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Covered in Weasels

Near-death experiences

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Many, many Acolytes have died grisly deaths in the service of the Emperor. However, some Acolytes manage to survive situations that should by all rights have killed them through careful planning, skill, or (most likely) sheer dumb luck. By all accounts, the Emperor has a very warped sense of humor.


What are your favorite near-death experiences your Acolytes have endured? This could be a lucky roll that avoided a particularly horrible death, or an explanation for how the burning of a Fate point allowed an Acolyte to survive the unsurvivable. I'll kick things off with a story of my own (from the DH2 Beta, but the relevant rules are basically identical to those of DH1).


I was GMing a game with four Acolytes in which they were investigating the world of Lannis V. Lannis V is a very unusual world, but two specific things are relevant for this story:

  1. It is approximately the same mass as Earth, but has a composition very similar to a gas giant. The atmosphere is not breathable by humans.
  2. The only human settlement is an interconnected collection of 20 floating mini-hive spires held aloft by the dissected remains (and plasma engines) of a Mechanicus Explorator vessel.

The Acolytes had split up into two groups at this point in their investigation to track down two separate leads. The party of interest consisted of the Feral Tech-priest (essentially a member of the Biologis branch of the Mechanicus who was picked up by an Explorator vessel) and the Voidborn Psyker, and they were investigating the payment drop-off point for a group of hitmen the PCs had eliminated earlier. Unfortunately, they soon found that the canister containing the payment was both heavy (~80kg) and affixed to the OUTSIDE wall of Spire 12. These two Acolytes had one rebreather and one grapple hook between them, so the Tech-priest volunteered to venture outside into the howling, toxic wind and retrieve the canister. They were in the working-class commercial area and so were quite close to the bottom edge of the spire proper.


The Tech-priest found an access chute and climbed onto the hive exterior about 250m below the canister, then began his grapple-hook-assisted climb. The grapple hook could only reach 150m, so at about the halfway point he had to detach the grapple and fire it again. At this point, a particularly strong gust of wind battered the Tech-priest, so I made him test Athletics to maintain his hold.




With that, the Tech-priest went tumbling down the exterior of the spire, slamming into the plasteel exterior plating many times on the way down. Waiting inside, the Psyker looked out a window to see his friend tumble by on the way to certain death. I asked the Tech-priest to make another Athletics check to stop his fall.


Nope again.


The Tech-priest grabbed hopelessly at any handhold he could find, but he couldn't get purchase on anything solid. As he cartwheeled off the edge of the hive towards a certain, prolonged death by steadily increasing gaseous pressure, I asked him to make a final Ballistic Skill test to hook onto the hive exterior with his grapple hook (adding a substantial penalty for the howling wind, disorientation, and downward velocity).


Nailed it.


With a jerk, the mag-clamp snagged the bottom lip of the colony and popped all the joints in the Tech-priest's arm. As he dangled off the edge, he could see the engine exhaust and the swirling clouds far below him. Eventually he climbed back up the edge, retrieved the canister, and (slowly and carefully) returned to the colony interior. Truly proof that flesh is weak and only sacred machinery can be trusted in times of crisis. :D

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Me and some friends were playing a game using some homebrewed genestealer hybrid rules once.


The brood lived about a pilgrim vessel in the black decks in a half collapsed chamber under the engines, the group had just returned from hunting down some tasty humans in the re-cyk chambers when a pirate attack blew out the hull and killed the main power, driving the gravity and life support systems haywire as backups kicked in.


The PCs a magus and his two hybrid cronies (2nd and 3rd gens) had spectacularly failed to open the bulkhead out of the chamber when they went hunting and had ended up tearing it off in fit of pique. however on their return the brood chamber on the other side was vaporised by a lance strike.


Vaccuum`s icy claws dragged the hybrids ever closer to death, cold and flying debris threatening to end them even if they managednot to get spaced, the two grunts managed to catch hold of an ancient manual emegency shutter set into into the wall and clutched to it for dear life. 


The magus on the other hand, failed an athletics test to run away, then failed acrobatics to grab hold of a railing and the failed strength checks to grab onto the other hybrids, flailing bindly as he bounced off walls and ceilings the grunts failed to catch his outstretched hands as he passed by them.  


Suddenly in a flash of divine inspiration the magus thrust his staff back toward the largest of the to grunts, miraculously the dimwitted thing caught hold of it and with the help of the other grunt hauled him back inside the ship. Then they managed to close the shutter and collapsed in a heap near dead from the cold, radiation and suffocation of their brief flit with the emptiness of space.


The Hybrids evetually managed to board the pirate vessel just in time to watch they old home be destroyed and their new brood went on to infect an agriworld in the fydae system.

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Okay guys, then, let me tell you the story of this heroic Acolyte, some called him "Dirtface", some called him "Gloomhauntmen", but his friends simply called him Phil. 

He wasn't without his flaws, but being the Metallican Gunslinger he was, he had a certain sense of honour and duty, and his skills proved useful in many cases, whether him having to sneak into somewhere, open a lock, quietly assasinate a heretic or messily dispose of some. He started as a simple Scum from Gunmetal city, but grew into something... more.


Always running around with his favourite, heavily customized Westingkrupp Carnodons, a drop-harness, grapnel, a few grenades and of course some cameleoline on his back, he became some sort of guardian angel to his fellow acolytes, lurking in the shadows, preying on those who'd do the Imperium wrong.


His group and him where running around the Calixis-Sector, chasing this cult, called "white cog of cessation", a tech-heretical cult with lots of emphasis on warp-tech, when they finally found their base on 41 Pry. However, they didn't went unnoticed and the heretics summoned a mighty demon the acolytes had to defeat in battle.

The Acolytes, however, weren't unprepared as well. Especially Phil spend a few years of savings on a carefully engraved Bolt-Pistol, two magazines and a single Psy-Bolt projectile. 


It was a hard battle, with the Acolytes firing with everything they had at the foul creature. One of them, an Imperial Guard Seargeant, even engaged it in Melee with his mighty powerfist. The Psyker threw Telecinetic Bolts at the creature, but it took a great toil, cleaving men in half where it's cruel claws swiped into the faithful. 


Ultimately, it was down to Phil and the Demon. Both were exhausted, Phil by dodging the demon's attacks, the demon by the continued barrage. It was then when Phil used his Grapnel to always stay out of the Range of the fiend's strikes, whittling it down with Bolter-Fire. At that point, the Demon took the righteous Autogun of one of Phil's friends, in an attempt to kill him with one of the tools of the righteous. 


Phil accepted the desperate gamble, he knew it was either him, or the demon, who will not live through this day, and, praying to the emperor, he loaded the Psybolt, his last resort, into his Bolt-Pistol. Carefully aimed at the Creature, knowing that it'd shoot first, but still not flinching, reciting the Litany of the True Shot, when the demon pulled the trigger...


And the weapon jammed! Truly a miracle happened, as the righteous weapon stopped it service the moment... thanking the Emperor and praying for his shot to hit true, Phil pulled the trigger. It was true, the Eperor was with him. The shot hit the beast right into the heart, Phil and his weapon now the fury of the Emperor manifest! He was victorious, but the price was high. He managed to save the Officer as well as his friend Alexian, but the Psychich Backlash of the demon's demise was too much for the psyker to handle. 


Thus, the cult was stopped and the Acolytes continued their life in service to the throne... who knows, maybe even now Phil is stalking some heretics in the shadow of a Hive.

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