Rogue Trader Campaign Log – Session 21 : Return of the Ancient Enemy [Endgame]

As Oberlieutenant Jurgen Borsch hung motionless in space, only the cockpit of his fighter craft separating him from vacuum his comrade Navigator York Benetec was sat in the meeting room of the Venerus, in conference with Captain Ajoku of the Imperial Destroyer Vigilance and Polaris Black (cousin to Admiral Fortunus and acting captain of the Venerus. Ajoku produced a data stick and plugged it into the display that squatted in the centre of the large table, a flickering scene showing an Imperial Satellite under attack by vast pyramidal ships sprang into hazy life in the air above the display, “As we left the system we came across some of the outer defences that the enemy had only disabled rather than destroyed, we were able to remotely link with them and pull this footage” explained Ajoku.
In the same system, aboard the Clanship Rod Hant, Enginseer Prime Pak (now captain) had learned his lessons well, still sore that his ship had been very nearly snatched out from under him, the Enginseer began the construction and installation of a remote kill-switch that would enable him to shut down the vital functions aboard the ship should anyone attempt to take it from him.
Below on the asteroid known to the local inhabitants as the “Eye of Byggmeister” (and which had been discovered to actually be the ruined remnants of the Adeptus Astartes vessel that had originally bought humans to this sector) Admiral Black was leading his men through the maze of twisting metallic corridors and vents that comprised the damaged shits interior, ahead of them they could hear the unsuspecting Clan Klok party that they were following continuing their exploration. Suddenly, the thin air was filled with the sound of gunfire and screaming for a few moments before falling silent; moving cautiously ahead the party discovered the butchered remnants of the Clan Klok party in a secure chamber, two weaponised combat servitors hung ominously from the ceiling, their heavy bolt weapons still smoking. Admiral Black realised that they would no doubt lose a lot of men trying to get past the servitors but that whatever lay in the chamber beyond them must be a worthy prize if it required so much protection; searching the area he eventually discovered a ventilation tunnel that appeared to lead into the chamber and would circumvent the need to pass by the servitors. Ordering his men to holster their weapons Admiral Black lead them into the ventilation system.
A few moments later, Admiral Black found himself staring down into a chamber the likes of which he had never seen before; a strange assemblage of technology head what looked like a golden urn bearing the markings of the Space Wolf chapter of the Adeptus Astartes, there also appeared to a be a member of the Astartes there, frozen in the act of reaching towards the golden urn. Assuring himself there was no-one else present the Admiral pushed the grating free and it tumbled down towards the floor of the chamber, however, Fortunus was surprised when, instead of hitting the floor with a clang, it stopped in mid-air and hung their silently as though frozen in time. Realising that the time effect must be connected with the urn the Admiral threw his personal vox device onto the urn and (using a vox from one of his men) contacted the Venerus to have the teleportarium lock onto his vox and transport the urn directly to the teleportarium chamber aboard the Veneurs; a few moments later there was a bright flash of light and the urn disappeared.
In the meeting room York Benetec spoke into his personal vox following a communication from the teleportarium chamber where he was aprised of the object that now resided within; with Polaris needed on the bridge (since apparently the energy readings from the asteroid had intensified) Benetec invited Ajoku to accompany him to the chamber.
Standing outside the glasscrete isolation bubble of the teleportarium Benetec explained to Ajoku and the technicians manning the machinery that they may have just saved some ancient Adeptus Astartes geneseed, the genetic material used to create humanity’s finest warriors. Ajoku opened his mouth as though to replace and a torrent of metallic silver insects began to pour from his body as it spasmed and quaked; recognising them as similar to the devices used by the ancient enemy, Benetec sealed himself within the glasscrete bubble (with the golden urn) whilst the technicians struggled to escape, sealing the exits behind them (although some were dragged down below the rising tide of beetles.
“Give us the new host” said the thing that used to be Ajoku, metallic fibres sprouting from it’s once human flesh, Benetec’s only response was a sneer, his brow creasing in concentration as he used his psychic powers to communicate the danger to the ships astropaths from the otherwise isolated teleportarium chamber. A few moments later a red alert began to sound across the ship.
Back on the asteroid, Fortunus was surprised when, with the urn removed, the time freeze effect ceased and the large Astartes began to move; he seemed satisfied (after a moment) that the people he saw were members of the Imperium, although it was obvious from his questions that Gunnar had been frozen whilst the battles of the Horus Heresy were still in full flow. With energy levels spiking across the vessel, Gunnar agreed to accompany them back to the Venerus in order to save the precious geneseed.
When Fortunus and Gunnar arrived aboard the Venerus (followed shortly by Jurgen whose fighter squadron, the Void Krakens, had escorted them back) the did so into the middle of a red alert; quickly heading to the teleportarium chamber they found Benetec still trapped inside with the tide of beetles beginning to eat through the floor. Admiral Black quickly issued an order for the remaining personal staff of Captain Ajoku who were onboard to be rounded up and checked for signs of infection by the ancient enemy whilst Jurgen collected some fragments of metal that Enginseer Prime Pak had salvaged from similar creatures that they had encountered before and rigged them with melta-bombs. Opening the door quickly they threw the make-shift bomb inside and watched as it tore apart the gantry, cleared a path for Benetec but also removing much of the floor; nodding the Space Wolf Gunnar leapt across onto the glasscrete bubble and with comparative ease hurled the bulky Navigator across the gap before leaping back himself.
With the excitement seemingly over, Enginseer Prime Pak contacted Admiral Black via ship-to-ship link from the Rod Hant and said that he’d registered a power comms signal from the Venerus giving their location that had been beamed out of sector; it appeared as though some of the beetles had re-routed and boosted the comm systems on the Venerus and had used it to send a message out of system, no doubt to their masters currently attacking Port Wander. Realising that their only hope against such an enemy would be to secure allies, Admiral Black gave his permission for Benetec and Gunnar to travel to the Rod Hant, from there they would attempt to jump to a neighbouring sector and send an astropathic message in the hope that some of Gunnar’s space wolf brethren still lurked in this area of space after all this time.
Fifteen minutes after the Rod Hant had departed the astropaths registered a disturbance in the warp as three sleek and alien spacecraft entered the system; Admiral Black felt his heart sink as he recognised Eldar vessels and anticipated a swift vengeance for the death of their emissary aboard his ship, however, the Eldar vessels moved away to a location on the outskirts of the system and broadcast a single message “They are coming.”
Admiral Black was cursing the cowardly xenos, no doubt they hoped to let the two sides exhaust each other and then dispatch the survivors, when the helm began to pick up strange pyramid craft emerging from behind the shadow of the moon, green blasts of energy flashed out, destroyed several score of the escort fighters on patrol outside the Venerus; swearing vengeance Jurgen leapt into the cockpit of his own vessel and lauched, with the rest of the Void Krakens behind him. Weaving between two of the larger craft Jurgen was able to cause most of their blasts to go wide or hit their own allies, but the superior firepower and numbers of the ancient enemy vessels was beginning to show.
With an almost audible tear the Rod Hant burst from the warp back into the system, following it was a huge Astartes battle-cruiser and ragtag fleet of partially damaged Imperial Vessels
“Venerus, this is the Space Wolf Cruiser Ice Dagger, we are picking up a larger enemy craft still behind the moon, we will deal with it and are transferring command of the Port Wander survivors to you – in the Emperors name!”
With battle joined the previously black void of space grew bright with the stabbed of lance fire, the sickly green bursts of energy from the enemy and was filled with the thudding of macro-battery firing; seeing the battle turning around and not willing to let the Mon-Keigh claim all of the glory, three of the Eldar vessels even broke ranks, carefully placed lanced fire helped reduce one of the pyramids to floating wreckage. Freed of the need to navigate a vessel through the warp York Benetec turned his considerable psychic might to discovering the weak points of the enemy ships and relaying that to those fighting for the Imperium.
“I’ve got one on my tail, I can’t shake them, I can’t…” shouted Lieutenant Schultz of the Void Kraken squadron as his ship exploded in flame; Jurgen shook his head sadly as his vision of the future came to pass and then he jabbed at his fire controls, small explosions stitching across the flank of the vessel responsible.
As the last of the pyramid vessels exploded, the Space Wolf vessel emerged from behind the moon having dealt with the final enemy craft and a crackling voice came over the vox link “The enemy is defeated, the Space Wolves will not forget what you have done here for us today Admiral Black, nor the precious cargo that you have returned to us.”
THE END

Epilogue:
(or where are they now?)
  • Admiral Black, still wary of the plans that his father had for him, accepted a commission in the Imperial Navy, retaining command of the Venerus but fighting more directly for the glory of the Emperor.
  • Oberlieutenant Jurgan Borsch accompanied Admiral Black into the Navy, following his heroic deeds in the Battle of Endeavour, the war-sins on his record were sealed and the Void Krakens went on to become an official elite squadron.
  • York retired to the homeworld of the Benetec Navigator family where he helped trained the next generation of Navigators from his house, cautioning them all against dabbled with the Ruinous Powers or trusting in the fickle attentions of primitive navigator-like shaman.
  • Enginseer Prime Pak went on to help the primitive iinhabitants of the Endeavour system become fully integrated as a thrall-house into the Space Wolf chapter of the Adeptus Astartes, working with them as the chapter to help set up a joint venture with the Adeptus Mechanicus in the Endeavour System.

 


Rogue Trader Campaign Log – Session 20: Visions of Future-Past

The group stared at the flickering holo-recording of the Adeptus Astartes captain as it reached it’s end and froze, the static image of the space marine lingered, hovering over the broadcasting device; Enginseer Prime Pak took away the device, promising that he was going to study it and work out an approximate age based on the metallic particles within it’s surface so that they could more accurately date when the people of these system had first been deposited on the moon of Strive by the doomed Space Wolf Captain. Oberlieutenant Jurgen Borsch speculated that the geneseed spoken about in the message must be used to grow something; meanwhile Lord Admiral Black had remembered that they had a member of Clan Klok aboard the Rod Hant (Sjomann Amelie) and that Clan Klok supposedly had their clanship base around the inner asteroid cluster of the Endeavour system where potentially the last resting place of the Space Marine vessel was (assuming, given Lorgar’s previous interest, that it had not been destroyed). Sending for the Sjomann he bought her aboard and questioned her regarding the ancient legends of her people, Amelie seemed dismissive, saying that they were just legends and that her people’s clanship was moored near a large asteroid that they called “the Eye of Byggmeister” and viewed as a part of their god.
Enginseer Prime Pak re-entered saying that he had aged the device and that, it seemed to originate within the era known as the Horus Heresy; he suggested that perhaps they could open peaceful negotiations with Clan Klok who had remained aloof from the system conflict thus far and had not declared for Lorgar or against him. When the Sjomann enquired why they were asking so many questions about her peoples legends, Lord Admiral Black said that there may have been a real person behind the legends and that they were seeking for the truth of it; Amelie agreed to open negotiations on their behalf but said that they would have to travel to the centre of the system and make psychic contact since solar flare activity made electronic communication unreliable, Lord Admiral Black sent her back to the Rod Hant.
A few moments later the Rod Hant began to pull away from the Venerus and would not respond to any attempts at communication; making his way to the teleportarium chamber onboard the Venerus Enginseer Prime Pak transported himself into one of the storage lockers adjacent to the engineering department aboard the Rod Hant. Peering out from his hiding place the Mechanicus tech-priest could see that the crew seemed to be under some form of unholy influence, the ship servitor’s eyes glowing with a baleful green light. Meanwhile Oberlieutent Jurgen Borsch launched at the head of his Void Kraken fighter squad and moved into the void of space, spreading out to blockage the Rod Hant and attack should it attempt any hostile action.
Onboard the Venerus, Navigator Benetec was scrutinising the warp and could feel it’s malign presence rife on the Rod Hant; Lord Admiral Black received a communication from his security staff and, upon running out of his chambers, witnessed glowing green runes springing up on the bulkheads around the Venerus where Sjomann Amelie had once drawn blood runes (allegedly to help solve a demon infestation). As Benetec struggled to repel an ancient and evil presence that stared at his psyché through golden eyes he managed to advise Admiral Black that if they conducted a short warp jump to the opposite side of the system it may be enough to disrupt the treacherous Sjomann’s sorceries, seeing little choice Admiral Black agreed and gave the order, first contacting Borsch to apprise him of the situation and to tell him to sit tight.
“If only Cornelius was here” – Lord Admiral Fortunus Black
With a blinding flash the Venerus disappeared to reappear moments later on the opposite side of the system, seemingly free of sorcerous influence; Jurgen’s fighter wing used maneuvring thrusters to approach the Rod Hant unseen and magno-grapple themselves to it’s hull. Inside Pak was attempting to interface the ship and lock out the bridge when he spotted the fighters attaching themselves, he cut off the sensors so that the bridge wouldn’t pick up their presence. Over in the corner of the room was a servitor that Pak had disabled and examined, there seemed to be no problem with the mechanical components so the sorcery must be infecting what little biological processes remained in the servitor.
As it drew nearer the asteroid cluster at the centre of the system the Rod Hant began picking up a strange tower-like craft located on the other side of the cluster; at this point Pak de-activated the life-support system to the bridge and re-routed comms to his own console using it to respond mechanically to the requests for communication that were incoming from the tower-ship. A few moments later as the bridge crew gasped out their last breath and Sjomann Amelie died, the green light passed from the eyes of the remaining crew and they slowly began to come to their senses, seizing the opportunity Pak reclaiming the bridge, turning back on the atmosphere and assigning his tech-adepts to clear out the bodies. The tech-adepts began scanning the asteroid and informed Enginseer Pak that they were getting strange readings reminiscent of a warp field from the asteroid cluster; meanwhile Lord Admiral Black boarded the Thunderhawk gunship that they had appropriated from Strive and began to fly towards the Rod Hant, leaving his cousin Tullius Black in command of the Venerus.
With a tearing sound a large craft exited the warp near the Venerus and, to their surprise, a damaged imperial warship identifying itself at the Vigilance appeared; soon Navigator Benetec found himself in a meeting with Captain Tullius Black and the captain of the Vigilance, a man named Armadeus Ajoku. It appeared that, since the Venerus had last visited Port Wander the imperial outpost had come under attack from strange metallic pyramid craft that had all but destroyed the outpost, the Vigilance had been on deep patrol and had been too late to help in the defence; Imperial authorities on the port had ordered them to seek help and the Navigator of the Vigilance (a member of House Feracci) had locked onto the strong psychic presence of Navigator Benetec, the poor Navigator had about burnt out her mind getting the ship here and was currently in their medical bay.
Onboard the Thunderhawk their was a flash and Admiral Black suddenly found himself tied down in a chamber that he recognised as being on his home world on Telec Prime, he was restrained and strapped to some sort of medical bed, a med-tech preparing him for an injection of some sort. Admiral Black was struggling to free himself when the bedraggled and ill looking form of his father Macharius Black who staggered forward saying “If it’s any consolation my boy, i’m genuinely sorry it had to be you, you were always my favourite, but gene-splicing and life extension therapy can only extend my life so far.” Before Lord Admiral Black could react further there was another flash and he found himself sitting back aboard the Thunderhawk, some of his men looking around in bewilderment all apparently experiencing strange visions.
A small ship from the tower-vessel carrying a party that was preparing to go aboard the large asteroid and look for the geneseed began to move through space. Oberlieutenant Jurgen Borsch saw something flash infront of his eyes and suddenly his fighter sensors were full of enemy craft of an unknown configuration, the blazing hulk of Port Wander zoomed past as he dodged incoming fire from a strange silver craft. There was a scream from the comms as his lieutenant Schultz flew infront of him, pursued by two alien missles; Borsch attempted to shoot them down but only got one, the other impacting with Schultz’s craft and destroying it.
“There’s two of them on my tail! I can’t shake them… I can’t…” – Fighter Lieutenant Schultz
As the flash of the explosion faded Borsch found himself back in the cockpit, his readouts now empty, many of his men (including Lieutenant Schultz) were swearing on the comms apparently their minds haunted by their own phantasms.
On the Rod Hant there was another flash and Enginseer Pak found himself standing in a strange featureless silver corridor, an expressionless silver skeleton stood facing him, it’s voice asking him strange things in his head. Attempting to respond in king Pak was lead to the bridge of the strange ship where he saw a screen that showed an attack by the strange machine men on Port Wander.
“Request – Repeat command stream”
“Query – Main command node malfunction”
“Query – Main command node malfunction”
“Order – Follow warrior unit for repair sequence.” – Warrior of the Ancient Enemy
As Pak watched he saw a disabled Imperial fighter, guns empty and engines failing hit it’s thrusters and gun itself forward on a collison course with the silver alien vessel, he had a moment to recognise the distinctive personalised paint job as belonging to the fighter craft piloted by Jurgen Borsch then an explosion engulfed his vision and Pak found himself back on the Rod Hant.
Navigator Benetec was busily explaining the ability of the Ancient Enemy to merge with other technology and to phase through solid objects whilst Lord Admiral Black landed his Thunderhawk on the asteroid and made ready (with a contingent of soldiers) to follow the Clan Klok exploration party into the Eye of Byggmaister.

Rogue Trader Campaign Log – Session 19: Death & Rebirth?

Oberlieutenant Jurgen Borsch wakes in the medical bay having been unconsious for a number of days following injuries sustained during a battle against a chaos sorceror in the ruins of a fighter craft on the moons of Strive; the med-techs have struggled with the severe and sorcerous nature of the injuries but finally, with a little help from the Emperor Oberlieutenant Jurgen Borsch pulls through and regains consciousness. Hearing the red-alert klaxxons sounding through the corridors of the Venerus Oberlieutenant Jurgen Borsch hauls himself unceremoniously to his (still shakey) feet and totters out of the medical bay, dismissing the med-techs who attempt to persuade him to go back to bed he staggers towards the ships fighter bay.
Meanwhile Admiral Fortunus Black had decided that they need to join Enginseer Prime Pak on the moon below them, a battle rages there following the descent of an armada of escape-pods and small craft planetside, fallout from a decisive battle between the fleet of Rogue Trader Admiral Fortunus Black and the traitor forces lead by the renegade Adeptus Astartes Lorgar Khan; bidding goodbye to his wife Lady Decusis-Black and leaving her in command of the great ship Venerus the Admiral dons his regalia and begins striding towards the shuttle-bays. On his way Admiral Fortunus Black meets the slightly pale figure of Oberlieutenant Jurgen Borsch who is climbing into his fighter jumpsuit; relieved to see that Borsch has recovered the Admiral explains that they defeated the chaos sorceror although he escaped and that they are still in a state of red-alert following the battle with Lorgar Khan’s forces. Admiral Fortunus Black tells Borsch that although they won, the cost of the battle was severed with the Venerus and Rod Hant being the only surviving vessels, Enginseer Prime Pak is planetside attempting to gather survivors from the fleet and the Admiral intends to help him; unsure of what dangers may lurk down on the moon of Strive the Admiral tells Oberlieutenant Jurgen Borsch to ensure that himself and the rest of the Void Kraken fighter squad are ready to fly if he needs them.
Admiral Fortunus Black’s shuttle lands near the last known position of Enginseer Prime Pak and he sees that the Enginseer has been gathering the sruvivors to him and attempting to build make-shift fortifications, cannibalising what small vessels and weapons they have to make something more permanent. Admiral Fortunus Black is happy to see that his cousin Polaris Black (ex-Captain of the now destroyed Lunatic Pandora) has survived, but sudden signal on their voxx frequency interrupts any further re-union; flying in the lower atmosphere alongside the other Void Krakens Oberlieutenant Jurgen Borsch informs Admiral Fortunus Black that his long-range scanners are detecting weapons fire around the central stone building in the largest native settlement.
“Multiple traitor astartes closing on building, am picking up signs that Chief Baldur and a dozen or so other natives are trapped inside” – Oberlieutenant Jurgen Borsch
“Buy us time to get there” – Admiral Fortunus Black
As Admiral Fortunus Black and Enginseer Prime Pak race towards the building in a commandeered vehicle they are just in time to witness a devastating strafing run by the Void Krakens that slays all of the traitor Astartes closing on the stone building, although the triumph is short lived as they see flashes of gunfire inside the building and recognise the sound of bolter fire.
“Damn it! Looks as though some had already got inside!” – Admiral Fortunus Black
As they enter the ground floor of the building, the heavy thudding of bolter fire can be heard coming directly from the floor above them, Enginseer Prime Pak and his men pour weapons fire into the ceiling causing it to collapse and unceremoniously dump the traitor marine onto the ground floor, before he has chance to rise the Admiral plants a boot on his chest and drives a power sword through one of the eyes of the traitor, who spasms for a few moments then lies still.
Returning from a re-arming run to the Venerus (where the lieutenant requested promethium bombs be fitted to the fighters) Oberlieutenant Jurgen Borsch and his squadron are circling back round for another run when they see a number of angry looking natives wielding primitive weapons running towards the building; unsure of whose side these natives are on they elect to abort the attack run for now. From inside the building Enginseer Prime Pak spots the primitives and recognises some of their primitive chanting as belonging to one of the Slaktin worshipping tribes that allied itself with Lorgar, ordering his men to follow suit Enginseer Prime Pak opens fire on the approaching primitives and, seeing this, Oberlieutenant Jurgen Borsch releases his promethium bomb, engulfing the natives in a napalm-like flame that swiftly burns them to death.
“Find me the sorceror!” – Admiral Fortunus Black
Using the fighter squadron as a relay, Admiral Fortunus Black contacts the Venerus and has their Navigator York Benetec use his psychic powers to search for the presence of the sorceror, York Benetec confirms that the sorceror is present in the building; nodding grimly, Admiral Fortunus Black has Enginseer Prime Pak patch him through to the voxx-unit built into the cybernetics they fitted to Chief Baldur and gives a warning for him to get out of the building before contacting the Void Krakens and given another order.
“Destroy that building!” – Admiral Fortunus Black
As they run from the building themselves, hearing the screaming of the approaching fighter craft, Enginseer Prime Pak spots the body of the fallen traitor Astartes and feels a twinge of human longing that he had long thought purged from his body as he spots the large power fist attached to one of the marines arms. Admiral Fortunus Black throws himself behind cover as missiles streak overhead towards the building, he looks around to find that Enginseer Prime Pak is no longer with him. At the very last minute the techpriest hurls himself behind cover, being caught in the last flash of the explosion, several of his metallic components buckled by heat and his flesh blackened, however, he grins at the power-fist gripped in his hands.
Walking back over to the ruins of the building they spot what appears to be some sort of energy globe protecting a small area and, inside it, the chaos sorceror who is injured but appears ot have survived using his unholy sorery to conjure some sort of force-field; as they approach the sorcerors energy gives out and the field collapses, sneering Admiral Fortunus Black responds by pouring fire into the body of the sorceror, as Enginseer Prime Pak joins him the sorceror finally collapses dead, his foul gods apparently deserting him. Admiral Fortunus Black can’t help but wonder though whether Lorgar was actually in the building and whether they’ve seen the last of the traitor marine.
As Oberlieutenant Jurgen Borsch and the Void Kraken fighter squadron are mopping up the remanants of the hostile forces, Admiral Fortunus Black has the Venerus perform a surface scan to look for the Thunderhawk gunship that the sorceror was last seen boarding; it is swiftly located secreted behind a nearby forest, Admiral Fortunus Black quickly rounds up a group of men to investigate and voxxes Oberlieutenant Jurgen Borsch to investigate from the air. Oberlieutenant Jurgen Borsch attempts to swoop in on the position of the Thunderhawk unseen but is unsuccessful and the guns of the craft begin to open fire although the fighters do not sustain any damage. Using this distaction Admiral Fortunus Black, Enginseer Prime Pak and their soldiers have approached the Thunderhawk’s position, but are horrified to see that, fore-warned by the presence of enemy fighters it has begun to take off; acting instinctively they both grab hold of landing struts and are lifted into the air.
The Thunderhawk flies upwards, obviously planning to enter low orbit, whilst Enginseer Prime Pak tries frantically to interface with the machine spirit of the craft and open the door, but several security measures send painful electrical impulses surging through his synapses; in a last desperate attempt as the air begins to thin Admiral Fortunus Black slices the locks from the door with his power sword and they climb onboard to be met by weapons fire from two guards in the cargo bay. Returning fire with their own weapons Admiral Fortunus Black and Enginseer Prime Pak make short work of the guards and hurl their bodies unceremoniously out of the open Thunderhawk door.
Outside the Void Krakens have been attempting to crowd the Thunderhawk and force it to land, but the traitor craft attempts to ram them instead; following the training maneuvres that they had practiced Oberlieutenant Jurgen Borsch and his squad jink around it an are unharmed. Onboard the Thunderhawk, Enginseer Prime Pak has managed to interface with the machine spirit and opens the door to the cockpit, snarling curses at them the traitor marine pilot hits an eject button and the cockpit window flies off as his seat jet boosts the vile renegade Astartes into the air. There is a brief cavalcade of fire and small pieces of armour rain down as the Void Kraken lock their weapons on the ejecting marine and destroy him utterley.
Now interfaced with the machine spirit Enginseer Prime Pak is able to effect a landing but the landing struts are severely damaged in the process; Admiral Fortunus Black voxxes for a shuttle to take him back to the Venerus, promising to send more tech-adepts down to assist Enginseer Prime Pak salvaging the Thunderhawk. As he leaves the Admiral receives a signal from Polaris telling him that they have met up with Baldur (who survived the explosion due to his bionic imnplants) and that, with the help of the other survivors and the fighter squadrons from the Venerus they are driving back the enemy; Polaris explains that Baldur has asked Admiral Fortunus Black to give his people sanctuary on the Venerus, the Admiral appears to ponder the matter for a minute then agrees before breaking communication.
A few hours later back on the Venerus, Enginseer Prime Pak unveils the damaged recording device entrusted to him by Baldur, he has repaired it so that it should play the full message; as they activate it a shakey projection of a large Astartes with pronounced canines bearing the iconography of the Space Wolves chapter reveals that he was the only surviving marine on a ship carrying Astartes geneseed through this sector when they were attacked and forced to set down on the large moon. Injured beyond human endurance and slowly dying the marine left the surviving thralls and what little technology he could on the moon, hoping that some day they would return to the bosom of the Imperium; knowing that he could not allow the geneseed to fall into enemy hands he climbed aboard his ship and set it on auto-pilot for the systems sun.
“So that was what Lorgar meant by rebirth, the ship must still be out there somewhere.” – Admiral Fortunus Black

Rogue Trader Campaign Log – Session 18: RULES BREAKDOWN

I’ve been asked a couple of times to give more details about the actually rules, etc used during the sessions, but since I didn’t want to break up the narrative I thought that i’d separate this stuff out into it’s own post, let me know what you think.
The original post can be found here.

With the second wave of enemy ships approaching Lord Admiral Black looked around at the ragged remnant of his fleet and took stock of the force that he has to take on the encroaching heretics, his flagship, the Venerus, was largely untouched (aside from some minor cosmetic damage), the Lunatic Pandorawas functional but had sustained heavy damaged and the Rod Hant was currently fighting off boarders from the first wave of the enemy, and they had only a couple of days before the mainstay of Lorgar Khan’s fleet arrived.

Each of the ships used in this combat had a series of stress boxes worth 1 stress and no consequences; medium ships has three such boxes, with larger ships having four and extremely large ships having five. The ships broke down as follows:
Venerus (players flagship) [] [] [] []
Lunatic Pandora (players) [] [] []
Clan ships (including the Rod Hant + the enemy clan ships) [] [] []
Dark Omen (traitor space marine battle barge) [] [] [] [] []
The Venerus has been established as having an elite crew previously in the game so received a +2 bonus to attack/defence rolls, the Rod Hant was severely damaged in the previous combat and so received a -2 to attack/defence rolls.
The Dark Omen is also crewed by elites and so received a +2 bonus to attack and defence rolls.

Over the course of the first day Admiral Black helped Captain Pak repel the boarders on the Rod Hant and eventually they succeeding in killing the last one, although a lengthy check for sabotage and explosives did means that they did not have time to fully repair the extensive damage that the Rod Hant had sustained in the previous combat. Realising that, in their present shape, they could not hope to challenge the mighty Battle Barge of the traitor AstartedLorgar Khan they concocted a desperate plan whereby they would use the ancient teleportarium aboard the Venerus to teleport a fire-linked collection of krak missiles and other explosives into the engine room of the enemy vessel.

The players were offered the choice of thoroughly ensuring that the Rod Hant was free of sabotage, but in return not having time to repair it (and taking a -2 penalty in the fight) or repairing it but potentially having some saboteurs or explosives on board (that may have been used for compels later); knowing that the fight was going to be a close one they chose the former option.

As they readied themselves for combat on the second day, Admiral Black sat on the bridge watching the approaching fleet, his wife at his side and placed his head in his hands; suddenly he was no longer on the bridge of the Venerus but was standing in the royal chambers on his homeworld of Telec Prime, groups of panicked medical technicians were running down a corridor towards a room that he recognised as belong to his father Macharius Black, almost without thinking the Admiral followed them. In the room Macharius, looking sickly, his eyes yellowed and his face (which bore a striking resemblance to that of the Admiral) pale, he was railing against the med-techs who appeared to be informing him that his treatments were no longer proving effective; shouting that there was none to take his place leading the family if he died, Macharius ordered them to send for his sons, there must be other technology out there that could preserve his life. 

One of the established character Aspects of Lord Admiral Fortunus Black is that he suffers from blackouts; the player was offered a fate point to reveal some of the plot using this Aspect and accepted leading to the above scene unfolding.

A voice called out to Admiral Black and he jerked awake in the command chair, his wife Lady Dominique Decusis-Black was shaking his arm and looking at him in a concerned manner, but he waved away her concerns saying that he was fine. Captain Pak had finished adapting one of the damaged murder servitors from the Lunatic Pandora and had wired it into the trigger mechanism of the bomb that they had constructed, as the first enemy ships entered range and began to open fire with macro-batteries Pak began to have the teleportarium chamber prepped for dispatch; Navigator York Benetec had been psychically scanning the area and relayed the coordinates for the likely location of the engine room about the enemy battle barge. 

The Venerus was discovered and salvaged in-game with an archeotech teleportarium aboard it, this has been modelled in Fate using a Stunt that once per game session allows them to teleport a small party (or the equivalent mass) from anywhere within the same system to the Venerus or from the Venerus to anywhere in the system (that they have the coordinates to). In desperation the players decided to use it to transport a large amount of explosives aboard the approaching battle barge, their tech (Captain Pak) was required to make some risky rolls to connect them all up without explosive results, but he easily passed them.

As his mind probed the area of space around them, Benetec felt another presence and, sensing that it was not hostile, allowed it to make contact with him; Benetec found himself on a prosperous world of fluted silver towers and happy people, the hazy psychic projection of the chaos sorceror Kantor Pilusfloating next to him. Pilus showed Benetec how his homeworld had been devastated by the Astartes after their leader had attempted to use forbidden sorcery to warn the Emperor of treachery from within, “although we were right, this was our reward” mocked the sorceror with a touch of sadness in his voice. Pilus attempted to persuade Benetec that if they just handing the ancient recording device to Lorgar that much bloodshed could be avoided, Benetec refused and broke off the psychic connection. 

York Benetec’s player was offered a fate point to reveal some of the plot (in a manner similar to the blackout earlier) and accepted; this scene was RP entirely sans-dice and was more about the choices that the player would make.

The space around Strive filled with escape pods and short range craft as the survivors of ruined ships on both sides sort to make their way planet side; the remaining enemy clan ship attempted to flee, laying mines to cover it’s tracks but it was destroyed by the Venerus, York Benetec was able to use his psychic powers to direct the ships mine defence lasers to target and take out the remaining mines. Meanwhile the Rod Hant had picked up a signal coming from an escaped enemy shuttle that was recognisably Adpetus Mechanicus in origin, moving to intercept, Captain Pak discovered onboard the rogue tech Vorl whom they had previously (on the insistence of the Vitanteur Syndicate) ferried to Footfall from Hiveworld Decusis; Vorl claimed to have been captured on an enemy raid and to have pretended to defect, in his gratitude at having been rescued he revealed Lorgar intended to use the ancient recording device to locate something in the system that would allow some sort of “rebirth.”

The actual combat was played out identically to a normal combat (using attack/defence rolls) with the two elite crewed ships going first and the rest following in no particular order (I generally went player ships first and then enemy ships), each point of stress taken ticked off one of the ships stress boxes. Players were allowed to spend their fate points to re-roll/boost their rolls for ships that their characters were on, as long as they had an appropriate Aspect; this mainly came into play with Admiral Black since his Aspects are mostly based around being a ship’s Captain and they pretty much allowed the Venerus to come through the combat unscathed.
Due to the speed of the vessels involved and the distances under consideration I did not use zones in this combat simply alerting the players when the enemy ships were entering range; the Venerus had moved to the other side of the moon to conceal itself, I had Admiral Black make a command roll against the command roll of Lorgar Khan, the players won and thus were not spotted until too late.
A fate point was offered for an additional complication and, when accepted, this lead to the pickup of the Adeptus Mechanicus signal from the rogue-tech Vorl and some additional information about Lorgar Khan’s goals being revealed. 

Relaying this information to Admiral Black, Captain Pak headed down to planet in a landing craft and began broadcasting a signal to draw any survivors from the Lunatic Pandora to them, as they began to arrive in dribs and drabs he was happy to see that Captain Polaris had survived (apparently after a crew member had knocked him out and put him in an escape pod); however the surface of the planet was rapidly coming a war zone as the survivors from both sides began to battle through the streets.

 Because it didn’t seem very interesting to just rule that everyone was dead (and as a lead in to the next session) I rules that a lot of people would have made it to escape vessels and would be heading for the nearby moon of Strive (where the player characters spent much of the previous session).
This nicely sets up a battlezone style scenario for the next game and allows for a more satisfying confrontation with the enemy other than just blowing up his ship (whilst still rewarding the players for their inventiveness with the teleportarium, since they have deprived Lorgar Khan of much of his mobility).

Rogue Trader Campaign Log – Session 18: Death in the Black

With the second wave of enemy ships approaching Lord Admiral Black looked around at the ragged remnant of his fleet and took stock of the force that he has to take on the encroaching heretics, his flagship, the Venerus, was largely untouched (aside from some minor cosmetic damage), the Lunatic Pandora was functional but had sustained heavy damaged and the Rod Hant was currently fighting off boarders from the first wave of the enemy, and they had only a couple of days before the mainstay of Lorgar Khan’s fleet arrived.
Over the course of the first day Admiral Black helped Captain Pak repel the boarders on the Rod Hant and eventually they succeeding in killing the last one, although a lengthy check for sabotage and explosives did means that they did not have time to fully repair the extensive damage that the Rod Hant had sustained in the previous combat. Realising that, in their present shape, they could not hope to challenge the mighty Battle Barge of the traitor Astarted Lorgar Khan they concocted a desperate plan whereby they would use the ancient teleportarium aboard the Venerus to teleport a fire-linked collection of krak missiles and other explosives into the engine room of the enemy vessel.
As they readied themselves for combat on the second day, Admiral Black sat on the bridge watching the approaching fleet, his wife at his side and placed his head in his hands; suddenly he was no longer on the bridge of the Venerus but was standing in the royal chambers on his homeworld of Telec Prime, groups of panicked medical technicians were running down a corridor towards a room that he recognised as belong to his father Macharius Black, almost without thinking the Admiral followed them. In the room Macharius, looking sickly, his eyes yellowed and his face (which bore a striking resemblance to that of the Admiral) pale, he was railing against the med-techs who appeared to be informing him that his treatments were no longer proving effective; shouting that there was none to take his place leading the family if he died, Macharius ordered them to send for his sons, there must be other technology out there that could preserve his life.
A voice called out to Admiral Black and he jerked awake in the command chair, his wife Lady Dominique Decusis-Black was shaking his arm and looking at him in a concerned manner, but he waved away her concerns saying that he was fine. Captain Pak had finished adapting one of the damaged murder servitors from the Lunatic Pandora and had wired it into the trigger mechanism of the bomb that they had constructed, as the first enemy ships entered range and began to open fire with macro-batteries Pak began to have the teleportarium chamber prepped for dispatch; Navigator York Benetec had been psychically scanning the area and relayed the coordinates for the likely location of the engine room about the enemy battle barge.
As his mind probed the area of space around them, Benetec felt another presence and, sensing that it was not hostile, allowed it to make contact with him; Benetec found himself on a prosperous world of fluted silver towers and happy people, the hazy psychic projection of the chaos sorceror Kantor Pilus floating next to him. Pilus showed Benetec how his homeworld had been devastated by the Astartes after their leader had attempted to use forbidden sorcery to warn the Emperor of treachery from within, “although we were right, this was our reward” mocked the sorceror with a touch of sadness in his voice. Pilus attempted to persuade Benetec that if they just handing the ancient recording device to Lorgar that much bloodshed could be avoided, Benetec refused and broke off the psychic connection.
Combat was erupting in the space around the moon of Strive, there was a series of explosions as the Lunatic Pandora buckled and then was torn apart amidst a hail of projectiles and lance fire; the teleportarium hummed aboard the Venerus and, as the large bomb disappeared, it looked for a moment as though the plan might not succeed and then a huge blast torn apart the rear section of the encroaching battle barge the explosion engulfing one of the other four clan ships that accompanied it. Macro-batteries from the Venerus made short work of two more but both it and the Rod Hant has taken serious damage.
The space around Strive filled with escape pods and short range craft as the survivors of ruined ships on both sides sort to make their way planet side; the remaining enemy clan ship attempted to flee, laying mines to cover it’s tracks but it was destroyed by the Venerus, York Benetec was able to use his psychic powers to direct the ships mine defence lasers to target and take out the remaining mines. Meanwhile the Rod Hant had picked up a signal coming from an escaped enemy shuttle that was recognisably Adpetus Mechanicus in origin, moving to intercept, Captain Pak discovered onboard the rogue tech Vorl whom they had previously (on the insistence of the Vitanteur Syndicate) ferried to Footfall from Hiveworld Decusis; Vorl claimed to have been captured on an enemy raid and to have pretended to defect, in his gratitude at having been rescued he revealed Lorgar intended to use the ancient recording device to locate something in the system that would allow some sort of “rebirth.”
Relaying this information to Admiral Black, Captain Pak headed down to planet in a landing craft and began broadcasting a signal to draw any survivors from the Lunatic Pandora to them, as they began to arrive in dribs and drabs he was happy to see that Captain Polaris had survived (apparently after a crew member had knocked him out and put him in an escape pod); however the surface of the planet was rapidly coming a war zone as the survivors from both sides began to battle through the streets.

Engage Improv Drive, Mook speed ahead!

In my last post about space combat in my Rogue Trader game (http://wh40krpg.blogspot.co.uk/2013/06/testing-proposed-narrative-space-combat.html for anyone interested) I talked a bit about using a narrative system for space combat; in my session earlier today however I found that the players moved through the plot I had envisioned fairly quickly and onto a space combat scene which I had not entirely scripted out.
In a moment of inspiration I decided to use the mook rules from Fate Accelerated, given any ships with an advantage in the combat +2 to their attack/defence rolls and giving any ships with a disadvantage a -2 to their attack/defence rolls; each normal sized ship was given three stress boxes with smaller ones being given a single stress box and larger ships being given five. We then just played the attack out as a fairly standard combat with the players rolling for their own and allied ships with myself rolling for the enemy ships.
The system seemed to work fairly well and we got through two space combats in a fairly small space of time, no-one was sat around bored and we paused every now and again to check on the overall tactics of the players and highlight important moments in the combat. We also had a few good compels where one of the ships was allowed to keep fighting in an almost crippled state in return for being boarded and another ship was allowed to remain undestroyed but was forced to withdraw from the fighting.
This seemed to work great and I highly recommend using the mook rules from Accelerated if you ever have a need to improv an encounter in a Fate game.

Rogue Trader Campaign Log – Session 17: Changer of Ways

One moment York Benetec is standing in the crater when suddenly he is standing on a ship (that seems to be of Imperial manufacture) talking to a cruel, pale figure that he recognises from a previous psychic conversation as Lorgar; Lorgar tells him that he best not fail him and that they need to locate the holo-record, the information it holds could allow them to build anew. 
“You had best not fail me Kantor” – Lorgar Khan, Word Bearers Chaos Space Marine legion
In a voice not his own Benetec responds telling Lorgar that he won’t fail; looking down at his body York sees that he is clad in deep blue power armour with burnished golden trim, behind him stand five similarly armoured figures, motionless like automatons with no glimmers of a soul lurking behind the blak abyss of their helmet visors.
The vision changes and now he is in a fighter craft, looking out of the window he sees the guncutter piloted by by Jurgen shoot his fighter, pausing briefly to murder the all to human pilot by punching a fist through his chest York/Kantor jumps out of the falling fighter, mouthing strange words of power he conjures a mystical force field that protects him from most of force of hitting the ground. As the ground rushes towards him, York snaps back into his own body at the moment of impact.
“Beschütze mich vor meinen Feinden Tzeentch” – Sorceror Kantor Pilus of the Thousand Sons Legion
As York Benetec recovers his senses Admiral Black begins running up the crater with his power sword drawn; there is a sudden gout of blue/pink fire and the twisted body of Jurgen is thrown through the air over their heads and disappears down into the crater; Captain Pak grabs a piece of sheet metal to use as a temporary shield and begins following. A burnt circle of smouldering trees surrounding the armoured figure attests to the fires that the sorceror unleashed on Jurgen.
Admiral Black lurks around using the smoke of the burnt trees as cover, he sees the sorceror conjure a small flcikering flame in his palm and stare into it; he talks to someone, confirming his survival and asking for an extraction. Baldur ask Admiral Black to help save his people if anything happens to him, he produces the holo-record guarded by his people and gives it to Admiral Black before him and his men scream and charge, throwing their spears at the armoured figure now standing in a circle of charred trees. The spears ping off the armour of the chaos space marine who seems to regard them as little more than annoyance as York Benetec begins laying down covering fire.
Chanting the sorceror causes fire to rain down from the sky scorching Admiral Black, Benetec tries to use his psychic powers to shield himself but the fire penetrates it, burning him with warp tainted flames; he continues to lay down covering fire as Baldur’s men rush the sorceror, forcing him onto the ground, stabbing at him with primitive weapons. A gout of flame blasts Baldur off the sorceror, throwing his spasming body to the ground whilst the sorceror throws off the warriors and begins rising to his feet.
Admiral Black blasts away at the mighty figure with his plasma pistol, the weapon growing hot in his hands as he fires; Benetec senses the sorceror attempting to teleport himself and take Admiral Black with him, although unable to prevent the sorceror escaping York Benetec is able to use his psychic powers to stop the heretic taking Admiral Black with him. With a blinding flash of blue/pink light the sorceror vanishes.
Captain Pak examines York Baldur, the tribal chief is severely injured and unconscious with a huge hole scorched in his chest and his right arm ruined, Pak says that bionics might save the chief but that he needs the facilities onboard ship. York Benetec senses a warp disturbance as numerous vessels enter the system.
“I think the sorceror’s extraction has arrived.” – Navigator York Benetec
Admiral Black suddenly remembers Jurgen and runs back into the crater, finding the twisted, unconscious body of Jurgen lying in a stunted tree growing from the side of the crate; with the help of Captain Pak he gets Jurgen down but the pilot is unconscious. Benetec sends a psychic signal out into space requesting help and a few moments later the comm-link crackles, it’s Polaris, the Lunatic Pandor has entered the system and has picked up Admiral Black’s signal, they are coming to extract him.
Admiral Black tells them to send guncutters to pick them up in the village, directing Baldur’s men through gestures they take the two unconscious men back to town with Captain Pak doing his best to keep them stable; York Benetec tells Admiral Black that the chaos space marines are seeking the Drodd clan’s holo-record for some unholy purpose. Black suggests that Captain Pak take rulership of Clan Drodd whilst Baldur is incapacitated, Captain Pak says that he should be able to effect bionic replacements for Baldur’s damaged flesh once they get access to the facilities on one of their ships. Benetec suggests that instead they don’t tell the tribe that Baldur is injured, saying that he is taking the fight into the skies; Admiral Black agrees.
They meet with the priest Deacon Kiril, Kiril agrees to take their message to the Drodd tribe, but says that without word from Baldur they may not believe him. Coming under heavy fighter fire the Lunatic Pandora’s fighters are pursued by small enemy craft into the atmosphere, despite the enemy destroying one of their guncutters a couple of them are able to land. Captain Pak and the guncutter techs hook their Rhino APC up to the guncutter, they dive inside it and are buffetted around as the guncutter takes off, jinking to avoid enemy fire as they burst through the atmosphere and dock with the Lunatic Pandora (itself under heavy fire) from hostile clan ships in high orbit around the moon Strive.
Polaris greets them on the ship, he says that they warped into the system recently, having only repelled the boarders at great cost and only due to the murder servitors on board (although many were damaged or destroyed), they weren’t expecting to jump into a fire fight quite so soon and are ill-prepared. Benetec receives primitive astropathic communication, he suspects from Sjomann Amelie Klok, that shows her face, a golden eye and the sun of the Endeavour System, however he doesn’t know what it means; Polaris and Admiral Black move to the bridge of the Lunatic Pandora.
Sensors pick up two enemy clan-ships inbound, Admiral Black recommends moving between the planet and moon both in an attempt to shield themselves and to locate the Clan Drodd ships they believe to be concealed there; the med-techs are able to wake Baldur temporarily, long enough for him to order his ships to assist the Lunatic Pandora before he passes out again.
York Benetec goes to the navigator chamber where he finds Passacaglia Belisarius, looking extremely strained and worn out from continually broadcasting psychic static to make enemy ships unable to locate them; he requests that he be allowed to use the equipment in the chamber, greatful for a respite Belisarius staggers from the chair and allows York Benetec to take control. Benetec uses his psychic senses to perceive the surrounding areas and picks up on three incoming hostile clan ships.
Admiral Black orders fighters deployed and, although the small vessels are able to damage one of the enemy ships, they are quickly destroyed by the firepower of the larger ships, Polaris orders his ships to engage. As salvoes of macro-battery fire flash across the black voice one of their ships is destroyed, whilst the Lunatic Pandora and another of the clan-ships are damaged, with one escaping unharmed.
Captain Pak begins working on replacing the damaged lung of Baldur and his right arm with more efficient technological alternative; a comm-link sounds and they are relieved to hear that the Venerus has arrived, Lady Decusis-York Black is pleased to hear that Fortunus is well, but informs him that there are more enemy ships incoming. Admiral Black and York Benetec relocate to the Venerus (taking Baldur and Jurgen with them), Captain Pak heads aboard the Rod Hant ready to command his warriors in battle.
A fierce space battle erupts as three enemy clan-ships arrive, behind them floats a strange asteroid like ship with numerous silver towers rising from it, oink and blue fire crackles from the towers striking their vessels.
“It has been a pleasure serving with you York Benetec” – Admiral Fortunus Black, Rogue Trader
During the combat, the Lunatic Pandora is crippled and forced to withdraw, another Drodd clan-ship is destroyed along with the Solv Tann, whilst the Rod Hant is boarded although it continues fighting. Enraged by his ship’s inability to influence the fighting Admiral Black has the Venerus pour all of it’s firepower into the tower and the remaining enemy clan-ship destroying both in a conflaguration of plasma, although a small craft is detected fleeing the tower ship.
Benetec informs them that more enemy ships are approaching from the centre of the system but that it will take them a day or two to reach their position, things look grim as the various Captain’s begin consider their options, aware that the battle fortress of Lorgar Khan speeds towards them like onrushing death.

Rogue Trader Campaign Log – Session 15: To Strive and not to Yield

Captain Pak gathers the men that he bought with him from the Rod Hant, sturdy space warriors all, whilst Admiral Black musters a group of his men including Oberlieutenant Joergen Borsch of the 1st fighter squadron (nicknamed the ‘Void Krakens’) who wears a flight suit, bolt pistol and power sword; the sound of warning klaxxons blares throughout on ship, as the noise continues the crew begin to head to their posts with practiced efficiency whilst the Captain Pak and Admiral Black’s partys head towards where the alert has been triggered, the central mess room of the ship, stopping only briefly for Pak to leave some of his trusted tech-adepts in the teleportarium, ordering them to keep a lock on the senior officers so that, if they needed to, they could attempt to ‘port the officers out.
“Maybe the demon will eat the food and die?” – Oberlieutenat Joergen Borsch


As they draw closer the smell of blood fills the corridors and a strange humid, oppresive heat hangs over the area, in the distance there is a sound like a cross between a bull lowing and a man screaming; Pak suggests sending in the servo-skull but Admiral Black brushes his suggestion aside, hefts his power sword and charges into the main mess hall. The walls and floors of the mess room are splattered with blood, causing the Admiral to doubt his footing as he enters the chamber; in the centre of the room a large, crimson skinned demonic figure stands astride a pile of bodies and upturned furniture, it grips an obsidian weapon in one of its gore splattered claws. Admiral Black and Navigator Benetec both have a strange sensation that the blade itself is a seperate, hungry entity that cries out for the lives and souls of its victims; whilst the demon is intent on butchering the dying crew at it’s feet Black storms in, vaulting across the table and swinging his power sword through the air, however the tough, demonic hide turns aside most of the blows force, sending sparks cascading through the air. York Benetec runs in after the Admiral, trying not to slide on the blood drenched floor, striking it squarely with his crackling thunder hammer and causing the beast to give rent to an ear-splitting roar.
Still slightly injured from his previous exploits Captain Pak marshals his men around him and leads a coordinated support effort, the clan warriors flooding around the demon and stabbing at it with crude weapons, with the support of Pak’s mechandrite arm lashing out, they swamp the creature hack and stabbing at it. Oberlieutenant Borsch slides into the room and with a deafening boom discharges his bolt pistol, unfortunately missing the head of the beast and blowing a small crater in the floor of the chamber; roaring the demon throws off its attackers and stabs at Captain Pak with it’s hissing hellblade, his men grab their captain and pull him back trying to avoid the strike but the hilt of the blade strikes Pak on the side of his head, shattering the cappilaries in his eye and causing a large contusion to begin forming. The demon swings it’s blade towards Admiral Black who takes the blow on his own power sword sending flaming sparks spiraling through the air (setting fire to some of the furniture), the force of the blow throws the Admiral to the floor, winding him; picking himself up the Admiral gulps a lungfull of recycled air and charges back into the combat, determined not to let this evil creature triumph, swinging his sword he scores a shallow cut down the side of the creature, vile, hissing ichor sprays from the wound.
York Benetec pushes through the debris towards the creature, screaming his defiance of it and bringing down the thunder hammer he inherited from Confessor Cornelius, caving in the rib-cage of the creature, it struggles to stand for a moment, warp fire and bloody ichor leaking from its wound, before exploding in a shower of blood and gore, its deathcry fading in the air.
“FOR THE EMPEROR!” – Navigator York Benetec
Pak checks that there is no further combat or incursions taking place on the Venerus before organising for the mess hall to be quarantined and cleaned up, 
Benetec notices that the creatures sword remains, its blade embedded in the floor of the chamber, and sees that another crewman has also spotted it and is reached his hand out for it; mindful of the dangers of such warp tainted objects and with little time to react Benetec fires his pistol, shooting the crew member dead before his hand has chance to close around the handle of the tainted weapon. Admiral Black and York Benetec sense a distortian of the air around the blade as blood from the slain crew member splatters on the weapon, realising that it could still pose a significant threat Benetec says that he needs the area cleared so that he can banish the foul sword back into the immaterium.
Once the chamber is clear Benetec begins to drain the warp energies from the weapon, syphoning them through his warp eye and allowing them to disperse into the immaterium, as it flickers and fades the deformed Navigator feels a faint echo of the rage and thirst for blood once imbued in the blade; meanwhile Lady Decusis Black has contacted the Admiral from the bridge, she is relieved to hear that her husband is safe and tells him that she never doubted that he would triumph over the chaos creature, she also reports that Tulius is well on the road to recovery.
Oberlieutenant Borsch and Pak begin making plans to visit the, as yet unnamed clan ship, Pak suggests that perhaps Borsch could assume command, in the same manner that he himeself did on the Rod Hant.
“Are you kidding? Have you seen the turning circle of those things? It’s the size of a planet!” – Oberlieutenant Joergen Borsch
Sjomann Amelie is stood on the bridge as Admiral Black arrives there, guarded by an officer (presumably on the instructions of Lady Decusis-Black), he gives orders for the Sjomann to be taken to one of the vacant officers quarters. Two shuttles are prepared to approach the unnamed clan ship, the shuttle piloted by Objerlieutenant Borsch easily reaches the ship first and begins inspecting it for potential weaknesses; they both dock and use their vox systems to contact the ship and arrange to go aboard. The layout of the ship is very similar to the Rod Hant, one of the flanks of the ship is badly damaged but the crew has started to repair it; one of the Imperial troops that was left on the ship approaches looking concerned, he takes them through the ship to one of the weapons bays and they see that all of the crew are kneeling down as though in prayer all facing in the same direction, clasping a weapon to their breasts.
Borsch realises that the primitive clansmen appear to be facing towards where the Venerus is located; Sjomann Amelie says that although not part of this crew and thus not familiar with their rituals it is obviously one of their clan’s religious rites, the trooper points out that all crew members on the ship are doing the same thing, he has no idea what triggered it but it started with the Sjomann of the ship. Slightly worried, Pak contacts one of his servitors aboard the Rod Hant, the servitor in its monotone voice reports no change in activity aboard the vessel; Sjomann Amelie explains that, although her people try and remain above the clan warfare and their traditions, there are numerous deities that they worship and it may be any one of these that the crew are paying homage to. Pak contacts Admiral Black, as he is talking however the crew begin to return to their positions, the ceremony apparently concluded.
On the Venerus, York Benetec senses that the unnamed clan ship is attempting to enter the warp and stumbles into his sensorium chamber just in time to see a bright flash as the clan ship disappears into the warp, he immediately contacts Lord Admiral Black to inform him, the Admiral leaves Lady Decusis-Black, his wife, in charge of the Venerus before heading across to the Rod Hant with a contingent of tech-adepts, he plans to have both ships attempt to track and follow the unnamed ship (that still has Pak and Joergan onboard). Benetec warns that having a group of ships arriving simultaneously via the warp is unlikely, and he doubts the skill of the witch woman.
“There is a problem with this however, its already difficult enough for one navigator to follow a signal correctly, two is extremely difficult and I have no knowledge of the skills of this witch woman” – Navigator York Benetec
“Well, we’ll soon find out, wish me luck” – Lord Admiral Black
“I may see you in a few years Admiral” – York Benetec
Now on the Rod Hant, Admiral Black asks Sjomann Amelie whether she can follow the other ship through the warp, she says that with the appropriate rituals she will be able to follow the Solv Tann (apparently the name of the other ship) through what she calls the realm of the gods; watching the Sjomann begin her rituals, Admiral Black is struck by a strange, almost hypnotic pattern of bones and markings that she lays out around her as part of her ritual. Attempting to puzzle out the pattern the Admiral starts to see some sort of otherworldy pattern or connection between the objects, part of his mind seems to shy away from it, he can feel that the pattern is affecting his psyche and senses the opportunity for great power or destruction in the pattern. Steeling himself against all doubt and hungry for power, Admiral Black attempts to grasp the mind bending pattern laid out in front of him; unseen by the him his body begins a subtle serpentine change, retractable fangs and poison glands beginning to take shape below the skin of his jaw.
Admiral Black wakes up some moments later lying on the floor of the Sjomann’s chamber, from the humming of the engines around him it is obvious that during his convalescence the Rod Hant has entered the warp; both ships head for the Endeavour System but meet with resistance, a form of warp stasis around the system making it more hazardous to navigate there and lengthening the journey time; the Rod Hant and Venerus arrive almost simultaneously in the Endeavour System and quickly conduct scans, they don’t pick up any ships (besides themselves) in the vicinity, they assume that due to the vagaries of the warp that they have arrived before the other clan ship. Sjomann Amelie informs them that although many of the clans live on fleets of roving clan ships some of them live a more traditional planet-bound life on the large moon of Strive, she also explains that when the Sky Warrior returned, Clan Mord left their home amongst the asteroid belts (which they mined for minerals, competing with a clan of scavengers called Clan Kjempe) and went to join him; she explains that the main inhabitants of Strive are called Clan Drod and have a ship in orbit around the moon. Clan Drod are the only clan who refused to side outright with the Sky Warrior (although they didn’t openly rebel), she doesn’t know why but it was something to do with ancient writings preserved from their ancestors. The Sjomann cautions against approaching in ships belonging to another clan but says that they should be able to get hospitallity from them.
Admiral Black decides to visit the planet in a shuttle, taking the Sjomann and a small party with him, ordering the ships to wait for them, concealed in the asteroid fields of the system.
Oberlieutenant Borsch arrives on the bridge of the Solv Tann, he sees a hulking figure in the command chair barking orders in a growled primitive language; Borsch addresses him and is horrifed to see that the captain seems to have a twisted houndlike head, instinctively he fires his bolt pistol, punching a hole through the captain who is dead before his body hits the floor.
“Is there anyone else having a problem with surrendering?” – Oberlieutent Borsch
Borsch spots one other obvious mutant, a figure with ragged bat wings standing at one of the consoles, he kicks the Captains corpse out of the chair and sits down beckoning the winged figure over and asking him about their destination, the ragged figure replies “We return to our home system. Sjomann say it takes 35 Sjtel-links.” Captain Pak arrives on the bridge just as this is going on and, due to his greater knowledge of the clansmen, is able to estimate that 35 Sjtel-links is about 50 Imperial Days; frustrated Borsch puts another round in the old captains head for good measure.
On the moon of Strive, Admiral Blacks guncutter breaks through the slightly thin atmosphere of the massive moon; they locate a small valley amongst the monstly mountainous terrain, shielded by coniferous trees, about twenty miles away from a fairly large settlement. Landing they camouflage the guncutter whilst Admiral Black has the tech-adepts uncouple the Rhino APC from the ship and, with a churning of dirt, they begin heading toward the settlement.
“I wonder if this is where that Imperial Missionary went?” – Admiral Black
“Cornelius knew about that sort of thing and he’s dead, perhaps I should ask his thunder hammer?” – Navigator York Benetec
There is a permanent wooden city surrounded by a sea of hide tents, and the odd loose stonework building forming a strange melange of different building styles in the distance; as the APC approached one of the tech-adepts picks up an imperial power signature 50km to the west, Admiral Black orders them to head towards it and eventually they approach an old fashioned Imperial Shuttle, the outside of it bears the iconography of the Ecclesiarchy. Next to the shuttle are a couple of lean-tos that have been fabricated with materials of Imperial manufacture, as they approach a number of the primitive clans-folk start pointing excitedly and warily at the Rhino APC; as the Rhino pulls to a halt, an excited young native girl leads on old man wearing Imperial priest robes from one of the lean-tos, he’s a little doddery on his feet but he has a serene look to his face, he leans heavily on a gnarled walking stick with an iron skull and Imperial Aquila mounted atop it. The man introduces himself as Deacon Kiril.
“It’s good to see honest Imperial citizens in our little system” – Deacon Kiril
Admiral Black mentions Confessor Cornelius and Deacon Kiril is saddened to hear that Cornelius has died, the news hitting him heavily and forcing him to sit down on a cargo crate; in response to the Deacons queries the Admiral omits some of the details of Cornelius’ death but says that he died during a mutiny caused by the evil of a demon that penetrated the Venerus’ Gellar field. Deacon Kiril talks about the start that both he and his junior priests have begun bringing the clansmen back into the Emperor’s light, he says that it may even be possible that they are descendants of lost Imperial explorers.
“At my age, I believe it is possible I may never leave this world and our work may not be completed in my lifetime, but it is enough to know that we have started these people down the road to their own redemption” – Deacon Kiril
Kiril offers hospitallity to Admiral Black’s party, the Admiral accepts and explains that they are waiting for a ship that absconded into the warp with two of his crew, Sjomann Amelie explains that it was Clan Mord who absconded with the crew; the Deacon looks trouble and says that he’s heard some false religious figure has recently risen and has corrupted some of the tribes furthest from the Emperor. Although he hasn’t been off world to find out more of this, apparently a representative from this ‘Sky Warrior’ attempted to persuade the chief of Clan Drod to rally to their banner although the clan chief does not seem interested; apparently the more barbarous clans have flocked to the Sky Warriors banner.
Deacon Kiril shares a thick, hearty broth with the Admiral’s party, simple but nourishing fare and tells them that the planet is roamed by large mammoths that are hunted by the clansmen for their pelts, tusks and meat; there were once some great predators on the planet (including the dreaded Nak-tar) but the early clansmen hunted them to extinction either for food or as part of their barbaric coming of age rituals. Over the course of the next 20 days the Deacon explains that the clansmen build a lot of their ships in space, mostly in the asteroid belts and clusters throughout the system and that the chief of Clan Drod currently rules the planet, his clan being one of the few to maintain a permanent planetary presence; he believes that the religion of the clansmen is a primitive form of Emperor worship and agrees to arrange a meeting within the month between the clan chief and the Admiral.
Clan Drod have not come out in open opposition to the Sky Warrior (apparently because of some ancient writings that they have preserved from their ancestors) since if the other clans were to unite against Clan Drod (even though they are a large clan) they wouldn’t stand a chance; but he has made it clear that he is not interested.
“That Clan Drod has rejected this heresy speaks well of their reformation” – Navigator York Benetec
“It is my hopes that from the tiny acorns of this act the mighty oaks of righteousness my grow and that these people can be shepherded back to the Emperor, I fear the same may not be said of the other clans” – Deacon Kiril
One the Solv Tann, Borsch has discovered that Mikhil the winged is the first mate; Captain Pak asks him about the ceremony that they conducted shortly before entering the warp and the mutated crew member explains that the Sjomann had sensed the will of their patron deity Slaktin being made known in the world and they were offering him homage, he says that they faced the direction of where their God had entered the world and that his own wings were a blessing from the warrior God Slaktin, few aboard are worthy enough to carry such blessings. Oberlieutenant Borsch convinces Mikhil that he would like to assess the mightiest warriors and plans to gather all of those bearing the gifts of Slaktin in the cargo bay (actually he plans to slay the mutated crew).
Captain Pak begins to attempt to gain trust amongst the Clansmen onboard the Solv Tann, using his position as new Captain of the Rod Hant as leverage with the primitive crew; unlike the crew of the Rod Hant who accepted the leadership of Pak, the Oberlieutenant is forced to fight off challengers for his position as new Captain almost dailt, he is forced to kill about 15 members of the crew during the course of the challenges. As a method of trying to discourage this Borsch has the severed heads of his kills mounted on the back of the command chair. 
During the journey his sleep is troubled by dreams of conquest and blood, but he turns away from the dreams since he feels himself in danger of corruption as he takes the power of these others; he needs no-one else’s power or approval, only his own.
Many days later, on the moon of Strive, York Benetec wakes with a start when he receives an astropathic vision of the Solv Tann from the psychics aboard the Venerus.
“The other vessel has arrived.” – York Benetec
Under orders from Admiral Black Benetec transmits a vision to the astropaths on the Venerus showing their Imperial soldiers storming the Solv Tann and detaining the crew; in response to this the Venerus moves towards the Solv Tann, reinforcing the position of Borsch and Pak. Borsch orders the Sjomann to be bought to the bridge so that he cannot attempt to take the ship into the warp again, when he arrives the Sjomann is revealed to be a hulking brute of a man covered in blue tattoos with a top-knot, he aggressively demands to know why he has been bought to the bridge. Mikhil introduces the huge figure as Sjomann Nikolai; allowing Nikolai to see the severed heads of the captaincy challengers Oberlieutenant Borsch orders the Sjomann not to take the ship back into the warp without his instructions and then dismisses him.
Pak and Borsch are contacted by Lady Decusis-Black (aboard the Venerus) who asks them to join her onboard the larger vessel where she tells them about the Admiral’s current whereabouts, the two men take a shuttle and a compliment of crew down to the moon of Strive to join Admiral Black and his party.

FATE: Loving Scenic Aspects

I’m currently in the process of writing up the actual-play report of my last Warhammer 40,000 roleplay game session run using the FATE rules system; it has been my intent to gradually introduce the concepts of the new rules system to my players so that we can all become comfortable with it and ease ourselves into the FATE system. Last session I began to introduce the concept of applying Aspects to scenes and other areas rather than just themselves and antagonists.
Aspects, for those of you who may not be aware are codified story elements that can be applied to almost anything in a game using the FATE rules system; Aspects are always true and can be used (invoked) in conjunction with FATE points to gain a bonus (normally a +2 or re-roll of a particular dice roll) or can be compelled by someone else in order to provide a FATE point in return for accepting a complication. Consequences of injury and stress are also represented using Aspects.
For example:
I might spend a FATE point and say “Because I am the best swordsman in the known world I am easily able to defeat my opponent in the duel” – this is an example of invoking; I would pay a FATE point and get +2/a re-roll to my fighting roll.
Someone (either the GM or another player) might say “However, because you are the best swordsman in the known world someone here has heard of your reputation and intends to best you” – this is an example of compelling, if I accepted the consequence then it would play out and i’d get a fate point, otherwise i’d have to pay one to have this not take place.
In the last session of my Rogue Trader game the session began with the players taking on a Bloodletter, a demon of Khorne, that had materialised on their ship and was slaughtering their crew in the mess halls of the vessel; during the combat a couple of the players were injured and the mess hall floor was described as slick and slippery with blood, I was quite pleased how easily the players adapted to using this scenic Aspect and later on when one of the player characters dealt a cutting blow to the demon, spraying its burning blood over the upturned furniture that also became an Aspect.
If scenic Aspects weren’t included in the game I think that there would be a danger of players just continually using the same Aspects from their character sheets all the time and it becoming quite repetitive, however, the scenic Aspects, in addition to adding another layer of detail and description to unfolding scenes, they also encourage players to behave more dramatically. Whether this is a character using a blood slick floor to slide into a combat, a man trying to force an enemy into a burning pile of furniture or any number of other possibilities, I think this can only be a good thing.

Upgrading one of my main NPCs


PLEASE DO NOT READ THIS IF YOU ARE ONE OF MY PLAYERS

Some lively discussion was generated by my recent blog post about how one of my NPCs was statted for my last Rogue Trader FATE game, there was some great advice given on G+ and Blogger by (amongst others) Julius Müller, Tim Noyce, Robert Hanz and John Miles; looking back over the character cards that i’d prepared, in light of this information one of the NPCs that I had tagged as a main NPC didn’t really seem to have the stats to back that up so i’ve made a few tweaks and amendments.

Thought i’d post a copy of the card, as currently stands, he to see what people think; any constructive comments welcome.