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P.O.W. Camp Ideas

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An idea for a campaign. Imperial POWs in a Xeno Camp


they must decide between plotting escape, sabotaging xeno ops,

collaborating, or just waiting for release.

The PCs would be various officers, techs, gunners, voidsmen,

armsmen, munitioners, loaders, crewmen, etc from  various

Imperial things: crashed starships, downed valkyries, wrecked shuttles,

failed missions, bad troop drops, etc.


Obviously some overall war front would be going on somewhere . . .

Margin campagin? Battlefleet Koronus ?


What  are some good ideas for plots, NPCs, guards, etc

for a prisoner scenario. ?


Other than watching Hogan's Heroes marathon.

No I'm not running Only War, don't suggest it.    So yes this is the right forum....


My other idea is to read DnD A4 In the Dungeons of the Slave Lords

as that is a prison scenario.

Edited by Egyptoid

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the prisoners must do daily work, havent decided what yet.


all abhumans are kept nearby, at an actual salt mine, and must do very hard labor.


prisoners are all reasonably normal Imperial  humans, as others are handled:

 abhumans, muties   (sent to slave mines)
 space marines      (ransomed to mercs)
 navigators         (ransomed to the pirates, or nav houses)
 other aliens       (sent to various deaths: arena, hazard, medical)



haven;t decided yet who the xenos are. 

who would be better as a captor ? something relatable like a dark eldar, or 

something just intimidating like a rak-gol ?

Edited by Egyptoid

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This sounds like a really neat concept!  Go watch The Great Escape.  Prepare yourself for some sweet Steve McQueen motorcycle-jumping, Nazi-dodging, tunnel-digging awesome.


Make the prisoners do the work needed to sustain themselves (like gardening, latrine-cleaning, building camp improvements [better watch-towers, or clearing fields of fire outside the camp perimeter], etc.) first, and then give them a larger project that they are contributing towards like a massive temple or building roads or a large weapon's installation.  There's nothing else quite like being forced to help create the instruments of your own enslavement!


Good luck with your concentration camp!

Edited by Gaius Iago Urbanus

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I feel like someone ought to suggest Tau as the xenos in question, though I'm not sure their usual portrayal aligns well with how gruesome OP wants to portray things. That being said, the "Greater Good" provides for a lot of leeway if you're willing to shuffle some aspects around.


For example, Space Marines and Navigators being ransomed off could still happen as Water Caste envoys tour the camp to look for bargaining chips in their dealings with Imperial worlds. Slave mines could be used for anyone who looks capable of heavy manual labour, which may mean mostly abhumans (ogryns?) and muties (scalies?), but also particularly strong baseline Humans and perhaps that one Astartes that let himself get captured alive. Weaker abhumans/mutants might "disappear" into the medical ward for examination - nothing so cruel as what happened in WW2 camps (to preserve that Tau image), but perhaps it may just feel even more creepy if lethal or maiming experiments are conducted as "humane" just because the scientists are using anasthaesia and proper, sterile lab equipment to keep the patients alive and more or less well (in fact better than the other prisoners, relatively speaking). Think the Ripley clones in Alien 4, etc.


Basically, the theme would be a veil of ethical treatment that covers prevalent abuse: The guards are instructed to prevent deaths whenever possible, but "troublesome" prisoners disappear for days and come back behaving completely different. The prisoners are kept well clothed and fed, but rumours persist that the Tau put something into their food. Religious service for the Imperial Creed is still permitted, but the camp commander offers bonus rations and/or lighter work for anyone who does not participate - intentionally creating an internal conflict within the prisoner population as fanatics turn against their "less faithful" comrades .. the resulting scuffles are resolved with physical forces, but only after a delay, and even though the guards always arrest both sides, only the Imperial Loyalists take longer to return to their barracks, sometimes being condemned to several weeks in isolation, other times simply being brainwashed. The brainwashing itself is euphemistically called "resocialisation" and either produces pitiful vegetables who can't even tie their own boots anymore, or (more rarely) brutal Tau sympathisers who are promoted to Gue'vesa Auxiliaries, essentially taking on sentry duties to guard their former comrades...


Also, liberal use of tazer-equipped drones swooping over people's heads and keeping an eye on things.


For further inspiration, I recommend the movie "Fortress". Perhaps the entire camp could be underground, and part of the prisoners' task is to expand the tunnels to make room for more prisoners, ...


It may not be what OP had in mind in regards to creating a more obviously horrific scenario, but it's what swept through my mind when I was thinking "40k prison camp". Maybe the idea still turns out to be interesting for anyone, after all. :)

Edited by Lynata

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I never thought of Tau, and gut reaction; I don't like it.

Not mean enough, I said at first.


But then I took that Tau thought and said KROOT.


The place should be a tau camp, yet is run by them from afar.

The enforcers, guards and overseers  are Kroot (with hounds to do the chasing)

but the senior officers and maintenance people would be Tau.


So there'd be about 300 Kroot for the muscle, and about 50 Tau for the supervision.

Oh yeah and the Drone Perimeter, sweet !


Now that I can get behind.

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There also might be no actual Tau, if it's something they're trying to keep "plausible deniability" about.  They might put another group, even humans, in charge of the actual facility and reporting to a more distant Tau commander.  (it worth remembering there are 5th generation Tau Empire Humans by this time.  The first were captured and colonized around 745.M41)


Edit: also, the Tau are likely to use the Imperial Creed's ability to control humanity for their own good, selecting or providing priests who preach a message "acceptance and unity".  In a semi-literate society where the vast majority have never actually read (and can't) the holy books, they'll accept what their priest tells them.  Until their taught to read Tau, and find Tau 'translations' of their holy books that support the Tau's view...

Edited by Quicksilver

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The enforcers, guards and overseers  are Kroot (with hounds to do the chasing)

but the senior officers and maintenance people would be Tau.


Neat idea, too! Perhaps the Tau are just a dozen officers, with the camp commander not having a very good idea of the details that are going on inside the complex, preferring to have the Kroot mercenaries handle the day-to-day activities and "looking the other way" when stories of Kroot brutality do reach him/her as they're secretly somewhat afraid of the hired guards that are supposedly part of their command.


For the maintenance crews, perhaps Human "trustees" could be used.


Quicksilver's suggestion of there being no Tau at all is interesting as well. You could use Gue'vesa Auxiliaries as camp officers, perhaps as part of an experiment to see whether Humans could be trusted with guarding their own - with the Kroot mercs as a safety measure, as they would simply refuse orders from the Human officers that would put the camp in danger.


This scenario has a lot of roleplaying potential. The Gue'vesa could be idealists genuinely trying to convince their prisoners of the errors of their ways, perhaps even open for a philosophical debate between two leader-type characters about which side is in the right. Perhaps one of the player characters manages to fake interest and gain the trust of one of the Gue'vesa officers, managing to score special privileges that might help in the escape?


On the other hand, you could also have fanatics who are ashamed of their fellow, foolish Humans and who desperately wish to prove themselves in the eyes of their Ethereal masters, handing out harsher punishments than may be warranted. Or you could have a mix of both, to create a little bit of internal conflict within the Gue'vesa that the player characters may use for their advantage?


It makes me think of that one Outer Limits episode that played on Earth many centuries after aliens had invaded, in a prison camp where human guards were guarding human prisoners, for an alien occupation force that had actually left the planet again long ago...



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:ph34r: I updated my Netflix Queue!  my wife is gonna puke after seeing all these prison movies.



The senior staff will be Tau.

The middle managers will be Gue-vesa

The guards will be Kroot.


Prisoners are all useful workers and helpers.

This camp exists to feed, fix, and supply the mining camp down the road

 ( :angry:  but that's a secret)  the mining camp is the real "profit center" on this planet.

Anyone or anything that hurts mineral production will be corrected.

Senior staff will disavow all knowledge of maltreatment.

"Well you know how those Kroot can get"


PCs are all reasonably normal humans

Anyone who is huge  works at the mine camp.





Barriers to escape - - -

Blatant & Obvious: 

Less Obvious: 


Edited by Egyptoid

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The PCs will be captured in various ways, but the main thing is they were supporting the margin crusade,

and were captured as a result from action within, or while off course from, the Jericho Reach.

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RT: "Nice prison you got here. It would be a shame if something where to happen to it."

Comander C'Linq: "Like what, guela scum?"

RT: "Like my fully operational battlefleet bombarding the entire planet into dust."

C'linq: "Not with you here, surley?"

RT: "You haven't met my second in command, have you? She 'd really like to become captain if you catch my drift."

C'linq: "You don't mean?"

RT: "Yup!"

C'linq" Bloody guela!"... "Fine. RELEASE THE PRISONERS!"

RT: "Hey, those funny floating disk robots, are you selling any?"

C'linq: "Get. Out."

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I've decided the sector the prison planet will be in is in between the Jericho Reach and Ultramar.

West of the Gate, northEast of Macragge, southeast of the Farsights.


When a ship comes out of the Jericho Gate, it often goes east or southeast into the Salients,

well this area is opposite those, to the west. Off the Deathwatch map to the left, if you will


It is one of a group of five Tau colonies nestled in a corner often overlooked by the Empire.

Other players in the Region are imperial and chaos.


From the Imperial view this is an old sector and is haphazardly managed by a sector government riddled with nepotism,

and a miniscule fleet, and 3 greedy rogue trader families that have prostituted themselves down

to being just one rung above Chartist Captains on the ladder of ambition.


There is an SM chapter here, Legates of the Emperor.

and the Sector Capital garrisons an IG army. 40th Palatine

The marines blockade chaos, and the guard protects the agro, the hive, and the capital.


This leaves the sisters and the inquisition to do the lion's share of actually bringing

the light of the Emperor to this place.


There is a forge world in the area, but they are just barely considered orthodox,

don't talk much with mars ; and are treated as a necessary evil by the other

imperial authorities in the region.


The laxitude here is why the Tau feel bold in colonizing this subsector.



The PC's RT house has nothing to do with this sector, they are here by accident.

When they escape the prison, they will have to decide whether to conquer this area

or loot it and go back through the gate to home-space.


props to Somewhathere for the maps.

Edited by Egyptoid

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A] I don't get the Tau 5 Lights comment.



B] I just watched Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence. Ugh. Don't think that tactic will work with Tau.



C] "To sum it up, Tau Empire is just as grimdark, evil and unrelenting as the rest of 40k, but they carefully hide their true nature behind the shining facade of the Greater Good. Kind of the "Brave New World" to the Imperium's "1984""  (from 1d4chan)

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yeah. not a next gen fan much.


but the net result  was good:

you had me scouring all the tau fluff and flavor text,

and codexes and lexicanum and wikia

trying to figure out he 5 lights of Tau Philosophy. funny   :huh:

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Okay I've got a checklist.  it's mostly like the escape list posted earlier,

plus a few secret plot elements which I must hide on the off chance players read this.

I'm going to run it sorta like an Investigation from the Dark Heresy Law Book. (Judgement pg 86)
wherein a hidden list of things must be checked off by me.
The PCs are looking into the "crime" of their incarceration
and will bring the perps to justice (by escaping them)
As the players think of things ("Hey GM, any weak points in the fence?")
then someone will make have to RP & eyeball the fence, plus make a security, or architecture,
or appropriate trade skill check, and then we can mark off "Fence" on my list.
The players will think of 95% of the list on their own.
The Tau's mistakes will lead them to the other 5%.
Once they have my checklist complete (IE we have roleplayed our way to a fool-proof escape plan)
then they can make their break.

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Also I did watch the Great Escape. Two Thumbs up.


  • but the sensor pods will detect tunneling.
  • but i think Tau and Kroot will be easier to connive or bluff, the gue-vesa not so  much
  • and the camp is on a desolate Tau colony, so blending in with the locals will be insanely tricky.




And I'm reading this:



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