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Crystal Geyser

Should I warn my players?

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It certainly looks like your players got their act together. I will say, though, that Quint is going to be causing a lot of fun times for the group. The telepath might well be able to figure out what's going on with him, assuming he gets suspicious enough to do a mind scan, and of course any purity checks that the party has to undergo as part of their Inquisition duties will be problematic.

 

Keep us posted on what happens going forward.

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From the Journals of Astropath Hadril Kleoss

Thought for the Day: Sins hidden in the heart turn all to decay

As the Inquisitor Mathayus Penn’s personal astropath, it falls to me to conduct the noble task of communicating my esteemed master’s wishes to his various cells of acolytes as they go about their ordained duties in the defense of the Emperor’s realm. While this is a task I relish, for the service in the name of the Master of Mankind is its own reward, the Inquisitor himself is a decidedly busy man, and thus has little time for cataloguing reports so that the Inquisitorial council at large may keep up with his exploits. Thus, that duty falls to me, and it is one I take to with, if not gusto, then dogged determination. Let this journal be a recount of the deeds of Penn’s newest employees, a rather characterful, if not conventional band of operatives.

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First, I must introduce you to a rather charming young man by the name of Lukas Ulrich. I understand his father is a man of some high esteemed, an officer in the Commissariat of the Astra Militarum. It will be of no surprise to you, then, that the young Ulrich was offered a prestigious position as a student at the Schola Progenium – while usually reserved for orphans, I find it quite easy to fathom that Lukas’s father used his position of authority to ensure that his son would follow in his legacy, perhaps even in his footsteps as a Commissar. Such  was not to be, however, as Lukas was hardly a model student and developed telepathic abilities at an early age. Rather than sending him away to be sanctioned, Penn put in an order for his deferral, and now Ulrich works as an acolyte of the Inquisition. 

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Next, we come to the delightful Beatrix Alexander, a noble-born woman who, in a display of forwardness most untoward for her social class, actually went to the trouble of seeking out the Inquisition firsthand. Penn conducted some research into the woman’s history and learned that, surprisingly, as a third-born daughter her chance of inheritance was minimal if not nonexistent, and that as such Beatrix had made her living serving as an assassin for her noble house, murdering the scions of her family’s rivals. It should be no surprise, then, that what she reaped she later sowed, when her father was assassinated by a rival house. Alas, those are the politics of the wealthy, and now she faces a most different breed of foe.

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Ms. Alexander is not the only sell-steel in Penn’s employ, however – allow me to tell you of Mr. Quint. A native of a forge world, Quint began his life as a simple cutthroat for hire amongst the reclaimator gangs of the scrap wastes, before eventually attracting the notice of the Magi of his homeworld and becoming a full-fledged assassin for the Adeptus Mechanicus. Eventually he later served as an armsman aboard an Explorator vessel that delved deep into the unexplored Lazarus Moors. What they found, no one knows, but Quint was left with a firm unbelief in the tenets of the Omnissiah and instead a faith in the rationale of heretical science. I would question Penn’s choice of employing such a radical individual, but such is not my place.

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Finally, we come to Althea Maliahssan, a woman with a rather frenetic childhood to say the least. Born on a Chartist vessel, Althea’s family eventually left the voidfaring vessel of their birth and travelled to a frozen feral world, where Althea made work as a mercenary and later was tithed into the Imperial Guard. It wasn’t long before her psyker heritage came to the fore, as she developed minor, fear-inducing psychic abilities. She would likely have been put to death, were it not for Penn’s intervention.

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I was tasked by Penn to ensure that each of his new acolytes received instructions to meet with him at an abandoned service district on the forge world of Kasper IV, in the Nisroc Subsector of the Isiah Sector. The acolytes arrived in a menagerie of craft – Beatrix and Ulrich, for instance, arrived on luxury warp-shuttled commissioned by their respective families, whereas Althea had to made do with stowing away aboard an inbound transport ship. Quint, a native of Kasper, arrived first. The introuctions were…awkward, to say the least. I’m told that the acolytes were unable to meet each others’ eyes, and when no one entered the building that Penn had improvised as a base of operations it fell to the Inquisitor himself to go outside and retrieve the acoltes firsthand.

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Upon entering the warehouse, Penn introduced himself as an Inquisitor of the Ordo Hereticus, and then introduced them to a woman named Mercedes Tiller, a pious ex-Battlefleet captain in command of a converted Orion-class Starclipper known as the Nostradamus, which Penn had commissioned for use as a rapid deployment transport for his acolyte cell. The ship, fitted with an experimental Markov Warp Drive, would be able to ferry the acolytes to any world within the subsector in a matter of mere days. Then, the introductions completed, Penn gave the acolytes their first assignment.

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The mining world of Scarth, also in the Nisroc subsector, regularly conducts trade with the forge world of Kasper. Scarth, once a marine death world, was initially colonized by the Adeptus Mechanicus in order to take advantage of vast repositories of a previously undiscovered mineral compound located in the planet’s crust. This mineral, named “corcase athex” by the Explorators who had colonized the world, was a psycho-actively resonant crystalline ore that could be implemented in the construction of superior warp drives, much like the Markov Drive currently possessed by the Nostradamus. However, given the extremely dangerous climate and ecosystem, early colonization attempts failed repeatedly as settlements were destroyed by monsoons and entire towns were devoured by amphibious leviathans. Thus, the Mechanicus resolved to construct a series of lances around the Scarth system’s sun to artificially accelerate the sun’s decay, releasing vast quantities of heat that would make the planet’s temperature intolerable to the local ecosystem, rendering the world safe for colonization. In true Mechanicus fashion, though, numerous clerical errors were made during this process and the artificial degradation of the system’s sun resulted in the boiling away of the planet’s seas, with the excess radiation transforming Scarth into an irradiated desert.

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I know this is an old thread. And, I know it takes time to write this stuff up. But, I'm really hoping you have a bunch of text files you can copy and paste to fill in what has happened since the group's introduction.

 

I also admit that I will likely steal your idea of recording the exploits of my group via some underling of their head inquisitor. That is such a grand idea, as it allows you to give voice to the errors of everyone, including the inquisitor.

 

Bravo on your work thus far. Hope there is more.

 

-J

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I've started a new thread here: https://community.fantasyflightgames.com/topic/231600-the-journals-of-acolyte-alvarez/

 

I've also posted the first episode here:

 

I’ve had a number of requests to post the exploits of the Dark heresy Campaign I ran last year. Hopefully you may find them entertaining.

 

Acolyte Alvarez licked his aged, dry lips and adjusted the autoquill in his hand. The parchment beneath his fingers felt dry, rough. Seated across from him, lounging in the old wooden chair in the stateroom of the Nostradamus, was a young man clad in the traditional officer’s garb of the Departmento Munitorum Commissariat. His unruly black hair, however, stuck out like he’d just been hit by a stun baton, but his eyes twinkled with a kind of malicious delight. Sitting across from him gave Alvarez the sensation of standing too close to a roaring flame – a roaring flame that felt inches from reaching out and burning his soul as well as his flesh. Of course, none of this was a surprise to Alvarez – he’d been warned to expect these unnatural phenomena around the rogue psyker.

He hadn’t been warned that there’d be three of them. Three identical copies of the same lad, seated around the table with him. He scratched down a few notes on his parchment – the slight sound of insect-like clicking as one of the boys rolled his neck, the way that their pupils expanded beyond their irisises in the low lighting, making their eyes look black as ink.

The boy seated across from Alvarez reached down and stroked the wolf. Alvarez nearly jumped out of his seat. That wolf definitely hadn’t been there before. It bared metal fangs at him. The boy laughed. His tongue seemed far too long.

“How did you find me?” the boy asked, grinning.

Alvarez cleared his throat. “An anonymous order for a few hundred Munitorum-standard Commissariat issue jackets doesn’t go unnoticed, even in Inquisitorial channels. Lord Locke flagged you immediately.”

“Ah, Locke,” the boy sighed. “I assume you’ll want an explanation?”

“For the jackets?” Alvarez shook his head. “There are more pressing questions on my mind at the moment.”

The boy raised his eyebrow. “Where shall I start then, old man?”

Alvarez readied his quill. “At the beginning.”

 

+++From the journals of Adept Konrad Alvarez, Ordo Xenos+++

 

It was the 940.M41. The Second War for Armageddon was only a scant year away, yet the galaxy still reeled from the conflict in the Ultima Segmentum that had nearly thrown the entire Imperium into a civil war on a scale rivaling that of the Horus Heresy – the Badab War. There are those who claim that the Tyrant of Badab was defeated, and his turncoat Red Corsairs crushed – lies. It’s been little more than a year since the Wolf of Fenris was taken. Emboldened by the example of Huron Blackheart, Chaos cults rise up in droves across the Segmentum, requiring a forceful hand of intervention by the Imperial Inquisition.

 

Turn now to the Nisroc Subsector, in the Isiah Sector of the Ultima Segmentum. Inquisitor Mathayus Penn of the Ordo Hereticus had set his sights on the small, hot mining world of Scarth. Scarth’s history was an unfortunate one – catalogued during the Great Crusade by the Adeptus Mechanicus, Scarth, an aquatic world at the time, was found to possess vast quantities of the mineral corcase aethex, an ore utilized in the production of experimental warp drives. However, thanks to the leviathan sea life and hostile weather, Mechanicus efforts to construct outposts on the world for the purposes of mining the athex failed drastically. The Mechanicus constructed an array of solar lances around the system’s sun to artificially accelerate its death, projecting bursts of heat and radiation that were intended to raise the planet’s climate just enough to become inhospitable to the life within its seas.

 

In true Mechanicus fashion, however, the devices were forgotten and, it seems, never deactivated. These days, Scarth is a barren radioactive desert world littered with the bones of ancient beasts. The miners live in void-shielded, hermetically-sealed habs, digging away in hardsuits to get at the veins of athex running below the surface. Perhaps that’s why the psyker birth rate has skyrocketed to such a degree that the Black Ships have arranged to visit the planet for the second time this century – an unprecedented event.

 

Penn knew the matter of extracting this many renegade psykers from such a hostile world, for the second time in a generation, would be a potentially delicate task. For this reason he recruited an acolyte cell to watch over the proceedings For the purposes of interacting with the pskers themselves, he recruited Lukas Ulrich, a former student of the Schola Progenium. Well, “recruited” perhaps isn’t the right word. “Blackmailed” is so tasteless, however, and it’s not like the Inquisition wouldn’t have found out about his…abilities anyway. Joining the team was the beautiful Beatrix Alexander, a noble-born lass. Apparently her father was recently murdered by a rival house – a pity. On the other side of the spectrum, the far less beautiful Althea “Thea” Mahliassan lay. Raised on the icy death world of Lydrurgea, inducted into the Imperial Guard and then discharged, Thea had been living the mercenary life for some time, and she’d earned scars to show for it. Like Ulrich, it was her other, more renegade abilities that drew Penn’s eye, and Mathayus, a self-identified Radical, saw no point in squandering her talents. Finally, rounding out the team came Quint, a iron-jacket assassin from the forges of Kazpbar IX, a dominion of the Mechanicus.

 

The team was assembled on Kazpbar, where Penn met with them along with Mercedes Tiller, the captain of the Nostradamus, a chartered transport vessel that Penn had contracted to transport his new operatives. Introductions were awkward, to say the least, especially when Thea and Ulrich detected each others’ psionic abilities. Penn explained that their job was to watch over the tithing and ensure that it went off without difficulty.

 

The trip to Scarth was uneventful, but the arrival was not. As one of the Nostradamus’s Arvus Lighters descended to the surface, the acolyte cell spied the crumbling, crenellated tower of a blackened void shield generator. Donning void suits, they exited the lander, and recovered the remains of a tech-priest who had evidently bee working on the generator before it went down. The sudden blast of exposure to the planet’s heat and radiation had burned the priest down to the bone, melting his implants and augmentations to quicksilver. It was during this examination that gunshots sounded, and the acolytes found themselves suddenly attacked by a band of mutants! Horrible rad-filth armed with knocked-together guns and patched void-suits sprung from the sands and opened fire on the acolyte cell – however, a few well-placed headshots from Quint and Alexanders’ hunting rifles, along with some bolts of psychic flame from Ulrich and a brutal barrage of lasbolts from Thea put most of them down. The last remaining mutant turned tail and ran for it, sprinting back into the desert under the cover of night.

 

Quint went to work using his technical expertise to repair the shield generator and the townspeople came out to greet and thank them. The cell immediately made way for the local Arbite precinct for access to a vehicle, and were able to use their Inquisitorial connections to wrangle a outrider scout vehicle out of the Arbite motor pool. The desk sergeant, a young Arbite named Novus, was very put out. Before long the cell had caught up to the mutant, who in the heat of the rising sun had nearly expired. A short interrogation later, and the mutant revealed that he and the others were members of a twist clan called the “Gold Diggers”. While the young Ulrich sniggered at the name, the cell quickly deduced the twists were camped out in the ruins of an old gold mine that had dried up decades before. When asked why he’d helped sabotage the town’s shield generator, the mutant revealed that it had been to steal parts from it to power the twist clan’s own shield.

 

The mutant was brought back to the Arbites precinct and locked up, much to Novus’ chagrin, and the acolytes made their way to the Gold Diggers’ base of operations. Two twist guards were spotted outside – Alexander and Quint took them out at range using their precise sharpshooter training without making a sound. Ulrich ran his hands over Alexander’s body – Thea gave the teenage boy a sharp glare when his hands perhaps strayed a bit too far – and where his palms passed, her flesh and armor turned the color of the sand. Invisible to the untrained eye, the chameleon’ed Alexander snuck into the mine.

 

Alexander discovered a cavernous array of catwalks and gantries in the mine, armed by many guards, and travelled down them to the bottom. At the bottom of the cave she spotted a concealed door guarded by two more mutants, who she executed silently with her sidearm. Sneaking into the chamber beyond, she discovered a primitive shrine – a throne made of packets of some kind of green crystalline powder, upon which sat a mutant barbarian-queen. Evidently, this woman was in charge of whatever operation the twists were running. Alexander returned to report back to the cell what she had seen, and the acolyte cell decided apprehending the leader would be best done not through stealth, but brute force.

With concealment broken, the entire acolyte cell rushed in. One of the mutant guards opened fire up with his autogun as Ulrich dodged from the cover of the catwalks. Ulrich rasied his hands at the guard and directed a mineral worm into his mind, forcing him to relive the past few seconds. As the autogun jammed, the guard twisted it in his hand over an over again, yelling swears. Meanwhile, Alexander and Thea drew their mono-swords and stormed down the gantries, hacking mutants apart while Quint brought fire support from his elevated position. It was then that Thea revealed what she referred to as her “fearful aura”.

 

The mutants and acolytes alike were struck with a sudden blast of horror at the woman’s grey-skinned face, pallid and cruel. Ulrich, a psyker himself, kept his composure, but Alexander passed out and Quint rushed for the exit. The mutant in front of Thea promptly voided his stomach all over her, and when she stabbed him in the gut with her mono-blade, he only continued to wretch. As Quint dashed to make his escape he was cornered by none other than the ganger queen herself, clad in bones and leathers over a ratty yellow void suit. She lashed out at him with a wickedly curved hunting knife, slashing open his gut. Alexander, who by this time had regained consciousness, drew her laspistol and shot the ganger square in the eye, blinding her and knocking her out. The mine cleared, the acolyte cell returned to the town, clearing the filters on their rebreathers to keep out the stink of baking vomit. Thea strapped the ganger queen, along with as many packets of drugs from her throne as she could carry, to her tower shield for transport. On the ride back, Quint realized that he didn’t possess a micro-bead like everyone else and promptly ripped the hand vox out of the outsider.

           

Back at town, the acolytes interrogated the mutant leader, and she revealed that she’d been running a drug ring with a local noble named Sykes. Sykes was the head of a corcase athex mining guild and also one of the town’s water farmers – his real fortune was made from sending crewed airships into the tumultuous stormy skies to harvest water from the irradiated atmosphere. Sykes had supplied her with the case, and she had dealed it. This case, a crystalline powder derived from corcase athex, could cause supernatural phenomena in the user, a high from beyond the planes. Evidently, they needed to pay this Sykes a visit.

 

The cell travelled to his manor, after leaving the twist leader with Novus the Arbite. At the mansion, they discovered the ground and second story packed with disheveled-looking miners sleeping on cots and bedrolls. Sykes himself was nowhere to be found, but in his chambers they discovered a data-slate containing his ledgers and a journal. The slate revealed that Sykes had spent the money from the athex on beetle tents, food, security fences, and autogun turrets – evidently he was plotting to establish a fortified compound within the desrt. He journal was packed with mad scribblings, warning of a coming darkness, and that his people needed to flee lest they be taken. The portents, the cell realized, were prophecies of the coming of the Black Ship. Sykes and his miners had become renegade psykers from their exposure to corcase athex, and they were planning an exodus, funded by the distribution of a supernatural substance. This was a cult – a cult of witches. This was exactly the sort of thing that Penn had been on the watch for.

It should be noted that while this occurred, Quint had decided to survey the area and had skirted round to the back of the building. There he had found Syke’s parked water zepelllin and, detaching its gas supply, ran a hose through a window into the manor to pump the gas into the building. The psykers began to grow woozy, and Ulrich and Thea, fearing that Quint intended to kill the psykers, ushered them out onto the lawn. There, they encountered a strange individual.

 

A aged pale man with fiery red hair limped up to the manor but stopped at the sight of the cell. Thea and Ulrich immediately pegged him as a psyker – his aura had that distinctive feel to it. They assumed he was one of Sykes’s wards, and began to interrogate him. When the conversation grew heated, and one of them – no one remembers who – reached for a laspistol, the psyker threw up a blinding flash of light and made a run for it. Thea tackled him, and poor Red ended up strapped to Thea’s tower shield.

 

Alvarez’s note: I later asked Lord Inquisitor Locke if I could speak to Acolyte Red about this incident, but my request was denied. Apparently his extensive injuries and cybernetic augmentations make it difficult for him to speak, and Locke tries to avoid mentioning Penn’s cell whenever possible for fear that Red will accidentally set something on fire again.

 

The cell bungled Red into the back of the outsider vehicle and began to drive away. Quint, in a bizarre desire to “remove an evidence”, drew his laspistol and shot the house through an open window as they left. The manor, filled with gas from the zepellin, exploded. All of the psykers passed out inside, including those milling around on the lawn, died fiery deaths as their souls were delivered to the God-Emperor of Mankind for eternal judgment. Ulrich, Thea, and Alexander stared at Quint with open mouths as they realized that their one objective – ensure the tithing of psykers – had just been terminated by one of their own cell operatives.

 

The boy grinned and chuckled, taking a glass of amasec from the table and swishing it around before taking a sip. He looked over at Alvarez. “Want one?” he asked. Alvarez nodded, and one of the lad’s doppelgangers stood and made his way to the liquor cabinet for another glass.

“So this Quint…” Alvarez said. “He singlehandedly failed the entire mission objective?”

“In his defense, it was an accident. He thought the psykers were clear. He likes to trust his gut instinct.”

Alvarez laughed. “Shocking. Now I see why I’ve never come across any mention of him in any of the Inquisitorial annals.”

“Well, actually,” the lad said, “That’s not the real reason.”

“?” Alvarez asked, accepting the drink from the boy’s clone. From the imbedded micro-auspices in his palms he ran a hypersonic diagnostic of its chemical composition – pure, it seemed. He drank. It was good.

“No,” the boy said, stretching his legs out. “No, Quint was off the rails to begin with, but he got a lot worse later on – well, you’ll see why we had to put him down.”

“You killed him?” Alvarez asked.

The boy nodded.

“But…” Alvarez frowned. “I thought you said he likes to trust his gut.”

“Oh, he does.” The boy finished his drink and put it down on the table. The wolf growled, and he reached a hand down to stroke the animal’s neck. “Death didn’t really stick to him.”

Edited by Crystal Geyser

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