I have always wondered how the primitive indiginous people of space marine recruiting worlds feel when armored monsters come to haul away their sons to an uncertain fate. Perhaps they don't even know whats going on. I am planning a game where players are going to end up playing deathwatch, but don't know it yet.
My group has been playing a popular fantasy RPG that is based on the most famous RPG ever (you do the math). We have also played some Dark Heresy in the past, so my group is quite familiar with 40k and the universe. Since its my turn to GM, I have told them we are going to play our fantasy RPG in a Conan-esque low magic setting. Arcane magic is evil, all mages are outcast from society upon discovery based on ancient law given by the "Great-Father". The forests teem with monsters and daily survival is a struggle. The group is a set of young teenagers, setting out on their trial of manhood where they must go out and slay some kind of fearsome beastie. After trecking through dangerous woods, and a harrowing fight with said beastie, they are victorious and night has fallen.
It is then that they witness a celestial event laden with foreboding. Twin stars fall from the sky one in the mountains, and one in the forest home of the deepest jungle where the outcast mages live. Carried by the wind, the sorrow ridden howls of the mages are carried by the wind to the ears of our heroes. Lightning and fire crackles on the horizon where the sorcerers live. This can only be the culling; an event which happens only once in several generations. Mountain ogres dressed in impervious armor descend from the mountains to carry off the children of the village. Since the heroes are between the village and the mountains, they can deduce that they better warn the village or be caught out alone when the mountain ogres arrive. Whatever they do, the mountain ogres find them and bring them to the village if they don't go on their own. Speaking a language the villagers can't understand, they round up all the boys of the village and make them undergo several trials. Those who resist are killed by the ogres' terrible magic wands that cause bodies to detonate in a shower of gore. Several boys are killed from falls, burns and other side-effects of the tests. Those few who aren't thrown out or killed are given weapons and ordered in their own language "kill". Some of the boys protest, and those who do not comply are killed on the spot. Whatever happens, only half of the original party survives the encounter, and are hauled off to the mountains to a strange metal building. Inside the building, the ogres take their armor off, and to their surprise, the ogres are actually huge men! They are thrown into a room with sturdy wooden l furniture. From somewhere, they can hear strangely soothing chanting. It calms them; makes them feel that everything will be alright after all. Even though they can't understand the lyrics, the voices seem to be saying that someone out there loves them and that they are very special. The strangest part of all is that the music seems to be issuing from a small golden statue sitting on the table. Why would anyone make a statue of an eagle, wings spread wide, with two heads?
At this point, everyone has their ah-ha moment, I collect character sheets, and issue deathwatch sheets. The next adventures take them through training, (1 session) the highlights of their tenure as scouts (2 to 3 sessions) and finally, their first mission as full fledged marines. (1 session) I will add abilites, armor and wargear as they progress in their time in the 10th company. However, only one player will survive their first mission as a marine, the rest dying glorious deaths. This lone marine survives 2 centuries of warfare and eventually is inducted into….. The Deathwatch.
From there, the game follows the standard deathwatch formula.
What I could use if you are so kind as to comment:
My wife pointed out that this smacks of a recent hungry movie (Dangit, I HATE that movie). How can I make it more different from that story?
How can I describe the marines and their wargear, but not give away my plot twist?
Thanks for your time.