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pendrake71

The [title pending] Campaign; preliminary outline

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As the title says, I am in the preliminary and preparation stages for running a Deathwatch campaign.  The Kill Team will consist of 5 players (covered in a different thread: https://community.fantasyflightgames.com/topic/229492-kill-team-title-pending-preliminary-make-up-outline/).

 

As my free time is generally sparse, I am drawing mostly upon the Missions/Adventures from the Deathwatch books and DLContent.  For me, it is easier to add/edit/revise existing content than having to start from scratch.  While I am capable of baking a pie from scratch {I have literally done so a number of times, both RPG- and baking-wise}, it is easier to buy a pie (quality of bought pie is variable, depending where I am purchasing and who made the bought pie) and buy Breyer's vanilla ice cream to add atop the pie.

 

{If I made you want pie &/or ice cream at this point...  ...I make no apologies and am remorseless for doing so. :D }

 

Anyway, a rough outline/timeline for the campaign...

 

I. Rank 1 (13,000 - 16,999)

 

 - A. Extraction [DW-01: Core Rulebook]...  Nothing complex here, a starting Adventure for starting Players and GM.  It does not even really matter of the Players spoil themselves with reading through their Core Rulebooks.  This starter Adventure is purely to test the game and a field-practice run-through with the mechanics.

 

 - B. The Avalos Intervention {My own over-arching label for the 2-part adventure from the Player Resources DL section.}

     ~ 1. Final Sanction, part 1/2
     ~ 2. Oblivion's Edge, part 2/2

 

 - C. Shadow of Madness [DW-02: DW Game Master's Kit]...  While I do not own a copy, I am aware that it introduces Inquisitor Adrielle Quist, who has a supporting role in DW-03: The Emperor Protects.  If they ever reprint the DW: GM's Kit (very unlikely, unfortunately), or I find a reasonably priced physical copy, or a viable DownLoad copy, then I will include Shadow of Madness adventure here, after The Avalos Intervention, but before The Emperor Protects.

 

 - D. DW-03: The Emperor Protects...  The book recommends that the Kill Team have at least +1,000 XP after character creation (for a total minimum of 14,000 XP).  This adventure also includes Inquistor Adrielle Quist, from Shadow of Madness [Game Master's Kit] adventure.  While I have not done an exact tally, the previous (3-4) Adventures should more than cover the XP minimums.  If not, then I may just use GM-fiat and bump the Players up to 15,000 XP.  The point being: The Emperor Protects should be the "Season I finale".

 

 

II. Rank 2 (17,000 - 20,999)

 

 - A. Fall Into Darkness [DW-08: The Jericho Reach]...  An Adventure covering the final stages of Tyranid consumption of a planet's biosphere.  While I found it somewhat weakly written, it is still viable enough for use.

 

 - B. ? ~ ? ~ ?

 

 - C. ? ~ ? ~ ? (Season II finale)

 

 

III. Rank 3 (21,000 - 24,999)

 

 - A. DW-10: Rising Tempest...  The book recommends Rank 3+.  This book introduces Watch Captain Estaban De Dominova.  Likewise, it delves into the fate of Lord Commander Ebongrave, and whether if Ebongrave is killed, deposed, pseudo-exiled, or remains in power.

 

 - B. ? ~ ? ~ ?

 

 - C. DW-14: Ark of Lost Souls...  The book recommends Rank 2+ for play.  However, since this includes Watch Captain Estaban De Dominova (albeit in a comatose state for the most part), as well as being a later book release, it stands to reason to play this after Rising Tempest (and thus a Kill Team of Rank 3+).  Likewise, the shortage of Requisition and opportunities able to re-arm is another compelling reason for having the Kill Team at a higher Rank.

 

An additional option is to possibly use the Space Hulk board-game to reinforce the setting.  The exact mechanics for blending Space Hulk board game with Deathwatch, I do not know yet.

 

This is finale to "Season III", and a major test of the Kill Team.  And should they survive, they gain the Distinctions/Honors prerequisites for the Advanced Specialities of Rites of Battle (or other DW books) that they desire at Rank 4+, most notably the Crux Terminatus.  Any PCs that simply do not survive the Ark of Lost Souls may return without any XP loss (but neither with the Crux Terminatus, either).  Conversely, if a PC does perform a Heroic Sacrifice, mostly notably in preventing the potential apocalyptic catastrophes of Chapter 3, then they may return without XP loss AND the Crux Terminatus (or whatever Distinction/Honors they need/desire for Advanced Specialities).

 

There is also the irony in that they gain Terminator honors AFTER they have survived a Space Hulk run.

 

 

IV. Rank 4 (25,000 - 29,999) ~ Tau themed?

 

 - A. ? ~ ? ~ ?

 

 - B. ? ~ ? ~ ?

 

 - C. The Greater Good, the Lesser Evils...  (Season IV finale) [Adventure Seed/Concept]: A massive Tau reinforcement fleet arrives in the Jericho Reach, large enough to completely overwhelm the Canis Salient if directly deployed against the Canis Salient Crusade forces.  However, the Tau Ethereals come forward to make an offer to the Crusade Commanders that could completely change the Achilus Crusade: A complete end of hostilities, with defined but (seemingly) reasonable borders of cease-fire between the Tau Empire and the Imperium, and a proposed dual-strike by both Crusade forces and Tau forces at the Stigmartus and the Tyranids to drive the latter two back.

 

     ~ 1. If Lord Commander Ebongrave is still in power after Rising Tempest, he (unsurprisingly) vehemently opposes any treaty &/or alliance with the Tau.  Quite the opposite, this sends Ebongrave over the edge of his paranoia into insanity.  Ebongrave fully commits every asset he has into launching a full-scale assault upon the Tau; even opening his hoarded stores and mobilizing held-back troops (that he previously used to brutally suppress/oppress the Imperium-held Canis Salient planets).  Ebongrave even uses his influence to siphon resources/troops from the other Crusade Salients, in defiance of Warmaster Tetarchus' authority and regardless of the consequences to the Acheros and Orpheus Salients.

 

The irony of this act being that the other Salient Commanders and Warmaster had long pressed Ebongrave to more actively deploy against the Tau, rather than turning nearly half of his assets upon the Imperium-side of Canis Salient in suppression/oppression.  But now, Ebongrave's rabid hatred and ill-timing endangers the whole of the Achilus Crusade.

 

     ~ 2. If another Lord Commander has replaced Ebongrave, she/he is torn between forming an alliance, or striking at the Tau reinforcement fleet before they can settle in.

 

     ~ 3. The Deathwatch are torn in decision.  Do they strike at the Tau reinforcement fleet, possibly landing a crippling blow to Tau Empire as a galactic whole?  Or prioritize their foes and strike as the Great Devourer and the Eternal Enemy?  Hold absolute and unyielding to their Oaths to the destruction of all Xenos?  Or pragmatism in being able to make use of the Tau against two greater threats?

 

 

V. Rank 5 (30,000 - 34,999) ~ Chaos themed?

 

 - A. The Longest Watch [DW-15: The Emperor's Chosen]...  The book lists no recommended minimum Rank.  On the other hand, given the theme of this book is for "Veteran" Kill Teams, I am inclined to put this at Rank 5+, a point where the Kill Team has reached the Advanced Specialities and the Veteran Kill Team abilities offered from The Emperor's Chosen.

 

 - B. The Twisted Crusade...  [Adventure Seed/Concept]: A second Cult-General rises from among the forces of Chaos.  However, the second Cult-General seems intent upon the Tau rather than the Imperium.  Despite opening a second front, the forces of Chaos seem to suffer little-to-no reduction in their numbers.  Yet also despite the near-infinite forces at his command, the second Cult-General does not simply overwhelm/overrun the Tau, opting for a slow grinding progression of conquest.  The battles and investigations against the second Cult-General's true identity reveal a shock to the Lord Commanders of the Crusade, especially when the Cult-General makes an offer to the Crusade Commanders to resolutely drive out the Tau from the Jericho Reach for good, provided the Imperium forces simply not interfere...

 

 - C. ? ~ ? ~ ? (Season V finale)

 

 

VI. Rank 6 (35,000 - 39,999) ~ Tyranid themed?

 

 - A. ? ~ ? ~ ?

 

 - B. "The Return to Mortis Thule" (until a better title comes along) ~ A oracular-circle of Prognosticators (Librarians) of the Silver Skulls Chapter within the Deathwatch ranks make a powerful prediction to the next appearance of the Mortis Thule.  The Chamber of Vigilance authorizes the mobilization of several Veteran Kill Team to investigate and intercept, one of those Veteran Kill Teams being the Players'.  For this "Space Hulk" run, while resupply will again be a potential problem as they go deeper in, this time the Kill Team will be (or should be) well-stocked going in.

 

 - C. The Broken Storm ~ (Season VI finale) [Adventure Seed/Concept; inspired by The Omega Vault's "Alpha Psyker Variant", from Rites of Battle]: The Omega Vault's summons its keepers to a simultaneous dual-opening.  The first chamber reveals information to an ancient archaeotech artifact-device known as The Eye of the Storm, lost "somewhere" on the Rimward side the Orpheus Salient.  The rough schematics of The Eye of the Storm bears disturbing similarities to The Golden Throne; in its function to project the power of the being, placed within the artifact-device's small-sized stasis-casket, across a large swath of stellar-space.  The second Omega Vault revalation is that of two children (late-period infants, or very young toddlers):

 

     ~ 1. The first child is an Alpha-plus Psyker.  While considered a grave threat at first glance, the child emanates an aura of innocent calm, and is swathed myriad Purity Seals attesting to the child's sanctity.

 

     ~ 2. The second child is an Untouchable (or "Blank", or "Pariah") of Omega-minus psi-negative-level.  The child is so psychically-null, that the (un-enhanced) child surpasses a fully-enhanced Culexus Assassin in being able to disrupt psychics and the Warp.  Yet despite the initial repulsion of the child's Untouchable nature, the child bears many Inquisitorial clearance seals and Seals of Protection {cue mental image of many agitated seals barking at backing-away Space Marines}; all of which are coded with the highest authority-ciphers from all three major Ordos (Hereticus, Malleus, Xenos), as well as many of the minor Ordos.

 

While Watch Fortress Erioch is riven with heated debate, if not outright conflict, over these portents, the Deathwatch Kill Teams are deployed in great numbers, seeking The Eye of the Storm.  But even when found, the question remains: Which child to be used (sacrificed) to The Eye of the Storm's arcane mechanisms?

 

     ~ 3. Using the Alpha-plus Psyker child could shine a light so bright in the Warp, it could push back the Shadow in the Warp.  With this disruption to the Hive Mind and psychics' interstellar-communications possible again, Crusade forces could mobilize and counter-attack to push Hive Fleet Dagon back.  However, it also could cause unprecedented levels of Warp-flares, new Warp incursions, or expanding the Hadex Anomaly, or even a new stellar Warp breach.

 

     ~ 4. Using the Omega-minus Untouchable child, the Shadow of the Warp could be almost completely negated about the Orpheus Salient, leaving Hive Fleet Dagon in the ironic position of having a similar communications blackout and disarray that had brutally hammered the Orpheus Salient forces.  However, causing a stellar-swath of Warp-null space could be just as bad for Crusade forces' psychic assets (astropaths, navigators, battle psykers, Librarians, etc.).

 

     ~ 5. Time is of the essence as myriad factions are all grasping towards the device.  Of which include...
          - a. The Tyranids seek to destroy the device.
          - b. A powerful warband and cabal of Chaos seek to corrupt the device.
          - c. Radical Inquisition factions seek to subvert the device (&/or the children) to their own selfish ends.
          - d. Puritan Inquisition factions wish to destroy both children.  Except the Thorians, who wish to whisk both children away for their own ends/beliefs.
          - d. Ultra-conservative Mechanicus factions seek to steal and hoard the device away and worship it as a holy altar to the Omnissiah, rather than risk it being used, uncaring of the consequences to the Achilus Crusade and Jericho Reach.

 

 

VII. Rank 7 (40,000 - 44,999) ~ The Dark Pattern, the Dead Cabal, &/or Necrons themed?

 

 - A. The Final Executable (or perhaps "The Final Command")...  [Adventure Seed/Concept (yet)]: None yet.

 

 - B. Operation: Icarus...  [Adventure Seed/Concept]: A desperate search, and plan, to journey right into the heart of a hollow sun.

 

 - C. Hollow Victory...  (Season VII finale) [Adventure Seed/Concept]: The Deathwatch come in great force to the Necrons' crown world of The Hollow Sun, yet are still vastly outnumbered and outgunned.  Can the Deathwatch end the sector-wide threat of the Suhbekhar Dynasty?   Or will the stars be soaked red in the blood of billions as the Necrons march across the entirety of the Jericho Reach once again?

 

 

VIII. Rank 8 (45,000 - 49,999) ~

 

 - A. ? ~ ? ~ ?

 

 - B. ? ~ ? ~ ?

 

 - C. And the Last Fortress is Truth... (Series finale) [Adventure Seed/Concept]: None yet.

 

 

IX. Unavailable/Unused Adventures

 

 - A. PDW-21: Falling Star [The Fall of Solace, part 2/4; FFG RPG CrossOver series]...  Simply put, I do not have it (no hard copy, no DownLoad copy).  But I would not be inclined to run it anyway since it would only be a part 2/4 of the series, and it would entail having to run Black Crusade (part 1/4), Rogue Trader (part 3/4), and Only War (part 4/4).

 

 - B. Traitor's Dawn [DW-07: First Founding]...  The book lists no recommended minimum Rank; though at DW-07 in the series, I would guess it to be around Rank 3.  However, after reading through the adventure, I find it very poorly written and not viable for use.

 

     ~ 1. While I understand that the Alpha Legion are masters of infiltration and misdirection, I find the Adventure itself too disjointly written/structured, and also too confusing for the players to figure out that the Alpha Legion are the villains behind the curtain before the final encounter.  Nor do I relish the idea of springing the Alpha Legion upon the Kill Team at the last moment.

 

     ~ 2. Traitor's Dawn is so poorly/incompletely written, it lists no XP rewards, no Renown rewards, and no cast-listing of named (or even generic) NPCs.  It barely lists Mission Objectives and Requisition.

 

     ~ 3. I am experienced enough GM to make addendums, edits, modifications, revisions, and tying loosely-related adventures together.  The counter-balance is that I am not inclined to have to overhaul Traitor's Dawn almost from the ground-up, or have to do the work of having to compensate for the writers' apparent laxity.

 

~~~~~ ~~~~~ ~~~~~ ~~~~~ ~~~~~

 

Any observations, constructive comments/suggestions, &/or glaring flaws pointed out, are welcome.

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Anyway, a rough outline/timeline for the campaign...

 

I. Rank 1 (13,000 - 16,999)

 

 - A. Extraction [DW-01: Core Rulebook]...  Nothing complex here, a starting Adventure for starting Players and GM.  It does not even really matter of the Players spoil themselves with reading through their Core Rulebooks.  This starter Adventure is purely to test the game and a field-practice run-through with the mechanics.

 

 - B. The Avalos Intervention {My own over-arching label for the 2-part adventure from the Player Resources DL section.}

     ~ 1. Final Sanction, part 1/2

     ~ 2. Oblivion's Edge, part 2/2

 

 - C. Shadow of Madness [DW-02: DW Game Master's Kit]...  While I do not own a copy, I am aware that it introduces Inquisitor Adrielle Quist, who has a supporting role in DW-03: The Emperor Protects.  If they ever reprint the DW: GM's Kit (very unlikely, unfortunately), or I find a reasonably priced physical copy, or a viable DownLoad copy, then I will include Shadow of Madness adventure here, after The Avalos Intervention, but before The Emperor Protects.

 

I'm doing nearly the same in my campaign, although I switched them, starting with Shadow, then Final Sanction, Extraction and Oblivion's Edge. However, I gave my players a choice of "who is the most important for you", in other words, I gave them hints that aside from Tau, Chaos is also making some progress towards finding working Delirum, and Tyranids seem to move in areas with suspected Delirium, so they had to choose where to go first. And they chose Chaos, so we're now finishing with chaos, Tyranids come next.

 One important note - Experience and Renown. Players can be ridiculously crazy about them, by which I mean that they WILL try to fulfill every single Objective. While it's fine in itself (My players lost around 3 Fate Points and 1 character died because of that until now, although it balances out with Fate rewards from some missions in the long run), it means that you will end up with larger amount of Experience than you think, especially for those Characters who won't die.

 

So, after 4 missions, your players will probably stand at more than 17:000 XP. Especially since Oblivion's Edge is full of smaller missions; they can give players insane amount of Experience, if you follow the guidelines. So, either cut the XP suggested by rulebook (if you're using XP per Objective from Core), or be prepared that players will have more XP than it seems. 

And yes, it's stupid that FFG refuses to sell GM's kit booklet. What do they expect from us? Right now, the only way to have it is to steal it, which is a) immoral b) illegal c)wrong d)doesn't give them anything. Shame, since I'm one of those few people who managed to get it (somehow... it was a quest in itself...) and it's actually really good. Aside from the starting adventure, there are some additional NPC's and a neat table for managing additional encounters. Shame, really.

 

 

 

 - D. DW-03: The Emperor Protects...  The book recommends that the Kill Team have at least +1,000 XP after character creation (for a total minimum of 14,000 XP).  This adventure also includes Inquistor Adrielle Quist, from Shadow of Madness [Game Master's Kit] adventure.  While I have not done an exact tally, the previous (3-4) Adventures should more than cover the XP minimums.  If not, then I may just use GM-fiat and bump the Players up to 15,000 XP.  The point being: The Emperor Protects should be the "Season I finale".

 

  The Emperor Protects has 3 adventures in it - Price of Hubris, Stony Sleep and Vigilant Sword. So, this is going to give them around 3000xp in itself, if you intend to run it all at once. Also, these adventures have different enemies in them, so you may consider moving this adventure to the specific parts about these enemies, unless you want to give them a taste of what is to come.

Also, TEP has it's own problems. Stony Sleep is especially... problematic, and Vigilant Sword is nearly identical to one of the adventures included in "Rising Tempest", or at least it feels the same. So, feel warned :). There are some topics in this forum about it, and if you want to know more about Stony Sleep, I recommend this:

 https://refereeingandreflection.wordpress.com/2014/01/19/a-stony-sleep-a-shaky-ending/

 http://librarians-and-leviathans.blogspot.jp/2014/01/of-stones-and-sleep-or-why-designers.html

Actually, the whole blog is really useful as source of information about Deathwatch, but let's get back to topic.

You will end up with around 3000xp with this adventure and you will have to do polishing. Be warned ;). I run Price of Hubris and I really like it, but in this case, be really careful about two things - first, Genestealers are really dangerous. Second, if you use them as a Horde, they die instantly or kill your players in 1 hit, so I would never, NEVER use Elite enemies as Hordes, as it turns them into glass cannons fast.

 

 

 

 - C. DW-14: Ark of Lost Souls...  The book recommends Rank 2+ for play.  However, since this includes Watch Captain Estaban De Dominova (albeit in a comatose state for the most part), as well as being a later book release, it stands to reason to play this after Rising Tempest (and thus a Kill Team of Rank 3+).  Likewise, the shortage of Requisition and opportunities able to re-arm is another compelling reason for having the Kill Team at a higher Rank.

 

An additional option is to possibly use the Space Hulk board-game to reinforce the setting.  The exact mechanics for blending Space Hulk board game with Deathwatch, I do not know yet.

 

This is finale to "Season III", and a major test of the Kill Team.  And should they survive, they gain the Distinctions/Honors prerequisites for the Advanced Specialities of Rites of Battle (or other DW books) that they desire at Rank 4+, most notably the Crux Terminatus.  Any PCs that simply do not survive the Ark of Lost Souls may return without any XP loss (but neither with the Crux Terminatus, either).  Conversely, if a PC does perform a Heroic Sacrifice, mostly notably in preventing the potential apocalyptic catastrophes of Chapter 3, then they may return without XP loss AND the Crux Terminatus (or whatever Distinction/Honors they need/desire for Advanced Specialities).

 

There is also the irony in that they gain Terminator honors AFTER they have survived a Space Hulk run.

Idea is nice, but remember that your players will have more XP at this stage if you go according to your plan - although this adventure is mostly about "limited equipment", having high-level psyker and high-level Melee fighter will help a lot. Especially psykers.

 

 

 

IV. Rank 4 (25,000 - 29,999) ~ Tau themed?

 

 

 

V. Rank 5 (30,000 - 34,999) ~ Chaos themed?

 

 

 

 

VI. Rank 6 (35,000 - 39,999) ~ Tyranid themed?

 

 

 

 

VII. Rank 7 (40,000 - 44,999) ~ The Dark Pattern, the Dead Cabal, &/or Necrons themed?

 

 

VIII. Rank 8 (45,000 - 49,999) ~

 

 

 

 

IX. Unavailable/Unused Adventures

 

 - A. PDW-21: Falling Star [The Fall of Solace, part 2/4; FFG RPG CrossOver series]...  Simply put, I do not have it (no hard copy, no DownLoad copy).  But I would not be inclined to run it anyway since it would only be a part 2/4 of the series, and it would entail having to run Black Crusade (part 1/4), Rogue Trader (part 3/4), and Only War (part 4/4).

 

 - B. Traitor's Dawn [DW-07: First Founding]...  The book lists no recommended minimum Rank; though at DW-07 in the series, I would guess it to be around Rank 3.  However, after reading through the adventure, I find it very poorly written and not viable for use.

 

     ~ 1. While I understand that the Alpha Legion are masters of infiltration and misdirection, I find the Adventure itself too disjointly written/structured, and also too confusing for the players to figure out that the Alpha Legion are the villains behind the curtain before the final encounter.  Nor do I relish the idea of springing the Alpha Legion upon the Kill Team at the last moment.

 

     ~ 2. Traitor's Dawn is so poorly/incompletely written, it lists no XP rewards, no Renown rewards, and no cast-listing of named (or even generic) NPCs.  It barely lists Mission Objectives and Requisition.

 

     ~ 3. I am experienced enough GM to make addendums, edits, modifications, revisions, and tying loosely-related adventures together.  The counter-balance is that I am not inclined to have to overhaul Traitor's Dawn almost from the ground-up, or have to do the work of having to compensate for the writers' apparent laxity.

 

~~~~~ ~~~~~ ~~~~~ ~~~~~ ~~~~~

 

Any observations, constructive comments/suggestions, &/or glaring flaws pointed out, are welcome.

 Well, I would like to say more about these, but I'm at work right now ;). They seem solid, I'll try to write something more about them later, if I have some time. And I'm still reading adventure in The Emperor's Chosen.

 

I actually run Traitor's Dawn with heavy overhaul. By which I mean (This whole surprise attack was done by "we have no idea who", who's main objective was to lure Capitans to the ruins below the local Holy Place - since this place is full of Necrons. This way, either Marine Commanders are dead and Necrons sustains losses, or reverse - both are great for Chaos. I do not like using Alpha Legion, so I changed them to other band of renegades, but AL can also work there.

Written as is... it's problematic.

 

Falling Star... does anyone have it? Like, ANYONE? It seems it appeared and disappeared almost instantly...

 

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