I feel like I am a little late to the party, but this is my write up of the Final Sanction run through I participated in on Free RPG day at my FLGS. It was really a very fun session, but our GM had a tough time keeping things on task - everyone kept chatting off on tangents about random geeky stuff. It was still a good time, but meant that we didn't get to all of the bits in the mission, so there were a couple of points where the GM "skipped ahead" - these should be apparent in the write up.
Also, I originally wrote this with only the free booklet to look at, so there are a number of situations where I did not know the full rules (not having played the other two RPGs), and this may show in the way I wrote some things. Anyway, I hope you all enjoy!
Epic Tales of Bravery and Daring from My Time in the Deathwatch
By: Brother Sköld of the Space Wolves
Ah what a grand beginning to my glorious service in the Deathwatch! And at last I have found a ready ear to tell it to! Sworn as we are to secrecy, I know I can never speak of these events to any outside this enigmatic order, but I can and shall regale you, Brother. Perhaps you can then pass it on once my term is up and I head back to Fenris. Glorious tales such as this should be told after all and not simply fade into obscurity!
I must admit that I was at first rather wary of how things might go during the time I was to be seconded to the Inquisition. The Kill Team I was assigned to consisted of myself and three other Battle Brothers, each from a different Chapter, and none nearly sociable enough for my taste. We had been dispatched on our first Mission together in response to call for aid from Inquisitor Kalistradi of the Ordo Xenos, our destination a backwater of an Agri-world called Avalos reportedly under siege by a rather sizable Genestealer cult.
I had thought to spend our time traveling from the Watch Fortress by boldly regaling my new squad mates with some rousing tales of the Great Hunt I had been fortunate to take part in, such was my excitement and eagerness to revel in a shared passion for violence and the general being about of the Emperor’s work. However, they would have none of it, and I was rebuffed in turn by each, every one for his own reason.
I had first approached our Apothecary, an upstanding member of the proud Ultramarines by the name of Brother Lucian, thinking that his past experiences fighting the foul Tyranid menace would give us a common starting point – as I had the chance to crush some of the foul gribbly little bugs during one leg of the Hunt. But the Apothecary had his nose buried in a book or glued to a cogitator terminal almost the entire journey. I didn’t ever let that stop me from starting a tale, but he always cut me short with a clear indication that he was busy researching our destination, and reviewing methods of first aid as they apply to normal humans. He claimed an expectation that medical assistance for the local forces might be needed on our arrival. He was never rude, but by Russ’s beard! Studying to that extent so frequently seems so dull! Hmmm… I guess I would still rather have the Brother who may have to patch up any bullet holes I get know what he is about.
Well, next I tried our resident heavy, Brother Sepheran, a Devastator from the noble Blood Angels Chapter. No better luck there, however! When I could find him out of his chambers, he was at target practice on the lower decks, or performing maintenance on his Heavy Bolter. As to the former, well, anyone who has been present when such a weapon is being fired knows that such precludes any hope of conversation. When I cornered him doing the latter, I thought for sure he would enjoy some of my tales of the brutal close assaults I took part in whilst fighting the simple brutish greenskins on an Ork held world, knowing the reputation his Chapter has for melee lust. But far from excited at the chance to swap tales, or interested in the awesome carnage I described, he only listened with a quiet intensity and asked all manner of questions regarding what kind of fire support patterns we had set up – as if I were a Long Fang! – and what Strategic information had led to our decision to charge when we did. Bah! Talk about missing the point! I wasn’t trying to give some blasted schola lesson on tactics – this was an epic saga of heroic battle. At least with his tendency for careful thought he proves how well suited to fire support he is. That is something I suppose.
Uggh. That left only one other member of our team, and I almost did not bother at all. In fact, I tried spending time with some of our ship’s crew first. But the lower ratings aboard were too in awe of my mighty form and presence, and respectfully found ways to excuse themselves from me as soon as possible. Perhaps I overplayed my hand a bit when it came to smiling… I oft forget that the Canis Helix and Betcher’s Gland have made my fangs fairly imposing to simple humans – which would explain the pervasive scent of fear whilst in their presence… ah well. I took a shot at conversing with the ship’s Captain next. An honorable man by the name of Haltrene, I could tell that even he was uncomfortable around me, though not outright fearful. While he appreciated my stirring tales from a general “Smite All Foes of the Emperor!” standpoint, it was clear he was struggling to relate to such awesome might as we Astartes yield. While I do not feel that the time I spent with him was wasted, it left me aching for the company of another Marine. Thus, with all other avenues exhausted, I finally sought out the last Battle Brother on board.
Brother Elyas, an Assault Marine of the despicable Dark Angels Chapter, had been avoiding me as much as I had him, which was just fine if anyone else were available. To be fair, I suppose it would be most accurate to say he had been avoiding everyone, for like all his contemptible brethren, he had a shifty nature about him. Always glaring at any who addressed him as if any comment or question was somehow an attempt to pry into his personal affairs – as though anyone would ever care what one of those sneaky secret keepers was up to! Hmph! At least I was able to learn that his temperament was suitably fiery for close line duties – even if I discovered this because he threatened me with harm if I ever insulted him again. Pah! All I said was that I had just been on a Great Hunt for our lost Primarch, adding much honor to our Chapter in the process. Well, that, and I pointed out how important honor was to my Chapter – unlike some who would be willing to strike a brother unaware. His response was scathing and I was most pleased to see the veins on his forehead pop out. I think I might have provoked him further just for a good scrap, but I know too well that I have bigger concerns than some sneaky robe wearing… Okay, okay, all four of us – even the Dark Angel – have more important things to do. I decided that as boring as it seemed, it fell to me to be the voice of reason, so I prodded Elyas to save his choler for the Genestealer cult we were on our way to face.
Thankfully, the time passed reasonably swiftly, between my many and varied attempts at conversation, a bit of weapons practice and some attempts at drinking what the ship’s quartermaster tried to pass off as alcohol – assuring me that it did a hearty number on off duty crew. Pah! I had not expected Mjod, but still…
Before long we were entering the Avalos system, and the real fun began. We had not even entered orbit when we were set upon by a number of Tyranid ships, which was a bit of a dire surprise. The infestation must have been much further advanced than our intelligence had indicated, for Hive ships to already be present, and us without advance warning. A virtually complete ambush against Captain Haltrene’s relatively light class of ship by a swarm of hungry space monsters was only ever going to end poorly, but thankfully we had been prepared to make planetfall and were already aboard our drop pod. The Captain valiantly pushed his ship to the very limit in order to fight his way into position that we might launch, and fired our pod only moments before the hull gave way. No finer a death can be had than one in service to the Throne, but I would not wish being eaten by those nasty things on anyone… Hmmm… well, maybe…. no, not even a Dark Angel.
Our pod locked on to an Inquisitorial transponder signal, and auto-adjusted our course moments before slamming down with a resounding assortment of noises that could be heard even over the firing of the “brakes” – the massive retro rocket that is meant to stop the pod from burying itself in a crater too deep for even an Astartes to crawl out of. With a thunderous crash the pod doors banged open, or at least some what. Several doors stuck partway open as they met resistance from some form of solid obstruction. Checking that none of my gear had shaken loose during our landing, I scrambled up my half open portal and leapt from the severely tilted ramp with my bolter to the fore, ready to bring swift, explosive death to my foes – only to look around and realize that we had in fact crashed through the roof of an Imperial Chapel. The “obstructions” blocking the pod doors were in fact several statues of saints and even the main altar. With a grinding wheeze, the door I had just exited from won out in the struggle against some minor saint I did not recognize, smashing the statue to the ground where it quickly became the most sacrilegious kind of jigsaw puzzle.
“Oh, I am going to hell for that,” I muttered, wondering if it actually counted as sacrilege since we had not crashed there on purpose.
A low chuckle came from Brother Lucian, and I imagined the Apothecary would be rolling his eyes inside his helmet. Pointing towards the entrance to the temple, the Ultramarine indicated the obvious sounds of battle – the distinctive snap of lasrifles firing as well as an assortment of solid round weaponry accompanied shouts and screams. “Quickly, Brothers, towards the fighting!”
Falling into place as a unit, we hastily exited our crash… er, landing site, emerging into the city of Lordsholm to the sight of fires raging across the horizon. Clouds of smoke were evident even against the stormy night sky. Clearly the city was all but consumed by war. The scene immediately before us was equally desperate. A sizeable regiment of the Planetary Defense Force (PDF) had thrown together an effective, if somewhat hasty, barricade in the square outside the Chapel – dragging rubble, sandbags, and even bodies into place around the central figure of a wrecked Chimera APC. A depressingly narrow strip of the cemetery ground beyond the barricade had been cleared to provide a killing ground, with some of the larger statuary and headstones added to the barricade. Likely some misplaced form of reverence had kept the killing ground from being expanded, and thus the PDF’s opponents had far more cover with which to approach the barricades than I would have liked. Perhaps the PDF had intended to clear more but lacked time, I supposed, if I were so inclined to give them the benefit of the doubt.
Ranged against the loyal forces was a vast horde of filthy rebels and cultists, who in sharp contrast to the reasonably disciplined lines of uniformed troopers were unified only by their ragged, unwashed appearance. My senses, sharper even than my fellow Astartes’ made it easy to pick out a few human/genestealer hybrids among the horde – most were recognizable by their slightly off colored skin, though a scattering of extra limbs was a big giveaway too. Their weaponry was of the poorest sort, and only barely had range to our lines, but with the sheer weight of fire even extreme ranged shots would take a toll.
As our Apothecary rushed to lend his aid to a group of wounded troopers, a new element entered play. A number of rebel heavy weapon teams had gotten some heavy stubbers to an elevated position in the tower of a ruined building just past the edge of the cleared ground, and were raking the PDF lines with a storm of bullets. The solid rounds were of hardly any concern to us with our Astartes Power Armor, but were quickly taking a terrible toll in dead and wounded amongst the humans. Brother Lucian would certainly be busy there for a bit, but meanwhile, those heavy stubbers had to be dealt with.
“Sepheran, suppressing fire on that tower! Elyas, use your jump pack to land amidst them and turn them to paste with your Power Fist!” I shouted, seizing upon a plan to end the threat.
The Dark Angel appeared eager for a moment before something seemed to give him pause. I thought it his innate distrust for others, or even that he might chafe under an order from a Space Wolf, but he was to prove my underestimation of him. “I think I see a better way, Sköld – that building is unsound. Look to the second level, I can see a main support through the caved in wall. If I had sufficient explosives, I could bring the entire structure to the ground!”
“Brother Sköld, I shall begin suppressing fire – see if the PDF has something sufficient to spare,” stated the Blood Angel Devastator. “The preference would be a large main charge and smaller explosive as well. I have a thought for how we might direct the building to collapse back upon the rebel force.”
In but a moment I had returned with a bundle of tank shells and assorted other things that go boom, handing the entire package to Elyas. Brother Sepheran directed the Assault Marine to place the smaller charge against the weak support we could see, and the larger charge to go off two seconds later on the support he had deduced should be just to one side.
The Dark Angel nodded and ignited his jump pack, soaring through the air in a majestic arc that took him across the killing ground and… into a solid wall. While some part of me chuckled at his failure to land in the large opening, I was far more pleased to see that he had smashed straight through the brickwork and was already on his feet placing the charges inside.
With an exasperated sigh that I barely made out over the clattering roar of his heavy bolter, Sepheran grumbled: “He’s placing them in reverse of my instructions. Ah well, it will still at least account for the heavy weapons teams.”
I turned back just in time to see Elyas take off from the opening he had smashed in the wall, clipping his arm on a protruding pipe, and arcing across the sky in a far less majestic fashion than his first jump. I think it was the sheer magnitude of how dumbfounded I was at such awful operation of a jump pack that kept me from reacting quickly enough when he dropped out of the sky scant meters in front of me and barreled head over heels into my shins. We tumbled back, tangled together from the force of his botched landing, snarling and cursing.
With a resonant blast, the explosives detonated and the building collapsed straight downwards. The effect was impressive and certainly spelled doom for the rebels atop it, but sadly caused minimal – if any – collateral damage.
As the Dark Angel and I scrabbled to get up from the ground, a furious challenge was roared forth from the rebel lines. A massive figure – for a human, at any rate – strode forward, brandishing a chainsword as he charged towards the PDF lines. Looking up from the wounded soldier he had just finished tending right next to the barricade, Brother Lucian leapt the barrier with no effort, and closed the gap to meet the enemy champion head on in three long strides. Lucian swung his own chainsword in a vicious arc, and the brute facing him wrenched his torso violently backwards. All bravado dissolved in the face of an Astartes, as much taller than the rebel champion as he was taller than a normal human, and far bulkier in power armor. A look of sheer panic was his sole expression as the Apothecary’s roaring weapon chewed the air a hairsbreadth away. The horrifically outclassed traitor tried a return stroke with his own whirring blade, but his lack of skill combined with how off balance his desperate dodge had left him made the attack look like a weakened bird flapping a broken wing. The Ultramarine allowed the scum neither time nor room to recover, and his next stroke caught the rebel’s bloodstained flak jacket right above the shoulder – the rapidly spinning teeth tearing into the material and pulling the blade onward into the hybrid’s neck. Spitting gore and chunks of skin, the chainsword tore through the rebel’s flesh, sending his head spinning away to the side.
“Impressive,” opined the Blood Angel, “but I would have just shot him.”
A ripple of dismay flowed through the rebel lines as their chosen champion was so summarily dispatched, but in moments it was replaced with an overwhelming roar. An enormous mob of the rabble charged across the killing ground in what at first appeared to be a pointless, suicidal ploy. In spite of their numbers, they would surely be destroyed before they could successfully storm the barricade. But then I spotted the sappers in their midst – rebels armed with melta bombs and demo charges. Surrounded by the horde, they might just survive long enough to reach the barricade and tear it wide open. Calling across the loyalist vox net, I alerted both the PDF and the rest of my Kill Team of the danger. Brother Lucian, still on the far side of the barricade, was the closest and thus the first to clash with the mass of unwashed bodies. Swinging his chainsword in the middle of so many foes, he simply could not miss, but his attacks did little to blunt the sheer number of opponents as they swarmed around him. In return, the horde rained blows with a wide assortment of improvised weapons upon the Ultramarine – all for naught as they pattered harmlessly off his armor – little more than hard rain. Still, the weight of numbers alone would soon overwhelm him if something were not done.
With a final curse, Brother Elyas dragged himself away from me and to his feet. “By the Lion! I can not roll worth a gretchin’s teeth tonight! And to have my fall broken by you – surely I am being punished for something.”
Doubtless gritting his teeth, the Dark Angel once more took off, this time blasting across the sky in a far shallower arc, landing in the midst of the foe with bone crunching force, and laying about himself with his massive Power Fist. The Assault Marine’s strength alone would have made every blow fatal, but the crackling energy field caused heads and torsos to explode in showers of powdered bone and liquefied organic matter with each swing. Still, even the horrific toll upon rebel lives he inflected with each swipe was as nothing before their immense numbers.
On my own feet at last, I fired my bolter on full auto, four round bursts barking forth to detonate within the disordered mass of the foe. Every pull of the trigger saw more rebels fall – as many as four or five at a time if the bolts detonated just right. Again, it was simply not enough, and the throng of rebels pressed ever closer to the barricade with their deadly payload.
Lucian cleared a small space for himself with a massive sweep of his chainsword, and began tossing frag grenades into the mass of enemies. First one and then a second sailed from his hand. The first toss sailed a bit far, and landed behind the largest concentration of enemies. The explosion claimed lives, but too few. The next grenade landed better, and the press of snarling bodies thinned more noticeably.
Brother Sepheran had been moving into position, and finally cleared his line of sight past our allies and the barricade. The freshly reloaded heavy bolter in his hands roared, adding its mighty clatter of rage to the battle. Firing in long bursts, the weapon’s shells, even larger than those of a standard bolter, wrecked vast amounts of havoc amongst the remaining rebels. Bodies were torn to pieces from within as the mass reactive bolts detonated in explosions so large that those near the impact were burned and concussed as well.
The swirling melee had brought Lucian and Elyas to within scant meters of the barricade, but with his last grenade, the Apothecary sealed the fate of the rebel charge. Their numbers thinned too far, the remaining wretches began to break off and flee towards their own lines. None made it as the combined fire of the PDF and our Kill Team picked them off.
With this desperate push utterly routed, the remaining rebels melted away, retreating back into the city. This battle was won, but now it was time to regroup and discuss with the Kill Team what our Objectives would be for this Mission. As we gathered together to converse, we were approached by an officer of the PDF, who introduced himself as Captain Ascote. He claimed that he was in overall command of this regiment and indeed all PDF in this section of the city. Thanking us for our timely intervention, the Captain requested we follow him to the Chapel where we had landed, for a private discussion.
Once inside, and out of sight of his men, Captain Ascote turned towards us and appeared to melt before our eyes. His features ran together in a vibrant smear, his shape became indistinct and appeared to waver, before re-solidifying into an obviously female form. My Brothers and I readily identified an assassin of the Callidus temple by the black sheen of the suit of synskin that covered her entire body, including her face.
The assassin introduced herself as Syndalla, an agent of the Inquisitor who had requested the dispatch of our Kill Team. She informed us that her mistress, Inquisitor Kalistradi, had left her here in the polymorphine induced disguise of the PDF Captain two days prior, with the goal of maintaining a stable beachhead for our arrival. The Inquisitor had delved deeper into the city with the intent of finding the Genestealer Broodlord – the primary source of the infestation that had clearly reached the point of critical mass and was now out of control. The assassin requested that we make efforts to locate and assist the Inquisitor, as well as find some method of sending a message off world requesting aid in stabilizing the city and defeating the Tyranid ships in orbit.
As we began to discuss our plan of action, I happened to look down and notice that my left greave had been smudged with a streak of dark green paint. With a snarl of rage and disbelief, I looked to Brother Elyas, the Dark Angel, and was horrified and incensed to find the corresponding smear of his right shoulder pad from where he had crashed into me. That my glorious armor should be so fouled by the color of one of his kind! Inconceivable!