For the Gorgon Crystals Inquisitor campaign at Asgard Wargames, I’ve pulled together a few warbands from my own collection to count as ‘house’ warbands. These are for folks who want to play but don’t have the minis to dive straight in.
The mysterious wealthy benefactor “Diamond One” has taken a personal interest in the discovery of the strange xenos artifacts on the shores of Port Impetus. He has arrived on the fringes of Imperial space and found himself remarkably at ease with the criminal underworld there, allying himself with a guild of Chrono-gladiators called the Deathclocks to support and protect him on his adventures.
His motives are selfish – he wants the crystals for his own gain. There are rumours he is connected to the Precipice Dreadquill, a mass-produced serial literature portraying exaggerated, censored, or romanticized versions of events from across the sector. Although illegal to possess, it doesn’t stop the Dreadquill from finding its way into the hands of millions of labourers. Such a readership would be very interested in the story of the Gorgon Crystals…
Leader – Diamond One
Little is confirmed about Diamond One’s identity other than rumours (possible put about by himself). He is reputedly attached to the Precipice Dreadquill, perhaps in an informant or administrative role, and he shares many similarities with a scion of the Shultz household on Daphnia who went missing several years ago.
He has a clearly defined sense of right and wrong, and is very popular with the workers, labourers and underhivers. He has little time for discussions of lawfulness however, and is happy to break all manner of laws to achieve his goals.
Lightly armed and armoured, he relies on his wit and speed to see him out of a sticky situation. He carries an esoteric mix of equipment – an Eldar shuriken pistol and a hand-held archeotech device that operates like a (slightly) more controlled displacer field.
This acts as a regular displacer field that doesn’t activate in response to attacks, but is manually activated instead. The user can roll two scatter dice to pick the direction, so with some luck allows them to travel in the intended direction!
Aries is an ageing chrono-gladiator – a cybernetic pitfighter fitted with a device that will explode and kill him after a period of time. The only way to set back that timer is to kill, so a chrono-gladiator lives expressly to butcher others in bloodsport matches in an effort to stave off death for another day.
Aries’ history in the arenas has earned him many years of respite, but his clock still ticks. Diamond One’s proposal was too good to be true – in exchange for protection in an upcoming expedition, Diamond One would not only pay enough to retire on, but would perform the necessary surgery to permanently halt Aries’ deathclock so he could achieve the one thing no chrono-gladiator ever could: die of old age.
On the field, Aries is uncomplicated. His twin chain claws and combat drug injectors have felled larger opponents than him in the arenas of Mercy, and each claw is fitted with a small ranged weapon – just in case.
Guilder Romaan Fetch
Aries’ support staff and pit crew comprise of a collection of mechanics and labourers to keep his systems functioning (chain claws don’t have opposable thumbs), and Fetch is the smartest of the bunch.
He’s often tagging along closely behind his master patching up bullet wounds or blown power conduits, or persuading stubborn security spirits to allow access through doors or crates where brute force would be inappropriate.
His equipment is practical and reliable – a lasgun with underslung grenade launcher and a variety of grenades (photon flash, haywire and frag) to suit an ever-changing battlefield.
Guilder Max Rockatansky
Rockatansky is the other human element of the pit crew, able to provide a bit more muscle when rites of percussive maintenance are required. He specialises more on the ordnance side of things, and keeps the crew’s weapons firing true.
He mounts a chainblade under his lasgun for close encounters and a krak grenade for unscrewing really tight nuts.
Everyone needs a friendly piston-assisted clamping buddy for all your hauling and clampage needs. Clamps is mostly machine, with a pair of magnificent squeezers for carrying, lifting, bending and.. uh.. clamping.
Being lobotomised, he doesn’t suffer from such trivial things as fear or self-preservation, and his reinforced interior provides him excellent protection against cuts and scrapes.
Players are encouraged to build and use their own warbands, but for those who don’t have enough minis to fill out a roster (or are just starting off) – there’s plenty to choose from.
Warbands have a variable size depending on the access to resources their leader has. Although players will typically be taking the same number of miniatures into their games as each other, having a large warband to pick from gives you a tactical advantage (but the unfortunate agony of choice!).
Every warband will have its own feature article on them, but for now they’re all listed here for posterity.
The Crimson Wake
As seen in the first Prologue mission, the Crimson Wake are a collection of Chaos Undivided mutants, traitors and heretics dedicated to disruption, anarchy and undoing the works of the Holy Inquisition.
Lead by Arch-Hertic Karo Lurz, they predominantly recruit ex-guardsmen and ‘useful’ mutants into their echelons, but they are not above using swathes of expendable goons to achieve their goals. Their ‘gifts’ are sometimes aligned with individual Chaos gods, such as Zhenkang’s plague knife or Mucus’ immense strength and lust for blood.
Diamond One, the callsign of a mysterious benefactor arrived at Port Impetus with a vested (and well-financed) interest in the Gorgon Crystals. Originally from Daphnia, it is rumoured he is part of the infamous propaganda machine The Precipice Dreadquill, but such hearsay is quickly dismissed as fanciful.
He has allied himself with a guild of chrono-gladiators, the Deathclock Guild, lead by the fearsome Aries. Not only do such deep pockets need careful protection, but Diamond One has promised the cybernetic warrior reprieve to permanently pause his built-in death clock if he can help Diamond One secure a crystal for himself.
They are accompanied by Aries’ pit crew, as the lack of prehensile thumbs makes repairs and refuelling quite tricky for the ageing chrono-gladiator.
Interrogator Ezekiel Dune is a radical member of the Ordo Xenos, extremely tired with the hardline “all xenos are bad” position, and considers it a waste of resources to direct hatred equally among all xenos species. Far better to understand that while humans are still obviously superior, not all xenos are bad – most are, but some are helpful, even vital to the continuation of mankind’s survival.
He is joined in battle by trusted agents from all walks of life that he can rely on to watch his back and carry out orders without hesitation.
Inquisitor Tanik Mawdryn was exiled from the Onus Conclave for his highly questionable methods of intelligence gathering – burning a hive city for suspected heresy on circumstantial evidence. He wandered the fringes of the sector, gathering a group of zealots and fanatics to his cause.
He has also recruited the silent help of Sister Ivixia of the Order Censorum, a radical sect of the Orders Famulous dedicated to deleting mutation and corruption from high Imperial society with extreme prejudice, specialising in the annihilation of texts and artefacts. The fact Mawdryn attracts genetic deviants to his cause desperate for redemption in the eyes of the holy Emperor is not an irony lost to him, and Sister Ivixia is a powerful encouragement tool for joining his ranks.
Inquisitor Vanth is a radical member of the Ordo Malleus – barely tolerated by the Conclave if not for relentlessly producing results against the forces of Chaos. Subscribing closely to Xanthitism, Vanth wields a daemon blade that hungers for the flesh of other warp entities, and boasts his own considerable psychic prowess.
He is joined by loyal, die-hard bodyguards recruited from various ranks and regiments of the Imperial Guard, hand picked for their skills, force of will, or – in the case of the pariah Trooper Grey – an accident of birth.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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…
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…
With the Gorgon Crystals campaign kicking off recently, there are a lot of questions about a 20-year old discontinued game with weird rules and tricky figure scales. Here are some answers.
What is Inquisitor?
Inquisitor is a narrative skirmish wargame, focused primarily around the conflicts of the Holy Inquisition, either amongst its own ranks or against the enemies of mankind. Unlike the core game of the Warhammer 40,000 universe, it is not about the front-line of mud and gas and behemoth engines, but is instead set amongst the internal and domestic complexities of the Imperium – shadow wars where good, evil, right and wrong all merge into indistinct shades of grey.
If you have read the Eisenhorn series, you will already be familiar with the concept of an Inquisitor and his closest allies striving against these more subtle (but no less dangerous) threats to the Imperium, with their reward often to die alone and unremembered by the billions of citizens they may have saved from the encroaching dark.
Inquisitor is your chance to tell the dramatic, daring (and sometimes clumsy) stories of these unsung heroes.
How does it play?
Players have a warband of 2-4 models and play out a narrative scenario arbitrated by a Games Master (GM). The scenarios are typically part of a linked narrative devised by the GM, and the players’ warbands have conflicting goals and ideologies on how best to resolve the scenario, usually resulting in violence and thrilling heroics.
The Inquisitor rules allow the characters in the game to try to do just about anything, and the GM adjudicates how these are resolved. Players roleplay a character from their warband, nominate their actions, and make dice rolls to see how well things happen. The next character in the Initiative order then takes their turn, and so on.
Inquisitor is a game of tension, risk, and close calls, followed by explosions, violence, and pushing people off buildings. While the players do have objectives to achieve and there can be winners and losers, the main aim of the players is to use the rules and miniatures to create a compelling story on the tabletop that is retold countless times for many years after!
While Inquisitor was originally released at 54mm, smaller 28mm Inquisitor (INQ28) has become highly popular in recent years. Both scales are equally valid and should both be encouraged! Inquisitor presents a fantastic gaming and modelling opportunity whatever size your models may be.
The larger size of 54mm models allows more detail, is strongly associated with the game and can be a welcome contrast from the impersonal little grunts that die in droves during games of WH40K. These differences can help set the rather unique tone of Inquisitor.
A more in-depth study of the merits of both scales is here:
A warband is typically 3-5 models, and although an official Inquisitor miniature might set you back £20 on eBay, the huge number of 3rd party miniature companies and the rise of 3D printing means you can put a warband together for very little.
Ebay is a good place to trawl for cheap minis, you can often get more common figures like Slick Devlan, Eisenhorn and Preacher Josef for £10-15.
If conversion is your thing, you can often pick up cheap toy soldiers and add 40k bits to make them fit in – special shout out to the Russian ‘Tehnolog’ range who produce a range of minis of varying quality but the inarguable cost of around £8 (including postage) for 5 minis.
Games Workshop’s scale creep has been a boon to 54mm modelling too – Ork arms have always been a reliable fallback, but the Primaris and Necromunda ranges also have perfectly scaled arms, hands and weapons to use.
I’ve done some scale studies on 3d printed 54mm weapons here:
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.
“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.”
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.
Emergency lumens still flicker here and there from fading batteries – it would require an Awareness check to successfully see another character.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.
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:
Prologue – Introductory games to set the scene across a 2-4 week period to give players time to build warbands.
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.
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.
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!
A rare Inquisitor update for this week’s MOTB; Conan “The Unkillable” – an ex-hive ganger turned mercenary and bodyguard for powerful people the Inquisition have interests in.
Conan started out life as most of my projects do – a pile of parts loosely assembled because I liked the pose, flow or combination, and then left in a tray or bits box for several orbits of the sun because it was missing the Final Piece that brought the model together.
A while ago I began porting some scum and villainy over from our Necromunda, Dark Heresy and Rogue Trader sessions – there are plenty of colourful, interesting gangs and organisations that we play with at 28mm, so why not try and bring them to 54mm?
TJ Razor was the first, a member of the Pursers Grim, and then I wanted to bring over a member of the notorious Red Hand Gang – a ubiquitous Orlock gang that originated in our games of Necromunda and appeared in Dark Heresy and Rogue Trader ever since as the go-to miscreants.
The Red Hand Gang tattoo their left hand red as part of their initiation, and get subsequent stripes up their arm for every confirmed kill. This was the only brief – the character needed a red hand.
I like my bangsticks in Inquisitor, and with the creation of the Revised Armoury a few years back by the Inquisitor Community, they became a lot more varied and a LOT more deadly. I wanted to experiment with a character that ‘just’ had a rifle of some kind – I needed more regular mooks, but with a little suttin’ suttin’ that sets them apart from the regular rank and file.
The weapon came from a burst of inspiration when trawling the Anvil Industries website for one of any dozen other projects and found the perfect rifle. I already knew the scale would work fine from previous experiments with Anvil’s line of space marine Exo-Lord scale weapons, and all the spare parts would make choosing the right gun for the job much easier. I know from experience that a dedicated sniper character in Inquisitor is boring to play both with and against, so although this guy was going to be a ranged support character, he was going to have a little bite to him with some fully automatic shootybangs.
Putting him together was simple enough – he is pretty much a straight lift of the Talon Hive Ganger expansion with different legs. Try as I might, I couldn’t find anything else interesting to stick to the model except a backup pistol, he didn’t look right travelling heavy. I reasoned he’s got some brass knuckles in a pocket somewhere that would do in a pinch.
I knew from the get-go I wanted my 54mm gangers to be a league apart from their 28mm brethren, each having a certain trait that helps them play with the Big Boys. I wanted to have a ganger with the Regeneration trait, and after watching THAT scene from Luke Cage, I knew what had to be done. The pin vice came out and holes were drilled everywhere, touched up with some putty to make them look like bullet holes.
When it came to painting, I already had the colour scheme pretty set in my head – I had over a dozen members of the Red Hand Gang to fall back on with khaki green trousers and dark grey clothes – lots of lovely neutral tones to help offset the gang colours and make those red hands really pop.
For a skin tone I wanted a very pasty colour – for someone who spends their entire life away from the sun, they would never have developed much of a tan. I had also re-watched one of the Riddick films recently, and with the goggles Conan was wearing, I could really resist going one step further.
Good grief I hate painting white. This was doubly awful because I have the super-thick foundation white from Games Workshop, which is excellent when you want to paint over a dark colour (which is basically always) but the worst thing when you want to do a bunch of really really thin layers.
I called it quits after maybe the 20th or so watered-down layer of white – it wasn’t going to get any better than it was. I wasn’t a fan of the really chalky texture the skin had picked up by this point, but you’d have to drag me to my table kicking and screaming if you wanted me to strip him and do it again. F that N.
The base was finished off in much the same way as TJ – assembled from bits of weird sci-fi scrap from the rather excellent Chemical Plant box set and painted in drab colours to look like a forgotten section of space station deep in the bowels of Mercy.
And that was him finished! All that was needed was to draft up a character sheet for him including his heavy caliber autogun, regeneration and discomfort in bright lights and Conan the Unkillable was ready to hit the tabletop.
Old Mother One-Eye staggered across the conduit platform clutching her dueling wounds. Thin trails of silvery blood seeped between her skeletal fingers, hanging in the air like oil on water.
Her warp portal lay in ruins, carved apart by lance fire from an orbiting voidship. Sickly green lightning arced from the remains of the obsidian pillars that held the portal in place, the impotent rage of the warp venting harmlessly into the dissipating storm high above.
She spat a thick gobbet of black phlegm onto the floor and let out a furious, ear-splitting shriek. The servants of the corpse-god had broken into her home, butchered her children, destroyed her work and secured themselves a fate worth than death.
“Fools!” She cried out, summoning the remainder of her will to push her words into the souls of every being that sullied her home, “Can’t you see what you have done? You have doomed us all! Only I have the power to protect us from my master! You blind, misguided fools!”
Pale green spectres danced around her like a children’s playground game, taunting and mocking. The asteroid shook violently, a hungry stomach anticipating a meal. Warp fire poured from the void in the centre of her forehead as she lashed out at things imperceivable to the mortal eye.
Interrogator Dune slumped against an oily metal ladder. He was as battered and broken, forcing himself onwards despite the daemonic venom coursing through his veins. Above him was the platform the conduit was operating from before it was annihilated by lance fire and a strafing run from an inquisitorial Valkyrie.
He couldn’t take her alone, and the other agents he had encountered couldn’t be trusted to back him up. His splinter pistol was running low, and would it even do anything? He had watched a trained assassin try to take her out, only to recoil in terror and flee for their life.
His hand rested on his belt in exasperation, feeling a familiar shape on his fingertips. Realisation slowly crept across the scars of his face. The gift from his master!
He snapped the psyk-out grenade from its webbing and felt its weight. This had been given to him when he attained his rank, and carried it with him for over a decade. He muttered a prayer of thanks under his breath and activated the fuse rune.
With the last of his strength he pulled himself from the support of the ladder and into the open for a clear throw. The storm raged overhead. The witch was surrounded by warp lightning, screeching in anguish. Chaos spawn bore down on them.
He roared, drowning out the storm; “Mother One-Eye! You have been weighed, and you have been found wanting!”
It followed the potentially calamitous events of a powerful witch trying to cut off two co-dependent sectors from each other with great warp storms. It was set on the station of Mercy, an archipelago of asteroids and docking platforms lashed together with great chains, far away from help or support of the character’s usual network of spies and agents. You can get the whole brief that was handed out to the players on the day here.
Over a dozen people gathered on the day with beautiful painted warbands, some made specially for the event, and the whoops and hollers of the day attracted dozens more to our tables to stare at the funny sized models and the giant scratch-built 54mm valkyrie. Thanks to the efforts of one of our community we also had leaflets to hand out to onlookers about the game and how they could get involved. If even one person discovered a new passion for the quirky narrative skirmish wargame then it would have been a success.
The day was spread across four of Warhammer World’s “feature boards”, set amid the noisy backdrop of their annual 40k Doubles tournament. It worked out well, with three boards being used for games and the final board being used as the inevitable ‘overflow’ at these kinds of events – a storage for spare models and collections of character sheets.
Next time I’ll make sure not to double book during another busy event so we can snag a few of the ‘plain’ boards. We had the perfect number of people this time, but it would have been nice to have some backup boards to run some extra games on for latecomers.
The day was run across 3 games: two smaller games and a finale on the epic mining facility board. That is a schedule that has worked well for these events in the past and I didn’t want to mess with it. One element that is always a conundrum is how to run the finale game. In some events we’ve had a mega-board with every player present, in some events we’ve had no finale at all,just another opportunity to score points or victory tokens and have a wrap-up in the bar afterwards.
This time I wanted to trial something a little different, using elements I’ve pinched from previous events. Throughout the day, players fought to complete universal primary objectives and were given secret secondary objectives to attempt as well, scoring you Victory Points that would affect whether your warband made it to the finale board or not. Anyone who didn’t make it to the finale board got to play on a satellite board for either control of a valkyrie or the targeting systems for an orbital lance weapon. The idea being you could still affect the finale even if you weren’t placed on that board. Sprinkled in as well were some resource cards to shake up the early games, such as affecting deployment or rival warbands equipment.
It worked well for the most part, and although the feedback we received afterwards was very positive it did highlight some flaws in the formula that would need to be addressed before running a similar event;
There was not enough ambiguity. Inquisitor thrives in the uncomfortable grey areas between right and wrong. When writing this event, I concentrated too much on what I wanted to happen rather than present a situation and ask people to pick sides. During many of the warm-up missions, warbands often discovered they didn’t really need to fight over the objective, and many games almost ended up with a mutual stalemate.
There were not enough bad guys. Linked to the first point, but I had hoped there would be more outright villains turning up on the day to counteract the lack of ambiguity. In retrospect I should have put out a casting call for baddies to attend the event as well, rather than relying on people mulling over the (not very tricky) moral conundrum of whether to save the sector or not.
The finale formula needs reworking. The principle of earning points to a finale board is sound, but the satellite boards finished up much quicker than the overall finale, leaving many feeling a bit let down. One of the suggestions would be to have three simultaneous finales at once, three maguffins that must be stopped to ensure victory, rather than one big maguffin and two helper boards.
All in all I had great fun running the event, and I’d like to think people who attended had fun as well. There are hundreds of pictures still being edited ready for uploading and I’ll be doing breakdowns of some of the scenarios and characters over the coming months to fill these hallowed Dreadquill halls.
Thanks to everyone for coming and keeping the hobby alive, and here’s to seeing you all at the next one!
The explosion had knocked Dune unconscious. The last thing he remembered seeing was the form of Old Mother One-Eye being catastrophically ripped apart in a fury of psychic energy.
He was covered in dust and ash and the lair filled with the shouts of survivors. The air was calm, and although heavy with soot, seemed far easier to breathe in.
It was done. The sector had been saved. The Throat would remain open for humanity to come and go as it pleases, just as the God Emperor intended.
He coughed a mix of blood and ichor onto the metal platform and tried to pull himself up, but his strength had left him.
Stood above him was a blurry figure. Dune’s eyesight hadn’t fully recovered yet, but even blinking through tears and ash he could recognise the silhouette of that damned hat anywhere. The figure extended a hand.
This week’s theme is Space Thugs, and you don’t get much thuggier or spacier than TJ Razor. A man whom you could strip naked, beat bloody, interrogate for days in a cold brig-cube, finally turning your back only to find a knife stuck in it.
He’s a member of the Pursers Grim, a loose organisation of void-faring racketeers and shakedown artists, often used as a source of intelligence by organisations on both sides of the law if the coin is right. It is said there isn’t a ship in the sector that doesn’t have a Purser on board.
TJ relies on quick wits and quicker hands to stay one step ahead of his quarry, and always has a trick up his sleeve if he finds his back against the wall. That trick, however, is normally another knife. He’s a man of simple pleasures.
As with many of my Inquisitor projects, TJ started off as a totally different concept – an elegant swordsman in the employ of a fancy Inquisitor. What differed is that the parts remained almost completely unchanged while he languished on a shelf for 9 months, only adding the stick grenade and shoulder pad to complete the image.
It wasn’t until we had sunk quite a few hours into a new Rogue Trader campaign that the Pursers Grim faction became a little more fleshed out, and I wanted to have a 54mm representative for our games of Inquisitor. I had a dig through the Box of Shame and found this guy, so he was swiftly rebased onto something a little more space station-y to fit in with the other themed gangers I was building.
I was always a fan of the pose – Sergeant Stone’s legs are very dynamic but can be tricky to build a model that doesn’t look awkward with such a dramatic lunge. The arm reaching across his body to draw a blade gave the model oodles of character, and despite trying dozens of different permutations of sidearm, accessories, extra weapons and such, it was the simplicity of two knives that really worked for me.
NB: As an important pedantic note, I know he doesn’t have a sheath for the knife in his left hand. I couldn’t find one of a convincing size that would fit anywhere on the model and not detract from the flow or silhouette. Fight me.
To my undying shame, this was the state he remained for another 5 months. I blocked out the colours and had a vague idea in my head of what I was going for. The orange jacket was going to be some sort of repurposed criminal fatigues from his penal colony days, and the shirt underneath was going to be a leather jacket or padded vest to keep him from freezing over in the chilly underbelly of voidships. The stripey trousers are from a classic piece of 40k artwork (that currently escapes me) with a Rogue Trader wearing striped trousers. I don’t know what it was about this image that screamed 18th Century sea faring and naval combat, but I had to replicate it. I knew I wanted him pale as well, from a life lived away from the sun but also covered in gang tattoos, the ridiculous OTT type that you see in buzzfeed articles that you aren’t convinced aren’t photoshopped.
I ran out of motivation at this point realising the sheer amount of hours I would need to apply in one sitting to get the freehand tattoos looking the way I wanted. I also noticed that I had assembled the model incorrectly, and sculpted the arm joins to look like they went underneath the vest rather than connect to it. Pretty harmless when there’s no paint on the model, but after some block colours went on I realised that his shirt has a deep v-neck, and to combine it with the fabric on his arms gives him a weird leather long-sleeve deep neck shirt thing that I couldn’t be bothered to strip, resculpt and fix.
Signing myself up to run an Inquisitor day, “Mother of Mercy” in November seemed to be the trick to get my unmotivated ass out of the gutter and start finishing some models. I blew the dust off him, touched up his base coats and gave him a good couple of washes while I looked up some interesting prison tattoos.
I had a hard time getting the stripes on his trousers straight, but I was quite pleased with how they came out overall. The skin tattoos were an absolute nightmare, built up with painstaking layer upon layer of slightly darker shades of skin colour. I didn’t realise how tricky it would be to get a convincing head tattoo without covering the whole head, nor did it work when I tried to do scribbles and squiggles to “look like” tattoos from a distance. I had to knuckle down and freehand tiny tattoos on his tiny knuckles.
After the agony of freehand, the rest was a joy to touch up, and I’m very pleased with how he came out in the end. As I was painting, I was trying to come up with an interesting edge for the tabletop. Things like the Blade Master special rule and a high Weapon Skill were a given, but I wanted something that set him apart from the stereotypical knife-wielding maniacs.
I borrowed the “Always Has Another Knife” rule from the Community Special Abilities page which seemed fitting, but wanted something to underline the voidbelly stab-or-be-stabbed mentality. I thought about an ability that allowed him to make a free throwing knife attack if he chooses to be pinned while being shot at, injuring or at least distracting the shooter long enough to make a getaway or get stuck into combat. I like the idea, but it needs a bit of playtesting before I’m happy to write it up here.
All in all I’m very happy with how he came out, and I’m looking forward to doing a few more gangers and thugs from our little spit of space. Now all he needs is a battle report to star in…
**Cheeky 2020 edit**
TJ Razor made his debut in the Gorgon Crystals campaign here:
Sulphia Caliver, known simply as ‘Sulph’ to her comrades, is a veteran naval armsman sworn to serve the Yule Dynasty, an ancient and powerful Rogue Trader Household that has close ties with the Inquisition. She has served the Warrant Holder for many years, earning her trust and a place on her personal retinue when House Yule is called to serve the Emperor at the behest of the Inquisition.
She is a brute of a woman, decked out in heavy flak armour and carrying weapons that reflect who she is – vicious, reliable and heavy duty. In the confines of cramped voidship corridors and boarding gangways, you don’t need complex fighting styles or fancy weapons to win the day – simply cold steel and a strong fighting arm.
The model started out life more as a guardsman, a simple kitbash with Sergeant Stone’s legs and Slick Devlan’s body. Back then she was a he, and he was equipped with a standard lasgun and the infamous shouty head of Sergeant Black. He was only bluetacked together, but there was something about the pose of a flak-armoured warrior barreling forwards that really appealed to me. There was a ‘leader’ assembled as well, reaching for a sword and wearing a very fancy bicorn hat, but that will be a MOTB for another time. I liked the momentum of the model, but I never had any motivation to do anything extra to him, and he sat in my Box of Shame for months.
Roll forward to the (relatively) present day, and this lot on ebay comes to my attention. It seems in my brief 54mm hiatus, 3D printing kicked off and suddenly my niche modelling hobby was being bolstered by fresh kits and awesome new weapons. You can get the full Dreadquill run-down of the kit here.
Fawning over the new weapons I was formulating all manner of impossible projects, when I surreptitiously pulled out a few old projects from the Box of Shame and dry-fitted some of the guns. The one that was eventually used is, to my understanding, intended to be a grenade launcher, but one of my friends asked if it was some kind of giant shotgun, and that turned the whole narrative on its head.
Shotcannons are described as much larger variants of a regular shotgun that fire a huge shell (nearly twice the normal size) and can lay waste to large hordes of attackers. They are considered ‘support’ weapons in boarding parties, and I couldn’t think of anything cooler or more appropriate for an Inquisitor character, someone who specialises in brutal boarding actions and carries a gun that can explode a man into a burst of shredded clothing and flesh. What more could a girl want?
With the new angle of ‘naval armsman’ rather than generic guardsman or bodyguard, the project motored ahead. First thing to change was the head, the shouty guardsman head wouldn’t cut it. I had an old open-faced head from the Lucretia Bravus model, one that I’ve never actually used in a model. I didn’t really like the silhouette, it was too sleek and elegant, a far cry from the chunky combat of the 41st millennium. It looked perfect on her though, and I imagined some kind of huge welding-mask-type shutter being propped open that she could slam down when it was Go Time.
The armour was a joy to sculpt. I’ve always been a fan of the Elysian Drop Troopers, and the padded fatigues on their arms and legs was an aesthetic I wanted to replicate. I tried to keep the size of the pads as close to the flak armour on the body to bring the parts of the model together to look a more coherent whole, like it was an actual uniform that had been repaired a number of times rather than a disparate series of armour plates slapped together.
All the accessories were umm’d and ahh’d over for quite some time. She needed at least one melee weapon, and I felt an axe or mace would be suitably savage. No fancy sword fighting nonsense here. I settled on a chaos marauder axe head and shaft, with the handle being replaced from a 40k power sword to give it a bit more of a futuristic feel, rather than wrapped leather.
There was a toss-up between backup weapons too, I felt compelled to try and give her a reload for her shotcannon but a) I couldn’t find a suitable part to represent a whole new drum mag and b) didn’t feel it was in her aesthetic to reload such a bulky weapon. I see her firing off as many rounds as she can before closing with the enemy, hurling the thing like an angry fire extinguisher and getting stuck in with axe and boot. A nice big revolver strapped to her thigh would fit the bill of backup weapon.
The last key element I wanted for her was a fully sealed combat suit. Her attire doesn’t scream ‘space suit’, but I wanted there to be some way of her surviving emergency decompression, low oxygen or chemical warfare. Her gear is primitive but robust, so she would need suitable breathing apparatus reflective of that. The original plan was to have a mouthpiece attached to her chest or breast, like Forest Whittaker’s character in Rogue One, so she could quickly mask up in the event of an emergency.
At this point though, her arms and gun were well attached to her body, and I could find no way of making a suitable mask to hang from that part of her without it looking cluttered and ugly. I had a root around in my bits box and salvaged an Imperial Guard flamer tank, some guitar wire and a heavily shaved-down 40k space marine helmet to form a rebreather. I figured she would unhook it from her belt and clip it into place underneath her boarding mask to form a fully sealed helmet. It won’t help you with any space walks, but it might just help you survive long enough in a pinch.
Then it was just adding gubbins – a few pouches here and there, a grenade on the belt and sculpting in some straps to attach it all together and she was done! The name is from an idea that on her ship of birth, the ship’s macrocannons were independently operated by different family units, each competing to who can have the faster loading solutions and fiercely protective of their family’s cannon. Each family unit would have names derived from ancient Terran warfare; Caliver, Bulletson, Sabot and Saker.
All that’s left is to come up with a colour scheme and mock up some stats for her. A full study will inevitably come along in the future, but my mind went wandering about how best to represent her signature weapon on the Inquisitor battlefield; the naval shotcannon.
Many among the Inquisitor community have adopted MarcoSkoll’s quite excellent Revised Inquisitor Armoury, as although the original rules are robust enough to play with ‘out of the box’, almost two decades of playtesting have brought up a few issues of variety and balance of weapons. Marco took it upon himself to rewrite the entire armoury with the benefit of hindsight, community feedback and oodles of weapon knowledge, so ranged weapons all have a distinctive flavour and punch to them.
Having a browse through, I noticed there was an absence of ‘stupid big shotgun designed to turn men into paté’, so I had a go at improvising rules for on one using the options that were available to me.
Using the stats of a full auto combat shotgun, with the large calibre and drum mag upgrades:
DM, Jam Prone
The special rules below have been factored into the statline above.
Scatter Shot (Common)
“A very standard loading, a standard shot shell fires a small cloud of lead projectiles at the target. They have poor armour defeating capabilities and the projectiles rapidly disperse, but the effect of multiple projectiles impacting in the same instant can be especially effective against un-armoured or lightly armoured targets”.
Range E; D6+1 damage
*Multiple hits (1 hit per Degree of Success up to a maximum of 3 hits, all to the same location)
+1 Damage. Gains Considerable Recoil rule . +5 EncPump Action, Lever Action, Auxiliary and Dual Magazine shotgun magazine sizes reduced by 1. (-1 to both Magazines on the Dual Mag)Semi-Auto, Auto and Bullpup Auto Magazine sizes reduced by 2.
Drum Magazine (DM)
A very easy modification to fit, as it’s a simple magazine swap. Weapons which can take this modification are marked with “DM” under the Notes column.
The weapon’s magazine capacity is doubled, Enc is increased by +5, the Reload stat by +1 and the weapon gains the Jam Prone special rule.