OK, below is a sketched outline for a campaign. Thoughts?
Calixis is far from the Emperor’s Light out here on the fringes of the Periphery and the Halo stars; it is a fruit ripe and ready to rot…
Behind the veil
The ‘Path of the True Way’ (called ‘The Path’) (Nurgle Cult led by Lastor Golding?) has identified Calixis as an entire sector ready to fall into sedition and corruption.
The Cult uses the ancient axiom ‘love of money is the root of all taint’ to work its clandestine machinations from the shadows.
The Path has infiltrated and entirely corrupted the upper and core echelons of House Krin, and thereby is able to secretly influence through financial manipulation, most of the great powers in the sector.
The Path’s goal is simple; to bring entropy and decay to the Calixis sector; to corrupt its politics, pervert the morality of its populace, destroy the knowledge and enlightenment of the Imperial truth and ultimately to sow the seeds of putrefaction into the Flesh of Humanity throughout the sector.
On the surface
The 13th Black Crusade has been repulsed at great loss to the Imperium. The Administratum and the Munitorum has instituted a crisis regime to rebuild the lost resources quickly, and so tithes have been raised severely.
Hard times are beginning to bite and civil unrest and talk of sedition is on the increase. Sector Governor Hax of Calixis is concerned that order and stability in his realm is threatened by this sedition and so he is imposing harsh and repressive sanctions through his loyal factions.
The increased tithes and now Hax’s ill-conceived actions to control the local financial inflation to stem civil unrest has seriously angered House Krin. The ancient banking house has long been unhappy with the threats posed to their power by the regulatory regime of the Administratum and the endless, crippling tithes of the Munitorum.
Mal-Al Krin, the ancient and secretive House Ruler, has moved to meet the threats to the house posed by the current events. For centuries Mal-Al has studied the ebbs and flows of fate and finance and for the first time in his life, the confluence of events is right to allow his plans to bear fruit.
Mal-Al has two great schemes he wishes to see succeed.
1. He is the latest custodian of the Great House Krin. For generations they have controlled the affairs of Calixis, exerting their will covertly through their massive financial power. The House Central Treasury, the elite cabal of banker-nobles at the heart of the clan have waited patiently for the chance to extend that control into the direct governance of Calixis itself, but such a takeover has always posed too high a financial risk. Mal-Al now sees the opportunity to extend House Krin dominance and possibly displace Sector Governor Hax with a puppet ruler who would be less fastidious in the imposition of trade and financial regulations.
To this end, Mal-Al has ordered the House Krin leaders to gather and direct those malcontent and seditious Noble Families and other factions (particularly around Scintilla, Sepheris Secundus and Iocanthos) to support the Krin goals to unseat the Calixis governance and replace it with a Krin puppet.
House Krin is covertly funding activity that actively resists or contravenes Hax’s authority such as Seditious noble houses, anti-Imperial political factions, immoral organisations, anti-medicae cults, criminal gangs, etc.
Governor Marius Hax and his loyal faction remains a considerable thorn in the side of the Krin plans however. Hax does not yet have evidence that House Krin is attempting to destabilise his position, but ha and his loyal factions are starting to fight back, bringing Imperial authorities such as the Administratum and the Ministorum to bear to suppress the agitators and uncover who is threatening him…
2. Mal-Al is privy to the deepest secrets of House Krin, a faction whose authority, forbidden records, resources and lineage extend back to before the Horus Heresy. Mal-Al himself is privy to knowledge of such profound heresy that he locks himself away and few but those at the highest order of the House know he exists.
Mal-Al understands that the Chaos Gods, and indeed the God-Emperor himself are not ‘Gods’, nor supernatural. They are those mortals who have been able to vest such faith within them from a mass of Humanity that they have been able to break the bonds of the Materium and become a ‘bright soul’ in the warp – an entity made sentient in the Warp by the faith and power of an idea that make them the focus of the worship of others.
Mal-Al wishes that for himself and has searched for centuries to find an idea, so powerful that could instil such faith and belief from Humanity, and vest in him the power to transcend into the Warp and become such a power.
From the ancient texts he found that idea; ‘the love of money is the root of all taint’. Mal-Al wishes to bring about a fundamental change in the hearts and minds of humanity; to change them from Worship of the Emperor to worship of money and he sees the time for this idea to take root as having come. With the harsh tithes, never before have the citizens of Calixis been so concerned with the coin in their pocket. When the taxes take food from the mouths of their children, the ‘love of money’ filtered through the tainted, base and selfish nature of Humanity can finally become an idea he can start to foster.
He intends that House Krin instigate a rule in Calixis founded on Capitalism within the Imperium, rather than Theism; and by making him the prophet of this new idea, he hopes to draw such power of faith from Humanity as to ascend to the Warp as the Emperor has done.
Mal-Al has funded, and continues to fund extensive missions to uncover the lost secrets he needs to fulfil this plan. He is particularly interested in the fall of the Eldar; a cataclysm he hopes to learn from in his quest for ascendancy.
So the basic plot would run along the following lines…
1. Krin recruits a variety of nobles, inter-system corporations, etc.
So adventure brief might be – write adventures around House Krin corrupting various key institutions / powerful people or organisations to the cause of supplanting Hax as governor,
2. Mal-Al Krin (always hidden and through key agents) increases his search for forbidden lore on how he can harness the power of faith in the new ideas of capitalist ‘love of money’ so that he may ascend as a new power in the Warp
So adventure brief might be – write adventures concerning the search of lost lore or artefacts, particularly associated with the Horus Heresy or the fall of the Eldar…both times when new powers ascended to the Warp…
3. Governor Hax and his loyalists and assests come under direct and indirect attack to remove him from power and replace him with a Krin puppet and cheaply and bloodlessly as possible.
So adventure brief might be – write about Hax and the loyal authorities resisting these attempts at usurpation, investigating who’s behind them and then about the attacks on the various Krin proxy factions
4. Faced with a potential uprising Hax quietly brings in Imperial support, through his network of covert contacts. He does not wish to arouse imperial suspicions that he is unable to maintain control, but is unsure of the loyalty of authorities within Calixis and so brings in ‘outside help’ he CAN trust.
So adventure brief might be – write about the Imperial reinforcements (=][=, IG, Ministorum missionaries, Administratum battle-scribe delegations, etc.) coming in to help Hax…perhaps these aren’t quite the saviours they seem? Perhaps they favour Krin, or actually are concerned at Hax’s ‘weakness’…
5. Conflict for the heart/soul/bodies of Calixis ensue. The sector splits with Hax loyalists desperately trying to maintain order (but not necessarily Imperial order) supported by the Minitorum, while endless rebellious factions and populations turn from Hax’s rule, and refuse to pay tithes, instead keeping their coin for themselves under the new ‘Krin Doctrine’ (‘Charity begins at home’?)
Adventure brief – write about the conflicts between these two core factions, with the Hax/Ministorum trying to maintain order and faith in the emperor, while the Krin-loyalists try to maintain their own wealth and start to reject the emperor who ‘takes bread from their children’s mouths and coin from their pockets’…(Poll Tax rebellion anyone?!?)
Hax will be supported by friends from other Sectors, while the Krin faction could draw support from all manner of other sources (Rogue Traders, Halo Stars (could their be Demiurg factions there?), even Eldar possibly, etc.
6. Ultimately, the actions of the PCs should resolve things one way or the other…preferably, the ‘taint’ of the love of money destroys itself before it is able to overwhelm Calixis…PCs should first become aware of the Krin connection behind different seemingly random events…
Adventure brief – write about the final acts and outcomes of these battles – does corruption and Mal-Al Krin’s plan triumph or does the Imperium restore order and cut out the taint of unpaid tithes in this trying time for all?
PCs can come in on either side of the fight, but I’d suggest the decision they make about which side to pick should be their own as the campaign develops…