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RogalDorn01

Gooey on the inside?

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So my kill teams next mission is pretty much suicide...but if they act like professionals and move quickly it should be able to get finished without a total party wipe.

 

 

The data extracted during the "Extraction" mission from the core book has led to the team attempting to aid in the creation of an effective Neurotoxin that is specifically geared to the genetic markers within Hive Fleet Dagon.  There are things that can be done to further this goal.  There have been reports that after the destruction of potent synapse creatures there is a burst of Psychic activity from a small picket ship that exists near the heart of the hive splinter near the planet.  A few hours later, a single micetic spore will lauch from the picket back to the forces on the planet.  It is surmised that this ship is in fact one of the legendary "Regeneration" ships that specialize in downloaded the collected experiences from a dying synapse creature and building them a new body before redeploying them to battle.  IN this way, the hive mind can evolve at an even faster rate because no knowledge is ever lost in battle.

 

Inquisitor Archibald has proposed a dangerous twofold mission.

 

Primary Objective

 - Obtain a biosample from the primary nerve cluster

 - Find a way to kill the bioship

 

They will be inserting via Boarding Torpedo as the hive fleet is too vast to get a Thunderhawk in and have it be able to stop long enough to cut through the outer carapace.

 

I gave the player that will be leading the mission the Dossier a week ago, and he has been planning that whole time.  He is planning on splitting his kill team into two parts, a Loud group, and an infiltration group of himself and one other.  They are both sneaky raven guard.  The rest of the group's mission would be to go in hard and fast and plant a large warhead that they are bringing with them within the primary cardio-pulmonary system of the ship.  He plans to infiltrate the brain of the ship, take the sample.  Then plant demolition charges on it.  Then the whole team gets back to the rally point and extracts via teleport homer to the Howling Griffons voidship that he has convinced to do a flyby at extreme teleport range to get them out.  The ship is 1/4 KM wide, 1 KM long, and 1/2 KM tall.  So based on thier intel it should only be an 8th of a KM to get from the outer skin to the inner core.  Marines can travel that pretty quick if they can find direct paths, and that's a BIG IF!

 

Now that you have all the background for the mission...I wanted to see your thoughts on a few things.

 

1.  How do you all imagine the inside of a bioship?  Other than the Uriel Ventris book I have only some small ideas for how it would work.

 

2.  What sorts of things could go wrong inside a tyranid ship?  I already have a few nasty surprises in mind that I won't reveal here in the fear that the Squad leader could read this post before we play next!

 

3.  How many demo charges should it take to blow up a Bioship brain?

 

4.  How far out should I spread the marines?  It's one marine per torpedo I believe.

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Well, as far as my interpretation is concerned, a Bioship is essentially a living, breathing organism - which means its insides are going to look fairly similar to the insides of our own bodies or those of various animals. On the other hand, Tyranid organisms are also purpose-bred, as you can see at the shape and function of their weapons, so those ships will be designed to accomodate a host of "parasitic" Tyranid lifeforms, as well as breeding new ones.

 

Depending on the area of the ship, I would expect degrees in how much of a section is given over to the host organism's own functions, and how much is given over to serve as a residence or transportation for other Tyranid creatures, which would influence the look of the environment.

 

The former would look more natural and gooey, as if you were walking through someone's bowels, possibly with "maintenance accesses" to various organs or vast tubes transporting fluids. Indeed, some sections of the ship could be "flooded" - imagine the Marines not just wading through, but swimming through a tube filled with the ship's own blood, or through a sea of stored biomatter.

The latter would look like a weird mixture of organic components and artificial-looking design, akin to the Alien-infested corridors of the eponymous movie franchise. Corridors that are clearly designed for ease of passage by other Tyranid creatures, featuring stuff like ripped surfaces to prevent slipping, or even hand- ... or, well, rather clawrails.

 

Consider also that this ship will host a multitude of functions, ranging from self-defence to feeding and breeding, to simple life support. All of this can serve either as background for the narration, weakness to be exploited, or a threat to the party!

 

In regards to the brain, I suppose that depends on how exactly you'd attach them. If the Marines somehow manage to bring it inside (perhaps delivering it themselves by crawling through the gray matter), a single charge might suffice. Otherwise, I'd say place a "ring" of four around the brain. If you want to drag out the mission a bit, you could turn these four locations into four sub-targets, in the form of "access points" that need to be secured before the charge can be placed. Perhaps the first and the second bomb can be placed without interference, but then the ship begins to react ...

 

 

Also, here's some visual inspiration to get you started

 

Xiu3C.jpg

 

ui_hots_loading_missionselect_zchar01.jp

 

ZergHive2.jpg

 

fpPXTw3.jpg

 

aliens3.png

 

alien05.jpg

 

The-Alien-hive-holds-unimaginable-terror

 

A lot of directions you could take this in, depending on whether you prefer a darker horror style, or a more colourful "organic flesh" one. :)

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First off, their tactic is utterly horrible. You would be hard pressed to simply appear, launch torpedos and bug out. Tyrant ships do have some anti-missile/torpedo defences IIRC (acid clouds etc) so you might want to instead consider a quiet approach, stealthed vessel or one with reflective plating which sacrifices hull integrity with warding and defences to make it harder for the tyranids to detect. At which point it may be able to get them aboard quietly without alerting the ship enough to trigger its countermeasures.

 

Their tactic for a loud group and quiet is frankly demented. Tyranid vessels are likely to have vast numbers of spawn eggs waiting to deploy on a new world but on the actual ship itself they wont need it. A ship filled with life is inefficient, it wastes energy which could be saved for when it is required so most of the occupants will likely remain in pods until they are needed and there will likely only be a small skeleton crew of tyranids, perhaps a lesser number of synapse creatures or utility tyranids currently unseen which perform other functions like preservation or like antibodies. If they go in loud though it's going to wake up the nest and all hell can and will break loose, those quiet utility ones can easily become large angry ones. If anything they should be staying silent as the grave, ensuring they do not wake it up. If they alert them while they are inside, the organic ship can easily wake up its crew and it will be a total bloodbath, theres no way a Kill Team would possibly survive millions of angry nids stuck inside a ship.

 

1 - I would imagine them looking similar on the inside to Species 8472 Bioships from the Star Trek Universe or possibly similar to elements of Wraith Hive ships from the Stargate Universe: http://stargate.wikia.com/wiki/Hive_ship

 

So organic designs, pulsating walls which are essentially masses of muscle and vein, pumping whatever it considers blood around itself heck you might even be inside it at times, who knows. You'd also be seeing millions if not billions of possible eggs/cocoons/sacs etc which will contain various Tyranid spawn waiting to be deployed on the surface of a fresh world. 

 

You wont be enjoying luxuries like light either, why need it when most things are either not requiring it or able to sense where everything is? Not pleasant to breath, foul gasses, fumes etc.

 

2 - Plenty can go wrong. For a start, atmosphere won't be friendly, why does it need to be either as it's designed for Tyranid, not human. So expect toxic environment, temperature far from comfortable, and this thing would surely have a major hive mind presence so any psyker onboard is going to feel that and it will not do well for their sanity. As per above as well there will be dormant Tyranids on board. One wrong move and you can easily wake up the creatures and start a hoard. You would also need to consider that it is still a living entity with countless manner of organic functions going on inside it. One wrong step and you could end up moving from investigating its reproductive part and end up in its digesting chamber with its potent acids.

 

3 - How much have you got? Even if you make it a vegetable anyway nothing saying it might not be able to regenerate with enough biomatter and time. Unless you're looking to cripple it for the Imperial Navy to finish the job. No you'd need to fully obliterate it just to be sure and you're looking at some serious firepower. To wreck its brain though, you're assuming they are even able to identify its brain for a start! Last check there aren't many reports of the inside of the nid ships to know whats its brain and whats its liver or even if it has just the one brain, might have another but we just don't know. Assuming you were able to do it though you might want to consider rather than demo-packs something with a lot more bite like a potent incendiary, vortex bomb or even an old school virus bomb. Those would definitely ensure you wipe the **** thing out.

 

4 - Oooh that's going to hurt, you're being mean. Torpedos can store more than just one marine but one each means that could easily put the kill team in really unpleasant situations from the off. Imperial Torpedos are not the most accurate of things at times and if they are even slightly off on launch they could go wide which means members are a good click apart from each other. Very bad for cohesion but good for difficulty.

 

Edit: Lynata, I don't buy the whole clawrails. I'm sorry what next, escalators for the likes of Old One Eye! :)

Edited by Calgor Grim

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Edit: Lynata, I don't buy the whole clawrails. I'm sorry what next, escalators for the likes of Old One Eye! :)

 

Hey, I'm not the one who came up with designs like these, I'm just trying to find something that'd fit to it. :P

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1.  How do you all imagine the inside of a bioship?  Other than the Uriel Ventris book I have only some small ideas for how it would work.

 

2.  What sorts of things could go wrong inside a tyranid ship?  I already have a few nasty surprises in mind that I won't reveal here in the fear that the Squad leader could read this post before we play next!

 

3.  How many demo charges should it take to blow up a Bioship brain?

 

4.  How far out should I spread the marines?  It's one marine per torpedo I believe.

 

  1. Check out Oblivion's Edge if you've not seen it before - it's a free download from the FFG Deathwatch Support page and includes a boarding action against a hive ship, replete with nasty things to do to people
  2. Pick an internal organ, scale it up and imagine the dangers of trying to cross it. Examples: lungs, stomach, womb (full of combat-ready bioforms), immune system gland (in this case tervigon, which unlike other bioforms spend their time wombling around looking for intruders). If you want something I've never seen but is logically possible - non-tyrannic parasitic infection. It attacks the kill-team. First response is "kill it with fire" but a more logical reasoning implies that knowledge of how it stays concealed is incredibly valuable. If this hive ship is specifically charged with growing synapse creatures, logic dictates that there be many of them aboard. Also, this raid will occur during a naval battle. Suppose one of the escorting destroyers is shot down and the wreckage crashes into the hive ship whilst the kill team is on board? Suddenly having a hundred-metre long shard of adamantium keel slice through the battlezone, accompanied by explosions, spasms by the ship, and violent decompression should make things interesting, especially if it loses any gravity - magboots, obviously, won't help...
  3. Quite a few. Again, see oblivion's edge for a pretty much pre-made scene.
  4. Depends on the pattern. 'Proper' boarding torpedoes carry a squad, but the deathwatch are likely to use uncommon stuff. Certainly if the requirement is fast-and-stealthy, a sort of 'cluster boarding torpedo' with each marine delivered seperately isn't beyond imagining. Don't split them up too much though - unless you explicitely want them to each play the mission solo, make "reunite with kill-team" your immediate secondary objective and have them spend a short scene doing that. Splitting up kill-teams stops them using some of their cool abilities and is more work for the GM to keep track of events in two or more locations at once.
Edited by Magnus Grendel

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Awesome ideas!  I had not realized that Oblivion's Edge was about this!  I had not considered that the inside of the ship would not have gravity.  But of COURSE it wouldn't have gravity.  I had absolutely considered the idea of a totally toxic atmosphere and plan to go with it.  As for destroying the ship, they are bringing a warhead along that they are going to try to carry to the inner parts of the ship as fast as they can.

 

The reason for the individual torpedoes is that I was thinking that they would be advanced stealthy torpedoes.  I am always nervous about giving the kill team access to a new tool, but then I have to explain why they don't have access again to it in a later adventure...stupid continuity!!!

 

Alright so I am thinking of essentially having a pitch black, toxic, zero gravity, hellhole.

 

 

hmmm more thoughts to come, still at work!

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Ok so this mission went off last night.  I went through the oblivion's edge mission and combined it with some other thoughts I had for a ship of this size.  Overall it was really fun!  It was a challenge to balance the two halves of the kill team to keep everyone engaged.  But we kept the pace good, there were some great setpiece moments as well.  The Two members of the Ravenguard went after the primary mission of retrieving the sample and destroying the primary nerve cluster.  The other five members went on a mad dash to take out the primary pulmonary system of the ship.  All told we had 7 players, which was almost a full house!  We were only down two marines from the total group of 9.

 

The two Raven Guard did an extraordinarily solid job of getting all the way through to the main nervous system by swimming through bile ducts filled with acidic milky white fluid, dodged a Warrior Prime that was making his way to intercept the other kill team, snuck through the birthing chambers and into one of the primary nerve cords.  The nerve cord itself was about 70 meters long and had arcing electricity randomly striking all over.  Inside the main nerve cluster they remained hidden long enough to spot the five warriors that were concealed in the roof of the domed chamber.  Several turns of heavy flamer and hellfire stormbolter shells later and the warriors were dispatched.  Then a Hive Tyrant arrived on the scene and began to rush them.  The desperate duo dodged around the room with a combination of luck and a jetpack trying to keep the hive tyrant off guard long enough for them to wear him down.  Eventually, the tyrant began making use of his Psychic arsenal and the kill team realized the gig was up and they needed to act fast before they were obliterated.  Having done about 85 damage to the Tyrant over roughly ten rounds of desperate fighting and runnng, the assault marine flew onto the tyrants back and placed a demolition charge there.  Sensing the danger, the hive tyrant jumped as high and hard as it could, which in a microgravity environment is VERY far and fast.  He was attempting to smash the marine between his own bulk and the chitenous ceiling.  With a desperate reaction, the assault marine rolled off before the impact.  Moments later, the demolition charge detonated, wedged between the Hive Tyrant and the ceiling the force of the explosion propelled the Hive Tyrant downwards and into the armored surface of the synapse node itself.  The demolition charge, after damage reduction did just enough damage to finish off the monster for good.  WIth this done the duo took their sample and severed the connections to the rest of the ship before planting their remaining two demolition charges within the armored carapace.  As this was happening an endless swarm of creatures was coming out of five different entrances to the room.  Finally, they detonated the charges and the resulting psychic shockwave killed all the creatures in the vicinity.  Immediately the room began to shake as the ship convulsed around them.  The assault marine grabbed his battle brother and began to fly at breakneck speed back the way they came through the ship.  The linked up with the five man "distraction team" that had successfully depressurized a section of the ship and planted the large warhead that they brought with them on a grav platform underneath the massive eight chambered heart of the ship.  They rendezvoused in the former acid spore generation room that shielded the vessel from enemy attacks and teleportation by generating a massive cloud of acidic particles and life forms around the ship.  With the cloud gone, and the team back together with a teleport homer, the Howling Griffons Strike Cruiser "Griffon's Claw" transported them to safety.

 

Highlights of the Evening

  • The Rune Priest took a devastating charge from a Warrior Prime, then turned and hit him with his force sword.  At this point the warrior had not been injured and we made our opposed willpower tests to resist the Pushed level Force Weapon.  I rolled a natural 100, the Rune Priest rolled a 03...  This gave a differential of 12...so the warrior ended up taking 13d10 +16 Pen 8.  A single attack and the warrior prime was totally annihilated in close combat.  I was ashamed of my master level enemy...and not for the first time.
  • It turned out that this mission was part of a two pronged attack into the center of the hive fleet.  One to hit the Regeneration ship.  The other kill team hit the Hive ship itself at the same time with support from Watch Captain Avidius.  Half the kill team survived, Watch Captain Avidius made the ultimate sacrifice to defend the warhead that they planted at the primary synapse node of the hive ship.  WIth his sacrifice, and the successful destruction of the Regeneration ship, Castobel was saved.  Though even now, the hive ship is breakup up in the atmosphere of the world as it prepares to crash somewhere on the planet.  This will be bad but unavoidable.
  • The Black Templar assault marine mounted one of the giant arteries feeding into the primary heart of the ship and attempted to breach it with his breaching augur.  He succeeded and was blown back almost fifty metered as the arterial jet blew him across the room in zero gravity.  He was then pinned against the wall as the corrosive spray of ichor blasted into him and held him in place.  Eventually he was able to free himself, when his teammates cut other holes into the artery to relieve the pressure a bit
  • The moment that the Space Wolf Runepriest realized that the Raven Guard squad leader hadn't planned a Thunderhawk retrieval and opted to throw himself into the void, using his Sus An membrane to enter suspended animation while they searched for him in a thunderhawk.  He really really didn't want to use a teleportarium for ANY reason!
  • The look on all my players face when they realized that their beloved Watch Captain was not aboard the damaged thunderhawk that contained the remains of the other kill team and discovered his fate.  This was a difficult decision for me, because I really enjoyed playing the character.  He was a mentor to them.  However, I wanted them to understand that there is no such thing as a happy ending in the 41st millennium.  Only Faith, Duty, and a Glorious (or less so) Death...Watch Captain Avidius will be remembered!

Next up the crew officially has finished with Castobel and have been given the Autonomy to pick where the ship goes next from among the many stars of the Jericho Reach...who knows that mysteries and monstrosities they will discover in the dark places they will tread.  (Hint:  I DO!!!)

Edited by RogalDorn01

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The Hive Ship breaking up in orbit is still going to be a massive threat for them as you noticed. It's not "bad but unavoidable" it's still potentially catastrophic as you can easily get spores or larger beasts landing or surviving the impact and starting the process all over again. Methinks that world will have bug problems again in future and may need an Exterminatus. Have the KT actually shown grasp of the implications of this or was this overlooked? 

 

Surprised that none of your marines have melted either with all that acidic bile :)

 

Overall sounds like an excellent mission.

Edited by Calgor Grim

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The Hive Ship breaking up in orbit is still going to be a massive threat for them as you noticed. It's not "bad but unavoidable" it's still potentially catastrophic as you can easily get spores or larger beasts landing or surviving the impact and starting the process all over again. Methinks that world will have bug problems again in future and may need an Exterminatus. Have the KT actually shown grasp of the implications of this or was this overlooked? 

 

Surprised that none of your marines have melted either with all that acidic bile :)

 

Overall sounds like an excellent mission.

They are going to have bug problems for some time for sure.  But they have done all that could be asked of them, keep in mind that the death of the hive mind killed many of the creatures on the ship.  Nevertheless, I have no doubt that they will have issues with Tyranids for some time...the bonus is that because Castobel is a Barren rock of a world, there is no Biomass for them to grow their numbers with.  Not to mention that the howling griffons will be spending a week or so smashing the hell out of that hive ship with bombardments cannons until only a thin paste remains!

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