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Magnus Grendel

Black Crusade Campaign Thread

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Session 8

Campaign turn 4, part 2. The Lord Corruptor was sadly absent - but since he's missing next week as well we decided to leave his element and just resolved his action as a 'half success' -5 defender strength on Danaan.

  • The lord purgator and retainers arrived at Thersites, passing an opposed operate (voidship) + manouvrability versus awareness + detection to evade patrols in the outer reaches and proceed to Thersites V under silent running.
    • During the time spent en route, the Dolon Pleasure Guild 'arranged' to have numerous high-ranking younger scions of the Dolon sector nobility visit the death world's big game hunting resorts, providing a suitable final sacrifice.
  • Haarlock doesn't actually have Navigate (Surface), so delegated the job of finding a suitable discrete landing site to the big game hunters (assumed stat of 40 with all skills at +10)
    • They failed but by less than a degree, so essentially found three sites, each capable of handling one of the three halo barges needed to put the slaves on the ground (with landers carrying the more important members of the team, but they were several hours forced march apart. He took the largest landing site as a second halo barge was needed for his minstrels...
  • It took a brief tech-use test to make contact with the other landers via the Insatiable without a wideband vox transmission which would easily be tracked.
    • Haarlock directed (a) the hunters to lead each group to rendezvous at a mountain roughly equidistant between the three landing sites, and (b) the slaves to fashion a litter to carry him through the steaming, humid jungle in style.
    • Whilst he has an awesome charm skill, his intimidate skill is somewhat mediocre, and he was faced with a brief slave uprising to quell. This was achieved swiftly with two plasma pistol headshots and a volley of sonic weapons fire from the minstrels.
    • "You know..." he observed "...we are making rather a lot of noise."
  • It was another few hours of forced marching before Haarlock - with the benefit of heightened senses and assistance from the hunter, realised they were being stalked.
    • He took the opportunity to have the medicae immediately start dosing the slaves with drugs, and they got about 1/3 done before a massive bull megasaur burst from the jungle and charged.
    • Its initial trample attack broke the horde of slaves, leaving them running as it tore into their corpses. Haarlock - never one not to be in the first rank of a retreat - also ran - knowing he couldn't outrun a charging megasaur for long, but happy just outrunning the slaves.
    • The big game hunter tried to sight up on it with a longrifle - with a swift command test and a comment of 'really?' Haarlock encouraged him to also withdraw and wait for the drugs to kick in.
  • I should...probably point out here that the Lord Purgator....didn't actually know what drugs were being used. He'd just asked for 'drugs' from the chem-hunter and the pharmacologists of the Insatiable, who knew he was planning a daemonic ritual, without specifying details. He'd assumed the drugs would be anasthetics. Some of them were, but the rest was blue fire and spook. 
    • He found out that it wasn't when the now-psychic megaaur force-bolted the hunter, reducing him to a smear on the nearest tree.
    • This led to a degree of panic and a few recriminatory accusations.
  • This continued for some time, with more slaves slaughtered, a few minstrels telekinetically turned to aerosol vapour, and an almost completely ineffectual sonic weapon volley (The thing has an unnaturally-boosted toughness bonus of 11, 11 armour and 78 wounds - I'm not entirely sure what he thought the minstrels were going to achieve aside from making it angry....)
  • And then....yeah. Force bolt kill....perils of the warp....vice-versa.
    • We did randomise, including the daemonologists, (but not the slaves who were mostly dead or unconcious) or the minstrels (who are, after all, just minions) and as the only other psynicient in the vicinity, Haarlock inevitably found himself in the body of the megasaur.
    • This took a while to process.
    • Firstly, 'his' body - now containing the megasaur - was now throwing itself at the minstrels and trying to bite their throats out in a frenzied assault.
    • Secondly, he was trying to get the rest of the minstrels to stop shooting at 'him' - the megasaur - and get the daemonologists into position whilst he could prevent the megasaur's body going on a murder-rampage. Attempting this via gesture required a very hard linguistics test, which - somehow - he passed.

Quote of the evening:

"...You're trying to direct a complex daemonic ritual via the medium of interpretive dance whilst trapped in a non-humanoid body?"

"Honestly, I'm kind of impressed how badly wrong this is going."

  • This continued for another turn or so, with Haarlock-in-megasaur eating fleeing slaves to try and increase the dosage of anasthetic and actually fail a toughness test on his/it's  T75, and megasaur-in-haarlock fighting off the minstrel horde's attempts to grapple it, whilst the other players looked on in disbelief.
  • Eventually, the megasaur passed out from drugs and shortly after, Haarlock recovered conciousness in his own body.
  • "So...that's the dangerous part over!" "Yes. Just the two daemonic rituals left."
  • Surprisingly, the rituals all went to plan, with the only real issue being the psychic phenomena and perils of the warp causing a swarm of venomous predatory ampibians to attack and kill yet more of the minstrals, and a detonation of warp energy wiping out 2/3 of the daemonologists, which - in the Lord Purgator's words - "means I don't have to pay them."
  • We rolled for the rituals by the other groups, which impressively both managed to pull off both rituals without a hitch, despite all 4 rolls being 50% checks.
  • ...Shortly after, a pack of three megasaurs possessed by fiends of slaanesh attacked the hunting lodge of the nobility.
    • Using the rules for possession in tome of decay, we figured out the stats for the megasaurs once possessed by fiends of slaanesh. The result was truly monstrous, and the presence of a corruption-driven force field was the icing on the cake.
    • The players had great fun murdering the nobility and their bodyguards, most of whom went insane and started attacking one another as soon as the daemon-megasaurs appeared.
  • We resolved the corruption roll, and Thersites is now corrupted by Slaanesh (but not contested, so Haarlock and Catarina better get a move-on with the invasion!)
  • As an aside, we also resolved the turn's battle on Danaan. With the Lord Deceiver rolling a 09 for the opposed conflict value, the defenders - even with their knightly reinforcements - were wiped out.
  • Catarina also rolled for her traitor Jannissaries in Dolon. They lost - obviously - but thanks to detailling Hnefltafl to lead the guerrilla war, the extra +10 conflict score, and the need to roll three degrees of failure, not two, to lose a host, means they survive and will continue to plague Dolon's ability to buy reinforcements.
  • We also rolled for turn 4's event - which was a 'no event' result (finally...)

Reinforcements, plunder, etc are all being left to next session.

 

 

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Posted (edited)

Current status of the sector, prior to reinforcement & plunder:

 

  • Agenor Subsector
    • Briseis
      • Corrupted (Joint)
      • Defender Strength 0
      • 2 Plunder
    • Pandarus
      • Corrupted (Slaanesh)
      • Defender Strength 0
      • Units
        • Lord Purgator
          • Battlecruiser Yielding Sinner, Fleet
        • Lord Corruptor
          • Sellsword Night Lord Raptor Talons, Host
          • Sellsword Night Lord Sorcerors, Cabal
        • Lord Ravager
          • Crimson Blades Terminator Chosen, Host
        • Lord Deceiver
          • Exalted Sorceror Anok Sabe, Lieutenant
      • 4 Plunder
    • Danaan
      • Corrupted (Tzeench)
      • Defender Strength 0
      • Units
        • Lord Corruptor
          • Bringers Of Decay Battalion, Host
          • Nurgle Cultists, Host
          • Hellbringer-class Light Cruiser Squadron, Fleet
          • Herald Ssefthe The Creeping Death (Discontent), Lieutenant
        • Lord Deceiver
          • Sons Of The Cyclops Thrallband, Host
          • Warlord Titan Cadavaris Perdita, Host
          • Dark Mechanicus Daemonologists, Cabal
          • Hellforge-class Light Cruiser Squadron, Fleet
          • Heavy Cruiser Will Of Tzeench, Fleet
      • 2 Plunder
    • Agenor
      • Corrupted (Khorne)
      • Defender Strength 0
      • Units
        • Lord Ravager
          • Crimson Blades Bezerker Battalion, Host
          • Briseis Mutant Horde, Host
          • Khornate Warbeasts, Host
          • Fortress Garrison-Trooper Regiments, Host
          • War Freighter Flotilla, Landing Fleet
          • Strike Cruiser Katana and Escorts, Landing Fleet
        • Lord Purgator
          • Flamboyant Grenadiers, Host
          • Raider Corsairs, Host
          • Colourful Fanatics, Host
          • Slave Transport Flotilla, Fleet
          • Ilium Clanfleet Raider Flotilla, Fleet
          • Haarlock Bloodline Banner-Captains, Lieutenant
      • 1 Plunder
  • Dolon Subsector
    • Thersites
      • Corrupted (Slaanesh)
      • Defender Strength 74, Blockade Strength 37
      • Units
        • Lord Purgator
          • Dolon Pleasure Guild, Cult
    • Dolon
      • Defender Strength 89, Blockade Strength 45
      • Units
        • Lord Ravager
          • Traitor Janissaries, Host
          • Fortress-Master Hnefltafl, Lieutenant
    • Chyryses
      • Defender Strength 46
    • Xanthus
      • Defender Strength 38
  • Antenor Subsector
    • Chevaliance
      • Defender Strength 49 (+20 to opposed Conflict Tests)
      • Units
        • Lord Deceiver
          • Alpha Legion Infiltrators, Cult
    • Antenor
      • Defender Strength 90, Blockade Strength 45
    • Hephaestus
      • Defender Strength 70, Blockade Strength 35
    • Poldorus
      • Defender Strength 60, Blockade Strength 30
        • [2nd fleet, Archmagos Veneratus Faber, Divine Mechanism, Blockade Strength 55]
  • Priam Subsector
    • Lutetia
      • Defender Strength 55 (+20 to opposed Conflict Tests), Blockade Strength 28
    • Hector
      • Defender Strength 90, Blockade Strength 45
        • [1st fleet, Lord Admiral Primus Ishmaik, Righteous, Blockade Strength 55]
    • Astyanax
      • Defender Strength 35
    • Nestor
      • Defender Strength 70, Blockade Strength 35
      • [Imperial Navy fleet known from spies to be mustering here, recruiting manpower to crew capital ships]
        • [4th fleet, Admiral Tertius Farouk, Cardinal Cantorini, Blockade Strength 50]
      • [Inquisitor known from spies to be operating here]
        • Inquisitor Fleming, Ordo Sepulturum
      • Units
        • Lord
          • Corruptor
          • Poxwalker Infestation, Cult
    • Priam
      • Defender Strength 76, Blockade Strength 38
        • [3rd fleet, Admiral Secundus Valarius, Spear Of Thor, Blockade Strength 50]

 

Edited by Magnus Grendel

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Session 9

Campaign turn 4, part 2.

We did plunder & crusade reinforcements:

  • Briseis - purchased a cult for the Lord Purgator (Gourmet Society), which will be assigned to Nestor
  • Pandarus - raised a landing fleet for the Lord Purgator (Invasion Barges), although this will be sent to Danaan next round, carrying the Night Lords and Anok Sabe, whilst the Yielding Sinner continues to Agenor.
  • Agenor - nothing purchased, the Lord Ravager deciding she wants a cult of her own.
  • Danaan - raised a host for the Lord Deceiver (A Tide Of Spawn) since they've realised they really need more troops, and paid 1 plunder in prisoner sacrifices to remove discontent status from Ssefthe.

The players looked at their respective spies reports.

  • The Lord Deceiver assessed the Alpha Legion's reports from Chevaliance and decided on a convoluted-but-hopefully effective plan to wipe out the leadership of three of the houses (Turenne, LaSalle and Varus) and finger the current Royal House (Warwick) with the blame, which with a bit of prodding should kick start a nicely bloody civil war right before the invasion fleet arrives.
    • This requires, amongst other things, a force of knights he can use as assassins. He has a couple of knights taken more or less intact which he can use to insert spies as 'Freeblades' from out of the sector, but not enough to take on three Quaestoris nobles simultaneously and be confident of killing them.
    • Fortunately, he has a troupe of Mechanicum Daemonologists and the debris of several shattered Varus Quaestoris banners on Danaan from the counterattack the Lord Corruptor just beat off.
    • We resolved the 'create a daemon engine' rules for one engine - presuming that the crusade asset cabal of Daemonologists would be able to duplicate his work to give him a reasonable number of engines.
    • A Tech-Use, Forbidden Lore (Daemonology) and Forbidden Lore (Archeotech) check later, and he was able to piece together a viable shell.
    • A Flamer of Tzeench was chosen as the daemon - considered not being too powerful to bind well, and a bit smarter than the more bestial lesser daemons
      • It ended up a size (9) engine, with an impressive binding strength 4 - hence Toughness 70, Daemon Engine (8), Unnatural Toughness (3), Machine (24), and with the Flamer's protection 20 force field.
      • It also got empyrean touch (warp weapon on a reaper chainsword will make a big difference!), warpflame vents (hallucinogenic weapons), and critically Third Eye.
      • With a sense of glee the daemon engine was given the psychic power Mask Of Tzeench. Being able to psychically make itself look like another entity of the same size will be downright perfect for (1) infiltrating the muster where the three barons are meeting and (2) appearing to be Warwick engines when launching their attack, especially in the confusion from large-scale use of hallucinogenic warpflame...it also got prescience for a (small) bonus to evasion and flicker, offering the ability to go incorporeal if needs be.
      • That should present a decent challenge to a knight, when faced with superior numbers, despite its lower WS and BS.
  • The Lord Purgator looked through his spies' reports and jointly with the Lord Deceiver has pretty much figured out where they think all the navy fleets are and what they're doing, assisted by a few Common Lore (War) and Common Lore (Imperial Navy) checks - their (impressively accurate) conclusions are below:
    • 4th Fleet is at Nestor, loading crew, and will then probably move through the Dolon subsector - his spies told him the ships are a consolidation of the various capital ships which were part of the Dolon subsector fleet plus a few from the Reserve, and they were pulled back leaving their escort screen still in place to watch the Dolon trade route; to be fully combat-ready they need to pick it up again on the way to the battlefront.
      • The commander (Admiral Tertius Farouk) was previously the admiral commanding when Intractable captured Unspeakable Act, his previous ship. This news wasn't at all taken badly and he's already plotting a convoluted and painful revenge.
      • The fact that Admiral Tertius is leading 4th fleet means someone got inserted into the command hierarchy.
    • 1st fleet is probably at Hector. Lord Admiral Primus Ishmaik certainly is, it's the Navy's home port and only major naval base with Pandarus fallen, and they'd be insane to leave it uncovered.
    • 3rd Fleet is 'somewhere en route to Nestor', meeting up with navy reinforcements. This means either Astyanax (if the reinforcements are more ships from Dolon) or Priam (if they're from outside the sector).
      • Either way, it's currently en route to somewhere the Chosen have spies, so right now it's not a threat and once it becomes a threat they'll have someone to tell them where it's going.
    • 2nd Fleet is not mentioned, meaning it's probably already deployed. Since it didn't need to stop at Nestor, it was 'ready to go' without reinforcing its crew, which means it's something more like a rapid reaction force.
      • The Lord Deceiver went through a lot of ideas where it might be, with a lot of different reasoning. The Lord Purgator took one look at the map and said "Polydorus".
      • "Why?" "Because right now we control Agenor in its entirety but they don't know which way we're going next. Polydorus is within one safe jump of a system we have to pass through, whichever way we go."
    • They also made some sensible deductions on the strength of the fleet: the Imperium knows the size of the fleet in Danaan because the fighting lasted for a while. Glorious Resolve was sent in under silent running without escorts, so the fleet's not big enough to take the Hellforge and Hellbringer squadrons plus Will of Tzeench, but if they're right, any attack on Thersites or Chevaliance means taking on the system defence fleet plus the potential reinforcement of 2nd fleet, which is a much bigger deal.
    • Given that it's mobilized quickly, it's sitting in Antenor Demesne and there's a 'rogue name' somewhere in the admirals' list, they (correctly) suspected that a Mechanicus archmagos is commanding the fleet, and hence it's picked up one or more large mechanicus capital ships from Antenor en route.

Imperial Reinforcements:

 

  • Agenor Subsector
    • Briseis
      • Corrupted (Joint)
      • Defender Strength 0
      • Units
        • Lord Purgator
          • Gourmet Society, Cult
      • Cannot receive defender reinforcements - defender strength 0, corrupted and adjacent to warp routes leading only to corrupted or contested territories
    • Pandarus
      • Corrupted (Slaanesh)
      • Defender Strength 0
      • Units
        • Lord Purgator
          • Battlecruiser Yielding Sinner, Fleet
          • Invasion Barge, Landing Fleet
        • Lord Corruptor
          • Sellsword Night Lord Raptor Talons, Host
          • Sellsword Night Lord Sorcerors, Cabal
        • Lord Ravager
          • Crimson Blades Terminator Chosen, Host
        • Lord Deceiver
          • Exalted Sorceror Anok Sabe, Lieutenant
      • Cannot receive defender reinforcements - defender strength 0, corrupted and adjacent to warp routes leading only to corrupted or contested territories
    • Danaan
      • Corrupted (Tzeench)
      • Defender Strength 0
      • Units
        • Lord Corruptor
          • Bringers Of Decay Battalion, Host
          • Nurgle Cultists, Host
          • Hellbringer-class Light Cruiser Squadron, Fleet
          • Herald Ssefthe The Creeping Death (Discontent), Lieutenant
        • Lord Deceiver
          • Sons Of The Cyclops Thrallband, Host
          • Warlord Titan Cadavaris Perdita, Host
          • Tide Of Spawn, Host
          • Dark Mechanicus Daemonologists, Cabal
          • Hellforge-class Light Cruiser Squadron, Fleet
          • Heavy Cruiser Will Of Tzeench, Fleet
      • Corrupted, Defender strength 0 (10+). No defender reinforcements
    • Agenor
      • Corrupted (Khorne)
      • Defender Strength 0
      • Units
        • Lord Ravager
          • Crimson Blades Bezerker Battalion, Host
          • Briseis Mutant Horde, Host
          • Khornate Warbeasts, Host
          • Fortress Garrison-Trooper Regiments, Host
          • War Freighter Flotilla, Landing Fleet
          • Strike Cruiser Katana and Escorts, Landing Fleet
        • Lord Purgator
          • Flamboyant Grenadiers, Host
          • Raider Corsairs, Host
          • Colourful Fanatics, Host
          • Slave Transport Flotilla, Fleet
          • Ilium Clanfleet Raider Flotilla, Fleet
          • Haarlock Bloodline Banner-Captains, Lieutenant
      • 3 Plunder
      • Cannot receive defender reinforcements - defender strength 0, corrupted and adjacent to warp routes leading only to corrupted or contested territories
  • Dolon Subsector
    • Thersites
      • Corrupted (Slaanesh)
      • Defender Strength 84, Blockade Strength 42
      • Units
        • Lord Purgator
          • Dolon Pleasure Guild, Cult
      • Uncontested but Corrupted (8+). Defender reinforcements arrive, strength 10
    • Dolon
      • Defender Strength 89, Blockade Strength 45
      • Units
        • Lord Ravager
          • Traitor Janissaries, Host
          • Fortress-Master Hnefltafl, Lieutenant
      • Contested (8+). No defender reinforcements
    • Chyryses
      • Defender Strength 54
      • Uncontested (7+). Defender reinforcements arrive, strength 8
    • Xanthus
      • Defender Strength 38
      • Uncontested, Warp Route (6+). No defender reinforcements
  • Antenor Subsector
    • Chevaliance
      • Defender Strength 49 (+20 to opposed Conflict Tests)
      • Units
        • Lord Deceiver
          • Alpha Legion Infiltrators, Cult
      • Uncontested (7+). No defender reinforcements
    • Antenor
      • Defender Strength 90, Blockade Strength 45
      • Uncontested (7+). No defender reinforcements
    • Hephaestus
      • Defender Strength 70, Blockade Strength 35
      • Uncontested (7+). No defender reinforcements
    • Poldorus
      • Defender Strength 60, Blockade Strength 30
        • [2nd fleet, Archmagos Veneratus Faber, Divine Mechanism, Blockade Strength 55]
      • Uncontested (7+). No defender reinforcements
  • Priam Subsector
    • Lutetia
      • Defender Strength 55 (+20 to opposed Conflict Tests), Blockade Strength 28
      • Uncontested (7+). No defender reinforcements
    • Hector
      • Defender Strength 90, Blockade Strength 45
        • [1st fleet, Lord Admiral Primus Ishmaik, Righteous, Blockade Strength 55]
      • Uncontested (7+). No defender reinforcements
    • Astyanax
      • Defender Strength 35
      • Uncontested (7+). No defender reinforcements
    • Nestor
      • Defender Strength 74, Blockade Strength 37
      • [Imperial Navy fleet known from spies to be mustering here, recruiting manpower to crew capital ships]
        • [4th fleet, Admiral Tertius Farouk, Cardinal Cantorini, Blockade Strength 50]
      • [Inquisitor known from spies to be operating here]
        • Inquisitor Fleming, Ordo Sepulturum
      • Units
        • Lord
          • Corruptor
          • Poxwalker Infestation, Cult
      • Uncontested, Warp Route (6+). Defender reinforcements arrive, strength 4
    • Priam
      • Defender Strength 76, Blockade Strength 38
        • [3rd fleet, Admiral Secundus Valarius, Spear Of Thor, Blockade Strength 50]
      • Uncontested, Warp Route (6+). No defender reinforcements

 

Edited by Magnus Grendel

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Session 10 & 11

Campaign turns 5 & 6.

Sorry for the delay in updating this thread; I've been ill, and whilst we did have the session last week, I've been lax getting everything typed up.

Sector%20Map.jpg

So.... The Chosen started the turn with the Agenor Subsector completely dominated, and with agents in the edges of the Dolon and Antenor subsectors causing merry heck. They'd identified an Imperial Navy element in (they thought - correctly, as it happens) Polydorus, so wanted to throw out two simultaneous assaults into Chevaliance and Thersites (the latter of which was already corrupted due to the Lord Purgator's bring-your-own-daemonically-possessed-kaiju party of the last turn).

  • The Lord Ravager and Lord Purgator basically threw everything they had at Thersites, whilst the Lord Corruptor and Lord Deceiver did the same at Chevaliance. This involved (for the first time) taking a few risks with warp jumps - The Yielding Sinner (carrying the Terminator Chosen) double-jumped through Agenor to Thersites, arriving shortly after the leading edge of the Black Fleet, whilst the newly-raised Invasion Barge 'loaned' to the Lord Corruptor by Haarlock did the same through Danaan to Chevaliance, bringing up the Sellsword Night Lords.
  • In Dolon, Hnefltafl and the Janissaries once again held on - losing but not by enough to cause the force to lose its (only) host. This guerrilla war has now been going on for several months (two campaign turns) and the mercenaries can't really be expected to keep surviving much longer. It's a credit to the fortress-master's command that they've lived as long as they have.
  • In Thersites, the defenders found a sizeable system defence fleet waiting for them, reinforced with a few privateer warships.
    • Haarlock took point on the assault, taking on a pair of System Defence ships with the Insatiable.
      • With a combination of impressive manoeuvres and some lucky lance shots, broke open a whole in the formation - counting for a 5 point reduction in the blockade strength.
    • Catarina basically took the landing fleets, led by the Katana, and shoved them through the gap in the lines, raining dropships, dreadclaws and gunships  onto the surfaces of Thersites V and VI. En route, she launched a boarding action against some of the orbital defences.
      • Whilst boarding the Unyielding Saint during the battle of Pandarus was rather a challenge, the Thersites orbitals were part-military, part-civilian orbital dockyards, manned by pdf troopers rather than naval security stormtroopers. Even without the element of surprise, it was a massacre of spectacular proportions - counting for a 10 point reduction in defender strength
    • At this point, Yielding Sinner (which had arrived after the bulk of the fleet) came out of silent running and started lobbing nova bombs into the SDF's formation, which should have won the fight - had the battlecruiser's auspex not picked up the drive signature of seven light cruisers inbound from the Mandeville point on full burn; Battlefleet Ilium's 2nd fleet had arrived to join the engagement.
    • The end result was a victory on the ground and in space.
      • Haarlock's forces won a victory in the space battle - taking an impressive chunk out of the combined fleet, but leaving what we rolled for and determined was 27 points of SDF blockade strength and 30 points of 2nd fleet's blockade strength - enough that the chosen could hardly ignore it next turn.
      • The defender strength was reduced to zero initially, but a surviving 'resistance' must have escaped because the planet's defender strength immediately ticked up again by 4 points, meaning the planet would remain contested until the survivors were hunted down.
    • In Chevaliance, the Lord Deceiver and Lord Corruptor had their 'fake' freeblade persuade the Baron Varus to arrange a council of the various major houses (Varus, LaSalle and Turenne) - using the fact that High Baron Warwick, leader of the Royal house had thrown several Varus baners into a blatantly suicidal assault on Danaan as ammunition to argue for a greater say in the running of the war for the other major houses.
      • At the same time, the freeblade (Sir Reptatious) arranged for the Varus honour guard to be - in reality - the four daemon knights forged by the Lord Deceiver, each using the psychic power The Nine Faced Lie to disguise themselves as initially Varus engines and then - subsequently - Warwick engines after they launched their attack.
      • The fight was pretty brutal. Baron Varus died pretty easily - Reptatious killing him with a reaper chainsword to the back of his engine in the opening moments of the fight, then 'falling back to raise the alarm' (as the sole, wounded survivor his story would be more or less unchallengable). Two daemon knights took on Baroness LaSalle and two took on Baron Turenne. Both took a lot of killing - with LaSalle killing one engine and being overwhelmed by the other when the first suffered a daemon unbound critical that caused catastrophic damage. Turenne did even better, killing two daemon-knights, but the death of the second, which also suffered a daemon unbound critical, in turn killing the last the same way, finally overwhelmed the venerable knight chassis in a maelstrom of daemonic energy and reactor overloads.
      • With witnesses seeing Warwick engines rampaging through the camp, the three barons dead, the sole survivor blaiming a planned Warwick assassination, Baron Warwick's history of picking on any nascent coalition that might affect their influence, and the new Baroness Turenne's extreme hatred of House Warwick due to their history (Verity Turenne was an adopted child of a minor house, her mother having been killed during a previous inter-house skirmish), it was no surprise that a massive civil war kicked off very shortly before the Black Fleet arrived in system - counting for a chance to corrupt the system for the Lord Corruptor (who sadly failed the check with some not-so-great dice rolls).
      • Meanwhile, the Lords Corruptor and Deceiver, who had learned that House Warwick was undertaking a Ritual of Becoming en masse for all the scions who were of age, infiltrated the Warwick fortress, using a combination of telepathic trickery and deception on the part of Adjo Gahiji (who was rather concerned that he was unable to wear his powered armour for the mission as it lacked a sustainable power source, making it unsuitable for a covert mission over many hours) and general sneakiness by the former Night Lord.
      • They slipped through the defenders and made it to the Armorial Hall before 'going noisy', using a mix of psychic powers, bolter fire, and powered blades to wipe out the sacristan tech-priests guarding the scions, all of whom sat comatose, communing with their thrones mechanicum.
      • Having prepared for this, the Lord Deceiver released into the Armorial Hall's cogitator system a Dark Mechanicum scrapcode which he'd ordered prepared with Forbidden Lore Archeotech and his Daemonologist cabal. By the time the Black Fleet arrived, a sizeable cadre of corrupted knights waited to join them - counting as creating a host (The Sons of Thoth, Fallen House Warwick Scions)
    • More or less simultaneously, the Black Fleet emerged and landed wave after wave of troops into what was already devolving into a bloody civil war on the ground, with no side sure which of it's potential allies and enemies were secretly in league with the Chaos forces.
      • The fight was short and one-sided. Whilst the Nurgle and Tzeench elements had been less well provided with ground forces than the Slaanesh and Khorne half of the crusade, the addition of the hosts of spawn and traitor knights had made good the deficit and the fight went well, with the planet reduced to defender strength 0 - leaving Ssefthe if anything even more discontent (although he hasn't yet betrayed the crusade)
  • The campaign event (appropriately enough, since it's the only 'power' result we've not had yet) was Blood For The Blood God! - requiring Catarina to wipe out 24 points of defender strength in the next turn or lose a host to internecine fighting.
  • Plunder has not yet been resolved for this turn - I'll 'lump it together' with next turn's.

The next turn - this week just gone - saw the chaos forces begin splitting up to being securing several key strong points. Whilst the invasions of Danaan and Agenor saw the crusade forces divide into a Tzeenchian/Nurglesque half and a Slaaneshi/Khornate half, now each of those two elements split again into more-or-less the forces of a single chosen. The Lord Purgator was, sadly, absent.

  • Dolon - as the biggest, nastiest target in the vicinity and one where her troops were already fighting, Catarina took the Khornate forces and threw them at the subsector capital. With the agreement of all the Chosen present, she also 'drafted' the Raider Corsairs and Clanfleet to supplement her forces.
    • The fleet battle was the Black Fleet's first naval defeat - her two landing fleets plus the raider clanfleet mustering a combat strength of 40 to the defender's 45. More importantly, her fleet lost the fight by three degrees, resulting in the clanfleet being gutted.
    • Fortunately, the landing fleets still made it into orbit, and as her action, Catarina chose to take her bezerkers and terminator chosen and launch a speartip assault on the main planetary spaceport, looking to secure a beachhead to land her more mundane troops.
    • This was resolved with a mass battle, and despite the advantages of orbital gunfire, tanks, and defended positions, the defenders managed only a single degree of success, whilst Catarina's elites managed eight thanks to a mix of superior weapons, unnatural characteristics and armour, her infamy bonus and weaponskill test, breaking the defenders in a single round.
    • The ground combat was equally one-sided, with a defender strength of 89 reduced to 79 by Catarina's assault before the resolution began, versus an effective attacking combat strength of 150 when her lieutenant and landing fleets were thrown into the mix.
    • She rolled an impressive 11 for her combat strength check, wiping out the supposedly impressive defenders of the system in one fell swoop and succeeding in the Blood For The Blood God! event, but losing a host in the process - randomly chosen to be the Briesis Mutants (which, she noted, given her history she was absolutely fine with seeing slaughtered in large numbers)
    • No reinforcements arrived on Dolon this turn.
    • The scale of the victory will leave Hnefltafl discontent.
    • The Lord Ravager is entitled to a -30 corruption test to corrupt a conquered world, which we didn't do and I will sort next week.
  • Thersites - Haarlocks' forces pretty much dug in to finish securing the Thersites sector. His action is yet to be resolved but (knowing him) is likely to involve raising a host of possessed megasaurs...)
    • We rolled randomly for the action of 2nd fleet, which, faced with three possible battles to intervene in (Dolon, Thersites and Polydorus) chose Polydorus, reducing the blockade strength Haarlock's lot had to deal with to just 27. The black fleet won the engagement, reducing the defenders' blockade strength to just 7 - enough to annoy but no more, but still requiring further fleet action to finish them off.
    • Two hosts with a Lieutenant versus a defender strength of 4 was as one-sided as you might imagine, and zero defender strength remains - and (at least this turn) no reinforcements arrived either.
  • Polydorus - The Lord Corruptor didn't lead this one personally, since he chose to stay at Chevaliance, leaving this fight to the increasingly fractious Ssefte.
    • The Chosen rather underestimated the defences of this place, detaching the Night Lord Sellswords to the Lord Deceivers' command, and paying for it.
    • The blockade fleet would have been a fair fight for the Lord Corruptor's Hellforge light cruisers and the 'loaned' Slaaneshi invasion barge, had the remains of 2nd fleet not also intervened (given the Archmagos in command, presumably seeking to protect Mechanicus holdings in preference to other Imperial worlds).
      • The Blockade fleet won the naval engagement - although not by enough to cost the Lord Corruptor a fleet.
    • A combination of bad rolls and (having lost the high ground of the naval battle) orbital fire meant the ground battle went even more badly wrong for the Nurgle forces, losing a host (randomly determined to be the Nurgle cultists).
    • This is pretty bad - the Lord Corruptor's forces have basically bounced off, and taken non-trival casualties in the process, leaving them with only a single host on the world to continue the fight. Fortunately no further reinforcements arrived this turn, and the Lord Purgator's armies are in a position to move from Thersites and assist
    • He is entitled to a -60 corruption test to corrupt a contested world, which we didn't do and I will sort next week.
  • Chevaliance - The Lord Corruptor was attempting to finally beat down the survivors and corrupt the world, withdrawing his poxwalker cult from Nestor to assist and spreading the poxwalker plague on the surface with glee.
    • He attempted a selection of tests - Common lore (War), Survival, and Medicae to devise the best ways to spread the strain effectively, but only got a few degrees of success across all of them. We agreed that whilst the challenging (+0) corruption test from a successful action wasn't justified, he could have a reroll on the hard (-30) corruption test. Sadly, even with the bonus from the cult, he failed both times, and Chevaliance remains uncorrupted - if now war-ravaged, zombie-infested and still undergoing a civil war (the result best described as a setting that's equal parts The Walking Dead, Mad Max and Pacific Rim).
  • Hephaestus - The Lord Deceiver hit the first of the Mechanicus' Forge Worlds, with Anok Sabe commanding the fleet engagement.
    • He also attempted a selection of tests to identify and sabotage the orbital defences, in conjunction with the Alpha Legion and his Dark Mechanicum cabal, to ensure his relatively vulnerable heavy units - the titan Cadavaris Perdita and the Scions of Thoth - made it safely to the surface. Scrutiny, Forbidden Lore (Archeotech), Deceive and Common Lore (War) checks were mostly passed and - more importantly - throwing several infamy points to add many bonus degrees of success mean he succeeded well on those he did pass. Again, it wasn't a perfect sweep of the board, but we agreed to allow him a reduction in defender strength of 7 points out of 10.
    • The Blockade Fleet came up against two battlefleets led by a competent fleet commander, but only managed an inconclusive draw, leaving the skies full of trailing wrecks (and Anok Sabe secretly becoming discontent)
    • The ground battle didn't go so well; despite the alpha legion sabotage further reducing the defender's combat strength, they managed more degrees of success than the tzeenchian forces, who rolled in the nineties for their combat strength check. Fortunately, their sheer weight of numbers meant they hadn't lost by enough degrees to lose a host.
    • Again, the lord deceiver is entitled to a -60 corruption test to corrupt a contested world, which we didn't do and I will sort next week.

 

Edited by Magnus Grendel

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Agenor Subsector

  • Briseis
    • Corrupted (Joint)
    • Defender Strength 0
    • 2 Plunder
  • Pandarus
    • Corrupted (Slaanesh)
    • Defender Strength 0
    • 2 Plunder
  • Danaan
    • Corrupted (Tzeench)
    • Defender Strength 0
    • 2 Plunder
  • Agenor
    • Corrupted (Khorne)
    • Defender Strength 0
    • 4 Plunder
  • Dolon Subsector
    • Thersites
      • Corrupted (Slaanesh)
      • Defender Strength 0, Blockade Strength 7
      • Units
        • Lord Purgator
          • Dolon Pleasure Guild, Cult
          • Flamboyant Grenadiers, Host
          • Colourful Fanatics, Host
          • Slave Transport Flotilla, Fleet
          • Battlecruiser Yielding Sinner, Fleet
          • Haarlock Bloodline Banner-Captains (Discontent), Lieutenant
      • 2 Plunder
    • Dolon
      • Defender Strength 0, Blockade Strength 45
      • Units
        • Lord Ravager
          • Traitor Janissaries, Host
          • Fortress-Master Hnefltafl, Lieutenant
          • Crimson Blades Terminator Chosen, Host
          • Crimson Blades Bezerker Battalion, Host
          • Khornate Warbeasts, Host
          • Fortress Garrison-Trooper Regiments, Host
          • War Freighter Flotilla, Landing Fleet
          • Strike Cruiser Katana and Escorts, Landing Fleet
        • Lord Purgator
          • Raider Corsairs, Host
    • Chyryses
      • Defender Strength 54, Blockade Strength 27
        • [4th fleet, Admiral Tertius Farouk, Cardinal Cantorini, Blockade Strength 50]
    • Xanthus
      • Defender Strength 38
  • Antenor Subsector
    • Chevaliance
      • Defender Strength 0
        • Lord Corruptor
          • Poxwalker Infestation, Cult
    • Antenor
      • Defender Strength 90, Blockade Strength 45
      • Uncontested (7+). No defender reinforcements
    • Hephaestus
      • Defender Strength 60, Blockade Strength 35
      • Units
        • Lord Deceiver
          • Exalted Sorceror Anok Sabe (Discontent), Lieutenant
          • Sons Of The Cyclops Thrallband, Host
          • Scions of Thoth Renegade Knight Household, Host
          • Warlord Titan Cadavaris Perdita, Host
          • Tide Of Spawn, Host
          • Dark Mechanicus Daemonologists, Cabal
          • Hellforge-class Light Cruiser Squadron, Fleet
          • Heavy Cruiser Will Of Tzeench, Fleet
        • Lord Corruptor
          • Sellsword Night Lord Raptor Talons, Host
          • Sellsword Night Lord Sorcerers, Cabal
    • Polydorus
      • Defender Strength 60, Blockade Strength 30
        • [2nd fleet, Archmagos Veneratus Faber, Divine Mechanism, Blockade Strength 30]
      • Units
        • Lord Corruptor
          • Bringers Of Decay Battalion, Host
          • Hellbringer-class Light Cruiser Squadron, Fleet
          • Herald Ssefthe The Creeping Death (Discontent), Lieutenant
        • Lord Purgator
          • Invasion Barge, Landing Fleet
  • Priam Subsector
    • Lutetia
      • Defender Strength 55 (+20 to opposed Conflict Tests), Blockade Strength 28
    • Hector
      • Defender Strength 90, Blockade Strength 45
        • [1st fleet, Lord Admiral Primus Ishmaik, Righteous, Blockade Strength 55]
    • Astyanax
      • Defender Strength 35
    • Nestor
      • Defender Strength 74, Blockade Strength 37
      • [Imperial Navy fleet known from spies to be mustering here, recruiting manpower to crew capital ships]
      • [Inquisitor known to be active here has left]
        • [3rd fleet, Admiral Secundus Valarius, Inanis Bellator, Blockade Strength 50]
      • Units
        • Lord Purgator
          • Gourmet Society, Cult
    • Priam
      • Defender Strength 76, Blockade Strength 38
Edited by Magnus Grendel

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Session 11

Wash-up campaign turn 6, Start of turn 7

So....we finished rolling up for the last turn; the Lord Ravager successfully corrupted the newly-conquered hives of Dolon, recruited a (currently un-named) cult at Agenor and 'paid off' Hnefltafl for his efforts in Dolon over the previous few turns. The Lord Purgator, meanwhile, recruited a new host - a force of Sellsword Noise Marines - at Thersites.

The event was "a rival warlord challenging the Warmaster" - a new group of four champions, hoping to displace the characters and become the new Chosen, are en route to the Ilum sector, with a cruiser, no small quantity of chaos marines, and crucially - rumoured spies and agents amongst their own forces.

They began turn 7 with comparatively little redeployment of their own forces. Alerted that the Imperial Navy was moving through Chrysyes, the Khornate forces held position, and the Yielding Sinner was dispatched to reinforce them. The rest of the Lord Purgator's forces held at Thersites to allow the Haarlock Banner-Captains to hunt down the remaining system defence forces.

There was a debate about Polydorus, especially in light of the new threat to the Chosen's authority - they couldn't afford anything which looked like a defeat if rivals were turning up.

The planning then took a dramatic turn - and I can't fault the Chosen for thinking big. The Lord Deceiver and Lord Purgator considered that the new 'Aspiring Chosen' couldn't just turn up and take command without either Abbadon's approval or more forces than they were rumoured to have at their immediate disposal - they'd have to try and kill the current incumbents and present the succession to the Warmaster as a fait accompli.

  • "Which means they'll be heading to where they think we are. Can we lure them into a trap?"
  • "Better, can we lure them into an enemy-held system?"
  • "Better yet, can we lure one of the Imperial fleets and the Aspiring Chosen to the same place?"

And then what? Let them slug it out? No, because this was Lord Deceiver Adjo Gahiji, who invariably resorts to warpcraft and/or massive quantities of explosives as a solution.

"...And then blow up the star system."

 

 

I can't fault the players for thinking big.

 

 

Now the problem - obviously - is that destroying a star system is hard. A daemonic ritual to corrupt a world is a lot less impressive - and a lot more survivable than one to destroy it, and currently the players lacked any stockpile of superweapons which could accomplish the task, not that Imperial technology is really up to the job anyway. Biosphere Kill, certainly - exterminatus weapons do that just fine - but unless they could arrange to have The Planet Killer redirected to Illium, actually destroying a world in a "funny, this asteroid belt isn't on the charts..." sense isn't really doable.

Added to that, they needed to destroy it in a pretty spectacular fashion if they planned on destroying two fleets which happened to be engaging one another nearby.

After a selection of fairly hard Forbidden Lore (Warp) and Common Lore (Ilium Sector) tests, however, they have an idea:

  • They can't create a warp rift which can consume a system.
  • They might be able to persuade an existing warp rift reach out and engulf a system, which would have a fairly similar effect.
  • Causing a system-wide surge in the Tyrant's Pyre will take more than just a few million deaths and some chanting. They need something to act as a...lodestone? anchor?....ideally four somethings, one for each chosen (because this is definitely going to take all of them).
  • They're tracing down the rumours from the Truvian War of Faith in M.38 - trying to find the resting place of Cardinal-Astral Contarini's fleet - if they can find his remains and any relics there, they'll have been formerly sacred imperial artefacts involved in creating the Ilium sector, left drifting in the heart of the storm for three thousand years - sounds like the sort of thing which should be symbolically perfect for such a ritual.
Edited by Magnus Grendel

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12 hours ago, Magnus Grendel said:

and currently the players lacked any stockpile of superweapons which could accomplish the task, not that Imperial technology is really up to the job anyway. Biosphere Kill, certainly - exterminatus weapons do that just fine - but unless they could arrange to have The Planet Killer redirected to Illium, actually destroying a world in a "funny, this asteroid belt isn't on the charts..." sense isn't really doable.

Well, yes. It''s not something common. But.

Between those, there's also "let's slightly rearrange local tectonic plates" level with things knocked over, ocean water boiling away by exposed magma and forming sulfuric acid fog, and all that, and it's within reach of "conventional" spaceship weaponry. Through zealous application thereof, and after scanning for geological structure, but this was done. Mostly this means that if time isn't an issue, any single stronghold with too many void shields and enough of weapons to discourage sustained low-orbit hammering can still be tipped into a crack in continent via prolonged long-range hammering.

Of course, much the same could be accomplished by old good "drop an asteroid on them" trick.

As to destruction of a planet (turning it into rubble rather than "merely" a barely recognizable dead world)…

  • Konrad Curze destroyed Nostramo via orbital bombardment. The planet had unusual composition, and this was done with a Legion flagship, but still not The Planet Killer.
  • Caliban was destroyed by combination of crust-peeling bombardment and warp storm, so that's possible, too.
  • Creed ordered destruction of St. Josmane's Hope by blowing up a huge reactor, though we don't know how big and hard this rock used to be.St_Josmane's_Hope_(remains).jpg
  • Carcharodons did much the same through clumsiness accident, when they blew up enough of hive reactors on Badab Primaris.

So, it was done.

Edited by TBeholder

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On ‎11‎/‎2‎/‎2018 at 8:04 PM, TBeholder said:

Well, yes. It''s not something common. But.

Between those, there's also "let's slightly rearrange local tectonic plates" level with things knocked over, ocean water boiling away by exposed magma and forming sulfuric acid fog, and all that, and it's within reach of "conventional" spaceship weaponry. Through zealous application thereof, and after scanning for geological structure, but this was done. Mostly this means that if time isn't an issue, any single stronghold with too many void shields and enough of weapons to discourage sustained low-orbit hammering can still be tipped into a crack in continent via prolonged long-range hammering.

Of course, much the same could be accomplished by old good "drop an asteroid on them" trick.

As to destruction of a planet (turning it into rubble rather than "merely" a barely recognizable dead world)…

  • Konrad Curze destroyed Nostramo via orbital bombardment. The planet had unusual composition, and this was done with a Legion flagship, but still not The Planet Killer.
  • Caliban was destroyed by combination of crust-peeling bombardment and warp storm, so that's possible, too.
  • Creed ordered destruction of St. Josmane's Hope by blowing up a huge reactor, though we don't know how big and hard this rock used to be.St_Josmane's_Hope_(remains).jpg
  • Carcharodons did much the same through clumsiness accident, when they blew up enough of hive reactors on Badab Primaris.

So, it was done.

Agreed, but caliban and nostromo were both 'special cases', and it's not that clear how much of Badab or Josmane's hope is 'left'.

Also note that they're doing this as an alternative to throwing the combined black fleet into a bloody stand-up fight - with a grand total of two heavy capital ships and just over half a dozen light cruisers, I'd question if they had the raw firepower for anything like a Nostromo//Caliban bombardment, and certainly wouldn't want to sit their bombing the surface for that long in the face of opposition fleet power. Equally, a lithosphere-kill, rather than just biosphere kill asteroid would be a huge engineering project to weaponise and protect in the face of opposition fleet elements....and more importantly the enemy fleets can just leave.

Most importantly, it's not just a case of get rid of the planet, but causing widespread destruction through the system so as to cause the destruction of two fleets; the planet is basically just in the way.

Hence the idea of focusing on a warp storm eruption. Done right, the early stages of it render the option of 'jump to the warp and run' unviable, which helps guarantee the fleet kills which actually matter.  

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Session 12

So.... blowing up a star system. How did we get to the point where this was the best option, again? 

Both this session - and the next few - are all considered part of the PCs key events for this turn (and possibly the next turn, as well, given how earthshaking the effects are going to be...)

  • The Insatiable, with a small cadre of troops aboard, set course for Briseis. Once again, this session was played without the Lord Corruptor's player, who was stuck working.
    • It took only a week to arrive, plus a few days to find a clan noble with an appropriate library of histories and legends they could use to research what happened to the Tyrant Cardinal (run as an investigation, end result 24 hours). Unfortunately the noble in question was Canamor Gelt, of the same bloodline as Ferias Gelt, the captain Haarlock publicly humiliated during the clanfleet conclave in the first session.
    • This resulted in an opposed infamy check to get access to the library using the 'using infamy subtly' rules (Inf -20 to avoid having your fingerprints on it) as the Gelt bloodline would probably have rather burned the entire thing than turned it over to Haarlock or the other Chosen.
  • The records showed how the remains of the Truvian War of Faith - those hardliners who refused the call to demobilise after the Imperium's capture of Briseis, had launched their assault into the Antenor Deeps.
    • They followed the same warp routes which now provided Briseis' trading links to the deeper clanfleet enclaves in the warp storm
    • The fleet became increasingly fractured as chunks - too ill-managed to be called 'detachments' - threw themselves at each enclave as they passed
    • Finally the only ship left was the Righteous Wrath, Cantorini's flagship - a carrack-class trade ship refitted with shrines and reliquaries as a suitable vessel for a Cardinal-Astral's mobile palace.
    • Moving to attack a fleet of clanfleet refugee ships, it was caught in a warp riptide and dragged into the Perdition Shoals, the 'eye' at the very heart of the Tyrant's Pyre.
  • Forearmed with knowledge, the Insatiable set course deeper into the Pyre - avoiding the warp phenomena en route due to some efficient navigate (warp) rolls from the Lord Deceiver and some handy operate (voidship) rolls from the Lord Purgator. The journey did take a fair amount of time, though - over three weeks passing and a further two weeks at sublight as the Insatiable broke the edge of the storm rather impressively off course. 
    • This deep in the Tyrant's Pyre, the surviving human enclaves - well, largely mutant enclaves - are comprised of scavenger clans, who (in response to infamy checks) were able to provide (crude) charts of the Shoals, helping with the final stages of the warp navigation.
    • The Shoal is a vast derelict graveyard - thousands of hulks, some from the region around Ilium, others dragged into the tides of the storm from elsewhere in the warp.
    • Most are broken into fragments mere hundreds or even tens of metres across or even just gravel and dust, by the vast gravity riptides that twist across the region and caused no small amount of concern on the part of the Chosen - the Insatiable's repulsor shields and defence turrets working overtime to keep the hull from being damaged.
    • Finding the Righteous Wrath in such a morass of debris - assuming it was still intact - could take years.
  • The Chosen began a patrol through the edges of the debris field, active auspex pinging away.
    • It took several hours before the Lord Ravager spotted a disturbance in the nearby debris field......something moving out from behind the cover of a nearby piece of wreckage a few hundred kilometres to port.
    • Several somethings.
    • The entities were a nightmarish mix of squid and scorpion, 'swimming' through the warp in a rapidly swelling hunting pack, as more and more of the things proved to be hibernating in nearby chunks of derelict ship.
    • 148324.jpg
    • The beasts were roughly human sized, but there were dozens of them in the swarm. Insatiable ran out its macrobatteries, but the salvo of weapons designed to engage kilometre-long targets several VU away didn't achieve much against the warp-kraken, which were too close, too fast and too numerous.
    • Defence turrets cut down a sizeable number, before they landed on the hull.
      • Following the rules for the Hollow Men from Lure of the Expanse, they began scrabbling at the hull trying to cut their way in. The number attached to the hull represented the percentage chance of the ship suffering damage to a component.
      • The first roll indicated damage, and the randomly selected component was the bridge.
      • Fortunately for the Chosen, the Insatiable's Armoured Command Bridge passed its 'save' to ignore the damage, but I took the hint and rather than leaving the initiative with the Chosen, several hordes of Warp Kraken poured in through the bridge airgates and access hatches, and the Chosen were forced to try and fight them off.
    • The fight was pretty nasty - the Lord Ravager and Lord Deceiver were badly injured, spending infamy to recover wounds, whilst the Lord Purgator huddled behind his minstrels, attempting to keep control of the Insatiable's manoeuvring to avoid any more swarms getting to the ship and at the same time avoid striking any large pieces of debris now the defence turrets were no longer fending them off.
      • It was a brutal fight but was going fairly well until inevitably (off-screen) one of the Lord Corruptor's combi-bolters jammed and then (on-screen) the Lord Deceiver managed Perils of the Warp, managing Vice-Versa again.
      • Whilst technically Vice-Versa only swaps two people, for the sake of keeping it interesting, I ruled it moved all three of the Chosen present that evening 'round one body' - the Lord Deceiver stuck in the Lord Ravager's body (one arm of which was engulfed in flame as the Skull Totem of Khorne reacted badly to the proximity of a psyker's soul), The Lord Purgator stuck in the Lord Deceiver's body (and now armed with astartes weaponry he didn't really know how to use), and perhaps most significantly, the Lord Ravager stuck in the body of the Lord Purgator, and flying the ship without the benefit of the Operate (Voidship) skill.
      • Much fun was had by all - especially the Minstrels, who proved unexpectedly competent, and succeeded in shooting several kraken off the Lord-Purgator-In-Lord-Deceiver with some surprisingly accurate fire (now in a power-armoured astartes body that wasn't his - at least not for long - the Lord Purgator had no hesitation ordering them to fire into the melee, figuring that if they hit him by accident, it wasn't his problem in the long term...) and the Lord Ravager, who may have ruined the gilded hull of the Insatiable a little bit by sideswiping the remains of a freighter at full burn (admittedly scraping quite a few kraken off the side of the ship in the process), but the chosen eventually prevailed.
      • And ended up back in the correct physical forms.
    • Not long after the kraken were repelled, the Chosen encountered a weak distress call from a more intact derelict. They had to fend off another marauding swarm, but with the turrets forewarned this time, they did a lot better and none of the beasts made it to the Insatiable's hull.
      • The derelict turned out to be a scavenger clan ship which had gotten unlucky during a salvage run - trying to harpoon and drag out of the debris cloud useful wreckage that could be traded to the clanfleet enclaves further out of the storm - and drifted deep into the shoals after a kraken pack had disabled its plasma drive.
      • The crew had fought off the kraken but the bulk of the crew had been killed in the process, and the survivors had hunkered down and fortified the wreck as best they could, hoping another scavenger clan vessel would come within vox range before their supplies ran out or they were overrun.
      • Haarlock took the opportunity to draft the survivors on the spot to bulk out the Insatiable's crew - something they would probably have been happy to do out of gratitude for being rescued, even if he wasn't the Clanfleet's Navarch.
      • Having drifted through the Shoals for nearly half a year, the surviving scavengers were also able to provide the Insatiable with their augury records - which, towards the exact centre of the debris field, showed a remarkably intact auspex contact which matched a Carrack-class transport with a signature too close to the records they had for the Righteous Wrath for it to be a coincidence.
    • Reaching the resting place of the Wrath took another two weeks of travel - the equivalent of crossing a solar zone - before the Clanfleet flagship emerged from the debris field into the heart of the Shoals.
      • Whatever the Chosen had been privately expecting, the result wasn't it.
      • Righteous Wrath appeared completely intact, and powered.
      • As they approached cautiously, someone on the ship hailed the Insatiable by Vox..... inviting them aboard.
Edited by Magnus Grendel

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Session 13

(Also a slight anniversary - last game night was 5 years to the week since I first met the wonderful person who is now my Wife. She joined us during a game night and was confused - if intrigued - by the whole 'RPG' concept, but came round to it very rapidly; especially after being introduced to the concept of the chainsword and the Dark Heresy critical tables when working out some anger after a very bad day)

  • We had a full turnout this time - the Lord Corruptor slightly annoyed he'd missed the fireworks the last time and increasingly bemused and concerned at recent turns of events:
    • "You're planning to what now?"
    • "The ship is where now?"
  • He - and, to be fair, the other Chosen - took the immediate, not-entirely-unjustified assumption that the Righteous Wrath's message was either a trap or deadly in some other way, but since they'd come all this way to board the ship, they couldn't exactly ignore it.
    • They decided to move in relatively close - a few kilometres - to the Carrack, such that if the Imperial ship's turrets started shooting at their transports they wouldn't have far to go to either reach their target or fall back to the cruiser.
    • As an ace in the hole, they decided for the Night Lord to use his jump pack to void-jump to the hull of the other ship (his armour has mag-boots and the Mark of Nurgle means he doesn't need to breathe)
    • This took an operate (aeronautica) and stealth check to make the jump discretely whilst the other chosen crossed in halo barges
  • The chosen arrived at the docking bay of the Wrath un-shot, and their paranoia was further ratcheted up to find a side party waiting for them, wearing Imperial Merchant Fleet and Ecclesiarchy heraldry, standing to attention.
    • "They do know who we are, right?"
    • "We've come on shuttles from a cruiser covered in chaos iconography and we've disembarked from the shuttles in the company of traitor astartes. We've not exactly been coy about our allegiance here."
    • "Then why are they saluting instead of screaming 'burn the heretics' and trying to kill us?"
    • "Would it make you feel better if they were?"
    • "Actually, yes, I think it probably would..."
  • Meanwhile the Lord Corruptor magboot clambered his way over the hull to the bridge tower. He found an access port and tried to override the access controls to get inside the bridge, which appeared undamaged but powered down.
  • In the hangar bay, a lieutenant saluted the Lord Purgator and welcomed them aboard.
    • The Lord Deceiver passed a Psynicience check, sensing an annoying whispering sound right on the edge of his psychic 'hearing'. The Lord Purgator also has the Psynicience ability, but failed the check - dismissing the 'sound', if he heard it at all, as the effects of a drug-induced hangover.
    • Haarlock confirmed that these were the original crew, and that they believed that they had been there for some time but that they had no idea exactly how long.
      • Given that the Righteous Wrath was lost some time in mid M.38, the Chosen were pretty sure they hadn't experienced anything like real time
    • He confirmed thathe captain had not survived the warp transit.
    • When asked who was in charge, he told them that they should probably speak to the Cardinal, who was in the temple-shrine decks forward.
      • "The...Cardinal?"
      • "Yes, sir. Follow me."
    • The pair of Catarina's Bezerkers and Haarlock's minstrels accompanied them, whilst Adjo Gahiji ordered the two rubricae he'd bought with him to guard the landers.
    • Adjo Gahiji used Thought Sending to pass an update on what had happened to the Lord Corruptor.
  • Meanwhile, the Lord Corruptor failed his tech-use test. He managed to force the airgate open, but a security system was triggered in the process.
  • In the main companionway, the Lieutenant handed off the Chosen to an ensign, apologising for leaving but citing an "unexpected development" which "required his attention" and leaving them heading aftwards and upwards, presumably towards the bridge.
    • Gahiji once again used Thought Sending to warn the Lord Corruptor, who used stealth and his abilities as a former Night Lord to hide in the darkness of the powered-down bridge.
    • Relatively soon afterwards, a pair of crewmen entered the bridge and searched it. They checked the airgate he had entered by and reset the security system, but failed to find him.
    • He noted after they had left that they hadn't been armed, and that at no point had either of them spoken to the other.
  • The minstrels were left to secure the companionway, whilst the Chosen arrived at the vast Aquila-carved double doors of the shrine decks.
    • Within was a grand entrance hall, full of finely-dressed ecclesiarchy priests.
    • The chosen had to pass fear tests, but passed and entered, noting that the priests seemed to be completely ignoring them, concentrating on the various devotional artworks on the walls.
    • The Lord Deceiver noticed a banner - arguably the banner, the Crusade Banner of the Truvian War of Faith, on the bulkhead. This was the battle-flag of the Cardinal's forces and certainly a suitable relic for their purposes (although they found more the better).
    • The Lord Ravager noticed at this point that the priests really hadn't reacted to them, even to the point of turning round.
      • More importantly, there was no chanting
      • For that matter there was no talking of any kind
      • Or, in fact, the sound of breathing.

 

 

Edited by Magnus Grendel

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  • Haarlock, being Haarlock, decided to head straight off into the altar chamber to talk to the 'Cardinal', leaving Catarina and Adjo Gahiji behind
    • He was rather surprised to find on rounding the corner that he was no longer able to move or speak (failed willpower test).
  • Catarina followed, passing the willpower test but failing a perception test, to find the Cardinal stood in the middle of the room, and engaging her in polite conversation. Several ecclesiarchal relics were sat on the floor around him.
  • The Lord Corruptor, on Adjo Gahiji's suggestion, proceeded to the Navigator's chambers. These proved to be empty, but also surprisingly dishevelled - MIU data jack cables and nutrient feeds lying uncoiled on the floor as if the navigator had stood up mid-trance, unplugged himself and simply walked off.
    • The fact that the nearby artwork and luxurious fur rugs showed a great deal of frost damage did nothing to reassure him.
  • Adjo Gahiji decided to take a direct approach, using mind probe to poke one of the priests in the entrance hall.
  • Catarina asked the 'Cardinal' why his crew seemed so welcoming. The response was "what...is a crew?". With an 'a-ha!' she kicked the nearest ecclesiarchal relic away.
    • ....And instantly partly regretted doing so. Haarlock, stood there like a lemon for this whole exchange, had passed the perception test (heightened sense all) and as such had been seeing the same thing Catarina now saw all along the whole time but wasn't able to do anything about it.
      • The Cardinal was still there but was a skeleton, wrapped around with tentacles which were protruding from a rippling gateway where the altar was.
      • The gateway was an arch made of inside-out people. The keystone of the arch had a human face - or at least the underlayers of one - but with three eyes. A half-dozen foot-thick tentacles swirled out of the shimmering wall of the gateway, twisting the cardinal's skeleton to simulate movement.
      • The relics were placed at the cardinal points of a now-broken binding circle, which had not been visible under the illusion. The scorched corpse of someone bearing the sigil of a senior inquisitorial agent lay crushed against one wall.
    • At the same time, the priests in the entrance hall all turned to face Adjo Gahiji. Finger-sized warp kraken larvae started to pour out of their eye sockets and mouths by the dozen, forming a buzzing, screaming swarm attacking the sorcerer.
    • Larger kraken started to screech up the corridors towards the Lord Corruptor, who hefted his combi-bolters and opened fire down the passageway at the oncoming horde.
  • The fight was nasty.
    • The Lord Purgator - finally breaking free - did a credible job with his pistols at fending the tentacles off himself and the Lord Ravager - he was briefly dominated and shot her in the back of the head but fortunately with a bolt pistol as his plasma pistols were both recharging at the time.
    • The Lord Corruptor managed to wipe out the oncoming horde, but not before one combi-bolter ran dry. At least he didn't manage to jam either of them this time.
    • The Lord Deceiver flung a couple of Bolts of change to cut holes in the swarm - one unfettered and then a second one pushed. The latter was a real problem as he suffered the Grand Possession perils of the warp. It would take a few turns to come to fruition, though. In the meantime he grabbed the Crusade Banner and - aside from suffering some non-trivial burns from the sanctified relic - used it almost as a flyswatter to keep the kraken larvae off him.
    • Haarlocks's minstrels were all killed by the swarm, and swiftly started spawning kraken larvae themselves.
    • The Lord Ravager was the star of the show, triggering Taste of Home, Frenzy, and Barrage, and grabbing up another of the relics - a crozius which given its nature and history (a Cardinal's Blessed weapon which had been stuck in the warp for millennia) had both the sanctified and tainted qualities - and started smashing at the gate with her faintly ridiculous strength bonus, warning Haarlock that she was going to pass out shortly.
    • Cracking open the gate forced the kraken on the far side of it to withdraw temporarily. The Lord Corruptor - investigating the Engineerium - found the servitors likewise infested and the warp engine core starting to buckle from blows being inflicted from the inside as the beast tried to force its way out a different way. Rather than fighting, he ran for the nearest airgate, and jumped, using his jump pack to aim himself at the Insatiable.
    • Haarlock and Gahiji managed to drag Catarina's unconscious form clear, and got her halfway back to the hangar before triggering her armour's stimmshot to wake her up. There were no small amount of kraken spawn to fight past, ripping their way out of the corpses of her bezerker bodyguards and Haarlocks' minstrels, but at least the bay was comparatively safe - the Rubricae not having any flesh to infest, had kept the bay secure.
  • The Lords Purgator, Ravager, and Deceiver made their way back to the Insatiable by one of the landers. It should have been an easy trip had the Lord Of Change which had been trying to force its way into Adjo Gahiji's brain not won its possession contest and got to a 5-degree-of-success advantage shortly after lift-off. Daemon-in-Gahiji started pumping bolts of change into Haarlock. The first caused his refractor field to short out and explode (but stop the damage) whilst the second left him critically damaged and on fire - rather an issue, he noted, as he was piloting the ship..
    • Catarina responsed by grabbing the crozius and using Takedown in what can best be described as a 40k version of Avengers: Age Of Ultron's "gotosleepgotosleepgotosleep" sequence. In this case, it worked (eventually) but not without Haalock and Catarina both emptying their remaining infamy points recovering wounds.
  • Nevertheless, the odd life-threatening injury and possession aside, the Chosen have the relics they need for the ritual on Polydorus.
Edited by Magnus Grendel

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