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reptile74

Techpriest undercover

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Many scenarios for Dark heresy makes use of the Idea that the Acolytes goes undercover to investigate something. But as my group has a Tech-Priest I had some problem to make that work. Especially when he puts on more and more cybernetics, recently a Mechandrite. I mean the other guys can just put on a big trenchcoat but the priest often insists of wearing his robes and looks nothing like an "ordinary" human. Bound to draw the attention to the group? How do you handle this situation in your groups?

 

The 2 possibilities I see are

1. Don't allow Tech-priests'

2. Don't play any acolytes in disguise missions

 

None of those options fits me very well preocupado.gif

 

Suggestions Welcome...

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Its easy, all you have to do is remember that while there are fewer Tech-Priests than the regualr Imperial person they are still everywhere, especially the lower ranked Tech-Adepts, Enginseers, Lexmechanics and so on.

They would be present through most strata of Imperial society and not to out of place to occassionally "slum-it" for their dinner.

Most of the Imperium think that one Mech-boy is the same as the other, concerned only with technology and probably only interested in something if it will cater to that end.  People would over-look them, simply assuming thier just another Mechanicus Worshipper same as the rest, possibly down on thier luck and having to go to work in the lowest levels of a hive as penance or at the other end possibly assigned to aid an important "dignitary" by the Priesthood.

- Raith

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How about the Reclaimator alternate rank from Inquisitor's Handbook? It allows the creation of tech-savvy characters who lack the extensive cybernetic alterations of a true Tech Priest. And I think it might be a rank 1 alternate rank, meaning that starting characters can access it. Using this career you'd be able to create "normal" looking tech-characters. 

EDIT: Upon sober reflection, this doesn't solve your problem, as I'd failed to notice that your player's character has already been created. D'oh. Apologies.

I suppose that if one goes back to the Ravenor Trilogy, it's worth bearing in mind that not every Acolyte is suited to the "undercover" role, but that this doesn't prevent them being useful to the cell as a whole. At least three of the Ravenor cell rarely engaged in undercover missions of any kind, tending to act as "tech support" via microlinks in the manner of the Matrix trilogy, or indeed any Hollywood movie involving some sort of hacker character. Even sensible TV drama like "The Wire" has characters like Prezbolowski who are useless in the field but incredibly useful "behind the scenes" characters. 

I guess the challenge for the GM is to have different layers of simultaneous storyline which addresses the respective strength of the characters. Too many RPG scenarios cover a situation where the whole group is creeping around in disguise as a big group. This isn't actually that realistic: undercover operatives tend to do their job in ones or twos, with a fair amount of backup monitoring from a secure location or vehicle. The Tech Priest would be ideal for this kind of thing. 

A real challenge would be to have a situation where an undercover group is carrying out a job while the tech-priest charcter supports them, and then somethign happens to them simultaneously. It's a theme that happens again and again in Ravenor. Multiple action scenes across multiple groups of characters are a cliche of action films...think of the climax of Return of the Jedi with the Endor battle/Death Star attack/Throne room duel all happening at once. A nightmare to coordinate for a GM, but epic in scale... Just a few thoughts!happy.gif

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I agree with Raith - have them downplay the oddity of a techpriest in thier mechinations.

Have the acolytes say that the techpriest is an essential part of their operation - who else is gonna run that cogitator that undermines the Administratum - fixes the guns that take down the local Arbites - and keeps the getaway ship in working order?

Stealth is a "little" harder - but definitely not undoable. The books are filled with techpriests or cybernetically altered Imperium citizens capable of deceptively strong, quick, or stealthy movement due to their mechanical replacements.

Lastly - have him disguised as a mutant. Nothing says: "You can trust me, I'm not Inquisitor scum." than travelling with a twist.

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 You could always have the Tech-Priest disguise himself as a servitor. That would probably be the easiest way to conceal his or her true purpose, because they are already so extensively cybernetic, and I'm sure any Tech Priest worth his salt would be able to whip up a few cosmetic ones. This also avoids the necessity of having a Tech-Priest character do any form of lying, deception, and the like which he/she would probably be bad at due to their traditionally mediocre Fellowship.

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The problem we had was that every disguise revolved around the Techpriest as they had to fit in with him and none of the characters were very familiar with the cult mechanicus (hilarity ensues) making for a rather unconvincing disguise.

We are going to have another go of it with a Techpriest that is designed to fit in more with normal humans. Most of the augmentics will be subtle or hideable. Symbols of the Adeptus Mechanicus will be subtly woven into the players gear so as to be hidden unless he wants them known. The new techpriest is from the Lathes as he rolled up Greater Forge world so I have given him a Lathe weapon of his choice which will be a Great Axe that looks like a normal axe most of the time although parts of the blade can extend and turn it into a cog axe. The design on the Axe will actually contain a skyline from Lathe that the player origionates on which is a more subtle statement of mechanicum power than the standard mechanical skull symbol.

Depending on the type of mechadendrite consider allowing the player to contract it into a concealed cavity bought from his advance scheme (only capable of hiding the mechadendrite). Techpriest are harder to work out than normal acolytes they can work if the character is planned properly.

Kaihlik

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Think about the fact that a Tech Priest, while not subtle, can go lots of places without attracting attention or being questioned. Few understand the Mechanicum, what they do or why. How much attention do you pay to an IT guy installing a computer in the office, the copier repair man, a plumber walking down the hallway of a building, or a Fire Marshal doing an inspection?

Normal people would probably try to avoid a Tech Priest due to their inherent strange and unsettling looks and odd ways, not to mention how much more powerful a Tech Priest is in the hierarchy of society than the average citizen.

With a few good intimidate rolls a Tech Priest should be able to bully his way into most government and private businesses unless they have very high security.

As has been mentioned, they are a great controller to have monitoring things from afar and having lots of access and information available via microbead while others are in field. Think Ving Rhames character in the Mission Impossible movies as another example.
 

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Or, you could have the Techpriest on a "monitoring" mission - he's back at some base, but monitoring his fellow acolytes via a servitor, or some form of link that allows him to see and hear what they're doing.

Allow him to make rolls (perhaps at a slight minus) via another PC - talking him/her through it. This way, the PC Techpriest still gets to participate.

This way, he's got his cogitator, his logicator, or what have you - and he's machnically breaking into locked areas after the Acolytes have infiltrated a base (via being undercover) - or validating their credentials - shutting down security, lights, etc.

 

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I like the idea of removable mechadendrites.  You could invent a quick change mount so he could swap in different mechadendrites without surgeries for each.  Thus he could requisiton the right mechadendrite for the job on each mission.

 Also, at some expense you could add camoline to the mechadendrite, and thus make it invisible.  Or go on "night" missions and blacken all the mechadendrites and give him a black robe.  Posibly opt for an elite advance of the move silently talent so he can skulk around in the shadows.   Have someone else in the group be a little bit more flashy so no one notices what's going on in the darkened corner.

Some of the flavor text on mechanicus implants discribe smaller potentia coils that are crystal stack affairs, possibly just a bit bigger than Iron Man's core.  The cyber mantle is mostly subdermal hard points you wouldn't notice it under bulky robes.   Cogwheel all his gear with ganger style electoos that can be turned off. 

 

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The Boy Named Crow said:

 In my game, I ruled that Mechadendrites are, with a small amount of work, removable. Leaving behind a connection point implanted in the flesh. My tech-Priest removes them whenever he puts on his standard leper disguise.

 

Absolutely. In my game the Tech-priest is able to detach his mechadendrites with the help of a combi-tool and certain ritual prayers in about 10 minutes (thus not in combat or something like that). The same is true for his respirator.

 

Apart from this, I also thought about this problem in the beginning of my DH career as a GM, but in the meantime realized how common the low ranking tech-adept is (maybe not on feral worlds) in most of the Imperium. And as mentioned, most people could not differentiate between a Magos and an Enginseer anyway.

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In the fan supplement I wrote "K'Otal" there is a sect of Admech who have a alternate career rank called Angelus who are lightly cybernetic diplomats, spies and go betweens for the Cult Mechanicus in that system and the local populations. They have facial/cranial implants that allow slight shiftying of facial features, chem treated skin coatings that allows skin tone changes and what not.

I dont remember it completely as I wrote the world a few years ago and that campaign has been over for a while. But I believe a copy is up on Dark Reign somewhere. 

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Best undercover role for a TechPriest = as a Techpriest.

Just emphasise that it isn't unusual. He just pretends to be a low-ranking admech initiate, who does basic tech-blessings (maintenance work). That can fit into a wide variety of situations.

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I'm very thankful for all your answers and ideas, I never thought that Tech-priests were so common. Well I suppose that depends on what kind of world that the acolytes work on. I mean, on a feral world of Vikings they would have a hard time to blend in but on the other hand, it would not be easy from any other off-worlder either. As least when they have to interact with anyone. Removable Mechanandrites is also an Idea I that think I'll use.  

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Like someone above said, how much attention to you pay to the IT guy in an office building.  I'd also add the power company working on a power-pole or checking transformers.  It's not that they're ubiquadously common, its just that they kinda go everywhere for some reason or another.  So seeing one walk by may be interesting, but won't draw much thought.

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 Personally I wouldn't even go so far as to try and resolve the situation, let the players puzzle it out. If the tech-priest doesn't want to, make the non sneaky way much more costly for the group to give the rest of the players incentive to push the tech-priest in the direction you want. Or have him delivered as a vending machine to the enemy, then spring when they least expect it.

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Another idea, and this is from having played both.  Is read up on some ol' fashion Cyberpunk and Shadowrun novels.  They do give a good idea of how hackers and the like make use of their abilities and built-in talents to take care of the intel side of things.

'Course something else to look at, is depending on how your group is set up.  Mention how they should look at everyone's strengths and weaknesses before they actually try to do this undercover mission.

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 Another idea, and this is from having played both. Is read up on some ol' fashion Cyberpunk and Shadowrun novels. They do give a good idea of how hackers and the like make use of their abilities and built-in talents to take care of the intel side of things.

These generally have one problem: A novel merely needs to keep the reader entertained, not the protagonists. If you can write a compelling ten page adventure in cyberspace before cutting to the rest of the group, that's fine, but it won't help you in your game where everyone not involved in the hacking can just as well go and order a pizza. Keeping the group together has its advantages - and I'm saying this as a GM who had the genius idea of handing out a plot that had the cell dig up dirt on three figures within a week. The result was that the group of seven players split into six groups in an effort to tackle everything at once. Urgh.

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I agree with Cipher. As both a GM and a player, I've found that splitting the group up is fairly damaging the the game at large. People start getting bored, having side conversations, wanting to get past the part when their teammates are doing something that doesn't involve them and as such I've always tried to keep the party together as much as possible. It's simple math, doesn't matter how talented you are as a GM: you split the group into two groups, they each get half as much time.

 

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I was about to have this problem in my campaign, given the next section involves a lot of sneaking around. I was going to have a local group of NPC's offload their spare Cameleoline Cloak onto him... but then the player quit the campaign in a fiery and spectacular manner, so it didn't matter.

But yeah - Cameleoline! General purpose stealth maker. gui%C3%B1o.gif  

BYE

 

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Seeing as Zilla and Fill haven't posted yet, in our game our Tech Priest goes undercover as...well...a tech priest. Because, unless you're the bad guy, are you REALLY going to question why a Tech priest is at any given area? Our rebuilt Guardsman, on the other hand, now masqurades as a Skitarri (sp?), because he's about a small brain surgery away from that as it is.

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After implants and all that my Techpriest is over 290kg of "WTF?" There is nothing that I can be besides a Techpriest. Or a tank. The easiest way for me to hide is to not. I go under cover as a Techpriest. It has it's ups and downs. I'm able to go on missions, which is, you know, nice. But, I am a Techpriest. I make the group stick out and I can be picked out of almost any crowd so you have to be careful what people see you doing.

It's basically a matter of Risk (Bringing the Techpriest) vs Reward (Having the Techpriest). So far for our group I'm able to make the Reward out weight the Risk lengua.gif

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Kylen said:

 

Seeing as Zilla and Fill haven't posted yet, in our game our Tech Priest goes undercover as...well...a tech priest. 

 

 

   This. I did exactly the same thing with my old T-P character. The Cult Mechanicus and its adherents are everywhere. From common maintenance workers to construction teams. If the place has any technology related systems, the chances are that the AdMech has a presence.

    Its the old "cleaner syndrome" at work. Nobody pays any particular interest to the cleaners washing the floors and emptying garbage bins. And they have access to everywhere.

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