Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Dark Heresy: 10/10/2013 - In His Holiness's Hallowed Ordos

Due to having to deal with storm related damages, there was no time to write up Sentinels of Terra Part 2 in the time available  Instead, please accept Part 2 of another seriously delayed ongoing series for this site.

So last time ended with our group in its natural habitat: Standing ankle deep in the corpses of people who had tried to kill us. The entire rebel patrol which had stumbled upon the bunker were dead and/or in flaming bits with very loud explosions having echoed across the surrounding area. Any sane group would have taken into account the idea that this might have drawn enemies down on us. Instead the traditional follow-up of prayer and looting whatever had not been blown to smithereens commenced. 

As the pillaging came to a close (with only two autoguns having not been melted into slag) the Lord Commander joined us. Nonplussed by the the carnage surrounding him, he simply let us get on with our jobs. Pausing only to react in surprise to the pretense of Guilliman, and have his player roll for a few corruption points, he informed the band of merry murderers that his job had been completed. He had gotten what was required and was actually somewhat impressed at our proficiency at killing. Asking what they desired, led to this rapid sequence of responses:

Guilliman - "As a true servant of the Emperor I require no reward."

Cromwell - "He doesn't speak for us!"

With that done all they needed to go would be head back to the Imperial Guard encampment and get back offworld.

This would have been an easy thing were it not for the sheer incompetence of Sergeant Jarr Bardason. Due to an extremely bad concealment roll, the guardsman had decided that parking it next to a small rosebush was more than enough to hide a very large Rhino APC. To no one's surprise, upon returning they found that the vehicle was being investigated by yet another band of rebel troopers who were wondering where the hell it had come from.

Deciding that there had been enough straight forwards killing, the group opted to initiate multiple stealth take-downs  
Using his skills as a native of the icy plains of Fenris (which somehow meant he was also good at sneaking about lush green worlds) Bardason silently moved forwards towards some undergrowth like a ghost. 
Using his technology, the tech-priest Cromwell did the same with his chameleonic coated power armour and enhancements making him all but invisible. 
Using his psychic powers, Guilliman proceeded to make himself fade into the environment and moved forwards... only to create so much sound a deaf man on an orbiting moon could have heard him coming. 

The trio of rebels turned around only to see an unusually man-shaped outline blurred into the bushes we were hiding behind. Yes, there were more bushes, and Bardason didn't think these would be helpful in hiding the Rhino. All three men surrounding the vehicle immediately turned upon Guilliman raised their rifles, and promptly had one of them decked by a screaming madman sprinting out of the undergrowth. 

Bardason, bellowing "For Russ and the Wolftime!" at the top of his lungs, barreled into the nearest man, wildly swinging an axe in his general direction. Being the more sensible of the two, Cromwell similarly attacked the men, but instead opted to break out the lascannon once again. Thankfully missing the very close by Rhino, the blast hit another person square in the chest. Briefly wallowing in his own gore, the man's ammo detonated in a huge explosion. Bardason, grappling with his rebel, promptly rolled to one side and turned his attacker into the explosion as a shield, instantly killing him.

The last man upon seeing his comrades die in horrible ways, did the smart thing and legged it. He didn't get far, and a loud crack from Lord Commander Johnson Van Graff's pistol brought him down. Despite him being a generic goon, Bardason claimed (once he was in the upper hatch of the Rhino) that there was something odd about his corpse and his equipment. As the Lord Commander went to personally investigate, Bardason called in a very quick favour from Cromwell leading to this announcement upon the Commander's return:

"Sir! The rebels have taken the Storm Bolter!"

Thankfully not being the sort to charge in to retrieve the Emperor's holy equipment, and not noticing the fact Bardason's previously empty backpack was now Storm Bolter shaped, he ignored this. It wasn't even their tank after all and getting a replacement gun was someone else's problem. All the more loot for us!

With much less horrific driving on the way back, the group returned to base with little incident and upon arriving were told the Lord Commander wasn't quite done with them. Leaving them standing to attention at the access ramp, he headed to an open space and promptly met a Valkyrie gunship descending from the sky. One with a stylised golden "I" and had various black clad Stormtroopers promptly disembarking from the sides. 

In case you've not guessed, Johnson Van Graff was in fact not a Lord Commander and actually a member of the Inquisition. Calling us into his tent he explained this on much more amicable terms, even offering drinks to the group. Gesturing them to sit (replacing Cromwell's chair with a block of reinforced metal once it collapsed under his bionically enhanced weight) he made two of us a simple offer: Join him and help serve the Emperor better, or remain here and likely die to rebel elements. It didn't take long for Bardason and Guilliman to sign up, after all if they'd not we wouldn't have much of a storyline to go on.

Saying goodbye to the soldiers which had kicked him less, and Guilliman buying every bottle of cheap home-made amsec he could get his hands on, the two left with Cromwell. Thus ended our time in the Imperial Guard and began an era of fighting the aliens, the heretic and the unmentionable nightmare which claws away at the fabric of reality. 

The years that followed were outlined by GM Von Diego:

"You have served Van'Graff for 4 years now. The first 8 months or so were spent in his personal service; he had only recently become an Inquisitor at the time he met you, and was still recruiting and organizing a network of Acolytes to work under him. The members of his old Cadre, with whom he worked previously, had all gone their separate ways for a time, and so you traveled with him both to train you as Acolytes and also as a replacement for them. When they eventually returned, one at a time, he decided to group you together with 3 of his other Acolytes and send you out

Incidentally, you will need to decide between you which of your characters is the 'Prime'; the Prime is sort-of the leader, although only in a roundabout way. You could choose not to have a Prime, if you like, but basically you need to pick which of you the Inquisitor trusts to take charge of the group if necessary. Who carry's the Writ of Authority (when he gives you one), etc. 

Initially, you were teamed up with 3 Acolytes (Berin, a priest, Loj, a guardsman, and Liena, an Adept). They are all dead, of various causes, and not all at the same time. Graff prefers to operate acolytes in cells of 4-6, preferably 6, so when you suffered losses he would generally send 'flesh meat' either by taking acolytes from his other Cells, or by recruiting new talent. Seeing as how you are some of his most experienced, and trustworthy, acolytes, he often used your cell to train new Acolytes before sending them out with other teams. Thus, you have seen a lot of faces pass through your group, not all of whom are dead; some were reassigned, or went mad, etc. 

Graff is a member of the Ordo Hereticus, but has developed a particular penchant for investigating those normally above the law; Nobles, governors, high ranking members of the military, and even Rogue Traders. In the time you spent in his direct company, you found him to be a fairly personable, widely learned man. You know that he came from noble blood, but was something of a black sheep in his family; he was well learned, and skilled with a pistol, but longed for adventure. (His character class was Scum, although he wasn't a Scummy scum)
He has a fondness for fine wines, and is an expert on all manner of alcoholic drinks. He tends to dress down, is not overly concerned with protocol, and has a penchant for flashy entrances, complex plans and intrigues. He occasionally mentioned family, although all you know is that he has at least one brother still living. He is clearly wealthy even without his status as an Inquisitor, and is generally a generous man with money. He treats Acolytes as valuable assets and, while he would certainly sacrifice them if necessary for the Imperium, does not generally like to waste them. He most often travels with Leopold, his Interrogator, who is a master of disguise but rarely speaks outside of his 'role' at the time

Most recently, your Cell was sent to investigate a series of suspicious assassinations aboard a number of Imperial Naval vessels. It eventually transpired that several groups of Ratings aboard a number of ships had been infiltrated and subverted by members of the Proscribed Death Cult, the Astral Knives. The cult was declared heretical after agents of the Ruinous powers infiltrated several of its Cells, and it was leftover elements of these that had infiltrated the Battle-fleets ships. Your cell was tasked with destroying the heart of the resurgent cult aboard a derelict Space Hulk that they were using as their base; although you succeeded, the death toll was heavy. In addition to casualties among the troops seconded to your service for the mission, 3 members of your cell were lost, leaving you three the only survivors once more.
¬.¬ Moral of this story; Do not fight void-born assassin cults while aboard Space Hulks. They CLEARLY have the advantage

After the mission, you were summoned back to Scintilla (the sector Capital), specifically to the Tricorn palace in Hive Sibellus, to meet with Graff in his offices there. The journey took several weeks of warp travel, but finally you arrived in orbit around the Capital and boarded a landing craft.
Now, as you are woken from your reminisce of times past, a Landing Siren sounds as the craft prepares to land..."

Yes, all this was a prequel it turns out. Welcome to the actual campaign from here on!

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