Saturday, 2 November 2013

Dark Heresy: 17/10/2013 - Religion, Politics, CSI and Insanity Points

Following last time was a five year time-skip. After our recruitment by Van Graff after dispatching the rebels, our trio of merry murderers moved onto more dangerous things. Among these, as mentioned last time, was rogue assassination cults, heretics and the odd xenos or two. The time had been fraught with peril and no one had escaped without scars.

Along with gaining a few bonuses relating to stats, skills and attitudes towards certain foes, not to mention one area of forbidden knowledge per character, each of them rolled for wounds, insanity points and corruption. As chance would have it, each of us managed to fall prey to a separate extreme of each one.
Ishmael Guilliman, surprisingly for the psyker, managed to rack up over ten Insanity points and just about dodged gaining a form of mental trauma.
Flavion Cromwell meanwhile scored about the same amount (except on Corruption points) and failed on his willpower roll. Fortunately the only thing he got out of it was a bad skin condition, and being a tech priest that was something he might as well be ready to shed anyway.
Jarr Bardason managed to get just under ten Insanity, several points in Corruption, and lost an arm in his travels only for it to be replaced by a decent cybernetic. His player has claimed the event which led to this was "Punching a bloodletter back into a Warp rift."

A further change was the leader of our little cell. With Cromwell being, well, you'll see over the next few sessions and Bardason being effectively dumb muscle, Guilliman was voted as overall leader to help smooth things over.

Following our losses in the harrowing battle aboard the twisted corridors of the cult's Space Hulk, the group descended down towards Scintilla. Only a few miles from the Inquisitorial Headquarters of the sector, the Tricorn Palace, it was obvious that getting there would be a difficult matter. 
Being a day of celebration for Saint Rival Sorth, the streets teemed with life and the masses of humanity. Those on parade, celebrating the man's life and accomplishments, and even minor parades by certain forces on the planet. With a few hours to waste, we at least had the chance to waste time and actually reach the Inquisitor.

As Cromwell understandably went looking for some skin cream, the other two set off on their own errands. After finding a certain balm to his condition, the Tech Priest immediately attempted to hunt down a church within the city to initiate his own rites for that day. After several obscenely bad rolls, the GM eventually let him just stumble upon an entire Cathedral of the Mechanicus which he had passed by a good six or seven times. Plugging himself into the nearest cogitator and swinging about the requisite amount of incense he proceeded to pray and similarly lose a point of Corruption.

Bardason at this time, being the religious sort, went searching for a church of Fenris on the world. Eventually having to settle for the closest thing he could find, he was found later kneeling before a statue of Leman Russ in the Hall of Primarchs, making sacrifices of booze and enemy weapons. Somehow this resulted in losing one point of Corruption thanks to hours of prayer. He then proceeded to immediately try to sell off his remaining weapons, only to find they were of such poor quality that no one would take them. Even a group of Redemptionists he later stumbled upon for some reason trundling around the city with burning aquila.

Guilliman meanwhile opted for a slightly more sensible path an bought a tarot deck from a vendor. Sitting on the side of the street he proceeded to make plenty of cash from the thronging masses, and then took the less sensible path of donating his profits to a local merchant house.

Unfortunately these antics led to varying degrees of lateness for their appointment with Van Graff, with Bardason barely arriving on time and the other two staggering in later. This being effectively standard for the group, and Van Graff having worked with them for several years, the man barely batted an eye. Better still, having come from a family of naval figures, he kept a fully stock cabinet of alcohol. Not batting an eye as Cromwell arrived last and handed him a balloon with Sorth's face on it, adding it to a bunch, be proceeded to brief us on our next mission.

While he normally sent out his personal cells in groups of six our recent losses, along with many Inquisitorial Stormtroopers, meant recruitment was going to be slow. As such rather than a band of six we were now going to have to work as four. As a result, our first task was to head over to Gunmetal City on the same planet to pick up our latest member. We were to proceed with all haste to the Hive City, not to just meet up with her but actually deal with a mess she had gotten involved with. The new acolyte, Disgyn Dwr, had opted to get herself involved with a murder in the city and this being Gunmetal (AKA Everyoneisarmedwithacannonville) we were to make sure she didn't die before joining us. Also because we were stuck on a very limited time-frame, and needed to depart on a new assignment in two days.

With our path clear, and following various salutes to the Inquisitor, we promptly raided the armoury and left with a good deal of new ammo. Or in Guilliman's case: drugs.
Boarding a gun cutter within the hour, we were on our way to Gunmetal and arrived with the smell of gunpowder in the air and the odd burst of laughter. Most people looking at our various armaments and snickering at what we were toting. Well, except for Cromwell who was armed to the teeth. Meeting up with an arbites cruiser we quickly were escorted to the fortress precinct for that sector of the city and learned what our new recruit had stumbled upon.

As we arrived Cromwell briefly listened in to ongoing reports coming in from other cases,  becoming especially interested with a marital dispute involving a man known as "Dave". Why? Because he could and likely to try and derail things even more than usual.

The local Marshall, a squat bull of a man known as Gore, quickly greeted us then informed us that he was not here to help us. In fact he was glad we were here so he could palm off the case from his arbites onto the Inquisition due to the case being a political nightmare. After informing the trio that they had access to the moregue and evidence room, he handed a dataslate over to Guilliman and told them to get out of his way. A charming man indeed.

The data slate quickly revealed that the case in question was a murder and the political side behind it. To supply its militant arm, the Ecclesiarchy was ordering weapons en mass from certain facilities in Gunmetal and had a deal with a number of the Fanes. While traditionally they ordered their weapons from Orthlak and Douru, the ministorum has been increasing its influence and ordering large numbers of las weapons from them. Negotiations were made for the ecclesiarchy under the control of another Fane Takara, who is on bad terms with Douru, to supply their arms. However, their new facilities to do this were yet to be fully blessed.

A small number of the church's representatives were sent in to prepare for the arrival of a local Archbishop, but were murdered upon arrival. Quite brutally in fact, as the entire main walkway of the facility near the main doors had been coated with their blood and several corpses mashed to pulp. Special care in particular was spent on the sororiatas, who was barely recognisable by the end. 

The sensitivity of this matter comes from the involvement of the church. Along with blocking the arbites from fully investigating the crime scene they have refused to permit full autopsies be performed upon their honoured dead. Matters have been further complicated with the presence of other adepts among the group, leading to so much political headbutting no one can get anything done. The Inquisition, though the seemingly unlimited authorial power of its agents and experience, is the only group who might investigate this without the other adeptus trying to go out of their way to block them.

Discussing ideas on what to do, with Guilliman wasting time on Fruit Eversor, we eventually decided to start at the beginning: The crime scene. While the bodies were on hand and a potential witness was in the cells, they at least were not going anywhere and looking at the place would give us a good idea where to start. With Guilliman's attempts to requisition ambassadorial vehicles being met with scowls, we hopped in the cruiser and sped off to the murder scene.

Arriving at the location was a shock to a few of them, especially to Bardason, as they were greeted by what was apparently an ogryn in arbites armour. On second glance this quickly proved to be a giant of a woman, our recruit Dwr. After greetings, Guilliman quickly regretting shaking hands with her and Cromwell failing miserably to hit on her, Dwr quickly brought us up to speed. She had been waiting for us as, thanks to a lack of Inquisitorial seal, she had lacked the proof of authority to enter. Now we were here the fun could begin.

Grouping up, the band of four quickly let the armoured doors swing open and reveal what was inside. On the best of days the average Guard barracks would have never smelt so good to them. On the worst, they would have never smelt of this much blood. Coating a huge portion of the entrance floor was a dark red dried lake of blood, splattered from obvious attacks. A few patches were visible where the bodies were removed, but otherwise the congealed mess looked undisturbed.

Being enough to make Khorne blush, Guilliman instantly initiated a psyniscience detection against the area, but found little to no traces of tears in the Warp. Whatever had done this had at least not directly involved the dark beings who lurked beyond the veil of reality. Bardason meanwhile circled around. Being our local feral worlder and axeman, he tried to get some estimation of what the attack had been like or the weapons involved, but could get little beyond that it had been frenzied, mad and fanatical. Nothing which would have helped really pin down who or what might have done it. The only thing which can be told of the victims is that some tried to run, only to be quickly cut down. From the direction though, it looks as if the group was attacked from the front primarily.

As the investigation took place, Dwr quickly filled us in on the fact that our "witness" was barely one at all. Having been semi-drunk at the time, he had been outside the factory and only heard the screams from within. They had thus far gotten little from him but it seemed that he would not be of much help and shouldn't rely upon him. This naturally redoubled our efforts and quickly led to an early breakthrough. 
Hanging back and scrutinising the place with intense scrutiny of the highest degree, Cromwell noted that the lock on the opposing door had been broken open. Leading into the alleyway outside, used for tea breaks and as a dumping ground, it did lead to a hab block nearby where the workers would have stayed. A thin splatter of blood did also lead to the door suggesting someone, likely the murderer(s) had fled this way.

Guilliman, unable to find anything off colour with the blood, did manage to see an odd pattern leading under a nearby factory machine. Using spectral hands, he pried it out from beneath the machine only to reveal an imperial aquila on a chain. The likes of which a priest would have, coated in a single bloody hand print. As Dwr deposited it in a evidence bag, she quickly saw that there was something off with the design. Certain details were very different to those of the usual aquila and points had been exaggerated.

We had finally started on the campaign and just for once had managed to actually do an investigation. As you can guess, this wouldn't last too long.

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