I hope that you can help me with this so here goes. I have been running Deathwatch for three years and I have never had a problem coming up with ideas before, but recently I have not been able to come up with a single soild idea for a mission let alone a campaign. Any help would be most welcome.
Thank you for your time
I created a Mission that was part of Crusade politics, one in which the Kill-Team would prepare the way for a special team of IG to gain access to the foundation levels of abandoned Hive of Oralan (Castobel, Orpheus Salient). There are few Tyranids actually on site at the hive location (at most two 20-25 Magnitude Hordes of Hormagaunts led by three of four Tyranid Warriors, and the sewers might have half a dozen individual Raveners scuttling about if you need to step up the pace or tension)…or so says intel.
The KT is to deploy (you decide how, but it should not include heavy guns or be readily available for extraction) and secure a landing site for the IG team (clear enemy threats, lay out cluster mines, etc). Once the IG are on the ground the KT are given strict orders to leave the remainder of the Mission to the IG special team, keeping the LZ clear of enemy and the transport secure until the IG team completes their Mission. As Castobel has ground down to a stalemate, Imperial morale is slipping, and a significant "victory" is required…all part of a "Victory is close at hand!" propaganda project cooked up by Crusade Command.
The IG special team's Mission is the recovery of a unique Mechanicus artifact known as the Brass Chronicle (more about this later). They are carrying some seriously heavy kit , weapons, and gear (for IG).
"Surface" Tyranids in the immediate area do not attack agressively, rather they appear in threes and fours and attempt to lure individual (read as glory seeking) KT members away from their squad (an Assault Marine might fall for this thinking he can jump over, butcher a few weedy creatures then jump back relatively quickly…); the Tyranid Warriors don't actually show their "faces", they stay hidden, but just at the limit of their Synapse range in order to direct the 'Gaunts. If the Tyranids cannot lure out one or two KT members, or if an attempt fails, they retreat deeper into the hive…for now.
Once the landing is secured the KT are privy to the vox chatter of the IG special team, though they have been strictly ordered to not interfere with the IG team's Mission (listen, but do not communicate with), and are forbidden from accompanying or physically assisting them in their Mission. For the propaganda project to be a success it must be seen that the IG itself has won a significant victory against the foe (small group of infiltrators into enemy-held territory, that sort of cripe) The IG team descends into the hive foundation's depths, and there is little to no resistance (two or three 'Gaunts or the occasional Ripper), but nothing they cannot handle on their own.
While the KT await the IG special team's return, they can stand about all self-important and stoic, "chat" with the transport pilots, whatever, all the while listening in on the IG's progress through their vox chatter (breaking seals into lower levels, flaming a small Ripper nest, that sort of stuff). Communications eventually become attenuated and scratchy as the IG descend lower into the hive foundation, eventually breaking up and washing out into a steady stream of static, but the KT should have no reason to believe this is anything other than normal obstacle interference.
The first indication that something has gone wrong is an odd energy pulse (origin unkown) that causes the KT's Power Armour to stutter, as if it were shutting down. The pulse lasts only a few Rounds, but enough for the KT to notice the effects (leaden limbs, blank auto-senses,etc). As the Players are discussing this, interupt them with a squeal of static issuing from their vox beads, a few scratches and incoherent, fragmented (human) voice warbling, then "…get out! Noooo!" (The voice actually said "They're everywhere! Everywhere! If anyone can hear me, help! They're everywhere, the bluies left us behind, and we can't get out! Noooo!"). Bluies: defined as Tau, but let the Players speculate…
The KT must decide whether they will disobey the orders given about not assisting the special team. If they do ignore it, the Mission is either a wash or their Watch Capt orders them in with the admonishment to withdraw if the vox message was just the product of claustrophobic panic.
If they decide to assist the IG team (or are ordered to), they descend into the depths themselves, meeting little if any resistance (three individual 'Gaunts…maybe a Ravener if the Players are getting antsy). The Kill Team finally make it to the reactor cathedral deep within the hive's foundation. The first (and only) sign they see of the IG team is a severed human hand, still clutching the hand-held mic of a vox-caster. Light here is very poor (not that it matters to the KT due to auto sense Dark Sight), but the KT are aware it is a massive chamber that houses the hive reactors (about twelve that are linked). The reactors are near-dead due to abandonment and improper maintenance, though a Tech-Priest may be able to bring them back online (with time, two or three days), powering the hive and preparing it in the event it is cleared of Tyranids (another Mission in itself…if things go "well" here).
However, several things prevent them from jump-starting reactors…
The reactors are running just enough to heat their casings, and their casings are crawling with (literally) thousands of Gargoyles. There are also several hundred Shrikes here, as well. And a few hundred Raveners, and a seathing carpet of Hormagaunts. And five winged Hive Tyrants. However many Tyranids you decide on, it should obviously be a startling and stalemate-breaking discovery. Bad intel, indeed.
There are immense exhaust flues that vent heat and other noxious fumes during reactor operation, but since everything is idling the Tyranids used them as entry points, turning the reactor cathedral into a giant nest. The Tyranids have been infiltrating onto Castobel over a very long period of time, ammasing for an overwhelming attack. If this nest isn't destroyed, Castobel will fall.
Also in the reactor cathedral are three Tau Crisis Suits, three Stealth Suits (hidden but nearby to the Crisis Suits), and a Suit that resembles a Broadside, but without obvious weapon mountings. The Tau are located at the base of one of the reactors, "fiddling" with something. The Tyranids, though hissing and agressive and crowding in a wide circle around the Tau, appear to be "shying" away from the them.
Immediately after describing the scene to the Players there is another energy pulse which stutters the KT Power Armour. As the pulse begins, the Tyranids hiss and spit and seeth and fly about as if highly agitated about "something", but as the pulse subsides the Tyranids resume stalking the Tau (but do not attack).
A Tech-Marine will know the procedures for overloading the reactor chain, but will he? What will be the long-term ramifications of such a course of action as nuking an entire hive, abandoned or not? Will there be severe reprimands all around? Does the KT have pict recording of the gargantuan infestation as justification for their actions?
A successful Forbidden Lore (Xenos) Test allows the PCs to realize the "Broadside" is actually a previously unknown Suit model. Two or more DoS on the Test reveals the Suit's markings as being of the Tau Earth Caste (the suit is piloted by an Earth Caste engineer, a priceless prisoner if captured). Likewise, the Suit incorporates a new Tau technology they refer to as Coi'E'Fal (loosely translated as "bug-zapper") and though its initial pulses can shut down power armour for several (d10) Rounds, the Hive Mind is pained and absolutely baffled by this effect. Synapse control is negated (in human terms it would be akin to agressive, continuous and intentionally cruel electro-shock therapy). Long after the initial pulse, the device continues to affect the Tyranids, thus it need only be activated at intervals, rather than continuously. For obvious reaons, this is another priceless discovery…not that it would play any part in the immediate campaign, as the AdMech would want to study it at great length before making a decision about its deployment and use. The Tau are not aware of its affect on Power Armour…yet
The unidentified Suit is removing a brass orb from one of the reactors (the brass orb is not integral to the reactor chain, and a Tech-Marine will know it was merely enshrined here within a purpose-made reliquary located on the exterior housing of one of the reactors by making a successful Difficult Test of your choice. The brass orb is about the size of a grapefruit, shaped similarly to an egg, appears to have three or four small "legs" so that it sits upright, is hinged and secured with a simple clasp. Could that be the Brass Chronicle?
The Tau are just preparing to exit with their prize (see below). Does the KT join forces with the Tau long enough to overload the reactors and then gak them once they have escaped? There is a Tau transport (long-range, deep space Drone) somewhere, isn't there? What to do about that?
The brass orb definitely is the Brass Chronicle. Perhaps some data storage medium?
Crusade Command set this Mission up for an IG special team, purposefully leaking communications about the Brass Chronicle to the Tau in an effort to draw out their "bug-zapper". Crusade Command was not aware of the Tyranid infestation within Oralan Hive, however. They assumed there were few Tyranids (crappy intel) in the hive at all and that the IG team could easily overcome the new Suit and its small escort of Crisis Suits (they miscalculated a bit on this, too).
Depending upon the outcome of the Mission (one or two sessions depending on other fillers you add, narratives, etc) as the IG special team was killed (by confused and agonizing Rippers, maybe) they will be replaced with puppet heroes, actors playing the part of members from a "second team" that was successful in their Mission. The Mission was "top secret" so its details will never be released to the public Imperial citizenry, though it will be touted by Crusade Command as a victorious achievement against Tyranid forces in the Orpheus Salient. The Kill-Team receive very little Renown for this Mission (none in fact, though they do get a "pat on the back" from their Watch Capt) because they must keep this a secret from all, even other Kill-Teams. If they let slip any details the propanganda project might derail, so their censure is severe reprimands, crap Missions (for a little while) and the temporary reduction of 5 Renown in Missions involving the participation of Crusade Command (such as Rising Tempest).
Throughout the Mission Briefing, or at any other time during the Mission, if the PCs have opportunity to ask "What is the Brass Chronicle?" they are told simply that it is an arefact of the Adeptus Mechanicus that has been within the Reach since it was first populated by humans in ages long past. Even the IG of the special team are under threat of execution for revealing "what" exactly the Brass Chronicle is, and attempts to threaten or cajole this information from them will not be tolerated (and all vox transmissions are secretly monitored by a Mission Operation post…do not tell the Players this, either, just let them get their asses chewed for poor vox discipline and or unbecoming behavior at their Debriefing).
In truth, the Brass Chronicle looks like this:
Note: When I ran this Mission I used Rak'Gol rather than Tau.