Archive for the 'dark heresy' Category

10
May
09

dark heresy: the slaughterman cometh

In the 41st Millenium it’s hard not to get desensitised to violence. The slaughterman provides a vital function to Imperial society, providing meat for the table. Yet the perils of corruption do not merely settle for Inquisitors or acolytes. Chaos occasionally invites ordinary citizens to the table as well and it only takes a few bad apples to spoil the whole barrel.

Deuhirst Whall, slaughterman and outcast scum.
WS:25 BS:20 S:30 T:30 Ag:35 Per:20 WP:20 Fel:20
Move: 3/6/9/18 Wounds: 12 Corruption Points: 36 Insanity Points: 62
Disorders: Minor Delusion (Righteousness), The Flesh Is Weak!
Malignancies: Wasted Frame
Mutation: Feels No Pain.
Skills: Awareness, Common Lore (Imperium), Concealment, Medicae, Secret Tongue (Gutter), Speak Low Gothic, Trade (slaughterman)
Talents: Ambidextrous, Melee Weapon Training (Chain), Quick Draw, Sound Constitution, Thrown Weapon Training (Primitive), Unremarkable
Weapons: Chain Axe (1d10+7 R, Pen 2, Tearing), Mono butchers’ knife (1d5 R, +2 Pen, 3m), four large butcher’s knives (1d5 R, 3m) and three flintlock pistols (1d10+2 I; 15m Reload: 3 rds Full action, Primitive, Unreliable, Inaccurate) for intimidation purposes only.
Gear: Datapad (contains Void-born perversion and heresy – reading this bestows 1d5 Corruption Points), Medicae kit, Stained citizen’s garb (poor quality), 3 Throne Gelt

Whall is wiry and almost attractive yet despite this, nobody seems to notice him except for the occasional whiff of fresh-cut meat. He preferred to work in relative seclusion and gained some reputation as a quietly-efficient slaughterman until he found the datapad of a Void-born psyker girl which contained heretical confessions with accounts of an unnatural lust for violence.

Deuhirst began to view the world through this lens and in his insane righteousness, butchered three people and fed them to a noble family before killing them as heretics. Usually this would attract the Inquisition’s attention but local authorities intervened and Whall became an outcast among the dregs of Alpheus Primus.

Whall became an outcast very quickly but soon adapted. Even scum need food and his skill as a slaughterman meant the meat wasn’t poisoned and the bodies disappeared quickly. Over time, his masochistic streak increased to the point that he mutated under Khorne’s baleful influence. Now Whall feels no pain and takes care not to include his flesh in the meals he prepares.

25
Apr
09

dark heresy: CCE338

This former agri-world is currently entrenched in an ongoing three-way war between Imperial troops, heretical ex-colonists led by psykers and a ravening Ork army for thirty solar years and shows no sign of slowing down. Ork entrenchment, numbers and resilience make what looks like a routine operation anything but. A series of factors keep the Inquisition from burning this world to cleanse it; an unusually high psyker population on CCE338 amid the colonists; Scholar and Magos curiosity in the colonists and Warp instabilities near the planet meant that a battlefleet would need to deploy on an extensive sojourn to conduct an orbital cleanisng.

The locals were cultured for a feral agri-world and Imperial colonists settled without incident at first. Following an incident involving a localised Warp-breach, the number of psykers among the colonists grew and their desire to isolate themselves from the Imperium grew with it; refusing to send 70% of their population to the Black Ships. There were incidents as Imperial clerics and guardsmen clashed with colonist forces and to one cleric’s horror, it appeared some guardsmen were influenced by the psykers or worse, sympathised with their cause. Farms became outposts, trenches were dug and military actions took place.

Then the Orks appeared en masse, the space hulk they’d rode in on landed on a north-west coast and they began to explore in earnest. The last Imperial legate to visit was eaten by Orks who shot her Aquila Lander down; previous delegates found colonists violently unwilling to consign 70% of their population to the Black Ships. A punitive force was sent back to find the colonists who were driven from their settlement by Orks. The unclean beasts were purged but a colonist-led ambush weakened the Imperial forces sufficiently to force a regroup – the Black Ships were sent on their way without additional cargo – they could not be delayed.

The colonists have evolved to become nomadic warriors and psykers, moving from hidden settlements to harry Ork and Imperial alike, playing one off the other; about 80% of them are psykers. None of them have felt the temptation of Chaos yet those who want to capture an Imperial lander are pondering just how they’re going to take a space ship without violent, willing allies and the Orks will not be willing to ally with them after all this time – which leaves an option nobody wants to consider and which would likely guarantee Excommunicatus.

The Orks spawn and equip themselves from colonist caches and fallen Imperial outposts – as a perennial threat they have constructed crude tractor-beam towers to pull down dropships for conversion into Roks and bred biomechanical dirigibles called wingsquigs for aerial reconnaisance and troop transport. Ork rocket ships are possibly the next problem for the Imperium to deal with – CCE338 is not a point of strategic significance but the Orks can travel far and fast if they can get hold of a warp engine…

The Imperium sends landers and dropships to secure outposts, launching airstrikes against the Orks while trying to avoid prescient colonist attacks. Adeptus Mechanicus and Assassinorum agents have had some success against the colonists, who have increased vigilance but realise there is only so far that will take you. Travel to CCE338 is a risky process, the immaterium is especially treacherous around this world and the allegiance of Chartist Captains is not always as reliable as you would hope.

21
Apr
09

dark heresy: Lachrys

The waterworld Lachrys is one of the breadbaskets of the sector; the presence of seaweed beds and shoals of fish appear to make it an idyllic alternative to other agri-worlds. A lack of surface land and indigenous sentient life did not deter colonists. Plentiful shoals of spikefin (a fish resembling Adeptus lore of tuna) are netted and processed for the Imperium along with the seaweed beds that drift quietly in the oceans.

The spikefin seem to have no natural predators as the only other life lives on the bedrock of Lachrys deep under – crab-like beasts called kharacith about 3 meters tall with pincers capable of breaking carapace and shells capable of resisting chainweapons and great pressure and yet vulnerable to las-fire. Kharacith flesh is a delicacy among the Lachrysians who take advantage of the third dimension while swimming to shoot them with las-weapons.

Lachrysian Kharacith
WS: 45 BS: – S: 50 T: 50 Ag: 33 Int: 5 Per: 33 Fel: 5 Will 25 Wounds: 20
Traits: Blind, Crawler, Darkling, Hulking, Unnatural Senses
Skills: Awareness, Climb, Silent Move
Natural Weapons: Claws (1d10+5 R).
Natural Armour: 4 points (halved against las-weapons).
Threat: Xenos Minoris

The floating dome-ports of Westjonn and Princeport are agreeable places to be stationed and provide an interface between sea and space. Those few scum that live here cluster around the docks for fishing vessels as unskilled labourers. Arbitrators and Guardsmen keep them in line with psyker help in winnowing out dissidents and malingers. Lachrys scum are skilled smugglers and don’t mind trading with anyone for a price.

Adepts, clerics and tech-priests work to keep both dome-ports running smoothly, edicts on matter reclaimation keep both ports clean. Though saltwater corrosion is a risk, apprentices to tech-priests and servitors apply blessed chrisms made from spikefin processing to protect their components and machines from peril and the Great Corruptor. The smell can be potent, yet the alternative is far worse.

The deep-sea hive of Kalypsa is a different matter. The great gill-filters pull air out of the water as the mineral wealth of Lachrys enters manufactoria to make mechanical components and holy circuitry. In the deep vaults hexagonal air tunnels sigh and seem to whisper foul desires in the ears of Kalypsan hive-workers; certain areas have obsessive miners driven by fear, greed and lust while others have manufactoria workers driven to hostile mistrust, malaise or even cruelty.

In Kalypsa, the clerics and Arbitrators have their work cut out for them; there are subtle signs of a Chaos cult’s presence yet there appears to be no ringleaders. New arrivals make headway but after a month begin to hear things. After a couple of years, the impact appears to become much more noticeable – those with gelt spend time on a dome-port, those without enter seclusion for prayer and self-mortification. Those who do not eventually flee into the darkness of the tunnels.

21
Apr
09

dark heresy: Alpheus Primus

The first world of the Alpheus system to be settled, this Imperial world is a hub of activity for the expansion of the Emperor’s glory. Five hundred years ago, the Alpheusians were a developing religious culture that were purged of heresy at the cost of 80% of their population. Those left saw the light and declared for the Empire. The world was garrisoned for strategic importance and mineral-rich asteroids around it were mined to construct ships for a fleet – a work which still proceeds to this day.

Alpheus Primus was a popular destination for Imperium citizens looking to escape scandals from other sectors – their arrival on a planet where love of the Emperor was so manifest helped bring them back into orthodoxy while the remaining Alpheusians had the chance to learn from those whose faith had been tested. The results were integration of both groups into a coherent group and while loyalty is tested, the citizens of this planet show a clear awareness of Imperial culture found only on other Imperial home worlds.

The planet’s current governor is Pater-Governor Danniel Harz, an Ecclesiarch from Holy Terra sent to oversee assimilation. Despite whispers of Harz being out-of-favour with the Ecclesiarchy, his Terran origin, the fact he doubled Imperial tithes and halved reports of Recidivist activity give him a mystique to Imperial scholars. Harz has competent and diligent staff and encourages innovative use of local resources – if he is an Inquisitor, nobody living on Alpheus Primus knows it, though certain rumours about why the Ecclesiarchy will not promote him persist.

Faith in the Emperor is strong on Alpheus Primus; the Ecclesiarchy and Administratum found strong footholds among the Alpheusian clergy and assimilated those compliant with Imperial creed while converting backsliders into servitor units. Tech-priests here specialise in servitor construction and old or infirm Alpheusians often petition to be converted into servitor units to continue their service to the Emperor. Even skull servitors are respected by locals – you may be crossing the path of an ancestor loyal to the Emperor.

Assassination on Alpheus Primus is an ecumenical matter – an Imperial Assassinorum called the Black Monastery teaches fanatical devotion to the Emperor with skillful murder and it’s patrons include the Pater-Governer and certain Ecclesiarchs who bear the marks of sanctioned Imperial psykers. It’s alumni, called the Dark Brothers are quiet, devoted killers. Other assassins can be found among the hive dregs but these are less reliable, less devoted and much more mercenary in nature and business dealings.

Psykers on Alpheus Primus are handled swiftly and efficiently by Arbitrators and Ecclesiarchy alike, informing on nascent psykers yields a lucrative reward and the drug, Spook is outlawed on pain of death. Imperial psykers are put to work within the Administratum or Ecclesiarchy as scholars where their unique talents can assist in their work. More violent psykers are assigned to the Arbitrators as ‘witch hunters’ and often exert their cruel streaks against fellow psykers before sending them to the Black Ships for sanction.

Alpheus Primus has two major hive-settlements; Hive Kastor who specialises in biomechanical enhancements, electronics and servitor manufacture and Hive Polluxe, whose manufactoria create military ordnance, vehicles and chemicals including plasma cells and combat drugs like Frenzon and Stimm; it also has the Dioskurros spacedock where battlefleet vessels are built from minerals from the slowly depleting asteroid belt near Alpheus Primus. Resources are not yet a concern though the Adepts of the Administratum are working on contingency plans now.

Technological levels on Alpheus Primus are varied; nobility and their forces wield lasweapons, chainblades and carapace, Arbitrators use shock mauls, solid projectiles and riot armour or mesh while street scum use solid projectiles and gang leathers. This is not absolute, the black market in Hive Polluxe is active enough for criminals to get laspistols for a price yet these weapons are not casually used as it draws heavy Arbitrator attention. When insurrections in the hives occur, they are swiftly suppressed by Arbitrators supported by the local noble’s forces.

A network of Recidivists called the Libertines are a recurring thorn – once a political resistance, now they are a decadent drug cartel targetting honest Imperial citizens. They foster corruption and vice in Imperial officials, blackmail them if they fall to temptation to expose them publically once the official cannot afford to pay. Arbitrators regularly smash Libertine cells but to date, the ringleaders are not exposed and they always have another supplier and another cell to replace those lost to Arbitration – disturbingly former Imperial citizens have appeared as Libertines.

19
Apr
09

dark heresy: Strine’s World

Another world for Dark Heresy.

Strine’s World is an Earth-sized planet, designated as a Feral World by Imperial lexicographers and catalogued by Chartist Captain Marius Strine who has identified three continents as being of interest to the Imperium. The remaining islands have yet to be charted but appear to show no human life. Strine profitted in shipping warriors for uplifting as Imperial guardsmen in return for rudimentary technology and breeding Grox.

Mauger – This desert-like continent in the southern hemisphere has a violent and perverse indigenous population that form extended clans who war with each other riding in sand-rogues (two-person methane-fueled dune buggies fitted with wind sails); the rogue warriors are hardy, if primitive and value water and methane as well as their own reputations. These natives are often tattooed and scarred, never mentioning the dead in case they come back.

The other thing about Mauger is the native saurian carnosaur population who complicate the clan wars sometimes by eating the combatants. Short-haired Grox provide both human and carnosaur with meat and leather – Mauger hospitality involves feasts known as bar-bee where roasted Grox and reptile meat with watery yet refreshing rotgut booze are consumed in great quantities. The resulting tensions can start wars over an oasis or methane refinery.

Mauger Rogue Warrior
WS:33 BS:33 S:38 T:42 Ag:33 Int:30 Per:33 WP:25 Fel:25
Movement: 3/6/9/18 Wounds: 13 Insanity Points: 2
Skills: Drive (Ground Vehicle), Speak Language (Strine’s World),
Talents: Sound Constitution, BWT: Primitive, PT: Primitive.
Weapons: Hand bow or crossbow with melee attachment and 20 bolts, club, knife.
Gear: Heavy leathers (AP 2), Sand-rogue (max. speed 30 mph).
Threat Rating: Hereticus Minima

Lekbar
– An equatorial island continent with lush jungles and coastal civilisations, Strine found the locals enthusiastic traders yet some city-states have rulers with viziers as advisors to the ruler, some of whom are rogue psykers. Fortunately these city-states are perpetually at war with each other and if one becomes too ambitious, the others ally against it and those rogue psykers who can’t hide their curse are usually executed by the fearful populace.

The Lekbari have extensive if basic medical and pharmaceutical skills; they routinely drink good-quality amasec and recaf and have access to obscura, stimm and a weak version of slaught (+2 to Agility/Perception bonus but only -10 penalty for 1d5 hours). The Lekbari are deadly fighters, virtually all assassins from Strine’s World come from Lekbar and once uplifted their loyalty to the Emperor borders on the fanatical.

Isar
– A northern polar continent, this was the crash site for a ship captured a few centuries ago by Orks; the resulting crater threw enough ash and dust into the air to set Strine’s World back a few millenia and caused an ice-age across the entire northern hemisphere; signs of increased volcanic activity will resume glaciation which may reach as far as Lekbar. This creeping ice is heralded by dark clouds and increased rain.

Primitive cannibal mutants haunt the ice; travelling in packs to hunt each other and worship the long-haired Grox. These mutants are nightsiders, the glare from the sun and ice almost cripples them. Occasionally a mutant will walk during the day but it’s gross appetites for flesh (including the sacred Grox) make them outcast and the ‘daywalkers’ are feared for their unnatural habits and outlandish violence against their neighbours.

18
Apr
09

dark heresy: Hive Saelex-3

This is the first world in a series for use with Dark Heresy. These worlds lie outside the Calixis Sector and may be incorporated into any other sector desired by the Game Master. Plots that link these worlds may appear in other posts in future.

Hive Saelex-3 – The third moon of the gas giant Saelex is a hive world that thrives on the riches of the gas mines orbiting Saelex; the gas is used to fuel the hive-city built on any available surface of the cast mines where the core of Saelex-3 was drilled out by the miners to create the gas mines. The other two moons are small rocks without atmosphere used as relay stations for the communications networks between the orbital mines, spaceships and the hive.

The surface of Saelex-3 is a sea of antennae, crevasses leading into interior tunnels (known to the natives as Cuniculi), solar cell domes and outward-facing docking towers (known as the Clavi Imperialis) where spaceships land. Atmosphere on Saelex-3 is sparse and tainted by pollutants that exact a toll (10 minutes x Toughness bonus before you take a Fatigue level) on those without fresh air. Rebreather refill sales are brisk (such canisters are Easy to obtain).

The Clavi Imperialis are decorated with plasteel icons praising long-dead heroes of the Empire where Saelexian mining ships pump their gas cargo in return for payment. Open flames of any kind are prohibited by law in case of gas leaks – Arbitrators, workers and tech-priests who work the Clavi are keen to extinguish fires at source. Gas leaks are not commonplace but the resulting inferno makes everyone suitably edgy and means that a loss has been made.

The interior tunnels (Cuniculi) are wide enough to navigate a guncutter or Aquila lander through (Ordinary; +10 to Pilot checks) but landing without designated points is Hard (-20 to Pilot tests) due to antennae, cables and relays around hive-towers. Gas is pumped via plascrete-shielded, pressure-sealed arterial canals (fossae) into manufactoria and storage tanks. The fossae are a platform for a grav-rail transit system handled by tech-priests used to transport materials.

Those who live here (about 200,000) are hive dregs labouring to orders from Saelexian tech-priests under vigilant Arbitrator patrols and clerics. The healthy market constrasts with the street air (1 hour x Toughness bonus or take a Fatigue level) . Gangs will often incorporate gas masks into their colours and the sound of respirators often presage a mugging or gang war. Internal buildings have hydroponic domes and biofiltration systems that yield clean air.

The heart of the moon (Cor Cavum) is studded with noble towers and biodomes similar to the surface yet the atmosphere is better here (6 hours x Toughness bonus or take a level of Fatigue – fainting spells are sometimes known among the nobility). The triumvirate of nobles here are protected by retinues and nasal filters; the bare faced nobility and retinue broadcast edicts to the hive who aspire to these clean-living leaders of humanity.

The triumvirate of noble families oversee different functions; House Klayntire command the core of military forces on Saelex-3. House Lukiver manage the monorail and fossae operations while House Ignale manage the manufactoria through two trading houses who are rivals arising out of a deep-seated family conflict. The triumvirate makes use of neonate psykers but binds all those who serve the nobles with explosive collars – just in case.

14
Apr
09

papa’s got a brand new (dice) bag

Visited the FLGS on Saturday. A pilgrimage involving a train journey (yes I can source RPGs from local shops but there are no specialists where I am) in order to spend money and get an indication of the state of the art. I went in intending to buy PHB2 but failed to do so; when I handed over the swag, it got switched with Dark Heresy: Creatures Anathema.

Fortunately for me, I also have Dark Heresy and my guaranteed DH player I know doesn’t have it yet. It’s a lovely glossy book (expensive but IMHO worth it) and Fantasy Flight know their audience well. The monsters are the mix of wonderful horror and fantasy pastiche that DH excels in. The final chapter is an excellent section for GM advice too.

In my bag of swag was a cool dice bag with the Elder Sign on it, a couple more trinkets and a little game called Colonial Gothic by Rogue Games which I read on the train back. I didn’t expect quality fluff (Indian PCs with proper tribal backgrounds) and simple mechanics featuring every AD&D grognard’s icon , the d12! I heartily recommend it and it’s companion volume Secrets.

I may do a couple of one-shots and even put some things up here for perusal. The total cost for Colonial Gothic and Secrets was £20; I think the PHB2 was £16. Is it a bad thing you can get a rule set, a setting and a sourcebook for nearly the same price as a partial rules upgrade for a game? Do we even think in those terms any more?

Maybe I didn’t look like (whatever that is) a 4E player. No matter, I can find a deadtree copy anytime – legal PDF may be trickier of course. Besides, the DM for the latest game I’m about to start has declared it’s 3.xE forevermore for him and I have no current headspace to run 4E right now (rebooting a Mage:The Ascension game while moving house) though I’m writing stuff fine.