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Polaria

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  1. Lynata, this is exactly how I figured it. As far as I remembered Black Templars had been pretty religious minded right from the starts. But then I asked around in Warseer if anyone remembered any fluff to contradict their belief in Emperors divinity and someone digged up this quote: The Emperor was immortal and mighty beyond reckoning. But he was no god. Mankind - in its blessed ignorance - worshiped him as one. Yet false gods cannot answer prayers. How tempting it must seem to those sects and societies far from Terra to seek other answers when pleading with the Emperor brings only silence. Now the interesting thing about that is that there we have a novel written in 2013 (so current fluff) and set in M41 (so no Norus Heresy stuff) with high ranking Templar (Grimaldus himself) specifically denying Emperors divinity...
  2. I have to admit that I'm not an expert on Black Templar fluff but I did check out Index Astartes from 2002 and the 4th edition Codex from 2005 and did not find any significant changes to Black Templar culture to the recnt 2013 Codex. Even in Index Astartes the Black Templars are religious fanatics: "Extremity of Black Templars' faith is often described as fanatical, almost rabid!" "As part of their dedication to the Emperor, the Black Templars swear fell oaths of faith and protection." "They will mercilessly wipe out populations of worlds to expunge the sin of heresy." The 2005 Codex paints the same picture: "To admit defeat is to blaspheme against Emperor." "There is only Emperor, and he is our shield and protector." "The Black Tempars are crusaders, holy warriors battling to bring the truth and light of the emperor to unconquered worlds of the galaxy. Converting masses with the sword of the Master of Mankind and desrtoying those that refuse to welcome His rule."
  3. The BT belief in emperors divinity is described very clearly in current Codex (p.51 top). Its mentioned that unlike other Astartes Black Templars worship Emperor as a divinity and it is unknown when or why exactly they started to do so.
  4. Stand and Die - Epilogue * * * In the distance the sky was burning. At least that is what it looked like, standing at the top of the hive prime's defensive wall, high above the ground. It was fire, yes, but what was burning was not the sky, but the remains of a crashed kraken ship, spread over several dozen square miles of desert. Kraai turned away from the wreckage of battle surrounding the city and started to walk towards the landing pad where the Thunderhawk was waiting for him. Around it the remaining few Angels Vermillion, Raptors and the Kill Team Maneater were waiting for the lift-off. The Astartes and the Deathwatch had done their part here, the Castobel was safe at least for now. It was time to head to other warzones. Kraai didn't join the other black-clad Deathwatch marines who were gathered in their own tight group. After the last cleanup operations the Kill Team Maneater had received a message from Watch Fortress Erioch that invading the Julius Robert and the battle of Castobel, even though unplanned and unsanctioned by the Watch Commander, were, due to actions of Inquisition, entered into Deathwatch annals as official operations and would thus count as the ninth and tenth operational missions for the members of Kill Team Maneater. In effect their tour in Deathwatch was now over and they would be going home. Kraai, being seconded into Deathwatch for the second time now, knew that this moment would be better left for the Kill Team themselves. They would be saying farewells to each other, leaving for their home chapters, possibly never to meet each other again. They needed this moment for themselves. It was not easy to go back to home chapter. Kraai knew that even with the best hypnotherapy pushing the memories of the Deathwatch to the back of the mind the former members of the Kill Team Maneater had high risk of never fully adjusting back to their own chapter. Many would end up loners, some would, perhaps, come back to Deathwatch like he had. Kraai noticed that one of them, the Carcharodon Marius, walked over to him. "You know, everyone is heading home. Everyone except me." Kraai turned his head, "I'm not. Not yet at any rate. But how come?" "My motherfleet is too far away. To be exact, no-one even knows where." Marius noted, sounding as unemotional as ever. "And they can't very well send you home if they don't know where it is, can they?" Kraai smiled. "No." "Don't worry. We'll find a place for you here, if you wish to stay.", Kraai answered planting a playfull punch into Carcharodons left shoulder plate, "Besides, I'm not sure if those guys are going to find home where they are going either." * * * Yep. The Stand and Die was the "season final" for the Kill Team Maneater and after a debriefing the proud members were sent back to their home chapters. I have planned a "second season" for them, which will take place at least ten years later and we have already played the opening scenes for that campaign too. So there might be a new Campaign Log about the Kill Team later on... Maybe in this thread to continue the story.
  5. I have a very simple solution I've used for introducing female characters into Deathwatch: Create the characters exactly same as any other Marine, but lore-wise consider them to be Sisters of Battle. Seriously. When you think of this there is no downsides. Sisters of Battle characters detailed in Dark Heresy supplements are ruleswise designed to work in game which is fundamentally different both ruleswise and storywise from Deathwatch. Integrating them into Deathwatch will create rulesproblems and also be inequeal because the SoB characters would have access to ten times as many skills and talents as Space Marines do at same experience level. So it really would require too much work. Creating a "female space marine chapter" or changing fluff to fill all chapters with female marines would fundamentally change many things in the existing lore and open up a huge number of questions which were, in original lore, irrelevant. Sure, as a GM you can provide all the answer to the myriad questions of "are there female chapter masters? I want one 'cause she is my characters hero", "do the female and male marines get intimate with each other?", "are marine babies born with black carapace?", "are there differences in male and female power armour?", but why would you go through all those man-hours of work to write new lore to accommodate all those changes to the original setting when the original setting already has Adepta Sororitas? Think about it: The rules are there simply to allow you to tell a story. In Deathwatch the focus of the story is a bunch of badass warriors who kill stuff and save worlds. Thats what the Deathwatch rules are for. Sisters of Battle are badass warriors who kill stuff and save worlds. So use the rules that let them do that. The genre I GM most with is running historical campaigns. Basically anything from ancient rome to 17th century early american settlers to World War II. My group has two regular female players who prefer female characters and a couple of players who play male or female regardless of their own gender (one is female, one is male if you need to know). I've never, ever yet changed the history in the campaigns and declare that, for example, 17th century english settlers had female soldiers in their militia army. I simply haven't had any need for it as I've always found a way to accomodate characters by other, more in-world, means if I need to.
  6. Stand and Die - Execution: Part II * * * OPERATIONAL PLANE / PRIORIOTY PRIMA / PROCECUTING PARTY: ADEPTUS MECHANICUM DESIRED END STATE OF OPERATIONS: TYRANID FORCES BESIEGING CASTOBEL ARE UNABLE TO CONTINUE PLANETARY ASSAULT ON CASTOBEL. HIVE PRIME IS COMPLETELY UNDER IMPERIAL CONTROL. IMPERIAL FORCES ARE IN CONTROL OF LOWER ORBITS. RESUPPLY AND RESTORATION OF HIVE PRIME DEFENCIVE CAPABILITIES HAVE BEEN STARTED. PHASING OF OPERATIONS: PHASE 1: FLEET FORCE TENSEGRITY WILL SEIZE THE CONTROL OF LOWER ORBITS AND SECURES A LANDING SITE NEAR THE HIVE PRIME. PHASE 2: FLEET FORCE TENSEGRITY WILL LAND FORCES ON THE CASTOBEL SURFACE AND DEFEAT THE TYRANID PLANETARY ASSAULT IN GROUND COMBAT. PHASE 3: FLEET FORCE TENSEGRITY WILL CLEANSE THE LOWER ORBITS AND HIVE PRIME VICINITY OF REMAINING TYRANID FORCES AND COMMENCE RESUPPLYING HIVE PRIME AND RESTORING ITS DEFENCES IN FULL CAPACITY. ORDER OF BATTLE: Ark Mechanicus Tensegrity Factory Ship Diffeomorphism Escort ship Prestress Escort ship Pretension Escort ship Precompression 1st Battle Maniple of Legio Venator Maenater Detachment – Deathwatch [RESTRICTED] Silencio Cell – Officio Assassinorum [RESTRICTED] Delta-116 Special Operations Detachment of Legio Cybernetica Omega-559 Special Operations Detachment of Legio Cybernetica Fi-13 Battalion of Skitarii Tech Guard Fi-23 Battalion of Skitarii Tech Guard Fi-33 Battalion of Skitarii Tech Guard Nu-Nu-7 Demi-Formation of Ordo Reductor * * * After dealing with the broodlord the Kill Team returned to the upper hive and learned that the death of the broodlord had caused a momentary surge of violence amongst the cultists, exposing many of the so-far unknown cultists hiding amongst the PDF. Led by kill marine Kraai the Adeptus Arbites was dealing with the cultists and it seemed to be going quite smoothly now that the efforts of the cultists seemed to be less coordinated and many cultists who could have posed an inside threat were exposed before they could do any harm. However, other intelligence said that while there had been furious space combat between AdMech fleet and the Tyranids the "invisible" Kraken ship was still in the orbit, blocking the Adeptus Mechanicus ships from closing in. Furthermore the tyranid fleet had started to drop increasing amounts of troops on Castobel and was clearly preparing for imminent assault. The Kill Team decided to push ahead while the Tyranid biotitan was still hibernating and geared up for destroying it. Their plan was to sneak near the biotitan and fire upon its carapace with two lascannons to blast a whole in the several feet thick carapace to expose the flesh and blood inside. When the hole was done, one marine would shoot the anti-psi missile into it, thus (likely) injecting the anti-psi agent into the blood stream of the biotitan. According to their earlier experiences with the first broodlord and current theory this should cause the hivemind lose connection with the biotitan, thus interpreting the biotitan as dead or excess biomass to be devoured. There was no quarantees on it working, but as it was the only weapon they could even hope to hurt the biotitan with it was worth the taking the shot. Sneakingpast the patrolling hormagaunt hordes proved easy enough and the Kill Team managed to get into secure firing positions about half a kilometer away. Just before opening fire on the biotitan the Kill Team sent an astropathic message to both their own Inquisitorial ship Maneater and the the Officio Assassinorum ship Silencio to coordinate their attacks. There was no reply from either one, possibly due to shadow in the warp effect, so the Kill Team just had to continue as planned. The first lascannon shots sheared off enough carapace from the biotitan to expose the soft flesh inside and the psy-out missile hit the target. However, immeadeatly after the psy-out missile hit the weather turned suddenly very foul and a dust storm of deadly intensity covered the area. At that moment the librarian realized that the biotitan was probably a strongly psychic and due to the already adverse weather typical to Castobel it had evolved psychic powers to control the weather… Powers which the enraged biotitan was now using to destroy its attackers. Harassed by dust tornadoes, lightning and enraged swarm of gaunts the Kill Team had to retreat quickly to the hive. Once the Kill Team got inside the hive and managed to get to the perimeter walls they realized that the Tyranid attack had started in full force. Clearly something was wrong with the biotitan who was now rushing towards the wall, covered with smaller gaunts, swarming it like a pack of hungry ants. Also, something had clearly happened to the Kraken ship which was no longer invisible but burning as its dead hulk made an uncontrolled re-entry into the atmosphere just a couple of dozen miles away. The Kill Team tried to contact their ship but got only garbled transmissions in return and the remains of the kraken ship impacting the Castobels surface with the energy of several dozen nuclear bombs, causing earthquakes and a new dust storm did not help the matter. As the biotitan crashed against the perimeter wall, cracking it and started to claw at it while the gaunts were eating the biotitan from inside the Kill Team decided to seek cover deeper inside the Hive city. On their way deeper inside the Hive brother Marius suddenly noticed a group of automated servitors hauling rocket ammunition needed specifically in aircraft rocket launchers. As the Kill Team did not previously have any information about imperials having aircrafts in the hive they decided to follow the servitors and stumbled upon an ancient, long-forgotten shuttle-bay built inside the hive wall and sealed with astartes markings. Inside the shuttle-bay they found an ancient Stormeagle gunship, possibly thousands of years old, with Salamander markings and started to investigate it. It turned out that the Stormeagle gunship in question had belonged to the Salamander legion during the times of Horus Heresy and had been abandoned by a lone survivor of the legion during those times. It had been well stored and regularly maintained by the hives servitors ever since, however, and the tech-marine was able to put it into use quite quickly. The Kill Team decided to board the Stormeagle, man the guns and take the fight to the sky. Flying through the dust storm raised by the kraken ships impact the Kill Team finally managed to get above the storm and contact the Maneater ship. It turned out that the lone Culexus assassin had indeed managed to do the impossible and hurt the psionic kraken ship enough to make it crash. After the biotitan had been attacked by the tyranid swarm it seemed that the swarm had lost all three hivemind nexi and was now operating purely on instinct. However, even uncontrolled the sheer amount of the creatures on the ground could probably tear down the hive if nothing was done to stop them so the Inquisitor Carmillus suggested that she would set the Maneater on low orbit above the hive city and could burn away much of the swarm with ship-board lance as long as someone could target the lance strikes from below the dust storm. The Kill Team took the chance and the Stromeagle dived back towards the planet. Above the hive the Stormeagle was attacked by the first Tyranid flier swarms that had got into air after Kraken ship impact and even though they did kill hundreds of bioforms with Stormeagles missiles and with heavy bolter fire out of the hatches the Stormeagles cockpit was soon breached. At this point brother Cassius brazenly climbed out of the broken cockpit window to clear the Stormeagles surface of flying gaunts and librarian Falcon and apothecary also assisted him with flamers. With the Stormeagle finally cleared of gaunts the Kill Team flew it around the hive city, close to the ground coordinating searing lance strikes from the Maneater across the swarming tyranids. Several minutes later the biggest parts of the Tyranid swarm were burned down to the ground but it took several days to finally clear the hive and its surroundings of tyranid creatures. The Kill Team spent the first critical 72 hours in the Stormeagle, observing tyranid movements, coordinating lance strikes and leading the ground parties organized by kill marine Kraai, the remains of the Angels Vermillion forces on the ground and the AdMech Legio Cybernetic special operation detachments. After several weeks of fighting the tyranid swarm was finally defeated, the AdMech forced had secured the hive and the Castobel was saved. Imperial casualties: Millions of civilian, PDF, Adeptus Arbites and skitarii dead. At planetary scale the casualties were approaching 90% of the original population. Xeno casualties: Too numerous to count. At least 95% of the tyranid biomass on Castobels surface and at least 70% of the total tyranid biomass inside the Castobel system had been destroyed.
  7. Stand and Die - Execution: Part I * * * MISSION REQUEST / PRIORIOTY PRIMA / REQUESTING PARTY: ADEPTUS MECHANICUM ORDO XENOS AND DEATHWATCH HAVE DETERMINED THAT THE FINAL ASSAULT ON CASTOBEL IS IMMINENT AND IT IS VERY PROBABLE (PROBABILITY >90%) THAT THE CASTOBEL DEFENCES WILL FALL AND THE TYRANIDS WILL GAIN A NET INCREASE OF 300% TO 500% OF BIOMASS FROM THE PLANETARY ASSAULT. EXTERMINATUS PROTOCOL HAS BEEN PUT ON HOLD PENDING THE POSSIBILITY THAT RECENTLY ARRIVED ADEPTUS MECHANICUS FLEET FORCE TENSEGRITY IS ABLE TO TURN THE TIDE OF OF THE BATTLE. MISSION TASKS: ASSIST THE ADEPTUS MECHANICUS FLEET FORCE TENSEGRITY IN DEFEATING THE TYRANID FORCES ON CASTOBEL SYSTEM AND SECURING THE SITUATION ON CASTOBEL PERSONNEL: ONE (1) KILL TEAM COMMUNICATIONS: AS AVAILABE BACKUP COMMUNICATIONS: AS AVAILABLE INSERTION METHOD: AS AVAILABLE EXTRACTION METHOD: AS AVAILABLE MISSION TIME: APPROXIMATELY FIFTEEN (15) DAYS MISSION ABORT PARAMETERS: NONE. MISSION END PARAMATERS: STABILIZATION OF THE CASTOBEL FRONT MISSION DANGER RATING: ULTRAVIOLET * * * The Kill Team inserted on Castobel via a drop pod targeted at an unknown beacon detected approximately 30 kilometers outside Hive Prime hivecity. The drop did not go fully as planned because on their way down the drop pod was hit by one of the radioactive tornadoes that were typical to the Castobel weather systems lately. The drop pod landing engines failed midflight and its electronics shut down causing it not to stabilize in time and to hit the ground in wrong angle and faster than intended. Everyone inside was hurt by the impact, many of the equipment containers were broken scattering grenades and spare magazines around and finally the Kill Team had to open the stuck drop pod doors on their own. When they finally dug their way out of the wreck they were greeted by no one else but battle brother Regis who they had thought to been lost several operations ago in the xeno pyramid. It turned out that the xeno pyramid had made Regis jump several weeks forward in time and he had be marooned in the asteroid totally alone as both Tau and Deathwatch forces had left the place. However, after several weeks there he had managed to contact an unknown Inquisitor who had come to do some sort of research in the xeno pyramid. This strange Inquisitor had agreed to provide Regis with a way out of there, explaining that she had the power to use the xeno pyramid to send him into "correct place and time". Regis agreed and woke up on Castobel just minutes before the drop pod entered the atmosphere as if he had been in strange dream. The Kill Team quickly gathered their equipment and started the march towards Hive Prime. The weather was protecting them for some time but when it cleared up they were attacked first by groups of high-altitude Tyranid flier creatures that made near-suicidal sweeps down on them. As they shot at the creatures a couple of them exploded in huge sprays of acid and the Kill Team realized that the creatures were a sort of weapons in themselves, trying to kill the Kill Team marines by dropping on them and letting their highly-pressurized, acid-filed body cavities burst on impact. After dealing with a couple of packs of these flying suicide-bombers the Kill Team was seriously hurt and had to make a run for the Hive Prime just to find out that the Hive Prime own defensive turrets started to spray them with hundreds of frag warheads. Luckily enough these warheads were designed mostly for killing small tyranid creatures and did not manage to hurt the power armored space marines. Instead the blasts did kick up enough dust to cover the Kill Team from fliers as they made their way to the Hive Primes defensive wall and blasted their way through it. Inside the hive the Kill Team quickly made their way through the lower hives and contacted a PDF group who provided them with a Rhino ride to the upper hives where the PDF leaders were. Once up there the Kill Team met kill marine Kraai, who was still leading the hive defense, and his staff who were a motley band of higher ranking PDF officers and Adeptus Arbites commanders. It turned out that the missile turrets that had fired upon Kill Team were probably manned by genestealer cultists operating inside the PDF and that the genestealer cultists in general were causing a lot of trouble. Much of the lower hive and outside defenses were already lost, the PDF was almost collapsed due to infighting and what was rest of the Adeptus Arbites was tied into containing the hive-wide civil war between imperials and genestealer cultists. The Kill Team got first hand taste of this themselves as they were attacked by a cultist suicide-bomber in PDF uniform using a plasma-grenade. The Kill Team was saved as they noticed the cultist before he got right next to them and forced him to explode the grenade a bit early. This encounter did, however, strengthen their resolve to deal with the genestealer cult situation first. To find the leaders of the cult the Kill Team once again entered the tunnels of the underhive to track down the cult. They were surprised to note that the underhives were empty and abandoned as if the cultists had been warned of their coming (which was the case) and had abandoned their posts. After several hours of patrolling the tunnels the librarian finally sensed some sort of psyker in one of the tunnels and the Kill Team proceeded to track it down. They were almost right away attacked by a group of genestealers who seemed to appear from thin air into their midst but after killing the first group of them they noticed that they had been attacked by some sort of new breed of genestealers that could camouflage themselves very well in urban environment. After fighting their way through several, increasingly large packs of these camo-genestealers the Kill Team met the new brood lord leading them. This creature was not only virtually invisible due to its telepathic abilities but was also able to telepathically project its hunger straight into the minds of any living creatures nearby, thus driving the genestealers into frenzy and the marines almost insane. The librarian was forced to fight in the psychic front to protect the rest of the team from the most vicious telepathic projections while the rest of the Kill Team dealt with the broodlord and its genestealers with bolter and blade in the physical realm. After using a load of fate points and gaining number of insanity points in return the Kill Team did manage to best their first real opponent on Castobel and kill one of the three Tyranid psykers leading the hive fleet on Castobel.
  8. Stand and Die - Planning and Preparation * * * It had to be the most poorly executed call for assistance brother-lexicanium Falcon had ever seen. It was clear the AdMech representative had composed it in haste and without any thought at all, printing it out last minute so they would fulfill the bare minimum requirements of Imperial bureaucracy. The ink was still moist and it had typos all over. Falcon did not even want to go there. How on earth could an AdMech official call for assistance have typos? Unless it was intentional and they made it purely to insult. Maybe it was. It was very clear what was happening here. The AdMech had brought their own army and own fleet and were taking over the war. It was clear they didn't spare a thought for the imperial citizens and the millions of civilians on the planet. All they wanted was to save their precious Caduceus Machine. They probably though Deathwatch had messed the whole operation and were insulted as well because Watch Commander had authorized putting a couple of cyclonic torpedoes into their godly Caduceus Machine. It was a right mess, no doubt, but Falcon was trying to make best of a poor start. Millions of lives depended on him and the rest of the Kill Team. Sure, the AdMech wanted to absorb them into their own armies for the operation but that was not how Deathwatch worked and that was certainly not the best way to utilize the skills of Kill Team Maneater. So let the machinebodies have fun with their petty insults, ignore, roll with the punches and go on. Falcon wasn't doing this for his own glory or satisfactions. He was doing this for the civilian population of Castobel and the whole of mankind. * * * After stopping the Exterminatus the Kill Team returned to the Maneater and heard that an armed fleet sent by Adeptus Mechanicus was coming to Castobel to help with the Tyranid problem and the take over the Caduceus Machine. They had received a call for assistance to return to defend a Watch Station against Tau but after a short discussion they decided that they had spilled too much blood for Castobel to let the Tyranids win. They would stay and work alongside the AdMech fleet, taking advantage of any resources they could get their hands on, and try to stop the Tyranid invasion and end the battle for Castobel now before it was too late. They managed to contact the AdMech and get an official call for assistance to work on, but it seemed the AdMech was waging their own war for the most parts. Intelligence gotten from planetside from kill-marine Kraai who was still commanding the local PDF indicated that they had four primary problems: 1) There was a some sort of highly evolved "invisible" Kraken ship on the orbit which prevented the AdMech fleet from taking orbital control. The hive had defence lasers set up to burn it out of the sky, but could not get targeting devices to fix on its location without help. 2) The Tyranids had landed a hibernating biotitan on the Castobel and were feeding smaller creatures to it to load it up for eventual assault to breach the hivecity. 3) The hivecity had problems of its own: The possible landing pads that could be used to air drop AdMech reinforcements on the planet were taken over by flying Tyranid bioforms and there was a large scale problem with the remnants of the Genestealer Cult. The Kill Team discussed the situation for a long time, trying to sort out the best tactic to approach the problems on Castobel. Finally they decided to try to contact an Officio Assassinorum ship that was in the area and ask for their assistance. Before this they consulted the Emperor's Tarot and brother-lexicanium Falcon saw a vision which confirmed him that the Kraken ship was some sort of psychic Nexus for the Tyranids and that there were two other psychic Nexi of similar kind on the planet itself. They managed to get in contact with the Officio Assassinorum ship and got to discuss with the mistress of the ship, a Culexus clade assassin. As Falcon told her of the vision he had seen the Culexus replied that she had been sent here to remove a "Tyranid bioform of unprecented psychic abilities" and had the authority and time for one target. The Kill Team told her that the only target they could locate with any accuracy for the moment was the Kraken ship and it did fit the description. Culexus agreed to take on that target and try to coordinate it with the Kill Teams other actions. She also gave the Kill Team a couple of psyk-out grenades to use against the other possible psykers. The Kill Team decided to modify the psyk-out grenades to make a single psyk-out missile. The rough plan would be that they would drop on the Castobel near the hive city and contact Kraai. After getting the current intelligence from the ground they would find whoever was leading the Genestealer Cult and neutralize the Cult, thus giving the PDF better chance to concentrate on the Tyranids outside. After this they would locate the biotitan and try to deploy the psyk-out missile inside its body. It was a long shot, but if they could get the pysk-out missile to cut the biotitan out of the hive minds psychic network even for a small time the other Tyranids would probably see it as an enemy and attack it, making the defence of the hive city easier. Furthermore, if possible, they would try to coordinate the Culexus attack on the Kraken ship psyker at the same time with their own psyk-out attack on the biotitan to mess the hive minds ability to coordinate its myriad bioforms. Much of the plan was, however, dependant on how things actually turned out on the ground so they agreed that they would probably have to think on their feet and make things up as they went along. In any case everyone was sure that this operation might be a one-way ticket with no chance but to go down fighting if things went wrongs. However, they were also equally adamant that they would not give up Castobel without a good fight…
  9. Stand and Die - Prelude * * * Battle Brother Novak chambers a bolt very slowly so as not to make a sound. The group of Space Marines, ten in number, are waiting for him in the shuttle bay. They had contacted him through secure Deathwatch channels and the crypting checks out. Hell, they even have an Inquisitor to back their claim. Still he wonders. These same Astartes exchanged shots with him not many days ago and stopped an Exterminatus sanctioned by the Watch Commander himself. How can he trust them? Novak slowly raises his boltgun and looks through the scope. The most dangerous of them, the hulking Dark Angel with heavy bolter, stands relaxed. He is scanning his surroundings like any marine would but his heavy bolter is locked at his side and his head is looking up, exposing the weak, soft armour of the neck between the Mk 6 helmet and the Mk 7 chestpiece. Novak has a clear line of sight to the neck. A clean shot, right through the armour. That would neutralize their fire support. Then another shot to the apothecary, to put him down. Maybe. Novak lowers his boltgun and clicks the safety on. **** Inquisitor to back them up. He can't resist hearing how this mess came about and the Inquisitor is probably the only one who knows… * * * Anarete finds her Inquisitor sitting alone in her chambers, looking at the darkness of the space. Only here, in her private chambers, the Inquisitor ever steps out of her power armour and wears the simple silken robes she so much likes. Being a powerfull telepath and a biomancer has its downsides. Having been under Inquisiotor Carmillusses harsh training regime for several dozen years now, Anarete is tied to her soul and body in ways that cannot be understood by anyone else. It is even hard to describe at times. What she knows is that Carmillus is a pessimist down to the last fraction of her soul. She believes, truly believes, that the Emperor will never wake up, the Imperium is collapsing and mankind is doomed to extinction. Paradoxically enough that is why she keeps on fighting. That is where she gets her power and will. Carmillus is a narcist who believes only in herself and no-one else. And she wants to make a difference. She wants to show everyone that she is right. This is why she thrives in crises. This is why she can deal with her job only through believing that the mankind is doomed but maybe, just maybe she can save them all. For if she could not, then everything she has ever believed of herself would be lie and she would have no reason to live. It's not easy to love such a mistress, but Anarete has no choice. Being tied to her in almost cellular level means she might as well kill herself if she could not love her Inquisitor. Anarete walks over to her Inquisitor and gently touches her shoulder. The connection forms with no resistance at all. Her Inquisitor is in odd mood. It is an exotic mix of desperation and happiness. The world has once again confirmed her deepest fears and hopes. The Imperium is a mess the mankind is racing towards the cliff and only Inquisitor Carmillus herself, the self-appointed messiah of her own world, is smart enough to realize it. * * * INTERNAL SECURITY LOG 894632789 SUBJECT: KILL TEAM MANEATER, PRIVATE CONVERSATION BETWEEN ASTARTES "So let me get this story straight: Watch Commander Mordigael sent Kill Marine Novak alone to contact the Imperial Navy Sectorial Command and speak them over to sending a fleet to help Castobel but he also gave Novak order to ensure Exterminatus of Castobel?" "Yes, he though if the fleet declined to request then Castobel would be doomed and Exterminatus was the only choice possible." "But then the Inquisitor okayed us to stop the Exterminatus, walking over Watch Commanders explicit orders and basically messing up his plans." "Well, yes, but it is not all lost. Inquisitor tells us Adeptus Mechanicum is sending a fleet force to protect their beloved machine we found on Castobel. Maybe they can stop the Tyranids. If it doesn't work I'm sure the Inquisitor can commission another Exterminatus mission on Castobel herself. In any case she is here, we are here and Watch Commander is months away." "Hell, I've been fighting too long for the blasted Castobel rock to let it go down in flames without even trying to save it. I say to hell with Watch Commander. Lets do this." +++ LOG ENDS +++ /delete log +++ TYPE YOUR ID TO CONFIRM TO DELETE +++ Hezika Carmillus, Inquisitor +++ LOG DELETED+++ * * *
  10. Blood in the Void – Execution * * * Sometimes the Pilot envied his brothers and sisters who had been given reign over Astartes battle-ships. Having a command and control over a Deathwatch Kill Ship was, of course, one of the highest honors a Pilot like him could ever be given, but it came with the acceptance that it was, possibly, the most boring job for a full-cyborg Pilot. Like his brothers and sisters he was also permanently tied to the machine spirit of the ship, never leaving the ship and rarely even stepping outside his cockpit. He didn’t crave for sensations of organic senses or the pleasures of the flesh as the neural links to those functions of his brain had been long ago replaced with couplings for machine senses and interfaces of the ships mechanisms. He saw what the ship perceived through its multi-spectrum sensors and he felt what the ships myriad machine-spirits felt. And it was all limited by the strict operational security requirements inherent to Kill Ships. He was one of the seven pilots who only remained awake one at a time so what he saw was really just the uneventful voyages from system to system, popping out of the immaterium only for brief whiles. In the immaterium he was awake when it was his turn, but the ship was blind. When they came out of immaterium they only stayed for long enough to check protocols and launch exterminates if need be. Three days maximum, often less. What he really, really envied of his brothers and sisters was, however, the bliss of battle. He knew that many Pilots had been designed so that their pleasure-centers were hardwired directly into weapons and battle-cognitors driving them to excel in ship-to-ship battle regardless of the personal risks. He was, however, completely cut off the network the moment command for Exterminatus came so he would not, and indeed, could not interfere with the Exterminatus protocol as it was being carried out. There was no orgasmic pleasure of feeling the lances break enemy ships spine for him. There was only the long wait. The long wait without any meaningful sensory input at all, just waiting for the sensors to come back online just long enough for him to witness the death of a world. * * * As the Kill Team entered the ship they were instantly drawn into firefight with the murder servitors and gun servitors defending the ship. At first they were attacked by several unnaturally fast, power-weapon wielding murder servitors on hovering, human-like platforms supported by slower gun servitors fitted with heavy bolters. In the quite closed surroundings of the ship with darkness and blinking emergency lights everywhere the fight was short and brutal with several Kill Team members being wounded right away. After the first servitors had been destroyed the Kill Team quickly found out that the darkness and the emergency lights (along with vapor and smoke) were probably part of the automated defences, purposefully engineered to distract them. The terrain around them was also changing, with tunnels, chasms and blast doors moving around, trying to cut the Kill Team into multiple parts, isolating single members from other for easier destruction. They were attacked by several new waves of servitors and had to use jump packs to carry people over the chasms the automated defence tried to use to isolate them. In the end they decided to use the melta-gun brother Eukarios was carrying to simply shoot their way through the walls. The next major obstacle on their way was a deep and wide chasm with a raised and walled shooting gallery on the other side. Several members were wounded by heavy bolter fire while entering the room and quickly they were forced to take cover behind remains of the walls. Their first plan was for the assault marines to jump over the chasm to deal with the gun servitors but this failed due to the sheer number of multi-meltas and heavy bolters facing them and resulted in brother Marius having to burn fate point to avoid being killed by fall into chasm as his jump pack was damaged. The next plan was to use Tekwitch Lysianas command of magnetic fields together with heavy weapons and snipers. Lysiana would use her cybernetics to create a magnetic containment field that would stop the first multi-melta blast, while brothers Cassius, Ezekiel and Falcon would target the multi-melta and heavy bolter wielding servitors simultaneously with missile launcher, heavy bolter and stalker-pattern boltgun. The plan worked and the three astartes all hit their marks, killing the gun servitors. During the firefight a number of murder-servitors tried to climb up the chasm to engage the astartes in close quarters, but this attempt was stopped short as brother Marius spotted them and warned the other while also killing one servitor with his plasma-pistol. While exiting the chasm-room and making their way deeper into the ship the Kill Teams medic, brother Siracum, was shot by a sniper using a stalker-pattern boltgun and kraken rounds. Siracum was seriously wounded but managed to continue but the implications of the shot were worrying. It seemed there were other marines aboard, trying to stop their mission. The Kill Team did manage to get into the command center only to find it defended by several gun servitors. As they did not want to get into a long firefight which could potentially damage of kill the pilot they decided to sneak up on the servitors through the access-cable tunnels below the command center. The plan succeeded and they managed to destroy all three servitors by well-placed shots fired from under the servitors and through the floor. Communicating with the pilot the Kill Team found out that the command for Exterminatus protocol had been approved by Deathwatch Watch Commander and given by Kill Marine Novak who had been earlier sent to secure Imperial Navy help for lifting the siege on Castobel. Furthermore the only sure way to stop the Exterminatus protocol was to stop the launcher which was programmed to launch the cyclonic torpedoes. The Kill Team made their way into the launcher bay now advancing very slowly and watching out for the sniper they now assumed to be Kill Marine Novak himself. The launchers access panel was protected by automated hurricane bolters and a heavy force field which they planned to neutralize by having someone (brother Cassius volunteered) to draw the fire of the bolters while brother Ezekiel would destroy the force-field power-input with precision shot and others using heavy weapons to put down the unprotected hurricane bolters after that. At the last moment the plan was changed as brother Eukarios wanted to build a barricade to protect them from the hurricane bolters and the Kill Team retreated to search for suitable metal for the barrier. While ripping pieces of metal from the hull they were, again, fired upon by a sniper using stalker-pattern boltgun and brother Eukarios was critically wounded. The Kill Team answered the fire, laying down a heavy cover of boltgun shells and destroying large part of the room to force the sniper into cover and retreated back to the launcher. The building of the barricade was abandoned and the Kill Team returned to earlier plan. The force field was shut down by a well-placed shot and the hurricane bolters destroyed almost at the same time so brother Cassius (who was running to draw the fire) survived unharmed. After this Lysiana bypassed to panel and shut down the launchers. The Kill Team subsequently exited the ship simply walking down to launcher barrel into open space to be picked up by a shuttle. Imperial Casualties: Two seriously wounded and two critically wounded battle-brothers. Several dozen destroyed servitors. Xeno Casualties: None. Aftermath: The Exterminatus protocol was stopped and Castobel saved… For now.
  11. Blood in the Void – Planning and Preparation * * * MISSION REQUEST / WHITE PRIORIOTY / REQUESTING PARTY: ADEPTUS MECHANICUS DEATHWATCH KILL SHIP JULIUS ROBERT HAS BEEN GIVEN A PRIORITY ONE TARGETING ORDER TO CONDUCT A FULL SCALE EXTERMINATUS ON THE WORLD OF CASTOBEL BY USING SIX (6) CYCLONIC TORPEDOES. AT THE MOMENT IT IS UNKNOWN FROM WHERE THE TARGETING ORDER HAS ORIGINATED BUT AS SOON AS JULIUS ROBERT EXITS THE WARP THE ONLY WAY TO STOP IT IS BY DIRECTLY ASSAULTING THE SHIP AND FORCING A FULL SHUT-DOWN OF THE SHIPS SYSTEMS BY ACTIVATING THE EMERGENCY LOCK-DOWN PROCEDURES. WHEN THE SHIP EXITS THE WARP THERE IS A THIRTY-SIX HOUR WINDOW TO CONDUCT THE ATTACK BEFORE JULIUS ROBERT GETS INTO RANGE TO CALCULATE AND CARRY OUT THE FIRING SOLUTION. MISSION TASKS: STOP THE KILL SHIP JULIUS ROBERT FROM CONDUCTING AN EXTERMINATUS ON HIVE WORLD CASTOBEL, FIND OUT WHO GAVE THE EXTERMINATUS ORDER PERSONNEL: ONE (1) KILL TEAM COMMUNICATIONS: DIRECT RADIO UPLINK TO TRANSPORTING SHIP BACKUP COMMUNICATIONS: SECONDARY RADIO COMMUNICATION PROCEDURES INSERTION METHOD: CAESTUS ASSAULT RAM EXTRACTION METHOD: CAESTUS ASSAULT RAM MISSION TIME: MAXIMUM OF THIRTY-SIX (36) HOURS MISSION ABORT PARAMETERS: PREMATURE LAUNCH OF EXTERMINATUS WEAPONS, MISSION TIME ENDING MISSION END PARAMATERS: STOPPING THE SCHEDULED EXTERMINATUS ATTACK ON CASTOBEL MISSION DANGER RATING: WHITE * * * Having been evacuated after the mission to bowels of Castobel the Kill Team was met with two new mission requests. It seemed that by now the Watch Station Oerth was under attack from the Tau fleet but there was also a new problem brewing for Castobel: The Kill Ship Julius Robert had been assigned to destroy the planet by means of Exterminatus and Adeptus Machanicus was asking for Deathwatch to stop this. There was long discussion on the subject of whether the Kill Ship was under correct orders and if the Kill Team did really have the authority to stop it. There was also the problem that Shadow in the Warp laid by the Tyranid swarms attacking Castobel made it impossible for them to contact Watch Fortress Erioch so they were forced to resort to their own council. In the end it was decided that they had bled too much for Castobel to let the planet die without knowing the truth. As the Kill Ship was now fully activated and trying to protect itself from any intrusion while carrying out the Exterminatus the Kill Team knew it had to break through the outer-hull, navigate its way through a changing labyrinth of automated defences and reach the ships pilot. They also had the problem of limited resources since their ship had not left Castobel system after the last mission they could not resupply themselves from Eriochs stocks but were forced to cannibalize their own vehicles magazines for boltgun ammunition and were running short on grenades and melta-bombs. In the end the plan was very simple: Breach the outer hull with Caestus Assault Ram, navigate the way through the automated defences to the pilot, communicate with the pilot to find out how the orders for the exterminates were given and then stop the exterminates procedure. As there was no quarantee that the ship would be responsive to Deathwatch or Inquisitor level override-codes it was decided that Tekwitch Lysiana would accompany them to ship as she could possibly break through the ship security by using non-imperial procedures (which Inquisitor specifically approved for this mission only). Understandably brother Eukarios was less than happy for the decision.
  12. About a year ago I finished a long-time Dark Heresy campaign of mine where the plot was basically that the Acolytes would find out about the existence of Necrons and the threat they pose to the Imperium. In the end they had to pick a side on whether to try to go public with the information (and risk being killed by other Inquisitors because of it) or to stay silent and try to fight it from shadows… They decided to stay in shadows, trying to find more information while not provoking the Necrons into waking up. You can imagine my surprise when I picked up a copy of The Outer Reach last night and, reading through it, realized that this is EXACTLY what the Dead Cabal is doing in it… They have decided to keep their mouths shut about Necrons, not wake up the slumbering giant and trying to fight it from the shadows with research and exploration. Now the really brilliant thing is that this ties nicely up with all the earlier fluff from codices, Black Library and such… Even in the very first Necron Codex the first encounters with necrons were long, long time ago somewhere around M36, in Black Library books Inquisition and Adeptus Mechanicus knew things long before Necrons attacked openly but Imperium never made their existence public until they had to. Brilliant book, all in all.
  13. It really depends on what you want. My campaigns "First Season" (10 missions) was build around three Lines of Operations. One was Baraban on Greyhell Front, second one was Castobel in the route of Hivefleet Dagon and third one was Inquisition investigating some ancient ruins. Then I basically gave the Kill Team more requests of assistance than they could ever handle, forcing them to choose and prioritize which missions they would prosecute based on their characters opinions and morals. This lead to a lot of nice roleplaying as the Kill Team members discussed the merits of each operation. This style works well if you want to throw a lot of different opponents on the players. Another styles are to focus the campaign around a specific location or a specific enemy. You could, for example, write a whole campaign about saving a single world (single world, 5 marines… sounds okay) or about stopping a specific enemy (like one tendril of Hivefleet Dagon). In this case the campaign would probably have a single world or some other important location as a sort of "metacharacter" around which the campaign would rotate.
  14. Okay, its worth explaining a bit on how the Deathwatch works in the games I run: Watch Commander is the supreme head of the Deathwatch Jericho Reach. Theoretically he controls everything and is responsible for everything. However, he is just one man. This means that much of his time is spent liaising with the Inquisition, Imperial Guard, Imperial Navy, Space Marine Chapters, Administratum, Officio Assassinorum, Planetary Governors and dozens of other organizations. In addition to this he controls the resources. He makes the decisions on how many Kill Teams, Kill Marines and Kill Ships are assigned to each "operational direction". He also approves all requests for really expensive or uniques resources like Land Raiders, ships, relic weapons, terminator armour and so on. He does not have time to check each and every mission. Thats what Watch Captains are for. Watch Captains are assigned a number of Kill Teams (usually one, but sometimes as many as three). They might be assigned an "operational direction" to work on, or be in general rapid reaction duty, working anywhere the Deathwatch is needed. Watch Captains take in all the hundreds of warnings, pieces of intelligence and request for help that arrive through the Imperial organizations and the Deathwatch Kill Teams. They sift through all this stuff, prioritize and make them into Mission Requests. He is basically responsible for checking all the facts. Prepared Mission Requests are sent to Kill Team to handle. Unless Watch Captain or Watch Commander says otherwise the Kill Team will handle all the Mission Requests they are given as soon as they can. In my games they are usually flooded with Mission Requests so they simply can't handle all. They pick what they think they can do and everything else is put on back log to be handled by other Kill Teams or sent back to the organization requesting it with a polite "Sorry, but we cannot help you at this time" -letter. Once the Kill Team takes on a mission they are supervised by the organization that requested the Mission. This is either Deathwatch (if the mission was requested by Deathwatch) or Inquisition (if the mission was requested by someone else). But mostly they are veteran marines of hundreds of battles and they are trusted so they are pretty much given a free rein to complete the mission how they choose. Now the catch is that Watch Commander and Watch Captain are continously overtasked with the sheer amount of information coming in that they cannot always keep an eye on the Kill Teams. The whole Deathwatch is so overtasked that it is working hand-to-mouth, day-to-day trying to juggle all the problems and is in the brink of cracking under the load. And when that happens, things fall through the cracks… * * * Now, as for "why the coverup?" Well, Watch Captains were the guys that made the mistakes by letting these things slip through. But if the original requests for assistance came, for example from Inquisition and Adeptus Mechanicus, then it is the Watch Commanders best interest not to tell them just piss off. Yes, he has the authority and the power to do so, but he wasn't put into the position of a Watch Commander so that he can swing his **** around and make everybody hate him right away. Quite the opposite. He was chosen because in addition to being a brilliant military commander he can navigate his way in Imperial politics and make sure that Deathwatch will continue to get the best support from people like Inquisition and Adeptus Mechanicus. Marching right in and saying "You f***ers are fighting each other and involving us in it. Piss off now or I'll shoot you" won't make that happen. Instead it will make **** sure the Inquisitor offended will start to hold back important intelligence and the Adeptus Mechanicus Magos involved will stall the Deathwatch ship repairs behind the curtains.
  15. We've always had the culture where players roll the dice openly on the table where everyone sees them. So basically no-one even tries to cheat. GM is allowed to roll behind the screen (and often does) in order to conceal enemy statistics from players. GM is also allowed to "fudge" die rolls for the purposes of better story, although many times as GM I roll on the open anyway.
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