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Vandegraffe

Need advice on Lure of the Expanse [Spoilers]

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Hi.  I'm currently GM'ing a group through Lure of the Expanse, and my players have just thrown me a curve ball...  Figured I'd poll the forums for suggestions.  [if your group has a ship named "The Fearsome Darter" kindly stop reading this thread now.]

So, here's the situation:  The PC's are at the Processional of the Damned, having previously visited three other locations within the Heathen Stars.  The first part of the adventure goes pretty much according to plan:  They fight Hollow Men.  They rescue Wrath's Carrion (the sane ones).  They loot ships.  They fly into debris.  They loot more ships and fight a daemon.  They rescue more of Wrath's Carrion.  They find and successfully read the nexus point.  They get in a fight with Wrath's Carrion (the insane ones) and then flee, with 1 hull point remaining and their enemies in hot pursuit.

However, here is where things deviate from the script.  The PC's ship is crazy fast (Archaeotech drive on Hazeroth raider) and the pilot rolls seven (!) degrees of success on his first roll.  It gets worse from there.  Thanks to godly rolls from the PC's, Wrath's Carrion do NOT chase the PC's back to the warpgate.  Instead, the PC's lose their pursuers with contemptuous ease and are now roaming the Processional basically at will.  

I ask, "what do you do now?" and at once they all tell me they are going to visit Oblivion while they are still here.  You know, Oblivion... the innermost planet really deep in the system that no one has ever visited and returned?  Riiiiiight.  That Oblivion.  So, now the four PC's, plus four armsmen, have just landed on Oblivion amidst enormous cyclopean ruins that appear to resonate strangely with the Warp...  That landing was the end of the most recent session.

This poses two problems.

First, how are they going to repair their ship?  They have 2 hull points left after successful extended repairs, and there is no way that's going to be enough when they reach the Dread Pearl.  Their competitors will eat them alive.  The morale and crew numbers aren't looking too good either.  

Second, what should the surface of Oblivion be like?  Aside from "the players got way too curious for their own good", I'm not sure what I should do to them.  Two of my players are intimately familiar with the 40K universe and really should have known better, so I have no qualms about unleashing hell. The bit about cyclopean ruins and warp resonance is all I told them, because it was all I could think of off the cuff.  I didn't expect them to visit that planet at all, so I didn't prepare anything and don't have any ideas at the moment.

Your thoughts?

Cheers,

- V.    

 

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Vandegraffe said:

This poses two problems.

First, how are they going to repair their ship?  They have 2 hull points left after successful extended repairs, and there is no way that's going to be enough when they reach the Dread Pearl.  Their competitors will eat them alive.  The morale and crew numbers aren't looking too good either.  

Second, what should the surface of Oblivion be like?  Aside from "the players got way too curious for their own good", I'm not sure what I should do to them.  Two of my players are intimately familiar with the 40K universe and really should have known better, so I have no qualms about unleashing hell. The bit about cyclopean ruins and warp resonance is all I told them, because it was all I could think of off the cuff.  I didn't expect them to visit that planet at all, so I didn't prepare anything and don't have any ideas at the moment.

Your thoughts?

Cheers,

- V.    

 

Problem 1: Either there is something on Oblivion they could use, or they don't and will have to be very careful and friendly with their competitors. I would go with the latter, were it my choice, simply because getting their ship all beat up should be a bad thing that has a very real (emphasis on REAL) possibility of becoming a very bad thing. There shouldn't be an easy out.

Problem 2: No one has ever returned from Oblivion before. Make your PCs understand this, but there should also be something on the planet worth risking their lives for. Archaeotech, xenotech, corrupted archaeotech, corrupted xenotech, a working STC, a broken STC, a relic from a saint, something. Anything. Your options are limitless.

 

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Or if you feel mean, start the next session with the PC's flying away from Oblivion or worse from a burning imperial planet.

Somehow the ship is fully repaired albeit in a non standard STC way, they have no recollction on what happened at Oblivion. Just the feeling that hey should be doing something important soon............

If that doesn't get them spooked badly. Plus it gives you the opportunity to  get them into a wicked adventure later. 

 

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What plucky heroes!

Daring the impossible, risking their lives and their sanity for profit, its all good.

 

Firstly, oblivion should be hella dangerous and hence should have some kind of good pay off.

Emphasise the wurgy warped nature of the place, enforce fear checks, give them some insanity points. Secondly, have some Hollow men present, but have them doing something weird, maybe totally ignoring the PCs, even though they can clearly see them. Have them be building something, worshipping something, something out of the ordinary but unexplained to creep your players out.

I like the above comment about relics, have them discover the las resting place of a famous missing saint, complete with wargear. Goodies for them plus goodies for the church. However, getting and escaping with the relics should involve horror (insanit points inducing) and violence, maybe the hollow men are doing something weird with/to the bones.

Either way, Oblivion should be a world they will not want to return to, no matter the payout, but it should be one that got them enough cool stuff to make it memorable.

 

As for the ship being low on hull points, emphasise the importance of this, piles of dead crew everywhere, te ship creaking ominously, officers executing borderline rebellious crew peons, etc.  That should get them worried. Now provide an excuse for them not to get bought into battle, have them team up with some friendly RTs (they have allies right? if not, now might be a good time to get them). Emphasise that any space battle must be avoided (easy peasy because of their fast drives) rather than fought. Their raid on the dread pearl should be a rapid in and out affair, avoiding their enemies.

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Dear Vandegraffe, you  missed your chances.

They were able to shake of their pursuers through speed. Fine. Damaged reports told them that they to the equivalent to "one point" (which is near ruin, as far as I understand). fine. And in this situation (they barely escaped with their ship intact!) the captain decides it is time for bravador and to GO BACK TO WHERE ALL THE DANGERS CAME......AND BEYOUND!!!!

This would have been a VERY good time to check for a mutiny. On their way in, they could have been confront with more hollow men or one ship of an enemy fraction, just to scare them away.

Well, done is done, but remember to trump up the scare value next time.

Anyway...

Repairing the ship should include a lot of salvage action. Make sure the empty man return. They will have to spend 2 or 3 WEEKS only to recover SOME points of damage. This alone should make it clear that they do not have any further time to waste. Other fractions should already be ahead. Of course, the will lose the run for the dreaded pearl.

In addition, other faction could... try to take benefit from the situation. Some-one rather "neutral" who had fallen back could ask for Nexus Reading and/or !PLUNDER! for some help with the repairs (once the are out of all the wrecks"!). More aggressive and "evil" competitors could simply force to finish them and their "pitty little hulk which once was ship and is now a testomony of your failure as a captain" if they do not allow their rival to take over several lighters full of loot. Or perhaps alow to board and take some thousand crewman as slaves. 

In the first case, they exchange advantage and/our profit/achievementpoints for Structur, in the later case they just get robbed and enraged. 
 

 


@Oblivion
Ghost or Daemons possesing the crew..or hallowing them out, turning them into husks over couple of days who will later mindlessly ...attack? Dismantle the ship? Chant unhol hymnes? 

The best solution might be to make the place rather forshadowing and stretch the part that time drips away between their fingers. Give them something. Let them steal a monolith form the surface.. only to have disaster strike them in the warp so they have to flush the cargo hold. In short, the should REGRET the visit to Oblivion. If you do not make them, they will face EVERYTHING afterward ("danger beyound reason? HA! We set food on Oblivion and left unharmed!")

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Ideally I'd have them have to fight the hollow men, and horrific creations of the hollow men.  Lots of fear tests, insanity and corruption. Their reward a something able to repair their ship.  Ideas:

 

- repair servitors, robots, or nanites.

- rescue a trapped colony of jokaer

- the hollow men themselves start repairing the ship with parts from various vessels....

 

Of course over time the cure is worse than the disease.  Once the Dread Pearl is found and then lost again. They will be forced to take back their ship from what ever is repairing it.  As their benefactors have an agenda and plans of their own for the PCs ship.....

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 My PC's are currently doing the Processional, and one of my plans to help enforce the truely damning nature of the pacae is haivng them make a willpower roll at each "ring" of the processional. Starting at a +10 for Blight, and then lowering by 10 for every level after, the result of failure is 1d5 insanity with it hitting 1d10 insanity and 1d10 corruption when you hit oblivion, and if you gaze right up at the star itself in the inner most ring, willpower at a super negative or bam bat out crazy never going to escape. 

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Another option out of the "Box of Strangenesses"

 

As your pc leave the Oblivion and the wreckages behind, the Eldar ship shows up. As the pc prepare for a battle (perhaps from last experiences) they are actually hailed by the ship in fluent low gothic (with a strange sing-song accent). The eldar offer them help with some repair for no apparent reason...

of course, the reason of the eldar is that their study of the web of possibilities shows them that outcomes will be unfavourable for them if the pc DO NOT make it to the Dreaded Perl.

I think this would be good way to undermine the (perceived) randomness of the eldar... first, they help the pc. Later, they will fight them.

Some of the damage to the ship could be repaired with raw material from a wreckage from the fringe of the "Processional"..and some strange crystal growth the Eldar apply but are unwilling to explain or even allow wittness to.

Will the RT trust the Eldar? Will their be any "downsides" to this? How will they explain what is holding their ship together once they are back into a more imperial port? Will they remove it? What will happen if they try?

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I actually had a write-up for the surface of Oblivion planned, as I fully expected the players to try to take a detour there (mine just read the star chart and got the hell out of there).

Basically, the planet is dead grey rock, with ruins scattered all over its surface of great cities of an unknown civilization. Its dusty, cold, and silent as the grave. Atmosphere, normal pressure, but not breathable. As the players would advance into any of the cities, a few of the redshirts would begin hearing voices. Insanity checks would ensue, peons would go nuts and kill themselves or others in all manner of surprising and gruesome ways. Auspexes would register faint power from deep under the cities, of an unknown type.

They would also get reports from their ship, saying that the crew were getting agitated, that people were reporting ghosts, hearing voices, etc to get the PCs worried that what was happening to the expedition on planet would happen on their ship.

The deeper they go into the ruins, the more promising signs they find of something valuable, but the more powerful the madness overcoming them would become. If they make it far under the surface of one of the cities, they would find an crumbling undercity of a completely different architecture than the city above.

Aside from finding a few bizarre items (unknown alien power supplies, maybe a weapon or two), they find that they simply cannot proceed further (high-powered insanity checks forced by whispering, screams over the comms for them to return to the ship, crying blood, possibly a mutation or two). The point being that they simply cannot solve the mystery of what is down there, as its essentially unknowable to the human mind. Keep going down and you might figure it out, but you won’t be anything resembling a human anymore. Any items they take from the planet can have any number of side effects you like (i.e. a power source could attract hollow men like flies, a weapon could cause effects so horrific to its target it causes fear or insanity checks, etc).

As to the battered nature of their vessel… First off, its very likely that at least some of their competitors will have ships blown half-way to hell as well. They might be able to band together with other weaker competitors against the stronger ones (like the Admiral… whats his name). They could attempt extended repairs at a nearby friendly system, if they’ve established any in their previous adventures. Finally, they might just need to do a lot of the finale flying silent.

Not only will they have to fix their ship, but most of their crew must be dead, dying or righteously pissed off. I think their biggest problem would be keeping their ship from mutiny (if Krooker survived, he could try to lead a mutiny while the crew on are Oblivion).

Just some suggestions.

-Thulis
 

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Hm if you really want to freak out your player's you could do this:

You could have their auspexes register Oblivion as the expect mirror of image of the Imperial standard. The air is only just breathable, but gravity is a perfect 1G. Strangely, nothing opposes their approach as they make for the world. Once they land they find planet covered in ruins of human origin. As they go deeper, you should present them with broken gothic architecture. Finally the reach a magnificent palace, pitted and cracked by immense age. Passing through it's gates, they are greeted by dust. Reaching the center of the palace, they find their prize; the Emperor and his Golden Throne. Contorted and charred, his body slumps in silence upon the massive throne. Just as they approach, have his eyes open. Feeling as those their heads were being split in half, a silent whisper fills their mind. "These are shadows of what may and will be Children of Terra." You should be clear that this isn't the Emperor speaking but the Voice of Processional. If they ask if it can be changed, give them a quizzical answer. "Yes and no. When one is made true, another comes to pass." If they stay too long have it tell them to leave. "Go now, for if you tarry too long you shall never leave this place." After all that, I'd reward them with 1d10 insanity as they come to gripes with what they have seen. However, the unique insight they receive on the nature fate would give them one fate point as a bonus.

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I know you can't pull this out too often (once?), but at the end of the Horus Heresy, when the Dark Angels returned to their homeworld of Calaban (Segmentum Obscurus), they found the garrison they had left there had gone over to Chaos.  Battle ensues, planet destroyed, blah blah blah, but some of the traitor Dark Angels were sucked into the warp and spread across time and space.  The Dark Angels and their successor chapters search for them to this day.  You never know where one or two of them might pop up...

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Have them land discover some relics, bizzare sites, whatever creepy stuff you can imagine, then let one of the rival rogue traders land and offer them a deal promising that he will get their vessel in orbit and do some minor repairs.  When they meet the other RT again it turns out that the rival Rogue Trader was some chaos entity in disguise who has taken it's toll from the ship's crew or something similar.

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Just another couple of random things from the 'Weird crap to throw at players" bitz box.

*Tell them they can't say the phrase 'God-Emperor' while on the surface. They stutter and choke when they try.

*Deal d10 crew damage to  their ship occasionally as entire decks commit suicide for no reason. Occasionally mention that one of the characters has placed a pistol to their temple and is sweating stragely. Ask people to make wp rolls, smle regardless of result, and write the results down on a peice of paper, as if you were making a tally.

*Have any water they find not reflect. everything else reflects fine, but water casts no reflections for no good reasons. Anything the water touches loses its ability to cast reflections forever.

*Make the players roll Awareness. Whoever gets the most degrees of success can almost see a figure in the ditance through roiling mists. If they try getting close, they find themselves lured into something unpleasant.

*Have they killed a rival or major villain thus far? Have them return for revenge in awesome ghost form.

*Have the characters begin to cry sand. Emphasise that sand is not something you want in your eye.

*Call for scrutiny checks. Tell those that pass that they think there is a traitor in the group. Take everyone aside, one by one, and tell them that THEY are not the traitor (I did this with a callidus assassin, best session ever!)

*Corruption points!

*The first person to set foot on the planet has their eyes turn black from edge to edge and the veins under their skin begin to throb and visibly blacken. If a medicae checks, the characters veins and eyes are now filled with tar, although there are no other side-effects.

*Music is playing in the background. It's the most beutiful thing they've ever heard. Investigating, it seems to be coming from the ruins of an old temple where skeletons, old and new, are lying around, almost like they've stopped doing anything but listening to music. Call for wp rolls...

*A plain covered in what, at first, appears to be white grass and trees. Getting closer, the grass appear to be fingers, dead white, sticking out of the soil. THe trees are arms, twisted together in some form of orgiastic mockery of nature. Emphasise the crunching sound of walking on a field of fingers and the sticky black blood that oozes out.

*A pipe organ made out of all the previous visitos of Oblivion, crafted by a foul xenos thing in prayer to the dead sun above. The xenos thing believes that by building an instrument of death it can appease the foul orb in the sky and somehow persuade it to allow the xenos to escape.

*An exploration team from the Tyrantine Cabal who are investigating to see if this place has any links tothe  Tyrant Star. Noone has escaped here, because inquisitors don't like people having a look at what they're doing.

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One little item they might found, that's probably going to wonder : a simple coin, in some odd alliage. Nothing much to look at, it's a disc about one inch wide and 1/10th of an inch thick. What's odd is the hole piercing it's imddle. On one side it's square shaped, on the other it's star-shaped. Of course when looking at it from on side, you see the shape going all the way through.

Other than that, it has nothing special, no warp taint, no tech. It's just a little bit of a bizarre alloy, with a hole through it that flips the fingers at every notion of physic and geometry the PCs have. But of course they won't know it and if they're of a suspcious sort you can have them worrying about it for quite a while.

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Hey everyone, thanks for all the feedback.  I'm still thinking about what to do to my overly curious players on Oblivion...

I'm thinking there's a mutiny in their future.  The ship's morale number is just barely above the first mutiny check... all it will take is a small to trigger a mutiny.  Hollow men attack, spontaneous mutations aboard ship, plague of insanity, any of these will work.  Yeah, there's going to be trouble aboard the ship.  In fact, there may well be a mutiny while the PC's are on the surface.  Won't that be fun? 

As for the surface itself, it's definitely going to be some sort of sanity blasting eldritch horror.  I haven't decided exactly what, yet.  I've been looking through my Dark Heresy supplements to see if I can find anything suitably vile.  As for the terrain, I'm thinking cyclopean ruins and a non-Euclidean labyrinth where the walls move when the PC's aren't present.  Yes, they'll get some interesting items, but all in all I plan on making it sufficiently horrid that they don't want to come back.

In the longer term, the events of the Processional may well end the adventure.  They "killed" Bastille earlier (he burned a fate point) by making him eat a whole bunch of bolter shells, and Feckward and Scorge can likewise be counted on to shoot PC's on sight.  Combine that with the PC's not bothering to make many allies and their chances of surviving once they reach the Dread Pearl are nearly zero.  Two hull points simply will not do.  They need to make repairs or get a new ship, and there are very few places where they can do that.  For that matter, is there anywhere in the adventure that a ship can make repairs?  Just Zayth or maybe the Processional... though either one carries significant risks.

Cheers,

- V.

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That leaves Footfall and repairing the ship will be time consuming as what, not to mention expensive. Leaving the players in dire need of transport. All they need is a competitor with an intact ship but without the coordinates to the Pearl and broker a deal. Meaning that yes, they will earn less profit of this endeavor but thems the breaks.

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 <My players don't read>

My players are in the Processional now. I have the Vox traffic full of odd messages. They have been hailed by both Soloman and Erasmus Haarlock. The crew was showing it's strain, so the captain cut the live broadcasting of the messages on the bridge. A PC is monitoring them, and brings important messages to his attention.

Some great ideas here for Oblivion. You could also have the players meet themselves. Perhaps mad and feral versions of themselves, as if they had been trapped on the planet for a long time.

 

</my players can read the next one> :)

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My players never made it to Oblivion, but they did get to meet their own ship in the Processional.  It was battered and decrepid but they decided to board to see what was what.

 

They found the boot and long, long decayed foot of the rogue trader PC plus the apparent cause of the ships lifelessness, the groups arch militant, blended with some very nasty warp tech and little more than a murderous servitor. And epic fight ensued with the warp tainted arch militant facing the not tainted version of himself and the rest of the PCs. The PCs managed to find some ships logs that indicated what happened but without much detail. Cue paranoia, suspicion and fear. Hurrah!

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Right.  Just had the latest game session, and the players are through with Oblivion - or rather, it's through with them.  (They think.  Heh.)  I did use some suggestions I got here (much thanks) and suffice it to say the players and I had a great deal of fun.  The characters got some nifty loot, a considerable number of insanity points, and definitely aren't going back voluntarily...   So, a success.

For your amusement, here are some player quotes from session:

"I knew it would be bad, but I didn't think it would be this bad."

"What do you mean the unnaturally still pond is in the shape of a Nurgle icon?"  (This was followed by a good bit of role playing as the Rogue Trader convinced the Astropath to continue.)

"Who are these 'Yu-Vath' you say built this temple?"

"Ohhhhhhh crap!"

"96!"  This was the damage rolled from ONE attack by the arch-militant.  The Emperor's righteous fury was with him, in a big way.  Of course, this took off less than half the hit points of the thing they were fighting.

"I think we flee in terror now."  <solemn nods from all other players>

In all, less than a third of the landing party made it off Oblivion with their life and sanity intact.  Of course, when they got back to the ship, they found the Hollow Men had hit it, and done enough damage (along with the sanity blasting horror of the place) to trigger a mutiny.   They put down the mutiny because the Rogue Trader is a charming rogue.  Then they encountered Hadarak Fel near the warp gate.  Fel, no fool, saw a badly wounded competitor and intended to finish them off on the spot.  However, the Rogue Trader is a charming rogue indeed, and talked him into a more diplomatic resolution.  (Good roleplaying plus offering a hefty bribe, plus our guns are still intact, and the Rogue Trader rolled 7 degrees of success on a charm test.)

The capper was the arch-militant (!) succeeded at a Hellish difficulty tech-use test and got the Mechanicus Probe to stop interfering with their ship's systems.  (Confirmed.  The arch-militant.  They don't have a PC Explorator.)   And, he rolled exactly what he needed.  The PC's had some incredibly lucky die rolls this session.  The bastards.

Cheers,

- V.

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Vandegraffe said:

"I knew it would be bad, but I didn't think it would be this bad."

"What do you mean the unnaturally still pond is in the shape of a Nurgle icon?"  (This was followed by a good bit of role playing as the Rogue Trader convinced the Astropath to continue.)

"Who are these 'Yu-Vath' you say built this temple?"

"Ohhhhhhh crap!"

"96!"  This was the damage rolled from ONE attack by the arch-militant.  The Emperor's righteous fury was with him, in a big way.  Of course, this took off less than half the hit points of the thing they were fighting.

"I think we flee in terror now."  <solemn nods from all other players>

In all, less than a third of the landing party made it off Oblivion with their life and sanity intact.  ...

Ooooh, come on! This sounds very promising. Please share your tactics with us!

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Gregorius21778 said:

 

Ooooh, come on! This sounds very promising. Please share your tactics with us!

Very well, Gregorius21778, here's a bit of commentary.  For starters, I usually do not script adventures.  Instead, I build sims.  I've learned that it is nigh impossible to predict what those wacky PC's will do.  So, instead, I create a sandbox and let them play in it.  I define the environment, and the motivations & abilities of the major NPC's, and then react to the player's decisions.  Once I know what the NPC's goals are, then its very easy to predict their response.  It's also important to know what your players can and can't do.  The goal is "challenging".  "Impossible" or "trivial" are no fun. 

As for Oblivion, I had trouble at first;  there's really very little text about it in the adventure, so at start I wasn't able to picture it well.  The break through was realizing I didn't need to decide what sanity blasting horror created the Processional.  Since the worlds in orbit around it may have been captured, or visited later, adding Yu-Vath ruins was plausible.  Since Oblivion's the innermost world, and it gets worse the further in you go,  the Veil was very thin indeed there;  the PC's plus their lackeys were the only things living on the planet and all of their encounters were with things that had the "Demonic Toughness" trait.  Anyway, the players landed near the biggest, most important-looking structure they could find.  I decided a Yu-Vath sacrificial temple was about right.  The temple had five-ish sides, with an outdoor plaza dedicated to Chaos off each side (one for each of the four Ruinous Powers, plus Chaos Undivided.)  Handy d5 told me they landed near the Nurgle pool, which was deathly still despite the very strong winds.  Five degrees of success on Psyniscience told the astropath the pool was, in fact, radiating necrotic energies and in the shape of a Nurgle icon when viewed from above.  The astropath promptly started walking away from the pool.  Party decided to not mess with the pool (first wise thing they did in some time) and decided to explore the temple instead. 

Looking at the temple, the Astropath did very well on her Forbidden Lore Xenos test, and realised it was of Yu-Vath origin.  She then told the group what she knew of the Yu-Vath.  (The one PC who is - unknown to the other characters - an agent of the Inquisition paid close attention.  This may cause trouble later.)  Naturally the interior geometry was a non-euclidean labyrinth.  I had a simple little chart of "possible direction(s) of travel" and another one of "destinations".  Dice were rolled to determine the outcome at each step.  I had a half dozen or so pregenerated encounter areas, plus an infinite number of empty rooms.  There was the occasional encounter with a pack of lesser daemons (I used Praedatoris, from DH), and I threw in the occasional odd item of loot.  This last is called "baiting the hook", by the way.  :-)  So, they got a psy crystal, an exotic xenotech weapon off the body of a xenos explorer, and a few odd gemstones.  Eventually, they got to the center.  The only way out of the labyrinth was by disabling the Daemon engine at the center.  With that off, mundane reality would assert itself enough for the walls to stop shifting and allow auspexes and voxes to work, so they could then walk out.  Naturally, their experimenting activated the infernal device and cost sanity...  I used a Logis Daemonis as the center, though I jacked up its wounds to 180 and had it powerful enough to set everyone on fire with a 100% chance each turn (agility check to avoid).  This last was necessary because my PC's have a pitiful tin can for a ship, but huge tracts of profit factor.  Their 100 strong goon squad is armed with Meltaguns.  However, goons don't do well against sanity blasting horrors that force willpower checks.  So, the PC's had to kill it themselves...  This, incidentally, prompted the "I think we flee in terror now" comment.  The players didn't like that beastie at all.

Remember I said that voxes didn't work in the labyrinth?  Well, just to increase the pain, their base camp got hit by more Praedatoris while they were inside.  (Cue carnage and insanity.)  Aaaand while they were down on Oblivion, their ship got hit by Hollow Men, who killed off enough crew factor to trigger a mutiny.  So, they flew back and straight into a firefight in the docking bay between the mutineers and the remaining loyalist crew.  Fun times.

Cheers,

- V.

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Vandegraffe said:

(...)Naturally the interior geometry was a non-euclidean labyrinth.  I had a simple little chart of "possible direction(s) of travel" and another one of "destinations".  Dice were rolled to determine the outcome at each step.  I had a half dozen or so pregenerated encounter areas, plus an infinite number of empty rooms.  There was the occasional encounter with a pack of lesser daemons (I used Praedatoris, from DH), 

(...)I used a Logis Daemonis as the center, though I jacked up its wounds to 180 and had it powerful enough to set everyone on fire with a 100% chance each turn (agility check to avoid). 

(...)Remember I said that voxes didn't work in the labyrinth?  Well, just to increase the pain, their base camp got hit by more Praedatoris while they were inside.  (Cue carnage and insanity.)  Aaaand while they were down on Oblivion, their ship got hit by Hollow Men, who killed off enough crew factor to trigger a mutiny.  So, they flew back and straight into a firefight in the docking bay between the mutineers and the remaining loyalist crew.  Fun times.

Vandergraffe, while I was a little unimpressed by how the pc got the better of you to begin with, I now have to gratulate to a nice little assortment of doom. Well done, Sire! Especially the elements of the DH sources you put into action. Inspiring, to say the least.

Mind sharing this "half dozen or so pregenerated encounter areas"? If I see that somebody is doing something right, I am naturally eager to learn form him (or her).

 

Greetings

Gregorius.

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Nothing personal, Gregorius.  The employer has ordered a spot of overtime at the office, where "a spot" means a few extra hours each day.  I've not been into the forums in more than a week;  it's always such a bother when real life gets in the way of gaming.happy.gif

Anyway, if you want copies of my notes, that's fine.  But, you may wish to take them with a few grains of salt.   I've been role-playing since my copy of D&D Basic was new (I suspect I'm much older and more crotchety than you whippersnappers) but I am not that familiar with Rogue Trader.  The only RT campaign I played in ended after just a few sessions and right after that I ended up gamemastering the new Rogue Trader campaign.  Some of my players are far more familiar with the game than I, so they occasionally outwit me or I'll goof up and realise "Oh, this section should have been scary!"  So, some of these encounters might be a bit off compared to the professional stuff... That said, here's the first half, describing the shrines to the various Ruinous Powers that were outside the Yu-Vath temple:

Shrine to Nurgle.  In appearance, this area looks to be a modest pond with a low stone wall for a border.  When viewed from above it looks like a Nurgle Icon (the three circles).  The water in the pond is always deathly still and stagnant, with never a ripple.  Psyniscience reveals it is psychically active., and two or more degrees of success reveals it is dedicated to Nurgle.  If anyone so much as touches the water, they must pass a very hard toughness test or become ill.  (If they go swimming and/or drink from the pond, the difficulty becomes hellish.)  Ill characters show no signs of being sick, as Nurgle can be quite subtle.  Ill characters are, in fact, carriers of the Fydae Strain.  Anyone who is in close proximity to an ill character for more than a few minutes must pass a challenging toughness test or they will die horribly and rise again as a Fydae Plague Zombie within 1d5+5 days.  Once the zombies start shambling about, a difficult medicae or psyniscience test, or a very hard logic test, reveals the ill character is a carrier.  After that, it takes a very hard medicae test and a successful exorcism to cure the character.  [The exorcism requires a hard forbidden lore:  warp or daemons, or scholastic lore: occult roll.  Two or more degrees of failure causes psychic phenomena.]  Note - this one can result in massive crew point losses.

Shrine to Khorne.  In appearance, this shrine is a wide pit with stone walls and a sand covered floor.  It looks like a skull from above, and psyniscience reveals nothing.  Any use of psychic powers is at a -20 penalty, and any failed attempt automatically causes psychic phenomena.  This area is actually a gladiatorial arena.  Any spilled blood in this area automatically summons Khorne's daemons to fight - Khorne likes a good match, so there will be 1-2 Bloodletters or Fleshhounds per every 2-3 PC's/NPC's.  (Note:  bait this area with a minor monster with interesting loot - xenos explorer with odd looking gun?  Or, find excuse for a NPC minion to go mad and attack someone...)

Shrine to Chaos Undivided.  This courtyard is paved with cracked black stone.  The cracks form a symbol of chaos undivided, and the symbol is filled in flaming lava (the lines are easily narrow enough to step across).  There is an obsidian obelisk graven with occult symbols in the center of the chaos eye, with a fist sized crimson gem at the top.   Psyniscience reveals it is psychically active., and two or more degrees of success reveals it is dedicated to Chaos undivided.  A player with less than 10 corruption points cannot safely approach the obelisk.  If they try, take 1d10 E damage with the warp weapon quality from the hellfire, and must test willpower or gain 1d5 corruption as well.  Characters with 10+ corruption can approach the center freely. Anyone who touched the central obelisk  is "blessed" by the limitless forms of chaos and automatically gains a mutation.  The fist sized gem is, of course, a worthless lump of glass when removed.  Suckers.

Shrine to Tzeentch.  Any attempt at psyniscience reveals this area is dedicated to Tzeentch and massively powerful.  This courtyard contains a circle maze - concentric rings orbit a central platform of rune engraved silver.  There are numerous breaks in the rings, and the whole is floating over a lightless, bottomless pit with no visible means of support.  To make things more interesting, the rings are rotating at different speeds and in different directions.  Characters can try to get to the center by using logic, psyniscience, or forbidden lore:  warp to figure out the safe pattern.  Each character must make the attempt separately, as the rings are too narrow for more than 1 person at a time and the pattern is constantly changing.  It takes a total of 9 degrees of success to get to the center.  The difficulty starts at challenging, and the players may roll as many times as they like... even rolling repeatedly on the same skill.  However, each failed roll increases the difficulty by one step and causes 1d5 insanity points due to truly mind-bending geometry.  (Successes do not decrease the difficulty.)   Any roll that fails by five or more degrees indicates a fall into the warp.  (Burn a fate point to catch the edge of a ring, or start a new character.)  Any character(s) persistent enough to reach the center are "gifted" by Tzeentch.  Have them make a difficult willpower test, and a difficult toughness test.  Making the willpower test results in the character gaining the Wyrdling mutation.  Failing it results in 2d10 insanity.  Making the toughness test results in 1d5 corruption points, while failing it results in 2d10 corruption points and a random mutation.  If any character decides they've had enough of this madness and try to leave without reaching the centre, they can't...  Getting out takes additional successes equal to the number of successes already gained, though it is somewhat easier going out.  Leaving, the tests are all challenging regardless of the number of previous failures.   One more thing:  due to the will of Tzeentch, flying devices of any sort do not work near the maze, and ropes, bridges, or any other means of cheating will instantly disintegrate the moment someone puts weight on them.  If anyone is dumb enough to try teleporting in this area it dumps them into the pit. 

Shrine to Slaanesh.  This shrine is a beautifully sculpted rock garden, with a glass gazebo in the center.  Psyniscience reveals the area is psychically active., and two or more degrees of success reveals it is dedicated to Slaanesh.  Furthermore, willpower tests in this area are at a -10. The benches and tables in the center hold an assortment of temptations, plush couches, the finest food and drink, various recreational chemicals, a bed with, erm, assorted <censored>, and the like.  [Note:  respect campaign's PG rating here.]  Whatever most tempts the characters will be present;  if the characters have any addictions, there's a big stash of it front and centre.  Everything here is illusory, and will instantly fade into thin air if removed from the gazebo, though it functions in all ways as if it were real while inside the gazebo.  Partaking of anything summons a daemonette (or several) to join in the fun.  Of course, a daemonette's idea of fun is far different from a mortal's...  (Using someone's entrails for decoration, or skinning a human and using the dripping hide for a skirt are all perfectly acceptable behaviour for a daemon.  In all probability a fight will ensue.)      

I should have the rest up in a couple of days.  My players only encountered one of these areas before deciding to go into the temple...  Feel free to inflict any of these on your players. 

Cheers,

- V.

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