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Leogun_91

Lure of the Expanse and rivals

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I just bought Lure of the Expanse and will send my Explorers through it......due to my Explorers accidentaly going in the direct opposite way from the Expanse and my prepared Into the Maw scenario I still haven't introduced their three rivals (gained during character creation) and thought I could take this opportunity to do so.

So I ask you which of the allies/rivals that are most intresting and fun in the scenario, I have read to the exit of footfall and therefore the introductions (deciding that Abel Gerrit is not one of the rivals as he is new to the Koronous Expanse). So I ask those with experience of the scenario which of the rivals that are most fun.

For further info the band is made up of 6 explorers with their own goals, a Rouge Trader that got his warrant by suprise and is getting the hang of it, a Void Master fiercly loyal to the dynasty (corruption has caused him to drink motoroil alot), an Explorator searching for Archeotech and to improve his equipment, a Seneschal intrested in Xeno artefacts (corrupted by travels in the webway and dancing with harlequins to laugh every time someone mentions Slaanesh), a medic (DH character) making deals with the ships Hullghasts and a techpriest (DH character) secretly working for the inquisistion (only he and the Explorator knows).

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I fond Admiral Bastille to be an excellent bad guy. For a bit of fleet action he has the muscle to be an interesting foe.

Krawkin Feckwad (spelling, can't believe thats right) and Django Scourge make good baddies too for their sneakiness and outright militant violence respectively.

 

My players actually befriended and allied themselves with Sun Lee and Madam Charlabelle.

 

Jeremiah blitz might be a good one to befriend them, then stab them in the back. Betrayal always gets players worked up about a bad guy.

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Haderak Fel is my favorite. He already popped up in earlier adventures.

Blitz is good, he could start out as an enemy who eventually is an ally, or ally who becomes enemy.

Sun Lee is OK, in my opinion, but very powerful.

Charlabelle I like because she is desperate and could go either way.

But I prefer Haderak Fel all around. You can do a lot with him.

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That's what I love about Fel too.

For example, in the game I'm running Fel died in a slightly modified Into the Maw aboard the space hulk containing the Righteous Path. While my player's hurried off with their prize, they left Fel battered and near death on the bridge. They were in such hurry because the space hulk would only remain in real-space for a few hours before returning to the Warp. I made it so Fel survived by selling his soul to a demon in exchange for living long enough to reap his revenge on the players. Thus when my player's met him again in the Lure of the Expanse they were quite perplexed on how he had survived. His behavior differed in that he openly sought to harm them, internally blaming him for his harsh predicament. Once again he died on the Dread Pearl, falling upon the blade of the group's RT in a pretty epic duel. My player's haven't met him again yet, but when they do I plan on having Fel gain a few more unnatural traits. This would represent the demon slowly devouring his soul until nothing but his singular desire for revenge is left.

As for the rest of them..

Abel Gerrit was left in debt to my players. They shared some the gems they recovered from the Dread Pearl in exchange for a future favor. He is also put a good word in for them with rest of House Arcadius for future joint endeavors.

Madam Charlabelle was saved by our RT. He even carried her through the webway. There will probably be a romance subplot latter. Sadly though, her ship was nearly destroyed by rampaging wraithguard, having the flush their entire cargo bays to be rid of the foul Eldar constructs. This all left House Armelan in even worse shape than it was previously. Once again, the crew played heroes shared enough their loot with her so she could repair her ship. They can now count House Armelan as staunch allies.

I presented Jeremiah Blitz as a lovable scoundrel who was in it for the money but would do the right thing. The crew loved him so much, they started calling him Han Solo. They cooperated with him a lot during the Lure of Expanse, even aiding him against several Eldar corsair vessels. They definitely made a friend.

Lord Bastille was the main enemy of my players. I played him up as having dozens of vessels, even they were mostly support craft to his fleet. He was also an arrogant man of extreme martial preference with a disdain for "civilians". He constantly opposed them with brute force, forcing my players struggle against the vast tides of materials he could bring to bear. Ultimately though, he and his fleet were defeated in orbit of the Dread Pearl by a coalition led by my players. The battle was costly, but the coalition came out ahead after the Colossus was forced to withdraw. Though the player's earned Bastilles respect, they made him their eternal enemy that day.

Above the Dread Pearl and below during the final battle, the crew proved themselves worthy allies of Lady Sun Lee. While she and her honor guard held off the wraithlords, the players battled towards the farseer. When he was defeated, together the two groups cooperated to evacuated as many natives as possible. In the end, Lady Sun Lee parted ways with her share of the natives, marking down the crew as preferred allies for future endeavors.

Scourge wasn't all that interesting. My players mostly encountered traces of him on the worlds they ventured, mostly fear and hatred of those from the sky bearing the aquila. Finally they met him on Dross where his shuttle had crashed. There the he was leading an army of natives he had intimidated into submission. The players meanwhile were helping Asira unify her world in exchange for help navigating the wastes to their goal. Basically it was an old fashioned military campaign and ended in the death of Scourge in suitably horrific manner. He was eaten by a giant lizard. I plan on having him return with the pelt of the lizard on his belt.

Krawkin Feckward meanwhile attempted to silence the players through a devious ambush. He waited until they passed through the webway to Processional of the Damned. When they returned the found several debilitating mines that slowed their ship down a crawl and scrambled their targeters. Then he proceeded to launch scores of boarding craft at his leisure from several waiting troop transports. My players basically had to weather the blows until he ran out of men. Well they didn't. Instead they chose to lead a suicidal counter-boarding against his ship. They managed to through all the pds, and land directly on top of the bridge. Breaking through, they chased Feckward throughout his ship. Being coward that he was, he ordered back the other ships to protect against the boarders. He almost made it to a salvation pod but the VM got a incredibly well rolled shot in just as hatch closed and it launched. Though he lived, Krawkin was unable participate due to severity of his wounds. He would never, however, underestimate the players again.

As for the Twilight Sword Corsairs, I had them commit more ships to protecting the Dread pearl. Basically after the coalition had won, they TSC moved in to try to finish them off. Though they failed, they managed to destroy two of the RT's badly damaged escorts. Besides the ships, the crew's victory was much more costly than that as they are just understanding. By defiling an Eldar Maiden world, they've made themselves the targets of every Eldar corsair in the Expanse. The players remain optimistic. Oh how I shall enjoy shattering that.

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Fel is my current "favorite". I have him really play up the fop role, though he always seems to be one step ahead. While he is devious he is also follows the rules of engagement and laws of nobility, almost to a fault. He is always willing to withdraw when bested, return prisoners after an engagement, and doesn't attempt to "kill" his rival Rogue Traders, treading the entire thing as a complex of a game. He is the only NPC for whom I actually excersize my full capabilities of strategy and subterfuge. I also like for him to have a number of hidden weapons: digital weapons, a sword-cloth belt, and a targeting monicle being his favorite.

The Rogue Trader captain has an...irrational level of hatred for Fel. Our best encounter occurred when he beat them to an excavation site. They failed their sneak checks horribly, but totally forgot about that once they found him supervising five guards from a lawn chair while sipping tea, apparently unaware of their presence. The Astropath blinds the group, though Fel passes his save. The captain and the explorator charge right at him and he stumbles out of his chair falling back and hastily drawing his sword, bumbling backwards and attempting to defend himself. Using full defensive actions and counter-attacks he proceeds to hold of the RT captain and explorator for four turns, getting in a fair amount of riposite counter attacks, and not taking a single hit himself. Once the players are all in position his three battle servitors open up with suppression fire on the whole group from their hiding places. Fel scampers behind his backup and orders lady ash to get the information from the dig site while he "cowers" behind his servitors.

At this point the captain is furious and goes nuts, repeatedly trying to assault Fel across open ground into to heavy bolters until the party has to physically restrain him to keep him from getting shot up. I love that Fel.

In the end I am hoping to slowly reveal him to be more than a bumbling noble and show him to be the shrewed, honorable, and even somewhat noble individual he is. But we'll see, my players seem to want to kill him on sight at this point.

Bastille is my other favorite. I also play him up as having a large fleet and military, which and he uses it frequently and brutishly, forcing the players to think outside the box to prevail. They get a bit worried whenever they think Bastille might be around. They hate him too, but find him less annoying than Fel. I'm planning on having them run into bits of his fleet rather than him personally more often than not. When Bastille himself is present things are about to get hairy.

Finally there is Krawken Feckwad. They hate him too. :) Mainly because of his habit to dissapear as soon as combat starts.

They have a tenative alliance with Lady Charlabelle and Able.

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Admiral Bastille – LOVED playing this baddie. Played him off as a completely arrogant, totally power-hungry maniac with the firepower and clout to back it up. Constantly stated that he spoke with the voice of the Emperor himself as well as the Imperial Navy. Basically dared anyone to cross him. Oddly enough, the Arch Militant in the group wanted to ALLY with him even after all this, as he thought Bastille could help him get a company of storm troopers (the guy is obsessed with storm troopers).

Scourge – Didn’t really use him too much. He went to Zayth just ahead of the PCs and buried the eldar star chart under 20 tons of rock (set off charges in the cavern walls after he got the cords). The players didn’t encounter him, but were pissed at whoever did it (they never figured it out).

Lady Sun Lee – They helped her on the Pearl to fight off the wraithguard. They didn’t ally with her, as she had one of her frigates tail them – the PCs were paranoid that she had teleported agents onto their vessel.

Lady Charabelle – Allied with the players during the events of Psi-qappa 12. Helped kill off the warlocks.

Krawkin Feckward – Nice villain that the PCs didn’t figure out was a villain until it was almost too late. Laid a minefield on the Dread Processional side of the warp gate (he went there first and laid it to prevent or at least damage other vessels). Also sponsored Krooker to try to incite mutiny on the players’ vessel (as well as sponsoring mutinies on Hadarak’s, 2 of Sun Lee’s frigates and Abel’s ship). Was almost killed on the Pearl by the locals he tried to enslave.

Jeremiah Blitz – My RT loved him, my arch militant hated him. Provided assistance on several occasions, and actually had his forces provide air support during the battle on the pearl. Played him as a rogue with a love of the dramatic and a wealth of resources. The arch militant saw him as completely unworthy of the power he had been granted (he was just jealous of his solid gold rocket car ;) ).

Hadarak Fel – Resourceful trader, helped the PCs on Dross. They had crashed and gotten the support of the local tribe, but had no pilot or shuttle to get off world. Fel managed to get a shuttle down and offered to get them off world in exchange for access to the coords, which the players reluctantly agreed to. Played him as the typical “Don’t judge a man by the size of his ship” type. Small vessel, but very intelligent and resourceful.

Abel – Allied with the PCs on Psi-qappa 12 and helped fight the warlocks. Ran into bad luck and got his vessel boarded by ork raiders. All hands lost, vessel destroyed, and ork freebootaz now in the race for the Dread Pearl.

I actually added a couple of rival rogue traders and others. Here are the short summaries.

Big Mek Bitzcruncha – Ork freeboota captain that raided Abel’s ship. Figured out what the rogue trader had been after and set about retrieving it for himself. Didn’t care about wealth, but was convinced that anything that had all these humans running around looking for it had to be some type of massive weapon. Had a light cruiser equivalent vessel, loaded to the brim with guns and crew, plus teleportas. Defeated in Pearl system before setting foot on the Pearl by a combined force of the PCs, Blitz and Lady Charabelle.

Nathany Deswart – Androgynous rogue trader commanding a crew of mostly penal legion recruits and other low-lifes. Dressed somewhat like a glam-rock star. A little bit of a fop, but deadly as hell with a power whip and energy buckler. What the players found out too late was that this guy was actually a chaos cultist (chaos undivided) and had a thrice-bound daemonhost instead of a navigator. Was always one step ahead of the players and their rivals due to the daemon’s prescience abilities. The only rogue trader less concerned with finding the coords and more concerned with killing their rivals. Wanted the Dread Pearl for wealth to provide to various cults and sects within the Calixis sectors. Stranded on Harmony (a Slaugth conquered planet I made up as another location for coords). While fighting a losing battle against the PCs, he summoned his daemonhost to him. Daemonhost began tearing up the PCs’ forces (they had virtually no psyker protection), but was ultimately laid low with a VERY lucky shot from a captured slaugth disintegrator cane. No daemonhost = no navigator. Nathany and his remaining followers radio’d to their ship to go dark and proceeded to run and hide in a ruined city. Players left him to his fate.


The players managed to find and lose the Dread Pearl, as per standard with this adventure, but with one small difference. During combat with Bitzcruncha in the Pearl system, the PCs managed to take a few ork prisoners when the ork ship was destroyed. As the eldar sealed the Pearl off with warp storms for another 10k years, the arch militant PC loaded several unconscious orks and grots into a few of the ships salvation pods and fired them off towards the planet. His idea was that the orks would land on planet, hopefully reproduce over the 10k year isolation, and when the elder went back to their world, they’d find not a maiden world, but a bustling ork haven with a lot of orks sick of only fighting other orks – essentially, an exterminatus without cyclonic torpedoes.

I actually thought this was a fun idea, a final screw you that the eldar may not find out about for millennia. I then cringed when, upon reaching the system periphery, he went to the comm system and TOLD THE ELDAR WHAT HE HAD DONE.

Its too bad that campaign ended… that arch militant, and indeed the entire RT dynasty he was employed by, were about to be in for a world of hurt.

-Thulis
 

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