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#1 Adeptus-B

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 03:09 PM

I just watched the movie God Told Me To the other day. It's a 'grindhouse' staple from 1976 that I have heard about for, well, decades, but never got around to seeing. Turns out, it's not very good, but it occurs to me that the basic plot would make for a great Dark Heresy mission with only a little tweaking:

 

---SPOILER ALERT (I dunno, do you still need to do that when a movie is nearly 40 years old?)---

 

A series of spree killings are plaguing the city. The perpetraitors usually commit suicide; those that are taken alive are surprisingly docile. When asked why they went on a killing spree, they smile and say "God told me to…" Investigation reveals that the killers have one connection: they have all crossed paths with a bizarre messiah-figure. He is fairly easy to identify; his records indicate that he was supposedly the product of a virgin birth. When the investigator tries to locate this individual, he draws the attention of a cabal of powerful men (politicians and business leaders) who are under the influence of the 'messiah', who has actual 'miraculous' powers (including psychically compelling the killing sprees) and whom they whole-heartedly believe to the the Second Coming. The truth, however, is that the messiah is actually a human/alien hybrid, implanted into a UFO abductee… It's mostly downhill from there, as the film relies on an absurd contrivance to come to an unsatisfying conclusion (-that never adresses why the hybrid(s) were created in the first place).

 

A little tinkering can turn this into a good DH scenario. Obviously, the hybrid should be suspected of being a new Living Saint. Maybe the Acolytes are dispatched to investigate that possibility, and subsequently learn about the mass killings- and investigate the possibility that they are connected. Rather than have the hybrid be the 'ultimate' adversary, I would have him be a pawn of his alien 'daddy': maybe he truely believes he is a Saint and the voices he hears in his head are from the Emperor, 'calling the faithful to join him' (that provides a good excuse for not having to make Decieve rolls when the PCs meet him). For the alien progenator, I would make his motivation that his warp vessel is damaged; it is hidden in a deep crater on the planet's moon (perhaps lying there for thousands or millions of years), and it needs psychic energy to power up. Toward that end, the alien has used the last of his ship's power to create a powerful psyker hybrid that can influence the population to mass murder (the killing sprees always occur when the moon is directly overhead); his vessel then absorbs the psychic energy released by masses of violent deaths- in effect the ship is powered by stolen souls. What will happen if/when the vessel reaches full power…?

 

Using big-budget movies as the insperation for rpg scenarios usually results in groans from players as they immediately realize what's going on, but less-well-known B-movies have potential for inspiring some good scenarios- and even if one of your players picks up on the source for the plot, they are more likely to respond with a sly nod than anything else…

 

So, anyone want to suggest other B-movies that can be given the Grimdark treatment…?


Edited by Adeptus-B, 20 January 2015 - 10:28 PM.


#2 PnPgamer

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 06:58 PM

The two first Alien movies pretty much define the scenario of space hulk games, which are copied from the movies. The first one was pretty B-like.

You could go into thinking classic horror, something like frankenstein could be pretty much literally taken into DH, And mummy could be a more powerful warp zombie that is almost impossible to kill, and later on could develop an actual sentience and be able to some psychic powers.

Or a really used up crap that probably isn't anything new to copy:
EVIL DEAD. You could make the pc's receive info of odd disturbances about isolated planet, and get them to investigate, then just start a incorporeal warp entity to possess stuff/pc/npc and cause lots of mayhem. Of course the entity has destroyed "the bridge" back home, once they're in.



#3 BrotherKane

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 10:42 PM

I feel fairly certain that some Matrix-like plot could be grimdarked.  However it would have to be from the other perspective IMO.  So rather than discovering they are in the matrix the PCs should be sent in to curb The One from ruining the system:

The matrix has been designed by the adeptus mechanicus to provide a new power source for forgeworlds.  After all the main resource that the Imperium has is the billions upon billions of people.  They have scraped up the dregs of a particular world (or perhaps just snatched up some whole population somewhere) and placed them in.  Just like in the filme they started with paradise, but it got rejected, and so they have them in a simulation that makes it like a normal hive world.  But there is the problem of the One.  He is able to break the rules (i.e manifest some psykerness inside) and is rebelling against the system.  The PCs are sent in as 'agents' to find and kill him before he grows too strong…



#4 Crunch

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 11:15 PM

The Wicker Man (please god not the Nick Cage version) is actually a natural DH plot. Substitute "Garden Planet" for "Scottish Village" and off you go. 

Alien Ressurection is pretty darn grim dark already and I've stolen some stylistics from it.

Event Horizon may be the most DH movie ever made.

About a third of the classic era Dr Who episodes can be used with a coating of grimdark.

Any of the various movies based on H.P. Lovecraft will translate exactly into genre, just add lasers.

At some point in every DH GMs life you have to run Night of the Living Dead, preferably with slow zombies in a Hive City.



#5 Crunch

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Posted 05 February 2013 - 11:16 PM

Oh, Outland with Sean Connery could map as well. And Enemy Mine could be adapted to a band of Acolytes stranded on a planet with a relatively benign Xeno presence and a Chaos or 'Nid infestation.



#6 Adeptus-B

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 05:58 AM

Crunch said:

The Wicker Man (please god not the Nick Cage version) is actually a natural DH plot. Substitute "Garden Planet" for "Scottish Village" and off you go. 

Yes! I'm currently developing a mission based on a combination of the Clive Barker short story Rawhead Rex (a farmer trying to clear a new plot of land accidentally unleashes a daemon bound under a stone obelisk in ancient times), the Stephen King short story Children of the Corn (a daemon takes over a rural community, compelling the children to kill the adults and become its fanatical worshippers), and the movie The Wicker Man (an inverstigation into an isolated rural community turns up strange pagan practicesand the possibility of human sacrifice; the investigator is manipulated into becoming the prime sacrifice).



#7 Adeptus-B

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Posted 20 January 2015 - 10:15 PM

A few more recommendations for little-seen movies that can inspire Dark Heresy plotlines:

 

HORROR EXPRESS (1972)

An early-20th century scientist discovers a frozen ‘missing link’ ape-man in Asia. While transporting it to Europe aboard the Trans-Siberia railroad, it is discovered that the body is possessed by an alien intelligence, which can kill with its glowing eyes and jump between host bodies. Soon it’s a full-blown sci-fi/horror/murder mystery, as the stars (the great Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing) try to determine which passenger in the cramped train is currently the host of the deadly alien. When they finally locate it, it reveals that it can reanimate its previous victims as walking corpses…

 

This plot would work well as a ‘drop-in’ scenario between major missions: riding in a large cargo lighter on a multi-hour trip to a waiting warp vessel which will transport them to their next (official) mission, the Acolytes get caught up in strange occurrences and mysterious deaths that seem to involve a crate being shipped from an archeological dig on the planet’s surface…

 

RAZORBACK (1984)

An American reporter doing a story on poachers in the Australian Outback incurs the wrath of her unwilling subjects. Before they can ‘dispose’ of her, however, she is attacked and eaten by a giant mutant boar which has been terrorizing the area. Her fiancé goes to Australia to investigate her disappearance, infiltrating the gang of poachers by posing as a rich tourist looking to enjoy some illegal hunting. When he eventually gets the upper hand on the poachers, their gristly meat processing plant comes under attack by- guess what?

 

It’s not an especially good movie, and the storyline is simplistic enough that you could certainly come up with something as good or better with minimal effort. Adapting it to DH would be pretty straight-forward: replace the poachers with The Beast House (from Disciples of the Dark Gods), and have the Acolytes investigate the disappearance of one of their Inquisitor’s agents. The only real trick is coming up with the criminal motivation for the Beast House (-since ‘poaching’ alone isn’t sinister enough to justify Inquisitorial intervention; maybe the BH have a contract to supply ‘bushmeat’ to a shipping cartel, but a drought is wiping out the local wildlife, making it difficult to meet their quotas. So, the Beast House has taken to supplementing the game they kill with humans from isolated settlements- protein is protein after all. The agent was looking into these disappearances when he met his end in the gut of a mutant beast, driven from its regular hunting grounds by the drought); also statting up a single beastie that can threated an entire team of Acolytes may be a challenge.

 

The real DH inspiration value of this movie, and the reason why I’m recommending it, is in its depiction of Australia as, essentially, an alien world. Between surreal, painterly landscapes and a degenerate rural population that has been out of the influence of civilization for a bit too long, Razorback provides a great template for depicting a dangerous Imperial Frontier World.

 

VIDEODROME (1983)

“The battle for the mind of North America will be fought in the video arena.” –Dr. Brian O’Blivion

Max Renn (James Woods), the operator of a pirate TV channel, discovers a broadcast of disturbing pornographic material and becomes obsessed with tracking down the source. Unfortunately for him, the transmission has been designed to be both addictive and corrupting, triggering physical mutations and rendering those under its influence susceptible to mental ‘programming’. This programming takes the form of orders to assassinate powerful people who stand in the way of the shadowy organization behind the broadcasts. These assassinations are carried out with organic weapons grown from the bodies of the controlled killers- projectile weapons that shoot cancer-causing teeth! Eventually Max discovers that the ‘videodrome’ technology used by the broadcast was developed by messianic celebrity scientist Dr. Brian O’Blivion (now deceased- a fact kept hidden by his daughter who currently runs his ‘ministry’). The late Dr. O’Blivion has become something of a ‘ghost in the machine’, directing a resistance effort against the agency which hijacked his invention. Both sides use Max’ susceptibility to programming to do their bidding, until events reach an apocalyptic conclusion…

 

Not really an obscure movie, this film (David Cronenberg’s follow-up to his hit Scanners) was quite high-profile when it was released. Since few people under 40 seem to have seen it, however, I think its fair game for RPG plot-stealing. A hive city being flooded with dataslates containing addictive material that inflicts Corruption Points on the viewer, eventually triggering mutations and putting them under the psychic influence of a mysterious mastermind, is perfect fodder for a DH investigation.

 

“Long live the New Flesh!”


Edited by Adeptus-B, 20 January 2015 - 10:36 PM.

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#8 Gregorius21778

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Posted 21 January 2015 - 09:52 AM

Hi Adeptus-B,

the older B-Movie "Cabal" (about a man having bad dreams only to be drawn to a Freak Mutant community hiding below ground near a village in a rural area...I guess beneath a graveyard) might be used for Inspiration as well.

"Mutants hiding away" is very 40K as is the lynch mob the villagers formed. What needs to be changed is that the characters Need to be involved, but not as an ally of the Mutant community.

This could actually start out with the characters being on a "R&R" on an agri world after some missoin that was harmful to the Soul. In fact, the Inquisitor has Connections here with one of the local Confessors (replacing the psychologist from the film..who was not a sane Person himself). While the characters are there to find a litte Piece of mind (removing one Point of insanity after perhaps 3 weeks of that are only played as vignettes) the one with the HIGHEST corruption Points starts having dreams.. about him.. about a hidden place... the mutants.

Vague at first. If he tells the confessor he will order him to chastise himself harshly (give him danage and the permanent loss of ONE Toughness Point)... that will lead to the Player thinking twice about confessing again.. but the Confessor will learn something is odd.

Have the Player put trust in his Peers.. have the Confessor trying to break that bound.. have the Group searching that place... have the confessor gather a Little lynch mob of the more fanatic followers of the surrounding villages... to follwo the characters that headed off into an area that is no longer used for agriculture "due to the ground being striped of nutrients" (fallen to wilderness... a whole village and Kilometers around).

It does not HAVE to be a three-way-battle.. the Confessor might be talked into him not being to place a death Warrant on an ACOLYTHE... but...well... it might be good for two sessions or three ;)
And some good roleplaying, if the GM is good with the visions and the Players are good about a Little morality Play ("...he is not confessing to the confessor...but I have been through HELL with this one...I should trust him & help him..shouldn´t I?")

BE WARNED! With the wrong Group, that will lead to "Team killing".



#9 Adeptus-B

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Posted 21 January 2015 - 02:02 PM

the older B-Movie "Cabal" (about a man having bad dreams only to be drawn to a Freak Mutant community hiding below ground near a village in a rural area...I guess beneath a graveyard) might be used for Inspiration as well.

 

Hmm- never heard of it.

 

-Or was this movie released as Nightbreed in the US? Directed by Clive Barker?



#10 Braddoc

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Posted 22 January 2015 - 01:35 PM

Maybe it's just me, and it's not a B-movie, but Person of Interest sounds like a good plot to steal; a shadowy group is acting up on a Hive World where some ancient semi-sentient machine helps them save or eliminate people, up until an acolyte or thier Inquistior or a contact gets saved/killed by them..now the hunt is on as to who is that group, why are they doing what they do and most importantly; to what end?

 

 

 

 

the older B-Movie "Cabal" (about a man having bad dreams only to be drawn to a Freak Mutant community hiding below ground near a village in a rural area...I guess beneath a graveyard) might be used for Inspiration as well.

 

Hmm- never heard of it.

 

-Or was this movie released as Nightbreed in the US? Directed by Clive Barker?

 

 

 

Yes, it's Nightbreed.


Edited by Braddoc, 22 January 2015 - 01:47 PM.

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#11 Gregorius21778

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Posted 23 January 2015 - 02:47 AM

 

the older B-Movie "Cabal" (about a man having bad dreams only to be drawn to a Freak Mutant community hiding below ground near a village in a rural area...I guess beneath a graveyard) might be used for Inspiration as well.

 

Hmm- never heard of it.

 

-Or was this movie released as Nightbreed in the US? Directed by Clive Barker?

 

Oh sorry, hereby confirmed: I -was- talking about "Nightbreed". Has been a while .... ;)

eDIT: Just crossed-checked. Seems like "Cabal" was the release title here in Germany, but we are talking about the same movie here.


Edited by Gregorius21778, 23 January 2015 - 02:49 AM.





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