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Traitors Dawn- Campaign Log


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#1 Lanowar

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Posted 08 January 2012 - 01:43 PM

For players yet to play it; this spoils Traitors Dawn (The adventure in the back of first founding) I'll be posting how my group did it and some personal insights on running scenes and what I made of this adventure. (Spoilers- I really liked it)

I just finished Traitor's Dawn for our group and while prevailing over the Alpha Legion at heavy causalities I have to say having played Deathwatch and read some of the pre-gen stuff in preparation for running this was a bloody good adventure. I'm curious as a GM who just finished it how the adventure went for other GM's and players; my group was

Assault Marine Black-shield
Tactical Marine Space Wolf
Liberian Blood Angel
Apothecary Ultramarine (Elected Kill-Team leader for this mission)
Tech Marine Dark Angel

Starting off I gave them some background each; so some knew the planet while others the reason why the blockade had started. The tech marine had been told the Space Wolves were interested in the world and would go about removing certain bits of technology from it (a la the idea that you can't have recording technology on Fenris) while the Space Wolf was told the Mechanicum wanted to lay claim to the world for themselves. Thus a tension was born. One that never really interfered so far but it did create some good moments.

Arriving on their own ship after receiving an transmission the Kill-Team are thrust into the meeting with little to no fan fare. There comes the first taste that this session will be somewhat different from a normal kill everything DW game. I didn't introduce the Tension tracker until after this scene since I wanted to gauge the general view each person had on the chapters. The Tech-Marine bonded with the Iron hands while the Blood Angel saw the White Scars point of view. After heaving arguing between PC's and NPC's the White Scars leave but are convinced by the Blood Angel who had their corner the entire discussion to give the Salamanders and Iron Hands time to co-ordinate strikes.

So at the end of the first RP session the players had a viewpoint on what chapter they thought “was right”. At this point the Tension-Tracker is introduced; I opted for the “Chapter v Chapter and Chapter V Kill-Team” idea which I felt helped characters to play to their demeanour. With a real risk/reward option riding on social interactions I found players wanted to actually roleplay encounters vs “trying to roll charm” which was a nice addition.

Deciding that Knowledge is power they go with the Iron Hands and fight along their forces. Leading to such moments as “The Blackshield attempting to use the Iron Hands gunship without their permission” which added to the tension tracker. Going down into the hive I had servitors attached to the walls sprouting pro imperial rhetoric like “Is your friend acting shifty? Refusing to share details? He might be a heretic...” which caused everyone to look at the Black Shield and ask questions. The Space Wolf shined as he calmed the populace down and found their way to the Mechanicum temple.

The Temple itself was a small maze of old disused relics and information; filled with booby-traps including loudspeakers that shoot fire when unidentified genetic material was detected; corridors that rotate and doors that drop down and cut PC's off. It wasn't a combat situation but it certainty put them on their toes.

This led to one of the highlights for the players and a warning about the quest for loot in non D&D games. After a corridor separates them for their tech priest the Apothecary finds a dark blue space marine helm; it's labelled in binary so he doesn't know what it is but I tell him “It's Darker then your colours and it looks quite old” so after finding information out the Apothecary puts on the helmet and when nothing happens goes to take it off; but it doesn't come off. It gets stuck. Then suddenly the runes turn and the Night Lords symbol appears the helmet begins to reshape and wings emerge. It then talks out loud. In an alien voice to the owner. The Apothecary panics and starts trying everything to get the helmet off the other players try and help and after some roleplay the Psyker manages to get the helm off.

The whole incident was classic though and something the players seemed to enjoy; well besides the Apothecary. The interaction with the Iron Hands and the populace was a nice bit of roleplaying by everyone. I threw in some Salamander/Iron Hand conflict by having them argue over tactics and have the kill-team make decisions by picking which chapter was right. On the whole the group was very pro Iron-Hands with the Salamanders a close second; the Liberian however still agreed with the White-Scars and this tension gave the group some time to actually expand on their characters.

After coming out of the Hive they get the signal to go to the flooded Hellsmark Hive where they are greeted with Salamanders checking bodies; after the Salamanders look at them for a second they open fire.

We do sessions lasting most of one day so this was the first session; at this point the group out of character suspected the Alpha Legion. Most have read Legion and know the fluff and were suspecting a cult or lest the work of some chaotic entity. When the Salamanders opened fire the tech-marine player went out loud. “Ah Alpha Legion” so I decided to roll with. Still the tension at this point was going south for the White-Scars with Salamander and Iron-Hands still being quite neutral.



#2 Lanowar

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Posted 09 January 2012 - 01:23 PM

The Alpha Legion opened fire and nearly killed the Assault Marine but then the Psyker uses electric powers to kill the enemies (then came the moment they realised that they were all in the water as well) Still with the enemy dead the Horde burst through the wall giving the Kill-Team a challenge as there use of explosive weapons meant the actual room started to fall on them and in the water handicapped their dodge rolls. Pushing forward they encountered dead White-Scars and were confronted by paranoid marines who distrusted anyone following ambushes. This point the Ultramarine's diplomacy skills began to falter as superiority only fostered more mistrust. It was an interesting moment to see the Kill-Team realise their leader wasn't helping the situation.

At this point the jammer comes up and every signal goes dead; making everyone rethink their ways of communication.

Next came the rally missions which are a fusion of combat, roleplaying and even investigation. Arriving at the White-Scars forward base they showed the White-Scars what was going on and they got him to avoid adopting a kill on site policy. Until they failed the Rally Mission. An hijacked Salamanders Thunderhawk is approaching the camp indenting to kamikaze them. The commander asks the Kill-Team what they should do. The ship is trailing smoke but it can't transmit any codes or even make it's intentions known. Asked if they should shoot it down or let it land the Kill-Team lets it land. Only for it to crash into the base; the White-Scars realise that with their enemy posing as allies it is easier to kill on sight policy for any Space Marine who can't prove their identity or loyalty. Frustrated by this the Kill-Team move to get the Iron Hands support but before they can they hear the other missions.

Danark Down- An Iron-Hands Dreadnought is trapped in Hellsmark hive and needs rescuing
White-Out- A Salamanders frigate is bombarding the Iron-Hands presence on one of the Hives
Mercy is for the Weak- The Salamanders are allegedly slaughtering the loyalist populace

 

A great deal of discussion is kicked off as different viewpoints while the Liberian still believes the White-Scars needs their help the Dreadnought being rescued would help get favour with the Iron-Hands. The tactical marine wants to investigate the purge but met with heavy resistance from other group members.

“What would happen if they're simply purging the rebel presence?

“Then there in the right and we shall join in!”

Going to rescue the Dreadnought is a survival combat encounter against an endless horde as the group struggles to free the mighty machine. The Black Shield burns his last fate point when the horde of human guard manage to breach his power armour after trying to provide covering fire. Dropping smoke goes the wrong way when the equipped guards bypass it to become an even bigger nuisance. Still the Assault marine does good providing enough of a target so the Dreadnought can be free and takes down the horde allowing them to escape.

Talking to the Iron Hands Commander they take the Dreadnought and one of the Salamanders to the commander when they get their support. The tension tracker is high at this point as White-Scars and Salamanders start attacking one another in small skirmishes. To remedy this the kill-team are dispatched to retreieve the Salamander squad allegedly culling the populace. Tension between the chapter and the Kill-Team rears its head when the group leader clashes with the Liberian sent to act as the commander's equerry.

The next rally point mission was one that could be an entire adventure in of itself. Arriving at the aftermath of a battle the Salamanders openly admit to killing the populace claiming they are now heretics with the ruinous powers. The Salamanders say their commander Sgt Corpus gave the orders and is out repairing the turrets at the perimeter. Meeting an officer of the chapter he claims that White-Scars that came with them in the initial assault attacked them before he killed them in self defence. Citing them as heretics but when he is attacked by a man who is identical to him in every way calling himself the real Sgt Corpus the Kill-Team have to decided who is the traitor and who isn't.

The investigation was one of trying to find what didn't match up. One claimed they killed the attacking White-Scars and moved the bodies, while the other says that Iron Hand forces appeared and killed them forcing him to flee into the hive to regroup later. The two were identical almost down to the T. The PC's tried multiple ways to find the real one some where decent attempts. One in particular (telling them that because they couldn't the difference and they couldn't risk the chapter's safety it would only be fair if both had to commit suicide) would have worked if the PC had told me before hand the pistols he handed where both empty. Finally they examined the bodies and discovered Power sword wounds when the Sgt who claimed he killed them only had a chainsword. After dispatching the traitor they moved on.

This one took up the most time and was the most fun; the plot wrote most of itself as my original idea was meant to be a Fake Sgt. trying to get Salamanders to kill other Marines became “an assassin who might try and kill the captain so we can't let either of them live” I just went with it because their idea was much better then mine! It's a shame the player didn't tell me about the empty pistol thing because it was in theory a much better way of deducing the traitor. “Whoever kills themselves first is obviously the real one because they would have been truly prepared to die for the Emperor” but as it stood it didn't go that way. Shame really.

With this one completed they discovered the Hive being bombarded had been destroyed. Hey you can't win them all.

So at this point the PC's still don't really know what the Alpha Legion wants; the White-Scars are fighting the Salamanders while the Iron-Hands are beginning to argue with the Salamanders over the way everything is being handled.



#3 Zappiel

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Posted 10 January 2012 - 06:38 AM

Nice!  Sounds like you've got a great group there!  and you've learned an important gming lesson:  if the players' idears are better than yer own, steal 'em!  (just be sure to 'reward' yer players for their remarkable ability to 'figure out' yer plots....)



#4 Lanowar

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Posted 10 January 2012 - 09:59 PM

So at this point they intercept a transmission from Naval Officer Nihal asking to meet with the Captains at the Crown asking for a report on the situation. Sensing a trap they rush back to the Crown to witness a stand off as weapons are drawn and punches are thrown. Sensing the warp the Assault Marine pulls his bolster but in doing so set's off the White-Scar who shoots the Salamander on reflex, this causes the Iron-Hands commander to tackle him to the ground. Tensions are high as character gravitate to their favourite NPC trying to stop them from being the person that kills another Astartes.

The Alpha Legion at this point strike and Kordrac the Slient and his retinue attack the Kill-Team.

Now at this point it should be noted that the Kill-Team are very shoot first and ask questions later; Kordrac charges into the fray and starts attacking. Unfortunately none of the players ever get close enough to really see his face which means no one gets the chance to really see the runes. Not even a round in everyone from a distance shoots down Kordrac who then ascends into a Daemon Prince. Immediately the game changes; Kordrac is set upon by the captains and the Liberian while Lascannons provide firing support. The other PC's are somewhat helpless as the Prince shrugs off most blows and kills the Iron Hands captain shortly afterwards. The Kill-Team is whittling his health down but the price is too high, taking the hand of the Liberian he then kills the White-Scar's captain before spotting the Assault Marine running into the fray with a sanctified weapon on him. The Prince charges and leaves himself open to an attack by the Liberian who does almost enough damage to kill him but with 1 HP left the Prince charges the Assault Marine and kills him. His sword entering the black shield's gut and is lifted off the ground before thrown out of an stain glass window and to his death; fated to be boiled alive in the waters below. Enraged by the death and destruction the Tech-Marine rises and finishes off the monster in the name of the Onimessiah. With two rounds left before the portal would have opened to the point of it staying permanent they save the system from the forces of chaos.

Final encounter was always going to be a tricky one; knowing the group's attitude I knew Kordrac would have been killed almost instantly since with his helmet off and making himself known as the target. Playing too this I decided they needed a challenge to cap off the adventure and a Daemon Prince is such a bad-ass and while a struggle it's an encounter that will stick out for them in the overall adventure. With two captains dead the chapters are at odds ends. The Salamanders and Iron-Hands agree that while they won the price was too high and perhaps they should just let this wound heal up before working together again. The White-Scars on the other hand can't forgive the other chapters and the kill-Team and keep a grudge against all of these people involved in their captain's death. (The tension tracker was quite high for everyone and the White-Scars)

For the Alpha Legion they had plenty of victories of their own; while they lost some of their number the chapter manages to steal a great deal of geneseed from the various chapters and caused a strive between the White-Scars and the Salamanders. Problems also arise when chapters incorrectly take Alpha Legion geneseed from disguised marines. Thanks to the legion's supply of non-tainted gene seed some of these slip through the net and are mistakenly used creating problems in of themselves.

This adventure was a blast to run; the Alpha Legion are the ideal villains for Space-Marines and for 40K roleplay in general. They're devious and more subtle then most chaos legions plus they can hold their own in combat once it comes down to it. The Tension-tracker and the Legion's various schemes are brilliant and while the Kill-Team knew the Alpha Legion were sowing discord and were trying to make everyone turn aganist one another it still seemed like it kept them on their toes. Some of the encounters I modified by the basic premise is sound enough that if you're looking for a roleplaying adventure that also has some epic fight scenes as well. You can't go wrong then traitors dawn.






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