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Minimejunior

Space Hulk- Only War to Dark Heresy

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Outline of Campaign:

A great imperial fleet is about to make a warp jump onto a great crusade where glory for the imperium awaits. However, as they reach the Mandeville Point, an unrecognised ship is hanging just above a nearby planet. One ship is sent to investigate, confiscate any valuable assets and scuttle the ship before catching up with the rest of the fleet.

 

As the rest of the fleet makes the Warp jump, the ship (which he unfortunate players are upon) goes to investigate. Upon entering they find a peaceful community more then willing to act on the emperors work. But then things turn for the worse. Troops go missing, reports of fire fights acorss the ship. As for what starts as what appears to be a simple rabble of rebels with guns turns to be a cult.....a genestealer cult.

 

I later intend a Dark Heresy group sent by their inquisitor to ascertain the fate of certain personnel some years after the event of the only war campaign.

 

To run this, I am using various space hulk templates from the board game and different coloured lights in a dark room and will be downloading sounds to add the emphasis and even a countdown timer.

 

How does this sound to people? Positives/Negatives? Suggestions?

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The main negative I can see is that in the original space hulk they sent in terminators, and they were usually only equipped well enough to get in and out, not usually retake the ship. This will be harder to do with fleshy guardsman characters (mind you I said harder, not impossible.)

I love the idea of it and it adds a lot of potential for limited tactical deployment with hallways and open hangars which will be a nice change from another plain/forest. The players might not always have cover or may have to make their own, also low/no gravity anyone?

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It's a very good idea, and it could certainly be fun to link both groups. However, it seems to rely on the Only War players dying. The two problems with this is, if the odds are decently fair, time and again the players will laugh in the face of your attempts, surviving and somehow get stronger either through lucky dice or skill or both. Also, the way around this (crazy odds) can lead to upset players feeling slightly useless.

For this reason, I would personally play it as an Only War campaign and only if the players die would I throw in the DH. But, as the GM, whatever works for you is best.

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It's a very good idea, and it could certainly be fun to link both groups. However, it seems to rely on the Only War players dying. The two problems with this is, if the odds are decently fair, time and again the players will laugh in the face of your attempts, surviving and somehow get stronger either through lucky dice or skill or both. Also, the way around this (crazy odds) can lead to upset players feeling slightly useless.

For this reason, I would personally play it as an Only War campaign and only if the players die would I throw in the DH. But, as the GM, whatever works for you is best.

There are really only two ways the Only War segment ends - death/genestealer infection, or they successfully establish a stronghold of holdouts loyal to the Emperor, probably besieged by any surviving genestealers. In the event of the former, it's easy. In the event of the latter, after establishing and securing the stronghold of Loyalists/non-infected, make like you're going to do a timeskip, and have the players draw up long-range plans and contingencies.

Boom, timeskip, DH response team are the PCs, the (surviving) Only War PCs have graduated to being NPCs. Use the plans the players drew up, modified as needed, for an estimation of how things went during the timeskip.

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It's a very good idea, and it could certainly be fun to link both groups. However, it seems to rely on the Only War players dying. The two problems with this is, if the odds are decently fair, time and again the players will laugh in the face of your attempts, surviving and somehow get stronger either through lucky dice or skill or both. Also, the way around this (crazy odds) can lead to upset players feeling slightly useless.

For this reason, I would personally play it as an Only War campaign and only if the players die would I throw in the DH. But, as the GM, whatever works for you is best.

 

I don't think it replies on the OW team dying. They can simply abandon the ship after they complete a number of objectives, leaving the DH team to find it years later.

 

Or they all die. That too.

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Well. The campaign revolved around the players taking on the role of a Stormtrooper regiment that had been called on to investigate a Space Hulk because the "Marines are busy".

 

So our intrepid team of two flamer wielding specialists, psyker and sergeant board an Aquila Lander with NPCs. One of them is the designated pilot.

 

After a botched roll, an NPC politely offers to have a go at the ship controls. Said NPC is known and demonstrated to have the Incompetent demeanour.

 

Pilot obliges and let's her take the helm.

 

Nat 100 on a untrained Operate Aeronautics. Lander plows into the side of the Hulk.

 

Next 3 IC hours are spent using a deus ex machina lascutter to cut through the fused hulls following the crash. Tone of the game to come is readily apparent.

 

One of the first thing the players do is split up. Cue vicious Genestealer attack by one Genestealer.

 

Funnily enough the campaign ended after the first encounter, and the Psyker had the highest kill count courtesy of Perils of the Warp. 

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There are really only two ways the Only War segment ends - death/genestealer infection, or they successfully establish a stronghold of holdouts loyal to the Emperor, probably besieged by any surviving genestealers. In the event of the former, it's easy. In the event of the latter, after establishing and securing the stronghold of Loyalists/non-infected, make like you're going to do a timeskip, and have the players draw up long-range plans and contingencies.

Boom, timeskip, DH response team are the PCs, the (surviving) Only War PCs have graduated to being NPCs. Use the plans the players drew up, modified as needed, for an estimation of how things went during the timeskip.

 

Ah, alrighty then. My mistake.

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Well. The campaign revolved around the players taking on the role of a Stormtrooper regiment that had been called on to investigate a Space Hulk because the "Marines are busy".

 

So our intrepid team of two flamer wielding specialists, psyker and sergeant board an Aquila Lander with NPCs. One of them is the designated pilot.

 

After a botched roll, an NPC politely offers to have a go at the ship controls. Said NPC is known and demonstrated to have the Incompetent demeanour.

 

Pilot obliges and let's her take the helm.

 

Nat 100 on a untrained Operate Aeronautics. Lander plows into the side of the Hulk.

 

Next 3 IC hours are spent using a deus ex machina lascutter to cut through the fused hulls following the crash. Tone of the game to come is readily apparent.

 

One of the first thing the players do is split up. Cue vicious Genestealer attack by one Genestealer.

 

Funnily enough the campaign ended after the first encounter, and the Psyker had the highest kill count courtesy of Perils of the Warp. 

Ha! Well, sounds like an action packed game all round then.

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What! No timely intervention by a squad of DW marines? How rude! ;)  However, If you included this facet, the Astartes could help the guard create a secure beachhead on the Hulk and await an Inquisitors 'evaluation' as to whether the Hulk was worth retaking and purifying. Thus Cue you DH Acolyte cell! Perhaps sooner than originally intended! No time skip necessary!

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I think that there is an important distinction between a "Space Hulk" and a derelict ship. Generally speaking, the sort of vessels described as space hulks are massive amalgamations of ruined ships forced in to one mass by the Warp and inexplicably flung across the galaxy filled with all manor of foe such as Orks, Genestealers, or the forces of Chaos. These are the sorts of monstrosities that only a squad of Terminators can hope to achieve an objective on.

 

Conversely, a derelict ship is just one that is either too damaged or too under staffed to move itself anymore. These sorts of ships are a potential gold mine for the Machine Cult or enterprising Rogue Traders. With Imperial ships often taking centuries to build, locating a "spare" one is such a boon, that even if it may be in some way tainted, there is ample reason to examine it to see if part or all of the ship can be salvaged.

 

Going back to your campaign idea, you could certainly make the threat to the Only War group a lot less dire if you decide that the infiltration cycle is still early in its development. Perhaps the infiltration has only just reached the Maelignaci stage, meaning that by-and-large, the PCs are only fighting mind-controlled humans and the "shock troops" of the Genestealer army. Towards the end of the Only War campaign, the group has the opportunity to face a Hybrid or True Hybrid that is directing the activity of the cult along side the Patriarch (which has still not yet reached its full potential as the cult is still developing). This gives ample opportunity for horror gaming as the PCs discover the creature which is a clear amalgamation of human and alien.

 

Then, once (if) the PCs are victorious, they can leave the shipping, stepping over the bodies of the Hybrid and Patriarch believing they have won. This opens the way for the Imperium to undertake further activities of identifying that the ship is "cleansed" - say sending in an Inquisitor and his Acolytes to test the purity of the crew and ship.

 

Of course what the PCs don't know is that the True Hybrid had already created a Primacii offspring, who grows to retake control of the cult in their absence. The Primacii are indistinguishable from humans and could have easily been overlooked as a child by the PCs in their hurry to leave the ship. In the time it takes the Inquisitor to arrive, the cult is renewed, with the Primacii perhaps even having created a Purii offspring, so that effectively the entire cycle has begun again. Only this time they know the Imperium are coming, and their activities aboard the ship can be much more subtle...

 

I think it's important to ensure that you have a good reason that an Inquisitor turns up and explores the ship, rather than just ordering the closest naval ship with a Nova Cannon to turn it in to a twisted, burning hull. The perception that perhaps the Imperial Guard won and the ship just needs a few extra "checks" is potentially a good way of doing that.

 

Anyway - hope that helps.

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