Friday, 4 April 2014
Dark Heresy: Tattered Fates - Session 5 - 'Tis The Exposition Hour
So, last time we left off with two of our number doing something obscenely stupid.
Sprinting off into the heavily forested area which might as well have been signposted "DEATH TO ALL WHO COME HERE!" Bardason and Guillman were off in search of the missing sword. It didn't take us very long to find something very wrong here.
While coming from an icy death world, Bardason had some understanding of how to navigate forested areas and jungles yet he couldn't find any way to keep moving in the right direction. Space and time seemed to alter within its boundaries. Things only became stranger once Guilliman was slapped in the face by several vines, only to realise none of the nearby trees actually had vines.
Probing the area carefully, Guilliman soon found out why things were wrong: The boundaries to the this area were pentagramic wards, set to hold something in. Someone in the Haarlock line had apparently decided it was a good idea to set up a garden of Warp monsters on his front lawn, and we'd just stumbled right into it. Managing to find the sword quickly, the two promptly legged it in one direction, heading out of there as fast as we could. Due to the mercy of the dice, the duo quickly emerged on the other side, hearing something impact against the barrier just behind them.
The good news was that they had just escaped something very dangerous and very hostile with power blade in hand. The bad news was that they had emerged on the other side of the miniature jungle, completely away from the main building of Gabriel Chase. Instead they were in what appeared to be a miniature farm, being tended to by automata.
Or at least it had been at one point.
Shredded metal cogs and gears littered the crops, a testament to some being which had smashed them with considerable force. An even more gruesome site greeted them as they approached one of the automated carriages, which had similarly been attacked. Thick congealing blood coated the interior, belonging to the several maimed corpses within. Each had been systematically carved up, as had the clockwork powering the carriage, and their blood had been used to write "FREEDOM" across the interior.
This elicited only a single reaction from either, spoken by Guilliman: "... bugger."
Back with Cromwell, the Tech Priest was having somewhat better headway than us. At least he was in the right place. Having departed from his two companions, he was now making his way around the building and scoping out the place. Knowing our luck, this was going to rapidly turn into a warzone and we still had no clue exactly how we were to stop our enemies from achieving their objectives.
Starting by interrogating individuals rather than the clock itself, he soon discovered that the few staff members there which were human had been brought from the colonial office. Not to serve others but just to keep an eye on the automatons.
Despite completely failing to pass himself off as a member of the upper class, he soon managed to strike up a conversation with another in the lounge area. The disposed noble of Castilla, Claudius Vipus, proved to be more than willing to talk as he had little else to do. Providing much information we soon learned from him a few bits of information about the clock, something he had researched as a passing fancy.
Having been made by Solomon Haarlock by some unknown means, every clock surrounding the massive central piece is timed to another world within the sector they discovered. When the central clock strikes the thirteenth hour, as it will this day, each will be at exactly the same eclipse at once. Something perfect for anything occult related.
Opting to head to the library to find more information, Cromwell found the place populated by small clockwork spiders of an unknown design. Each was similarly powered by a pendulum gem, but when Cromwell managed to touch one it crumbled into pieces. Obviously their power source was far from durable.
Having headed back on foot after being unable to call for help, Guilliman and Bardason arrived just in time to hear someone screaming. No, for once it wasn't because of them. A woman's husband had keeled over and begun convulsing, and quickly dies despite their best efforts. Bardason's quick examination puts it down to poison.
Leaving that matter in the hands of the staff to try and avoid attention, the duo quickly headed inside the Manse and inside the corridors. Somehow, as they walked through, it seemed the entire place was shifting with every passing step and doors seemed to keep changing position and what room they led to. This resulted in them soon stumbling upon Dwr standing over a bloodied corpse declaring "Guys, you'll never guess what I found!"
Quickly establishing that Dwr's battle happy nature had not resulted in her suddenly maiming a man at random, we found out that he had attacked her. More interestingly, he had just ambushed her out of a hidden passageway which had emerged within the wall. With that exposition given, and the mention of "this place seems to act like clockwork!" by Dwr, everyone started searching for an entrance.
What followed was several minutes of futility, with Bardason suggesting they just hammer down one wall, then lamenting the lack of a hammer, Guilliman trying to cut his way through only to hit adamantium and generally get nowhere. Despite finding a crack with might have been the edge of a door, no one could force it an inch and all that happened was we lost precious time.
Meanwhile, several rooms away, Cromwell accidentally stumbled through another hidden door. Yes, Cromwell was just one of those characters who could accidentally accomplish things which the rest of the group couldn't thanks to either dumb luck or skill. Seeing the woman Vipus had briefly been with earlier, his wife, he tried to approach her only to be intercepted by a large individual. Violence ensued.
Attempting to first kick the man in the nadgers, only to fall over, the Priest repeatedly tried to punch him without success. As Cromwell was being dragged away, he kept trying to yell for her attention until he distinctly heard “oh for the love of- Clavical, just kill this man.”
Rolling below the man's power fist, "Clavical" apparently being her hired muscle, Cromwell finally got the message that this wasn't a wise idea. Walking away to look for someone else, he eventually found out Vipus had scooted off to the library.
That little incident lasted two turns and was resolved peacefully, and added nothing of value to the campaign. Welcome to the closest thing you'll get to action or the characters being central to the plot for this session.
With the rest of the group, they had long since given up their attempts to break into the mysterious hidden passages interwoven within the building. Opting instead to head up the other way through the passage, soon reaching a balcony. Passing around the massive glass pillar of clocks, the group soon found itself in the library and met up with Cromwell again. We almost immediately broke up again, with Bardason and Cromwell going after Vipus and Guilliman heading down to examine the Steel Clock itself.
Vipus could offer us little more beyond some information about the mysterious Erasmus Haarlock, who he had only met once. He was driven, intelligent, tall, dark and obsessed with prophecies but the same as any other Haarlock. The only other information he can provide on the clock is that it likely has some kind of genetic lock and was rumoured to be a form of time travel device.
Believing that the last Haarlock is at the middle of this, Bardason tried summon a servitor to search for books on Erasmus Haarlock but found it was forbidden knowledge. The closest he could accomplish was a book on the bloodline and genealogy, but find everything connected to Erasmus has been scored out.
Downstairs, Guilliman discovered some new horror which had yet to draw attention from any of the nearby party-goers. Learning from a nearby noble, a Flashheart-esque man by the name of Tarik Douru, he soon learnt that a bleeding man had been seeing examining the clock's mechanisms. Before he could learn more, the clock struck the eleventh hour, a clamorous echo of a gong being struck resounding throughout the entire building. Just as the previous strikes before, the sound caused the entire building to shake, but there is now a shrill laugh on the edge of each strike.
Coming down stairs as this happens, Cromwell spotted a figure within the crowds as the clocks strike in turn. A jackal masked figure, wearing robes like dead flesh, who mockingly nodded in greeting to the Priest. In the next heartbeat he was gone. What little Cromwell could tell of him was only that the thing beneath the mask was a foul thing of shadow and hatred. Nothing human was lurking beneath its eye slits.
Interested in whatever the Steel Clock might be, Guilliman decided to inspect it and the splatters of blood closer. A decision he quickly came to regret. The second his fingers touched its metal surface, the psyker felt something dreadful clawing away from within its innards. Not a daemon, but something monstrous beyond reckoning. Joining him a few moments later, Cromwell similarly touched it but could sense nothing within. Whatever Guilliman felt, it could only be detected by those with an innate connection with the Warp.
As the discuss this apparent development and compare notes, the Tech Priest spotted someone bleeding close by.His gaunt features looked very familiar to something we had heard before. Failing to react to them, looked as if this might be the missing brother of the woman we encountered. Though his descriptions did not involve a chest sodden with fresh blood. Collapsing as they approached, Guilliman attempted to staunch the bleeding, only to realise there was a massive hole in his chest. The stench of the Warp is upon him and whatever he is, he’s not alive. Around the cavity where his heart was, there were Chaos runes of reanimation.
Reacting in the only sane way a true Imperial servant could, with copious amounts of fire, Guilliman went about destroying any trace of the corpse. As he did, several figures within the crowds close by quickly departed, as if their goal had just been achieved.
After a very brief search for the figures, presumably cultists, they both return to the clock once more to finish their examination. It is clearly no creation of the Omnissiah, but something more disturbing is within its cogs. A severed hand, bearing the rings of the woman we had previously met. The last known blood relatives of the Haarlock line are dead and, if what we know from Vipus is to be believed, the gene lock within the Steel Clock has been overcome.
Two hours remain and the enemy is still proceeding with their plans, almost completely unhindered.