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Interesting challenges/obsticles in a Space Hulk dungeon crawl?


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#1 Tron_18

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Posted 20 July 2012 - 08:37 AM

As a lead-in to a Rogue Trader campaign I'm planning on having the players acquire their starship.  Looking at the "past histories" and seeing "wrested from a space hulk" I thought a dungeon crawl through what will become their ship seemed like a cool idea.  The primary objectives will be to power up the ship (restore the plasma engine) and restore command and control (connections to the bridge).  In 40k tradition there will be some genestealers and other tyrannids hybernating on board. 

My question for the forum is, what are some other obsticles I could put in this type of adventure?  I'm kinda coming up blank on thinking of other interesting challenges to overcome.  Maybe some puzzle-like challenges or non-combat skill related challenges, since the Tyrannids will have combat covered?

Thanks for any input!

 



#2 Morangias

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Posted 20 July 2012 - 09:26 AM

Tron_18 said:

As a lead-in to a Rogue Trader campaign I'm planning on having the players acquire their starship.  Looking at the "past histories" and seeing "wrested from a space hulk" I thought a dungeon crawl through what will become their ship seemed like a cool idea.  The primary objectives will be to power up the ship (restore the plasma engine) and restore command and control (connections to the bridge).  In 40k tradition there will be some genestealers and other tyrannids hybernating on board. 

My question for the forum is, what are some other obsticles I could put in this type of adventure?  I'm kinda coming up blank on thinking of other interesting challenges to overcome.  Maybe some puzzle-like challenges or non-combat skill related challenges, since the Tyrannids will have combat covered?

Thanks for any input!

First of all, be sparse with the genestealers unless you want your team to start their adventures in the Expanse by burning fate. There's a good reason why Space Marines send in their veteran first companies clad entirely in Terminator armor to clean genestealer-infested hulks - these things are brutal!

In fact, I'd suggest choosing a different enemy entirely for that exact reason. Descendants of the remaining crew turned into a mutated, savage horde are a good start. Or Orks - they are always fun, and still much more manageable than 'stealers.

Do you have your team's character sheets yet? If you could give us a heads up on their characters, it'd be easier to come up with interesting challenges for them.


There is no truth in flesh, only betrayal.

There is no strenght in flesh, only weakness.
There is no constancy in flesh, only decay.
There is no certainty in flesh but death.


#3 Sarvus von Blod

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Posted 20 July 2012 - 09:37 AM

Genestealers are incredibly deadly. The first one we met in my game nearly dissected my Astropath in one volley. I would definantly say you should throw a genestealer or two at the group, but never more then one at a time unless you have an entire regiment of guards with you. Other enemies, as pointed out by Tron are mutants and Orks. Mutants would be an interesting take, and Orks…well they're Orks.

As for non combat, you could have your players deal with rooms that have been deppressurized or are exposed to the deep void of space. Make them have trouble getting to other areas by having the most obvious routes inaccessable via debris in the way, huge gaps in rooms, reserves of ammo lying in the path, etc. All in all, it is your choice, but if you want to make their lives hell on the first mission, by all means, go for it.



#4 UberMutant

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Posted 20 July 2012 - 10:16 AM

My group met Genestealers aboard the "Lost Treasure ship of the Rubycon System. Sadly, it was not the brutal and hard fight I was expecting, alot of armsmen died but the players made some daring dice rolls and some blind luck and managed to not only escape with thier lives but a few genestealer trophies as well.

 

This was with the stats in the "Into the Storm" book though, maybe Deathwatch Stealers are tougher.



#5 Trader Austin

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Posted 20 July 2012 - 02:14 PM

 'stealers are brutal. try almost anything else. cold storage crew…….. that are infected with something and they don't find out about it till they thaw one out and ask him. if it's an entire hulk, a hulkquake. core cognator has went mad and the auto defenses, airlocks and servators try to kill them. crew has turned into space hillbillies/canables (think the hills have eyes). radiation. 0 grav. boobytraps left by the crew for some reason. it used to be a beast trade smuggler and the cargo got loose. something came back with them during the last warp jump. dark elder fun house come play with our pets. 



#6 Adeptus-B

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Posted 21 July 2012 - 02:52 PM

I remember a similar topic coming up on the Deathwatch Forum a while back- here's a link to that discussion:

http://www.fantasyfl...=430400&efpag=0

-Hopefully some of those replies will be useful. A few more odds and ends:

The gravity plating has failed in and around the storage bays; when the PCs open a door, several million ball bearings (from smashed containers) come spilling out into the corridor, filling the air and creating a movement-and-vision hazard- just as a monster attacks (maybe have a random chance of deflection to all Ranged attacks made in the 'cloud' of metal bearings?).

The radioactive core of the auxilliary reactor is melting down, slowly burning a path through the ship, causing molten metal to drip from the ceiling of a corridor the PCs urgently have to use- random ouch-ness (maybe based on Move rate?). -And they'd better come up with a way to stop the core before it breaches the hull…

Warp Zombies! 'nuff said…



#7 Cornwallis

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Posted 21 July 2012 - 04:10 PM

maybe even relatively normal humans, still holding ground in their wreckage, scavenging from the rest of the hulk, in whatever condition or culture deemed appropriate. could be feral beasts looking for a fresh meal, savages holding onto their last bit of culture, navy ratings keeping up their habits waiting for rescue for who knows how long. each choice having varying degrees of danger or fellowship opportunities.



#8 htsmithium

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Posted 22 July 2012 - 04:26 AM

not a challange in itself per say, but you could always fall back on the old " the hulk is about to renter the warp" idea. adding a sence of unknown and a ticking clock to keep the party moving. although since this will be there ship it wont happen till they get free…or will it. hope the gellar field works.


 ding dong mala mortuus est,

quem veteres strigam

impii strigam

ding dong impiorum strigam mortuus est.


#9 DarkWinds

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Posted 22 July 2012 - 10:40 PM

As far as non-combat challenges and obstacles go I'm inclined to lean towards the technical challenges that need over coming. Dealing with depressurised cabins in one that has been mentioned. Perhaps they need to get into that cabin to retrieve something, or they need to cross it? One way for them to deal with it could be identify and close up the holes (hopefully well enough!) and then either divert oxygen from another compartment into it or light oxygen candles which release oxygen as they burn (not sure if they're in the RT book but they use them on Submarines today). Another thing you could throw at them is a space walk, they'd need to hunt down some magnetic boots of course would could be another challenge, maybe that's a potential reward after a fight or solving an obstacle. Both of these two require the party to have voidsuits, now I wouldn't make that easy for them either, limit the number of suits to two or three, so during the space walk two would go across then one would come back with the other's suit and start the process again until they're all across. And if any of them are stupid enough to wear those suits into combat then naturally they're risking the suits integrity (another problem for them to over come - maybe finding another suit or equipment to repair it).

A third obstacle, and one I know quite well as a former sailor, is firefighting. Ever since ships were made of wood and travelled across the water fire has been a ships worst enemy. This is equally the case for a voidship, nowhere to run and steel burns as sure as wood when the temperature is hot enough. If possible the party would have to attack the fire from every angle, all the bulkheads in the compartments directly next to/above/below the fire need to be cooled/doused either with fire fighting equipment or by exposing the compartment to hard vaccum though of course that should carry some risks. Oh, and by the way, bulkheads next fire like that, you can see them warp, almost melting even when your trying to spray them. The fire should be hard to put out requiring more than just the flick of a switch to vent the air out, maybe the valve for switching off the fuel line that's on fire is near where the fire is coming from, so they'll need to beat the flames back first to turn it off, if they vent all the oxygen out of the from the compartment the fuel line should keep burning until they figure out they have to shut it off at the source.

All ships are set up to make it easy for crew to fight fires, every hatchway has a two way valve in it to allow firefighters to run hoses the length of the ship and still shut the hatchs and every compartment and flat (corridor) has emergency breathing apparatus, hose lines, fire extinguishers and there's muster points dotted all over the ship that let the first crew to arrive suit up in fully protective gear. Things might be harder to come by on a space hulk of course, and gravity (or lack thereof) could be another difficulty, but I imagine on a fully operational voidship firefighting equipment would be close to hand pretty much everywhere and even in the M41 every voidsman worth his salt would know how to use it, barring the lowest press-ganged scum bag whose just joined.

 

Throw a few pirates/nids/mutineers into the mix and your party has a fight on its hands ;)

 

DW



#10 Tron_18

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Posted 23 July 2012 - 02:43 PM

Thanks for the ideas!  Here is a summary of non-combat challenges I'm gleaning from all of this:

- Figuring out how to gain entry into the spaceship portion of the space hulk (reading augry, piloting a small craft, using cutting tools)

- Finding your way through twists and turns. To be accomplished by blocking the some primary corridors with debris. (navigation)

- Figuring out how to repower the ship, repressurize it, and getting command and control established (navigation, tech-use)

- Something they do triggers an depressization, potentially blowing the PCs or their hirelings into the void.  (agility/strength)

- A room they need to pass through or enter is filled with heat and radiation.  Can they brave it, go around it, remove the source of the radiation?  (role playing, toughness, tech-use)

- A critical room (engineering, the bridge, a key control room) has a grav-plate malfunction.  Anyone entering it gets thrown around until the malfunction is brought under control. (agility, tech-use)

- Some still active radioactive material is slowly burning its way through the hull.  It must be brought under control, possibly risking the health of whoever deals with it. (toughness, tech-use)

- A member of the original ship's crew is preserved in stasis.  If awakened they can get very useful information from him, but over the eons he has been corrupted by the warp, and he secretly wants to turn some of the PCs or their hirelings toward the dark gods. (roleplaying)

@Darkwinds: I'm sure how the fire would start?  Also I imagine the PCs will bring a full compliment of void suits, and they'll need them because otherwise entering the hulk would be very difficult.

Thanks everyone, please chime in with any more ideas!



#11 DarkWinds

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Posted 23 July 2012 - 07:36 PM

Repressurisation could provide that vital third ingredient, oxygen, to a fire in a compartment that was depressurised by the previous crew (assuming heat and fuel are otherwise still in the mix) or perhaps a stray shot during a gun fight hits a fuel line, if your players have decided to use high velocity weaponry could spark something. As for void suits, I'm sure your right, though I'd still suggest those suits being at risk of being torn/ripped during combat to give them something else to worry about.

Your Hulk session is sounding very cool to me

 

DW



#12 ieatdeadpeople2

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Posted 24 July 2012 - 04:23 AM

 I recently had my crew do a space hulk crawl and here were some of the rooms I used.

-They could only land in certain areas and had to manouver in zero-g and vaccum through the abandoned tunnels to the sections that still had gravity and air.  Since the rooms they were entering were not airlocked when they opened the doors to the void a mossive gust forced them to take strength tests to enter the room or take fall damage.  During the crawl some of the passages were open to the void measing one slip of thier hand could send a player tumbling forever through the vaccuum, this had no gameplay consequence but along with floating globs of blood and drifting bodies served to highten the tension.

-Some rooms had been booby trapped by former inhabitants to keep the monsters now inhabitting the hulk at bay, for instance a laser trip wire activated battle servitor in one room.  Before entering the room I had the plers take a hard perception test which if passed I would tell them they noticed a thin veil of red light covering the doorway of the room they were about to enter.

-A zero-g battle occured.  The players had to reach a platform 100 meters above them while fighting 20 stryxis armed with light burners.  Drifting debris served as cover and launch points.  I made a chart  that the players had to roll on a chart I'd created (the chart would tell them if the rock they were going to land on was rolling or had shard portruding metal bits etc…) each time they declared they were jumping from one floating object to another as well as passing an agility test to avoid fall damage.  The real danger in this fight to was that if you got hit your void suit was punctured and you had to wait for the only player with void sealant to come save you.  But the stryxis had the same problem so they were easy to dispatch.

-One room was an arboreatum which without enough life to suck up the oxygen the air in the room became combustable.  So the players enterd what was basically a jungle, I let them get stalked by a few predators now inhabiting it and once the first shot was fired or a power weapnn activated everything in the room lit up and everyone had to test as if just having been hit by a flamer.  If the playters had had an auspex a tech use follwed by a logic test would hav e warmed them of the rooms explosive potential.

 The monster they encounterd on the ship were stryxis, servitors, a couple ebony geists, plague bearers, zombies and a deamon host


"Fire cannot kill a dragon..."-Daenerys Targaryen

"I found my friends their in my head."-Kurt Cobain

"I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member." -Groucho Marx

 


#13 Sarvus von Blod

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Posted 24 July 2012 - 08:24 AM

I half want to join that mission because it sounds awesome. At the very least I'll look back at this thread when I GM.

Anyways, I like the idea of the Aboreium so what if you have corrupted version of other components. The euphorium Life sustainers could have the drugs pumped into people been corrupted by the warp, or replaced with something more devious or deadly by the inhabitants, void exposure, pirates, etc. The Melodium could have some of its instruments broken sending ear peircing shrieks throughout the hull making it harder for your group to detect anything approaching. The Murder Servitors could have been activated by some counter defense system that detected the players boarding the vessel. The ship could contain a Tenebro-Maze that has some deadly surprises in store, not to mention the difficulty of traversing the vessel.



#14 Ghaundan

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Posted 03 August 2012 - 11:00 PM

 Am I the only one thinking about the Space Hulk the board game fan video? "Are there genestealers inside?" "OF COURSE THERE'S ****** GENESTEALERS YOU F-F-F-F-F-****!"

Other enemies on board space hulks are as suggested before, mutants of the former crew, orks but also chaos cultists who are hiding out from the imperium, pirates using it as a base or other alien races who's ship is either part of the spacehulk or moved in for one reason or another.

Challenges apart from combat are the obvious mechanical failures, hazardous enviorments (loss of pressure, leakage of dangerous substances etc etc) but also navigating the ship, a void master might know the rough layout or notice telltale signs of where in the ship they are and where they need to go. Give everyone their time to shine.



#15 Norticus Noctum

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Posted 21 August 2012 - 12:52 AM

Well I have suggestion for the final intense moment…but first.

Let's say that your group has few successes, but some of the things start functioning on their own is it the machine spirit, crew leftovers maybe, but they will know that they are not alone and they are not the nly ones that want the ship for themselves (hurry hurry motive).

At the last stand point (bridge maybe) there will be an epic battle with other group of Rogue Trader team (try good ol mirror image characteristics) and they will have to fight for the control of the ship or die trying.



#16 Drhoz

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Posted 23 August 2012 - 02:55 AM

Since my players had wanted to go board a space hulk so their new crew could get practice doing boarding actions last session, I improvised the following, based on the old horror story "The Derelict'  and the Doctor Who novel 'Love and War', and some scenes from Nausicaa of the Valley of the Winds thrown in for good measure

the entire inner surface of the hulk is overgrown in deadly, acid-secreting fungal slime. The fungi are also Hoothi, lethally psychic saprophytes. Among the Hoohi's victims are everything else that went aboard the hulk. So next session the crew will learn they've just trapped themselves aboard with zombie fungus-infected genestealers and their void suits are dissolving as we speak.

As the tech-priest commented after the Hoothi woke up "This is the problem with meatbags - when you discover something unusual you call in in the Techpriests to carefully study it and keep anything they learn secret. You do not poke it with a *****ing stick!!!!!"



#17 Gregorius21778

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Posted 24 August 2012 - 02:32 AM

The background is "wrested from a space hulk". A spacehulk is more the just ONE derilict ship floating in and out of the warp. It is a smashed together mass of different hulls and other stuff blunged into one odd shaped thing.

So… a huge logistical problem is ahead… WREST IT FREE FROM THE HULK. This only makes sense if it is already on the outside of the Hulk. But you will still need a lot of explosves…and before that a lot of exploration, so there should be an exploration challenge to find the spots where the explosive needs to be place. The longer this exploration takes, the more obstacles your can throw at them.

Finding all those leaks and damages that need to be dealt with should be an Exploration challenge as well…with a lot of focus on Trade skills (Voidsman; Technomant; Shipwright, etc). 

Decision: Dealing with the dead
Their are a lot of coprses onboard the hulk. Void mummified corpses of the forma crew. Giving each of them the bare minimum of sacrament (some final sentences by a priest before they are jetsoned into the void) would take a lot of time (penalty to Achievement points) but not doing so will be harmful to the moral of the crew (voidsmen do not feel if they treat the remains of their own kind like debris). What is the decision of the Lord-Captain? And what will the ships clerical class think of it?

Decision: Sanctification
The clergy urgently supposes a complete re-blessing of the ship. Given them what they (all the pomp and circumstances possible) will make verybody feel well in regard to the re-comission of the ship but will cost a small fortune (again, Achievement points). Simply deniying will make the ship prone to bad fortune and will damage the moral of the crew.  But what is the middle way? (Scholastic Lore (Imperial Creed) to know what is pomp and what is important). 

Decision: The Rites of Mars
The Technomants want to repair EVERYTHING but the ktichen think. The Recyclators deem the majority of the ship to be scrap and go about their business by the rule of swiftness ("if I already dismantled it, no technomant can do anythinig any longer"). If the Reclaimators are not but onto a leash their will be actual damage to the ship. But if they are kept onto to short a leash unreasonable afford will go into repairs as the Technomants will try to restore things better given to the scrap heap. It is important to make some key decisions here and restore order to the operation

 



#18 Adeptus-B

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Posted 24 August 2012 - 06:58 AM

I just ran a heavily modified version of Shades on Twilight from the DH adventure trilogy Purge the Unclean. The Acolytes were sent to recover an artifact from the wreckage of an Inquisitorial ship compacted within a space hulk. There were mumified bodies everywhere, members of the crew who's souls were devoured when the ship's Geller Field failed. Half-way through the ship, the group encountered what appeared to be a survivor- a man in robes pacing amongst the bodies mumbling "…total lack of discipline… no excuse for abandoning your posts… I obeyed my duty… now we have unauthorized personel on the ship… unacceptable… back to your posts all of you do your duty…". When the party's psyker used psyniscience to try to determine if he was possessed, he discovered that the figure wasn't really there, it was just a psychic projection. The figure got increasingly agitated as the Acolytes poked around, eventually screaming "Back to your posts back to your posts back to your posts!" before fading out- and the dead bodies begin to stir…

In small numbers, the warp zombies were much too slow to seriously menace the PCs, but the sheer number (the ship had a crew of 1500) they would have to fight through on the way out (yes, Horde rules!) would jepordize their mission. The robed figure kept appearing near the group and mumbling to itself. Eventually the party figured out that it was the ship's astropath: during emergencies, some ships enclose the astropath in a special armoured compartment with its own self-contained life support system, so they can continue to broadcast through anything short of the destruction of the ship. This being an Inquisitorial vessel, the compartment was additionally warded against warp energy. The players realized that the ship's astropath was still alive, enclosed in his armoured compartment and rendered hopelessly insane by the time the ship spent trapped in the warp (40 years- or just short of Eternity from his perspective), making it necessary to locate and breach the compartment and kill the astropath to nullify warp zombies he is subconsciously animating. This led to an interesting 'duel' as the astropath's avatar hurled a series of psychic attacks at the PCs while they tried different weapons to breach the armoured chamber.



#19 Warmaster Picklehauber

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Posted 05 September 2012 - 07:56 AM

It always seems like the local authorities are warning citizens away from space hulks- with good reason! On the other hand derelict ships are so valuable that everyone flocks to them whenever they appear; if only to steal everything that's not nailed down.

Imagine how upset the Imperial Navy would be if mariners had to risk their lives to chase the explorers into the wreckage for "rescue" , as a personal favor to that powerful warrant-of-trade-toting family. If they get a significant amount of sailors killed, that sounds like the opportunity to flesh out a nemesis! If the Navy can't or won't do it, then it might be time to call in the marines. The Adeptus Astartes, would more likely just destroy the party on sight (just to be sure), but they would also be no less pleased and probably would immediately eject the party from the space hulk and maybe turn them over to the Inquisition for good measure.

At that point it could become a cat an mouse game as the explorers, woefully unprepared to directly challenge a squad of space marines, try to outwit and evade the Astartes long enough to stake a claim, remove the ship from the mass and secure it as salvage.

None of this takes into account that the Astartes could always use an extra ship and what navy person doesn't want  "salvaged an entire Prefect-class void ship for Him on Terra" written on their resume'? That kind of temptation might make an otherwise incorruptible officer do something low and criminal just to further their career.






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