of Imperial Space.

We open with Von Gunn, Gil and Freeman back-to-back in the sandy arena to the sounds of crowds baying for blood. They were facing three Chrono-gladiators of the Deathclocks Guild, and they had particularly nasty statlines…

Chrono-gladiators of the Deathclocks Guild
WSBSSTAgIntPerWpFel
 4823(6)38(6)325426313622

Wounds: 16

Skills: Awareness, Intimidate +10

Talents: Ambidextrous and two-weapon talents, Autosanguine, Crushing Blow, Fearless, Swift Attack

Traits: Unnatural Speed, Unnatural Strength x2, Unnatural Toughness x2, The Ticking Clock, Natural Armour (3)

  • Poison talons: 1d10+8 R, Pen 3, Toxic
  • Electro-flails: 1d10+12 I, Pen 0, Flexible, Shocking
  • Pneu-mattocks: 2d10+10 I, Pen 0, Primitive, Unbalanced, Unwieldy
  • Chain axes: 1d10+14 R, Pen 2, Tearing
  • Cutting claws: 1d10+10 R, Pen 0, Fast

Ticking clock: If a Chrono-gladiator kills, they gain +1 Unnatural Strength and become immune to Fatigue for d5 rounds. Any further kills increase the duration by d5 rounds. If after 5 rounds it does not kill again, it takes 1 level of Fatigue and d5 Explosive damage to the body ignoring Toughness and Armour. This happens every 5 rounds.

on with the show
Awful deja-vu…

Our heroes make the first move, with the Chrono-gladiators trailing in the initiative roll. A combination of Von Gunn’s bolt pistol prowess and Gil’s psychic guidance of his plasma pistol sees off the chrono-gladiator with the shield before it even takes a step forward. It drops to its knees, a smoking stump where its head should be.

Explorator Freeman makes a mad dash at the gladiator with chainsaws for hands, and everyone is stricken with a sense of awful deja-vu.

They exchange blows, parrying and rolling under each other’s deadly swings, but Freeman is caught across the face by one of the biting blades and drops to -2 Critical Damage.

Gil suffers a net loss

While his combat-heavy comrades are distracted with their own problems, our Astropath is charged by the net-wielding gladiator. The combination of shock net and poison talons drops Gil to -2 Critical Damage. Unfortunately for the gladiator, that isn’t enough to stop him…

Gil unleashes a devastating psychic attack, overwhelming what little is left of net-guy’s brain and gaining total psychic domination over him. He forces him to run as far away from Gil as possible, and Von Gunn heroically plugs him in the back of the head with a twin shot from his bolt pistols. Go long!

Things don’t go quite so well for Freeman. He loses his battle with the Señor Chainsword as its whirling teeth pull two of his four legs clean from their sockets. He falls to the arena floor, burning a Fate Point to avoid death but is definitely out for the fight.

For those at the back keeping count, Freeman has now officially lost the most limbs in the party (3 in total).

As Chainsword Hands raises his arms to deliver the killing blow, Von Gunn explosively separates his arms from his shoulders with clinical precision. The final Chrono-gladiator falls to the ground and the crowd is beside itself with excitement.

After a quick patch-job on Freemen (he has a box of legs on the ship), Chief Wrecker Davit thanks for them for entertainment, and promises to uphold his end of the bargain. The Resolution Arena will be installed on the Unbroken Resolve.

Returning to Espin

You take a short shuttle ride from Mercy to Brother Espin’s vessel – a bloated, gilded pilgrim transport ship twinkling in the light of Telos. It looks like a hunchback baron cradling a hoard of gold.

Cathedral spires extend from its spine and every inch is covered in stained glass, ornate gothic pillars and hand-carved statues of every Saint in the Imperial Creed. Shuttles scurry about like insects feeding their queen .

The hangar bay stinks with the raw musk of human existence – there are sleeping cubbies set into the walls, hammocks hang from the gantries high above your heads, and canvas shanties exist around the peripherals, despite the constant roar of shuttles dropping off pilgrims and supplies. You have no doubts the rest of the ship is in a similar situation

An old man in rags and a long, scraggly white beard is sitting in a circle of cushions on the hangar floor, pouring tea. Half his head is metal plate, and votive symbols are braided into his beard. You know him as Brother Espin.

Brother Espin (courtesy of Fantasy Flight Games)

Brother Espin was thankful for their efforts, and payment was presented as promised for clearing out the space port on Cilice. The Captain had alternate plans – he negotiated for free rights to use the space port instead of payment, something that will sting their bottom line in the short term but will keep their hands free for gin-related shenanigans in the long run. Very cunning!

Espin also offered some new ship components. They could pick two from:

  • Good Quality Barracks (-1 Space, +1 Morale)
  • Good Quality Voidsman’s quarters (Raider size, -1 space, +1 Morale)
  • Best Quality Temple-shrine (+D5 Morale)

They opt for the Barracks and the Quarters, estimating two days to fit their fancy new digs. They beg their leave of the Brother and return to Mercy proper to begin the refit. The crew are particularly thankful to no longer be topping and tailing.

Mercy Longshore – courtesy of FFG
Dabbling in the background

I had learned from my mistakes regarding the Endeavours system in Rogue Trader – less is more. Please let me know in the comments below if you’ve had it work for your own groups, but it wasn’t a good fit for ours.

I still had another idea to try – Background Endeavours from Into the Storm. A formalisation of the Profit Factor acquisition process, but something that can be done once and forgotten about so the players can get on with the adventuring and swashbuckling while the proles do the legwork.

This was a perfect opportunity, the players wanted to rebuild the Cilice Gin distillery from afar and reap the rewards in the future. Time for some numbers!

Background endeavours are split into two parts: the Captain yells at some hirelings to do a job, and the GM calculating how well the job went. Broadly speaking, the players make a few dice rolls and forget about the Endeavour until the GM tells them enough time has passed for the project to have passed or failed.

Players’ section

  1. The Endeavour is outlined by players and GM – what resources they’ll need and the quality of peon needed to perform the job. They already had the resources they needed (most of an abandoned distillery) and just needed a crew – they acquired Good Quality Hirelings, in this case Tavish Contractors.
  2. The GM comes up with a rough time estimate – about 2 months in this case.
  3. Players contribute supporting skills. Freeman provided a chemical analysis of samples found on Cilice (with a Chem Use test) to avoid the fairly obvious horrendous side effects and adds +3 Degrees of Success (DoS) to the Captain’s Command check. Zilla provided fly-by records of the valleys and space port, adding +1 DoS. Lyoness gave a stirring (if somewhat threatening) speech with an Intimidate test, adding +4 DoS to the overall pool.
  4. The Captain makes a Command check to see how well the hirelings perform. He gets a bonus for all the skills his crew have contributed. He (unsurprisingly) succeeds with 8 Degrees of Success.
  5. Retire and enjoy a glass of (currently) the last Cilice Gin in the universe.

GM’s section

  1. Make a Success roll. This is a flat 50/50 chance, modified +/- by the Degrees of Success/failure of the Captain’s command roll and the quality of Hirelings. These rolls are done between games and noted down to bring up at a future session when Success or Failure can be reaped. In this case, I rolled a 10 (super success!).
  2. Check how long it takes. Regardless of success or failure, you roll on a ‘time taken’ table to see how long it’s taken your hirelings to do the job. Sometimes successful endeavours can take much longer than estimated, while failed endeavours can be over very quickly. I rolled 73, meaning it took 125% of the estimated time. 75 days for the job to get done!
  3. That’s it! When the time is up (day 216 shipboard time) I’ll let them know and they can add +2 Profit Factor to their character sheets.

The intention is to keep the story moving forwards while earning money in the background. We’ll come back to this in about.. ohh.. ten episodes time or so.

Auction on the horizon

Last time we also discovered the latest hot topic: an auction being held by the Obsidian Emporial for a rare class of light cruiser in a few months’ time. They had three bits of concrete intel:

  • Up for grabs was a Secutor-class Monitor Cruiser. A substantial upgrade from the current ship – oodles of space, plenty of weapon hard points and a good blend of defense and manoeuvrability. Perfect for longer, more dangerous voyages into the unknown!
  • The Obsidian Emporial auction house will not accept money alone, they are looking for something unique or priceless to win their interests.
  • There will be a number of other rivals vying for the ship – determining who they are and what they have to offer will help the team greatly in their run-up to the auction.
Whatever you want, Leo Getz

With the Auction at the forefront of their minds, the crew wanted some more intelligence on other organisations attending. Time to lean on their old pal, Leo Getz.

After another chastisement from filling their astropathic relay with reams of garbage, Astropath Gil finally gets the message through to Leo. It’s not his Juniors’ job to sift through his manic mountain of thoughts – edit them down!

Brain still aching from mental castigation, Leo comes up with the goods. Two Rivals, both with printed out contact cards so the party can keep some vague centralised notes on the myriad NPCs they’re encountering, and some additional information about them.

Each contact has some generic intelligence about their organisation, their reason for attending, what they intend to offer at the Auction, and additional (sometimes scandalous) information.

Each session I’ll be offering an opportunity for Leo to siphon a bit more for current or new contacts, drip-feeding the information rather than dumping it all at once.

Lord-Admiral Bastille VIII of the Bastille Dynasty

Image courtesy of FFG

“A martial man, conducting the affairs of his House as though it were a private navy. There are dozens of sour rumours swirling around the circumstances of his inheritance of Warrant of Trade and his poor relationship with the Imperial Navy. “

The Herald of Fane, Fane Disciples

(image: Marko Djurjevic)

“Intensely secretive and uncommunicative sect of Adeptus Mechanicus, devoted to the works and discoveries of Magos-Illuminate Zeriander Fane.”

Next stop: Nowhere

We had a mission: Gather something unique for the auction.

We had a time frame: Several months.

We didn’t have a heading. The Captain addressed all the potential plot leads from previous sessions and decreed them to all be equally worthy, therefore unworthy of a unique offering to the Obsidian Emporial.

The Captain cast his gaze across a map of the Nomads. So many worlds already discovered.

He stabbed his finger in the centre, a minor warp storm called the Void Sea. He asked “What’s here?”. I referred to my notes – I had only written one line:

“Here there be monsters.”

That was enough for the Captain. He ordered an immediate survey to find an unexplored system of interest in the Void Sea and to chart a course to it. We had a heading!

Final arrangements

The only thing remaining was to pick up any last-minute essentials from Mercy-mart for the voyage. The Captain acquired a Bullpup Cyber Mastiff (from Dark Heresy’s Book of Judgement) which is a bigger, meaner version of a cyber mastiff. Zilla acquired a single-shot grenade launcher to help deal with Really Big Problems.

Cast off!

Morale is high, plunder is in sight and with only one day to the warp point, everything seems to be going the Crew’s way! Nothing can dampen their spirits! All they need to do is a cheeky short hop to Gallionic, just a mere three days in warp, what could go wrong?

*Rolls*

001: Daemonic Incursion!

+++++++

Mercy Crier 8: Apotheosis

What a turnaroud! Our final week ends with the biggest comeback we’ve seen, with the Calorie Crooks jumping from last to first place in a single evening, guaranteeing themselves a position in the finale.

Apotheosis week has been kind to the Order as well, with their pole position from a successful rescue, shoot-out and downtown dust-up. The Mayhem gang maintained their lead, and the Iron Rovers managed to claw the necessary Rep out of the Inheritors’ weird, clammy hands in the final few games of the Turf War. A 3-way Border Dispute was always going to be messy…

With Apotheosis rules in full swing, the only thing for our gangs to do was duff each other up until four remained. The most significant effect this had was for Calorie Crooks who managed to steal Rep from all their games, and combined with a series of very good Cool checks in some shoot-out scenarios, managed to grab 12 Rep in just 3 games. The Top Dogs have been decided, all that’s left is the showdown…

All to play for: Apotheosis is a series of climactic battles designed to turn the tables on the bigger gangs. The 4 Gangs with the highest Rep at the end of this week will enter into a 4-way Showdown to determine the Lord of the Callowdecks.

  • A gang with a lower Rep than their opponent rolls 2d6 for Bottle checks and discards the higher number
  • A winning gang with a lower Rep than their opponent steals 1 Rep in addition to any other Rep rewards for that scenario
  • A losing gang reduces their Turf size by 1 to a minimum of 1

Juve of the week 8

It’s the final Juve of the Week for the Callowdecks and we have some candidates that personify the campaign in totality – two angry lads with shivs just trying to make the world a better place.

Juve of the week will return for one last special edition when the dust has settled, but until then let’s look at this week’s contestants on Who Is Knifiest:

Jim ‘Jimmy Two-Knives’ Bean made his final week a particularly spectacular one. In a shoot-out with the Order, he came toe-to-toe with a chain glaive wielding madman who whispered something about offering eternal knife.

Perhaps it was the multiple head injuries taking their toll, but Jimmy charged the demagogue with a vision to taking him out, but caught a chain glaive to the face instead.

Captured after the game, Jimmy now languishes in a stinking Order jail for the crime of bringing a knife to a gunfight.

Mincemeat is a new contender to Who Is Knifiest but has proven his worth. In a showdown between his own Leader and the punchy Inheritors Leader, Mincemeat intervened when his hammer-hefting boss wasn’t producing results.

In a stunning round of combat, the baby-faced Juve hit and wounded with all attacks, and when all the Leader’s saves came up snake eyes he kerb-stomped him with a flourish, causing the Inheritors to break and costing them the Rep needed to stay on the Leaderboard.

As always with Juve of the Week – will you vote for effort or for achievement?

Vote for your favourite Juve of the Week on both our regular vox channels:

Public service announcement, sponsored by Distilled Mayhem

“Resident idiot Juve last seen charging down the leader of the Emperor’s Sole gang, swinging knives wildly. 

The Distilled Mayhem gang are offering a reward for the safe return of this stupid but weirdly endearing Juve who arrived to a shoot out without anything to shoot with.

Or at least we want his knives back.

They were pretty nice knives.”

The Order of the Emperor’s Sole have released a statement:

“To all heathens and false-claimers of the Callowdecks, the scoundrel and drunkard known as Jimmy “Two Knives” was recovered from the field of glorious battle. Even though the heathen reeked of Amasec he has been granted mercy by my own blessed hand, as even though he was clearly out matched, unskilled and unworthy to fight the Emperor’s chosen sons, he did engage in pure, glorious and divine melee combat and for this his wounds were treated and he has been given “food” and shelter. For a suitable donation, the Order under my blessed command will make sure this man returns to his “family” healthy and in one piece. Do not dally however, the Emperor’s mercy does not last long”

Rumour in the underdecks is the going rate for Jimmy Two-Knives is 80 Credits – will Distilled Mayhem pay the ransom in time for the showdown?

Fashion Corner – King Beeflump III of the Calorie Crooks

A rarely-seen sight in the Callowdecks, the Leader of the Calorie Crooks made a smashing return to form. His twin power hammers and spooky smile make him look as deadly as he is.

Other highlights

Fighting was bitter, and we saw several shoot-outs, a downtown dust-up, a game played entirely in the dark and a three-way Border Dispute that lasted almost five hours!

The fighting was harsh as everyone battled for a chance at the coveted title of Lord of the Callowdecks.

shoot out – calorie crooks vs iron rovers

Two Goliaths roll cool checks at each other for 26(!) turns before the Rovers break and the Crooks butcher them.

Downtown dust-up – Iron Rovers vs The Order

Downtown dust-up, now with new civvie models!

The citizens of Mercy were delightfully unpredictable

This was a common sight – Civvies running for their lives

Iron Rovers took some hits early, but when both gangs were making Bottle checks they ground down the Order by attrition

This guy took a shining to Pooch and kept shooting in him in the back for the whole game

The final shot of Muzzle taking out the remaining Cawdor ganger. No civvies dead and only two fleeing meant the Rovers gained the full reward for victory

In the dark – calorie crooks vs the inheritors

The gangs could only target each other in 3″ or if someone had recently fired a weapon… bad news for both teams!

The Inheritors spider-bros out in force but struggling in the pitch black

The Inheritors Champion slotting Goliaths whenever he could see them

When the inheritor’s grav gun is on the field, this is a very common sight

Mincemeat deals the killing blow to the Inheritor’s leader, breaking the gang and scooping Rep for the Calorie Crooks

Rescue mission – Iron Rovers vs The Order

In our first (and only) stealth mission, the Order burst in the first door they find and gun down the Rovers heavy bolter champion

Before the others get a chance to react, the Order sweeps the rest of the Rovers off the board, leaving Muzzle alone to guard the hostage

The Rovers reinforcement arrives… on the other side of the map. The Rovers flee the field and the Order get their captive back.

Shoot out – Distilled Mayhem vs The Order

The Order are fortunate enough to have their Leader, a blunderbuss and a plasma gun in their line-up

Did we mention that every ganger in Distilled Mayhem packs blasting charges?

Jimmy charges but gets put down and captured. The Leader goes on to clean up the rest of the Mayhem gang now they’d run out of explosives.

shootout – distilled mayhem vs iron rovers

Distilled Mayhem bring their new bouncer to a shootout

Ogryn-servitor “Bouncer” with Flamin’ Moe in one hand (counts-as Arc Welder)

Iron Rovers learn a valuable lesson in not bringing any guns to a shoot-out and get flattened by the Bouncer

Border dispute – Iron Rovers, The Inheritors and Distilled Mayhem

Three gangs have a dispute over the bar

The Rovers’ luck was against them the whole game

Distilled Mayhem’s gang icon is well-themed

The Inheritors’ Champion guarding their stash

The brutal 3-way lasted 5 hours and only two Inheritors gangers were left standing

Mercy Crier 7: All That Glitters

Two down! Blackstar Hunters have officially retired this week due to commitments elsewhere and the Dreadquill House Gang 16th Law have stepped down. It would be difficult arbitrating the finale if the Arbitrator also had a horse in the race.

This is also the penultimate week before Apotheosis, so the gangs were dropped hints about what was to come. The finale will be an epic multi-brawl between the top four (!) gangs, no-holds barred, last-gang-standing fight to the end.

There is everything to play for to get into the top four gangs!

This week’s event shook things up for our gang but made it a little easier to get any last minute kit for the finale. D3 random fighters at the beginning of each game from every gang had to test Leadership – if they failed, they would be stricken with Insanity! This lead to some interesting tactical changes mid-way through some games, as well as some valiant sacrifices from some gangers deemed not worth saving from themselves.

On the up side, they got a boost to Rare Trade rolls, so they couldn’t say the Arbitrator was not merciful…

Whispers of the warp: The Callowdecks is giving up its riches… at a price. Forgotten things that slumbered are now waking, haunting the dreams of those that have ventured too far.

  • Rarity of all Trading Post items is reduced by 2
  • At the beginning of each game, randomly select D3 fighters in yoru crew and make a Leadership test for each. If they fail, place an Insanity marker on them as the voices in the walls become too much to bear
week 7 juve of the week

It’s a battle of madness for this Juve of the Week! Our event ‘Whispers in the Warp’ meant fighters had the chance to start every game with a touch of Insanity. Not much concern for the strong-willed among us, but for Juves who’ve had one too many head injuries, this was going to be a hard week for them…

Let’s see who was a few bullets short of a bolter this week!

Godfreed the Mad found himself facing off against two Goliaths in a darkened alley – not a pleasant place to be. Luckily, he’d seen things in the darkness he’d attributed to the Emperor and found himself afflicted with a bout of madness.

Such angry gnashing of teeth and stammering prayers had (apparently) caused the rival Goliath juve to panic and fire their only bullet at his team-mate.

Naturally he missed and jammed his weapon, earning ire from all those involved, so Godfreed hacked him apart in close combat. A devastating blow to both the Goliath team’s dignity and the poor juve’s skull.

Pup the Mad was afflicted with a case of the terrors at the beginning of a three-way Archeo-hunt – the least useful time to have a wayward juve shooting your team-mates in the back.

The Goliath Leader had a plan – when he showed a brief moment of sanity, he pumped the little guy with combat stimms, sending him into a frothing frenzy and aiming the mad lad towards the Emperor’s Sole Leader.

Actual achievement is overlooked in favour of effort, right?

Vote for your favourite Juve of the Week on both our regular vox channels:

Fashion corner – Hector the Crusading Step of the Order of the Emperor’s Sole

The newest Champion for the Order (and the longest title of any ganger to date) – an angry chap with a pair of flails and Crushing Blow. He’s yet to bloody them on the bonces of heathens, but we’re sure it’ll be impressive when he does.

Other highlights

This week saw a Shootout between the Rovers and the Order, with the Order having a great bout of luck with their Insanity rolls. We had a three-way Archeo-Hunt between the Order, Rovers and Boom Slag Belles, and another three-way Spook Harvest between the Sarin Sirens, Calorie Crooks and Distilled Mayhem.

Spook Harvest – Distilled Mayhem, Calorie Crooks and Sarin Sirens

Lots of gangers got very high on Spook including the Sarin Siren Juve ‘Rimes’ who became convinced that she was the living embodiment of the Emperor somewhere between her third and fourth huff of that sweet, sweet powder.

Eventually ‘Turner’ took one sniff too much and she had to be put down by a quick hose of Cassidy’s chem thrower. So that’s yet another death for the Sirens to mourn.

With the purchase of a new ganger to replace Turner, the sirens are right back to square one except for the rep they have picked up!

Shoot out – Iron Rovers vs The Order

This alleyway ain’t big enough for the two of us…

Godfreed cleans house and the remaining Rover retreats

Archeo-hunt – Rovers, Order and Boomslag Belles

Three gangs, two beep-boops, one vault

The newest member of the Order fails his Insanity check and blasts his boss

The Vault has its own guardians…

The mad Order ganger fails again, flees and is flamed *into* the flaming pit

The Order get sandwiched between two hungry gangs

The gangs call a brief truce to take out the Automata

The Order are wiped from the board, and the bottling Rovers declare a ceasefire with the Belles to get access to the Vault

Betrayal! The final Rover charges a Belle to remove her from blocking the Vault in his final turn!

Mercy Crier 6: Prying Eyes

This week saw some grudge matches played out on the broken hull-plate floors of the Callowdecks – some shootouts between rival juves, a rematch between old rivals and a new stompy Brute has entered the field.

After this week, 16th Law will turn down the chance of being in the Showdown – being part of the Turf War has been great fun, but the finale will need an Arbitrator! Hopefully we’ll see them again in another Turf War soon.

It’s also been a bad week for pets – the Inheritor’s spider, “Numbers”, got torched, Mayhem’s pooch got blasted by las-fire and the Iron Rovers got to field their first pet, a sumpkroc named “Dog”, for all of a single game before the Inheritors cut it down with massed small arms fire.

This week’s event introduced some extra creds for tipping off House Agents with useful intel about 16th Law, potentially earning a gang extra cash as a Leader’s Post-Battle Action. They’ll surely need it for the next two weeks…

We also agreed to increase the campaign’s length by 1 week due to scheduling conflicts.

Extra Time… For Some: The treasures of the Callowdecks attract many interested parties, some more profitable than others. Some agents of a Noble House have been spotted nosing around 16th Law’s turf and are willing to pay handsomely for any information of their recent activities.

  • The campaign is extended by 1 week
  • 16th Law receives half income from the Working the Turf Post-Battle Action
  • All gang Leaders (except 16th Law) may make a special Post-Battle Action this week:
    • Valuable Information: if you pass an Intelligence test the Agents compensate you 2d6x10 Credits

Week 6 Juve of the week

Juve of the Week is a little unusual this week as we have an honourary Juve vying for the title. There were strong contenders – Jeacock the Gammy was looking to make his third appearance by gunning down an Iron Rover Champion in a Shoot Out, and Job ‘Tentacle Wrangler’ showed enthusiasm but was ultimately shown the door against Mayhem’s leader with a servo-claw. We’re running short on Juves…

Dog is no ordinary Juve, but he lived like one (and most importantly, died like one) and earned a place at the Emperor’s kibble bowl.

He lived only one game, but lasted long enough to vault two ravines on a 6+ and charge down a corridor of Van Saar laser death to save his master.

“H*ck”

He would have gotten away with it too, were it not for some cheap resourceful tactics by the Order sending the Rovers’ Champion to the doc. When they only had the cash to save one, Dog gave his organs willingly to save the team’s Champion (who had gotten himself crushed by walls again).

 

Jimmy Two-Knives found himself in a predicament, but rose to the challenge in a way only a Juve with Two Knives could. Jimmy had not been paying attention in Knife School, where he would have learned that the trend of the campaign was More Knives > Fewer Knives.

He bravely charged down the Inheritor’s newest toy, an Arachno-Rig, knives blazing. Unfortunately the giant cyber-spider had three knives, and made very short work of the spunky young go-getter.

Will we see him return from recovery with a third knife? Only time will tell…

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Fashion Corner – Muzzle of the Iron Rovers

The Leader of the Iron Rovers, Muzzle is more steel than man. Part from his massive biceps, part from all the metal plates in his head from stray fire. It turns out that many gangers would kick a dog when he’s down.

Other highlights

We had two Shootouts and another three-way Escape The Pit with the Inheritors, Iron Rovers and the Order, and rounded the week off with a Stand-Off between the Inheritors and Distilled Mayhem.

Shootout – 16th Law vs The Order of the Emperor’s Sole

Juvie battle! A terrible idea in a scenario where you shoot at each other!

With 2 guys down and 1 fleeing, somehow 16th Law turned it around to win this shootout

shootout – iron rovers vs the order of the emperor’s sole

Four goliaths at close range? It can’t end well for the Order…

JEACOCK OUTTA NOWHERE SLAYING FOOLS LEFT AND RIGHT

Escape the pit – the inheritors, Iron Rovers and the Order

The pit needs escaping from!

Inheritor’s Champion does what he does best – running in first and getting shot while Numbers observes and takes notes

Dog heroically charges down the Inheritors

The Order heroically flame the Rovers’s Leader and ganger while they lie on the floor bleeding, preventing them from winning anything

The Inheritors stack up ready to heroically shoot the Rovers’ Leader to death while he lies unconscious and on fire

shootout – distilled mayhem vs the inheritors

Jimmy takes on the Cyber-Bastard. Loses.

Mayhem’s leader catches a bullet and calls for the doc

Job tries his luck with a charge and finds he’s punching well above his weight

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Mercy Crier 5: Dwellers in the Depths

Last week was Respite (so no Mercy Crier), earning our gangs valuable time to recover their fighters and consolidate their earnings. A much needed break in the conflict for some and a teeth-gnashing stay of hand for others.

The gangs have split into three broad groups, owing to a combination of bad luck and real world commitments. 16th Law and Distilled Mayhem are the forerunners, with the Order and the Inheritors placing in the middle of the table. Next week’s event should even the scores out a little…

In another week of firsts, two new scenarios had been tried out by our gangs – Archeo-Hunter and Monster Hunt – both with high stakes and high rewards. Both 16th Law and the Inheritors faced off against the Monster and were battered by tentacles and fled the field, so the monster still stalks the sump.

This was coupled with the week’s event ‘Dwellers in the Depths’, making every scenario very deadly for the unprepared.

Hunted by Ghilliam: Haunting the dark spaces and abandoned holds of great vessels are the Ghilliam – debased, insane mutants and carrion eaters that have made the Callowdecks their new hunting ground.

  • All scenarios this week use the ‘Horrors in the Dark’ special rule from the Forgotten Riches scenario
  • All scenarios this week must have a Beast’s Lair token. Any fighter who kills the Beast’s Lair gets D3 additional experience.

wEEK 5 JUVE OF THE WEEK

Juve of the Week is producing more interesting results as the weeks go on – either all our juves get turned into Swiss cheese early in a game or they continue to go on to do great deeds and thrilling heroics.

Honourable mention goes to the newest (and last) addition to the Order, who on his first game huffed a big bag of Spook, gained a psychic power and was immediately gunned down at point blank range by a Boom Slag Belle. Such is life!

Jeacock ‘3-Lungs’ the Gammy

Jeacock the Gammy has booked a place at the Emperor’s table, even if he’s not quite ready for dinner yet. A devastating attack launched by Nox’s chem-thrower of the Boom Slag Belles left four of Jeacock’s comrades seriously injured in one fell swoop.

“With me, Brothers! Uh.. Brothers..?”

Jeacock passed his Nerve test for the devastation wrought on his brothers, bravely pulled himself to his feet and opened up on Nox with all the spunk and vigour one would expect from the Emperor’s Finest.

He was promptly vaporised in a ball of white-hot plasma from Nox’s wingman shortly afterwards, but it’s the thought that counts.

Job ‘the Tentacle Wrangler’

Job of the Inheritors proves himself to be ever resourceful, and in a Monster Hunt scenario against 16th Law found himself up against not one but THREE Beast Lair tokens thanks to some suicidal juves from the opposing gang.

With a Tactics Card played from the Van Saar deck that allowed him to Rapid Fire three times, he needed a string of sixes to hit and wound. His successes were met with a rousing cheer from all (including a few weak hoorays from his battered gangmates on the floor).

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Fashion Corner – Scarlett of the Boom Slag Belles

This week is the Leader of the Boom Slag Belles – Scarlett. She is pictured here in a rare moment of self preservation, firing her combi-bolter/needle rifle at foes from a comfortable piece of cover.

In a practically guaranteed act of victory, in a Spook Harvest scenario she charged down the Cardinal of the Order, expecting to slice him to ribbons with her power sword. It didn’t quite go her way, and a duff set of rolls meant Scarlett sat the rest of the game out, nursing her ego and wondering where it all went wrong.

other highlights

The Inheritors and 16th Law locked horns in a Monster Hunt scenario, neither walking away with the prize. The Order joined in next, with a three-way for control of a vault in Archeo Hunter.

The Order and Boom Slag Belles faced off in a Spook Harvest scenario, with the Inheritors and Distilled Mayhem facing off in a Shoot Out to round off the week.

16th law vs inheritors – Monster hunt

Inheritors and 16th Law set up to knock the snot out of each other to summon the monster

The Inheritors – now with added colour!

Three newest additions – Tynker, Clipper and Flow-Matic

A Juve’s valiant charge ends in his death, which summons a monster that attacks his assailant. Net profit?

This is getting out of hand… now there are two of them

I’m sorry it has HOW many wounds?

Sue bravely holds on for another four turns, failing to deliver the final blow (8/10 damage done!) and eventually flees the board in an unheroic result

Inheritors, 16th law and the order – archeo-hunt

This vault ain’t big enough for the three of us…

The Inheritors newest pet, Numbers the Spider

The Order find themselves sandwiched between two rival gangs and the Automata

The Order heroically accidentally wound the Automata twice with two separate stray shooting attacks

An uneasy truce as the last few fighters on the board see the Automata to the vault

The Order vs boom slag belles – spook harvest

The Belles and the Order face off for that tasty tasty Spook

Easily the safest, most accessible Spook on the board

Juve of the Week #3 Hosanna gets a lick of paint, but doesn’t get to stab anyone

The Emperor smiles on Jeacock as the rest of his brothers are horribly gassed by Nox

Inheritors vs Distilled Mayhem – shoot out

Facing off down a creepy corridor of the Callowdecks, six gang members and one cybermastiff locked eyes and prepared to draw.

The Inheritors and their humiliated ganger were quick to go for their guns, but the liquor fueled the men of Mayhem to get the first shots off.

The Inheritors had a fairly easy start to the showdown, pinning all of the opposition and wounding the cybermastiff, but the wily pooch quickly recovered from its flesh wound and bore down on the Van Saars as grenades rattled and rumbled throughout the corridor.

The Inheritors were quickly forced to pull back when the vicious bite of the cybermastiff took out one of their gang, effectively leaving them outnumbered two to one.

Lacking the means to go on under the weight of numbers, they scattered into the night whilst the members of Distilled Mayhem stood victorious, gaining massive reputation.

The Inheritors gained one reputation while Distilled Mayhem cleaned up a cool-keeping five!

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