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Sinisalo2

The Bloody Solstice: So, I'm finishing a long BC campaign

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Long post. Sorry!

So, I'm about to finish my Black Crusade campaign.

A rotating roster of 9 players, weekly sessions with 3 - 6 players present plus me game mastering and a total of 49 four-hour sessions, the last of which is on Monday. It's been a ride.

First things first - thanks to FFG for publishing and supporting a fascinating game! Although I must say that BC wasn't the game I envisioned it would be after reading the core book. Our campaign focused on the heretics slowly grinding away at an Imperial hive world from within, whereas the supplements seem to presume the PCs are a roaming band of superhuman monsters hunting for magic items in the Screaming Vortex. That said, the Hand of Corruption is a lovely supplement for a framework for the PCs to go to town within Imperial space.

Like its characters, BC is a lumbering, mutating monstrosity of a game without the las-like focus of the other 40k RPGs. But I took what I could from the different source books and wrestled it into what I like to think was a memorable campaign.

THE BLOODY SOLSTICE took place on Malfi, the Calixian hive world known for its corrupted nobility and massive industry as well of its critical position in the Malfian Sub-Sector and near the Maw. Also, Malfi had the Bloody Solstice uprising 25 years back (in our campaign timeline) that almost ruined the world. I decided this game would have a tight focus: it would be about Malfi, its people and its fate, as well as about the PCs'. I decided the game would end if the PCs left Malfi or one of them would reach ascension or spawndom. The latter happened 2 sessions ago as the group's witch is now slowly melting away… No-one ascended, but with one more session to go, there might be surprises yet.

In collaboration with the players as well as several players playing different NPC factions online we created approximately 100 named NPCs, each with a major or a minor role in the proceedings and usually a link to the PCs. For each player I asked for a few NPCs that would be important to them and for whom they would sacrifice. But the NPCs would be mortal and the scenery collapsible - if a NPC should die, it would simply create a power vacuum for the PCs and the NPCs to fight over to fill.

I had no clear plot in mind, really. The Bloody Solstice would be all about sandbox. I knew what the NPCs wanted and how they would go about their plots and how they'd involve the PCs, but I never knew the outcome before the players made their decisions. I let the players write their own pacts and then assign the rewards on completion. One of my goals was to create a world so hateful and toxic - "an Imperial boot on the face of mankind, forever" - so hostile for the PCs and their loved ones that turning to the Chaos Gods for a Faustian bargain for power would seem like reasonable deal. The PCs would be the Good Guys.

As an aside, I heartily recommend online NPC factions! I had few of the major Malfian power brokers controlled by my online chums, with them receiving reports weekly and then plotting away, giving me "orders" for their NPCs. I was constantly and pleasanty surprised / horrified by the events conjured up by the tug-of-war between the NPC factions, the PCs and their criss-crossing plots.

As a starting point, I discouraged CSM characters and thus the PCs took human archetypes. Each PC would be integrated into the Imperial society, slowly realizing that it wasn't them who were mad - it was everyone else. So we had the following:

An Imperial Navy Air Force colonel, protecting his secret mutant daughter.
An Arbitrator detective, with 30 years record of patrolling the Malfian cesspool.
A PDF general protecting a corrupted commercia banker.
A Schola Progenum teacher, and also a secret psyker, sending unending waves of childred into pointless wars.
An inquisitorial acolyte, serving as an executioner for an incompetent monodominant.
A renegade navigator turned smuggler.
An Ad Mech genetor, overseeing an inhuman crusade refugee camp.
An Imperial Guard deserter, working as muscle for Malfi's crime bosses.
A lesser nobleman, overseeing a wasteful manufactoria.

The kick-off was a group of heretic NPCs, coming back to Malfi to kick-start the Bloody Solstice all over again. They quickly failed, but brought the PCs together and left them with forbidden tomes on sorcery, rituals and other keys to seize power and perhaps start their own Bloody Solstice. Meanwhile, the world would grind away at the PCs, forcing them to take action.

The campaign was divided into 8 arbitrary "seasons", each focusing on one development or a pact.

Season I saw the players coming together and introduced the major power brokers on Malfi and saw the first grabs for power from House Corvus, played by an online player, dragging the PCs into his plots.
Season II had the PCs come up with their 1st own pact to eliminate their closest enemies and brought on the fall of the Kymerys Banking Concern, a pyrrhic victory leaving some loved ones dead and some PCs on the run. We also saw our first major rituals and summonings.
Season III heralded a gang war for the control of the Malfian Underworld with bodies piling up in Malfian gyn-joints and obscura dens.
Season IV had NPCs already antagonized by the players forming their own conspiracy within Imperial ranks - it was defeated, but with a cost. PCs were widowed, forced into patricide, their pact foiled and were forced to witness House Corvus rise to the throne of Malfi while the Administratum tightens its grip on the planet.
Season V had the players actively seek elevation in the Imperial ranks, installing their own corrupt puppet ruler for Malfi while the Imperial society slowly fell apart around them.
Season VI saw several long-running subplots explode as rival Arch-Heretics and hidden Xenos forces rose to challenge the PCs while the players maneuvered Malfi into a bloody civil war, with bodies piling up to the skies.
Season VII had the PCs deal with the rival heretics and the threat of Necrons, saving the world in a somewhat ironic development. The civil war reaches its end, practically undecided, leaving most PCs declared Hereticus Termini and Malfi in ruins.
Season VIII is the final round of back-stabbing amongst the survivors - and the PCs! We even had some GM-approved PvP. A final contest on who gets to be the ruler a smoking heap of ruins. And for the PCs, a contest on who gets to live and who gets a happy ending.

Well, to paraphrase: "If you thought this had a happy ending, you haven't been paying attention."

And how they ended up, this warband calling themselves "The Trusted"? Well:

The colonel, now a mutant himself and the leader of the victorious Malfian Seditionist Army. His daughter turns into a Khornian angel of vengeange, striking at the Imperium after the death of her mother.
The detective, now acting Lord High Justice and a Slaaneshi cultist, cripples the Arbites machine from within while Malfi burns.
The general turns to Tzeencth and is basically the architect of the entire downfall of the Malfian nobility. He ends up corrupted to death as the daemons he commanded finally turn on him.
The teacher ends up sacrificing his students before giving them up to the Imperial machine and ascends to control the daemonhosts the PCs have as Malfi's puppet rulers.
The acolyte foils the Inquisition's attempts to find the heretics' true identities time after time, but loses his bride-to-be and is forced to kill his own father to hide his heresy.
The navigator smuggles on, managing to avoid getting entangled in the plots and heresies.
The genetor turns into the greatest mass-murderer in the Malfian Sub-Sector history, poisoning the air of Malfi with his Nurglian "creations".
The deserter finishes his list, enacting vengeange on the Guard that betrayed him and rising as the Boss of all Bosses in the Malfian underhive but loses everything he loves in the process.
The nobleman is reduced to a ragged mutant scrounging the Malfian Scav-Zone after enacting Shakespearian vengeange on his whole family.

It was a bold experiment in making a sandbox campaign as open as possible in the 40k setting. I basically laid out the setting and said to the players "there it is - go nuts". And they did, although without a strong framework to force the PCs to work together they really never found a common goal outside their pacts. Hell, they even played actively against each other, offing major NPCs relevant to other players and foiling each others' plots. So it was bold, but not not entirely successful. On the other other hand, it organigally simulated the very nature of Chaos, always as much war with itself as it is with the Imperium.

Were they the Good Guys? On occasion, yes: they did sacrifice their own plots to save NPCs important to them, for example. But power corrupts, and some developments in the campaign would be too much for an Eli Roth slasher flick.

Perhaps the most meta commentary was said by the usually quiet genetor in the penultimate session, when one of the old Bloody Solstice NPC heretics arrives to compliment the Nurglian madman of his achievements. "It dawned to me when I killed [former Lord High Justice] Milo: senseless violence is the answer. Not plots, not plans, just random chaos." A grox chasing a Rhino APC, indeed, with no idea what to do when it catches it.

Every session I would start with the same words: "Welcome to Black Crusade. Remember, it is not us who have betrayed the Imperium; it is the Imperium that has betrayed us." After the halfway point in the campaign the words began to ring false to the players.

"I… think it's us who're done the betraying."

"Are we the bad guys?"

CHAOS UNDIVIDED!

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sinisalo said:

Long post. Sorry!

So, I'm about to finish my Black Crusade campaign.

A rotating roster of 9 players, weekly sessions with 3 - 6 players present plus me game mastering and a total of 49 four-hour sessions, the last of which is on Monday. It's been a ride.

First things first - thanks to FFG for publishing and supporting a fascinating game! Although I must say that BC wasn't the game I envisioned it would be after reading the core book. Our campaign focused on the heretics slowly grinding away at an Imperial hive world from within, whereas the supplements seem to presume the PCs are a roaming band of superhuman monsters hunting for magic items in the Screaming Vortex. That said, the Hand of Corruption is a lovely supplement for a framework for the PCs to go to town within Imperial space.

Like its characters, BC is a lumbering, mutating monstrosity of a game without the las-like focus of the other 40k RPGs. But I took what I could from the different source books and wrestled it into what I like to think was a memorable campaign.

THE BLOODY SOLSTICE took place on Malfi, the Calixian hive world known for its corrupted nobility and massive industry as well of its critical position in the Malfian Sub-Sector and near the Maw. Also, Malfi had the Bloody Solstice uprising 25 years back (in our campaign timeline) that almost ruined the world. I decided this game would have a tight focus: it would be about Malfi, its people and its fate, as well as about the PCs'. I decided the game would end if the PCs left Malfi or one of them would reach ascension or spawndom. The latter happened 2 sessions ago as the group's witch is now slowly melting away… No-one ascended, but with one more session to go, there might be surprises yet.

In collaboration with the players as well as several players playing different NPC factions online we created approximately 100 named NPCs, each with a major or a minor role in the proceedings and usually a link to the PCs. For each player I asked for a few NPCs that would be important to them and for whom they would sacrifice. But the NPCs would be mortal and the scenery collapsible - if a NPC should die, it would simply create a power vacuum for the PCs and the NPCs to fight over to fill.

I had no clear plot in mind, really. The Bloody Solstice would be all about sandbox. I knew what the NPCs wanted and how they would go about their plots and how they'd involve the PCs, but I never knew the outcome before the players made their decisions. I let the players write their own pacts and then assign the rewards on completion. One of my goals was to create a world so hateful and toxic - "an Imperial boot on the face of mankind, forever" - so hostile for the PCs and their loved ones that turning to the Chaos Gods for a Faustian bargain for power would seem like reasonable deal. The PCs would be the Good Guys.

As an aside, I heartily recommend online NPC factions! I had few of the major Malfian power brokers controlled by my online chums, with them receiving reports weekly and then plotting away, giving me "orders" for their NPCs. I was constantly and pleasanty surprised / horrified by the events conjured up by the tug-of-war between the NPC factions, the PCs and their criss-crossing plots.

As a starting point, I discouraged CSM characters and thus the PCs took human archetypes. Each PC would be integrated into the Imperial society, slowly realizing that it wasn't them who were mad - it was everyone else. So we had the following:

An Imperial Navy Air Force colonel, protecting his secret mutant daughter.
An Arbitrator detective, with 30 years record of patrolling the Malfian cesspool.
A PDF general protecting a corrupted commercia banker.
A Schola Progenum teacher, and also a secret psyker, sending unending waves of childred into pointless wars.
An inquisitorial acolyte, serving as an executioner for an incompetent monodominant.
A renegade navigator turned smuggler.
An Ad Mech genetor, overseeing an inhuman crusade refugee camp.
An Imperial Guard deserter, working as muscle for Malfi's crime bosses.
A lesser nobleman, overseeing a wasteful manufactoria.

The kick-off was a group of heretic NPCs, coming back to Malfi to kick-start the Bloody Solstice all over again. They quickly failed, but brought the PCs together and left them with forbidden tomes on sorcery, rituals and other keys to seize power and perhaps start their own Bloody Solstice. Meanwhile, the world would grind away at the PCs, forcing them to take action.

The campaign was divided into 8 arbitrary "seasons", each focusing on one development or a pact.

Season I saw the players coming together and introduced the major power brokers on Malfi and saw the first grabs for power from House Corvus, played by an online player, dragging the PCs into his plots.
Season II had the PCs come up with their 1st own pact to eliminate their closest enemies and brought on the fall of the Kymerys Banking Concern, a pyrrhic victory leaving some loved ones dead and some PCs on the run. We also saw our first major rituals and summonings.
Season III heralded a gang war for the control of the Malfian Underworld with bodies piling up in Malfian gyn-joints and obscura dens.
Season IV had NPCs already antagonized by the players forming their own conspiracy within Imperial ranks - it was defeated, but with a cost. PCs were widowed, forced into patricide, their pact foiled and were forced to witness House Corvus rise to the throne of Malfi while the Administratum tightens its grip on the planet.
Season V had the players actively seek elevation in the Imperial ranks, installing their own corrupt puppet ruler for Malfi while the Imperial society slowly fell apart around them.
Season VI saw several long-running subplots explode as rival Arch-Heretics and hidden Xenos forces rose to challenge the PCs while the players maneuvered Malfi into a bloody civil war, with bodies piling up to the skies.
Season VII had the PCs deal with the rival heretics and the threat of Necrons, saving the world in a somewhat ironic development. The civil war reaches its end, practically undecided, leaving most PCs declared Hereticus Termini and Malfi in ruins.
Season VIII is the final round of back-stabbing amongst the survivors - and the PCs! We even had some GM-approved PvP. A final contest on who gets to be the ruler a smoking heap of ruins. And for the PCs, a contest on who gets to live and who gets a happy ending.

Well, to paraphrase: "If you thought this had a happy ending, you haven't been paying attention."

And how they ended up, this warband calling themselves "The Trusted"? Well:

The colonel, now a mutant himself and the leader of the victorious Malfian Seditionist Army. His daughter turns into a Khornian angel of vengeange, striking at the Imperium after the death of her mother.
The detective, now acting Lord High Justice and a Slaaneshi cultist, cripples the Arbites machine from within while Malfi burns.
The general turns to Tzeencth and is basically the architect of the entire downfall of the Malfian nobility. He ends up corrupted to death as the daemons he commanded finally turn on him.
The teacher ends up sacrificing his students before giving them up to the Imperial machine and ascends to control the daemonhosts the PCs have as Malfi's puppet rulers.
The acolyte foils the Inquisition's attempts to find the heretics' true identities time after time, but loses his bride-to-be and is forced to kill his own father to hide his heresy.
The navigator smuggles on, managing to avoid getting entangled in the plots and heresies.
The genetor turns into the greatest mass-murderer in the Malfian Sub-Sector history, poisoning the air of Malfi with his Nurglian "creations".
The deserter finishes his list, enacting vengeange on the Guard that betrayed him and rising as the Boss of all Bosses in the Malfian underhive but loses everything he loves in the process.
The nobleman is reduced to a ragged mutant scrounging the Malfian Scav-Zone after enacting Shakespearian vengeange on his whole family.

It was a bold experiment in making a sandbox campaign as open as possible in the 40k setting. I basically laid out the setting and said to the players "there it is - go nuts". And they did, although without a strong framework to force the PCs to work together they really never found a common goal outside their pacts. Hell, they even played actively against each other, offing major NPCs relevant to other players and foiling each others' plots. So it was bold, but not not entirely successful. On the other other hand, it organigally simulated the very nature of Chaos, always as much war with itself as it is with the Imperium.

Were they the Good Guys? On occasion, yes: they did sacrifice their own plots to save NPCs important to them, for example. But power corrupts, and some developments in the campaign would be too much for an Eli Roth slasher flick.

Perhaps the most meta commentary was said by the usually quiet genetor in the penultimate session, when one of the old Bloody Solstice NPC heretics arrives to compliment the Nurglian madman of his achievements. "It dawned to me when I killed [former Lord High Justice] Milo: senseless violence is the answer. Not plots, not plans, just random chaos." A grox chasing a Rhino APC, indeed, with no idea what to do when it catches it.

Every session I would start with the same words: "Welcome to Black Crusade. Remember, it is not us who have betrayed the Imperium; it is the Imperium that has betrayed us." After the halfway point in the campaign the words began to ring false to the players.

"I… think it's us who're done the betraying."

"Are we the bad guys?"

CHAOS UNDIVIDED!

Sounded like nice campaign you got there. Did you use careers from other lines (Dark Heresy, Rogue Trader) or just human heretic careers from Black Crusade?

Post information, if you still had one play session remaining, what happened. Would like to hear who of the characters survived and who not. And if last minute Spawndom or Apotheosis happened.

Chaos is Chaotic  till the bitter end burla

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Routa-maa said:

Sounded like nice campaign you got there. Did you use careers from other lines (Dark Heresy, Rogue Trader) or just human heretic careers from Black Crusade?

Post information, if you still had one play session remaining, what happened. Would like to hear who of the characters survived and who not. And if last minute Spawndom or Apotheosis happened.

Chaos is Chaotic  till the bitter end burla

"Nice" wouldn't be my first choice of words to describe what we had, but yeah, I get your meaning :)

Will post final developments after the last game.

We used mostly BC archetypes, so we had 4 renegades, 2 apostates, 1 heretek and 1 psyker plus one character converted from a past Rogue Trader campaign (that would be the navigator). Actually, the Dark Heresy sourcebooks were far more valuable resources for a Imperial-world based BC campaign than any of the actual BC books. Especially Disciples of the Dark Gods and Radical's Handbook, for obvious reasons.

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Very nice write up. It was very interesting to see how you used PC's and other sources to help drive NPC motivations. Great idea. How do you think it would have turned out if you did have some PC's as CSM?

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ronaldo1 said:

Very nice write up. It was very interesting to see how you used PC's and other sources to help drive NPC motivations. Great idea. How do you think it would have turned out if you did have some PC's as CSM?

 

Thanks!

If a player would have insisted creating a CSM character, I guess an Alpha Legion infiltrator could have been an option - or perhaps we could have introduced traitor legionnaires arriving at the planet once the heresy was in full swing. But most likely I would have simply tried to convince the player to rethink their CSM idea. In a more grounded setting like this, a superhuman murder machine at the very start would have stuck out like a sore thumb.

I borrowed the story structure, as it were, from long form TV series such as the Wire and Game of Thrones, where you have all these disparate, slow-boiling plot threads that would slowly converge. As such, the player characters had to fight to gain power and influence (or vengeange, or what ever they wanted). And of course, all gains would come with a price of some sort that would affect the long-term story. Contrast this with Rogue Trader, which is all about gaining new cool stuff without worrying too much about the consequences - at least that's how I GM'd it.

Apropos: shame the Slaanesh book wasn't out when we started - it seems to introduce neat systems for interacting with NPCs which I likely would have used.

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Magnificient story line and delivery, kudos to you!

Looks like it was a very labour intensive game but well worth it for what you produced in terms of storyline, innovation and role-playing depth.

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Amroth said:

Magnificient story line and delivery, kudos to you!

Looks like it was a very labour intensive game but well worth it for what you produced in terms of storyline, innovation and role-playing depth.


Cheers!

Labour-intensive? It was and it wasn't. The most work I had was the weekly updates I would write for the online players and the Campaign Calendar I updated for the actual players. I also had to update the Big Board I had - three A2 cardboard sheets taped behind the gaming table for all players to reference when needed, with all the major NPC names, locations and factions on little post-it notes. When a major NPC would be killed, the player who did the deed would get the NPC's post-it note from the board to paste on his character sheet as a little memento :)

But otherwise, I used sourcebooks for NPC stats, so no work there. Possible combat encounters I usually whipped out on the fly, having some idea of how much the PCs could handle. Really, I hardly did any prep for the sessions: I had a rough idea what the NPCs were up to, and would try to work that in the session but that's it. I believe in improv and thinking on my feet when GMing. I always tried to make an effort to "say yes" ie. go along with the PCs' plans and try to challenge them in interesting ways, as opposed to just saying "you can't do that". Basic improv - instead of "no", say "yes, but:". For an ustructured, chaotic [sic] campaign like this, it worked well enough.

Other thing I've used that encourages role-playing a bit: each player would receive a standard 400 xp after each session and then each player would vote for "the most valuable, funny or interesting player performance" this session in a closed ballot. Each vote would net the voted player +50 xp for the session. And the XP would inevitably gravitate to the players responsible the most memorable deeds, even (especially!) the horrifically botched ones.

Oh boy, the schenanigan-related anecdotes I could share… perhaps I will later on.

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I'm doing final write-ups for the campaign, so I thought I'd share a few in-game quotes. From the profound to the ridiculous to the in-jokey, here's some:

"You have the handwriting of a child!"
- A non-sequitur Malfian insult, usually used when signing letters or documents.

"Just as planned."
- Every Tzeentchian heretic PC, all the bloody time. Usually when they botched something.

"I begin devouring the corpse."
- The Nurgian heretek player, in a moment we finally realized the adaptation of our campaign would never get the coveted PG13 rating.

"You call this a victory, father? This?"
"None of this was predetermined. None of this was ever _meant_ to be."
- The colonel and his daughter after the war, engaged in a bit of metacommentary.

"Lord Menken? The weak-willed, decadent lout? He's… he is perfect!"
- Lord High Justice learns of Malfi's new patriarch

"You're mad!"
"I'm not mad! I AM INSANE!"
- Offered withouth context

"A plan so cunning you could pin a tail on it and call it grox!"
- Perhaps the finest of numerous grox-related analogies to come out of the Malfian naivistic-brutalistic poetry movent.

"Freebasing amasec"
- A new Malfian indulgence born after I mixed up amasec and obscura while describing a drug den

"There's a special place in the Warp reserved for the both of us."
- The dying witch to the dying inquisitor

"Thousands of innocents have died - no, millions! Do you think one more dead child will make any difference?!"
- The general to his former master after his desperate and failed bid to leverage his last hostage

"You are me. I am you."
- A rank-and-file NPC risen to the heretics' first minion after swapping minds with the psyker due to phenomena. Also later the slogan for the Unbroken Chain cult.

"Pheno-mena, duh duh da da dah"
- The players humming their version of the Mahna Mahna song from the Muppets while waiting for me to find correct result from the Psychic Phenomena table.

"There are no words left to say."
- The nobleman, before setting fire to his father's hospital bed.

"You give a book to a group of middle-aged men and the whole planet goes insane."
- The Unknown Heretic, summing up the campaign

"I'll go pay off my debts and afterwards, we can finally be together - as lovers."
- The acolyte's NPC love interest, hours before being killed in a Slaaneshi ritual. Our version of "2 days until retirement", I suppose.

"Only if mother were alive…"
"Now, that can be arranged!"
- A PC, having recently discovered the perks of resurrecting the dead as daemonhosts.

"ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?!"
- A nobleman NPC antagonist driven to a bloody naked rampage in his own Slaaneshi orgy, proceeding to cave in a PC's skull with a metal pipe.

"They come and disrespect me… in my house… on my daughter's wedding day."
- The NPC Patriarch Corvus, loosely based on the Godfather, finally getting to do his thing as the players arrange Corvus' son-in-law to be killed at his own wedding.

"Did someone say… VENGEAGE?"
- The heretics' Khornian ally, with the tendency to pop out of the woodwork at the mention of murder / mayhem / revenge.

"Often, the worst enemy to the heretics are the heretics themselves."
"You have no idea how right you are."
- A PC disguised as an acolyte exchanging words with an administratum adept.

"All power is in pieces of paper."
- One the campaign themes, quoted by different NPCs on several occasions; also rather apt for a pen-and-paper RPG, I suppose.
 

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Picture of Changer of the Ways saying "Pheno-mena" and Pink & Blue Horrors capering in its feet chorusing "duh duuh da da dah" with "Gremlings" like voice just popped into my mind when I read that reference to Mahna Mahna song.

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Here's some links to homegrown rules and et cetera I wrote during the past year; feel free to go to town with them in your own game if you wish.

The Campaign Calendar for the players - very matter-of-fact log of events so perhaps not that interesting: http://kofeiini.net/norsu/wiki/CampaignCalendar

Few elite advances I came up with: http://kofeiini.net/norsu/wiki/EliteAdvances

Tweaked Horde rules we used: http://kofeiini.net/norsu/wiki/Units

Rules for crafting diseases: http://kofeiini.net/norsu/wiki/Disease

Special Rituals that were available in-game: http://kofeiini.net/norsu/wiki/BookOfEmptyPromises

Home-brewed rules for large-scale warfare we used to resolve the Malfian Civil War: http://kofeiini.net/norsu/wiki/War

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"When they catch me and interrogate me, they will ask me for what I did the things I did. And I will answer: For the Emperor."

- The Unknow Heretic

 

And we're done.

 

The final session of the Bloody Solstice didn't see a surprise apotheosis, but one surprise death due to infamy loss. This weird perpetual motion machine of a game I created together with the players lumbered into a satisfying conclusion, leaving many players asking whether there was ever another way things could have ended. There certainly could have been, but most storylines in the game wrapped up neatly and thematically.

 

Cue end game montage:

 

The witch Varus' body finally succumbs to corruption and disintegrates, scattered into the winds of Malfi after Varus commits his final act of heresy. His plots will echo through eternity.

The immortal arch-heretek Morbus is sunk and cast into rockrete, then buried into the foundations of the "New Malfi", betrayed by his allies. The legend of the disease-spreading Morbus will live forever - as will the trapped heretic.

The seditionist general Vallit leaves Malfi behind, sailing away on the mutant pirate ship the Ascension, having found some measure of peace, his family finally free.

The lector Wartenberger is cast adrift on a ghost ship in the warp, surrounded by the ghosts of his dead students.

The deserter Xitram dies a final death at the hands of his nemesis, the Imperial Guard colonel Matricus, but not before taking the colonel to the grave with him.

The nobleman Marik's vengeange complete, he descends into the underhive and joins the fledgling mutant resistance.

The smuggler Nostromo, acolyte Milo and detective Bakunin are left where we first saw them: in the Malfian underworld, in the service of the Inquisition and in ranks of the Arbitrators, respectively.

 

Fade to black. Roll credits.

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Hello,

I played one of the PCs in Mr. Sinisalo's campaign, namely the Witch-General Varus. The campaign was perhaps the most interesting, frustrating and in the end, most enjoyable campaigns I've played in.

 

What made it interesting was the sheer number of moving parts in the campaign and the fact that nothing happened in a vacuum (except the things that did... happen in vacuum, that is): all our actions affected the landscape, with the different NPC factions seeing a slightly different view of the events.. After the campaign we got to read the 25 page forum thread the NPC faction players used for their incessant plotting, which made for a highly interesting and enjoyable read.

 

Frustration sometimes came from the fact that our characters started from quite different points, and despite some effort to the contrary, had really very little reason to co-operate. After all heresy is a serious matter, and no matter how many times the suspect-inquisitor tells you to trust him, you're not going to tell him about the Slaaneshi Sexorium you setup in the attic. 

In the end, it paid off: the good Lector Wartenberger, who my character beat senseless with a stick for being a raving nutjob became a trusted ally. In contrast, the admech Genetor Morbus started as a logical ally for my tech-loving perfectionist, but ended up being public enemy number one, and entombed for eternity for being just too dangerous for humanity.

Also, understandably there were times that we had been setting up some plan for a few sessions and when everything was about to go down, the player whose character was most involved couldn't make it to the key sessions. Luckily this didn't happen that often, and for the last two seasons we had pretty much the same players attending each week.

 

It was rather suprising how attached I became to my character in 49 or so sessions we played. When he went over the point of no return on the corruption track, I was left a little disheartened and it wasn't until an hour or so into the next session that me, and my character got things rolling again, a path finally made clear. As his final act of heresy, he revealed the now public Hereticus Terminii characters as what they mostly were: People honestly trying to achieve something they thought as beneficial and good, instead of being the world-devouring madmen the Empire made them out to be. Although I'm sure some world-devouring might have been on cards, as well.

 

All in all, I'm going to be suffering major withdrawal-symptoms while recovering from it all.

 

Signed,

Varus Arminius, PDF General, Witch (deceased).

 

 

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