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 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.

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 16: Falling Stars

Deacon Kiril leads Admiral Black and his party up to a large stone building in the centre of the Clan Drod settlement, two burly barbaric looking guards clad in furs standing blocking progress to this building, each has an archaic sawn-off shotgun hanging from his belt and numerous broken bits of circuitry and technology hanging from metal thonging around the blade of their spears. In the hall an extremely tall and muscular blonde hair man with pronounced canines sits in the long hall on a wooden and hide throne at the head of a lengthy wooden table, shrunken heads of defated foes and beasts hanging from the throne; Deacon Kiril introduced Admiral Black and his party to Baldur the Chief of Clan Drod.
“We are here on Imperial business and they are not yet Imperial citizens, they may be hostile to our empire.” – Lord Admiral Fortunus Black
The hugely statuesque chieftain stands up and greets Admiral Black in the manner of his people, offering out a huge joint of mammoth meat to the Lord Admiral; thinking that this must be some form of primitive breaking of bread ritual, Admiral Black takes a bite of the meat and hands it back, smiling the chieftain takes a bit himself and puts the meat back on the table seemingly satisfied. In fairly good Imperial Gothic the chieftain asks them to sit down and speak with him, although they are forced to bring an extra seat in to accomodate the massive bulk of Navigator York Benetec. Lord Admiral Black explains that he wishes to set up trade negotiations with Chief Baldur’s people, Baldur appears interested and says that he has great need of weapons to defend his people; as a demonstration of what they can provide Navigator Benetec demonstrates his hellgun, punching a hole through a haunch of meat, the tissue around the hole sizzled and cooking, following this Oberlieutenant Borsch fires his bolt pistol at a rock, it bucks wildly, a huge shell casing ejected over his shoulder as the rock explodes into fragments. As a final show force York Benetec pulls out Cornelius’ thunder hammer and, charging it, he smashes it down onto one of the remaining slabs of meat, it explodes with a roar of thunder that also shatters the table.
The clansmen seem incredibly impressed with the violent power of the thunder hammer and Chief Baldur asks whether Admiral Black can acquire more of the thunder hammers and what he would want in return; Fortunus explains that he wishes to trade for minerals in the area and workers/thralls to serve on Imperial vessels. Baldur seems amenable to this idea, saying that he needs such weapons to defend himself against a possibly aggressive alliance of the other clans that have rallied under a religious figure that has risen over the past couple of years. At this point York Benetec closes his eyes as he feels a psychic astropathic message incoming, he sees twin symbols, the eight point star of chaos or the warp and a skull symbol for danger; Benetec leans in close to the Admiral and informs him what he has seen.
Admiral Black apologises but says that they must leave, Baldur expresses his regret but as they leave Enginseer Pak performs a mental scan for tech in the are and picks up a small malfunctioning machine spirit from inside a hide bag hanging from the throne.
“When you return I may have something for your man of iron to look at.” – Chief Baldur of Clan Drod
Using a long-range vox link they summon their gun cutter to their location and climb aboard; they also contact the second gun cutter (the one that originally bought Borsch and Pak to the planet) telling it’s pilot to pick up their Rhino APC and return to the Venerus. Joergan Borsch takes the helm and they lift off into the lower atmosphere; suddenly Borsch shouts out that he has picked up two fighter craft entering the atmosphere from space, they are approaching the settlement on attack vector. Enginseer Pak conducts a brief scan and identifies the fighters as machines of an ancient Imperial design; realising that the settlement is undefended against such a attack Borsch flies past them and then cuts the engines briefly, using the gravity of the planet to slingshot the gun cutter back towards the fighters, his guns bark and one of the enemy vessels explodes in a fireball, the guncutter flying through the rain of debris. Immediately Enginseer Pak begins broadcasting a jamming signal to prevent the remaining fighter summoning help, however the enemy returns fire and hits one of their thrusters, looking at his display Borsch realises that they are losing altitude and have no chance of getting back to the Venerus with that amount of damage.
As the enemy vessel swings around for another pass, Borsch cuts all power to the engines, causing them to drop several feet and the bolts from the attacking fighter to sail harmlessly over them; shouting for Pak to restore the power he strafes the underbelly of the fighter and, although he does not do enough damage to cripple it, the enemy obviously thinks better of continuing it’s attack and flees back into the upper atmosphere where the damaged gun cutter cannot follow. Admiral Black briefly considers having Benetec send a psychic message to the Venerus to tell them to deal with the fighter and protect the planet but instead decides to have Pak use his in-built vox array to contact the secondary gun cutter and order it to take a message to the Venerus.
“I’m a navigator, not an astropath.” – Navigator York Benetec
Pak transmits the message that the planet is under attack and that the Venerus should establish a protective orbit and intercept the enemy fighter if possible; at this point Benetec winces in pain as he receives a second astropathic signal, two images, the symbol for chaos and the symbol for a warship, gritting his teeth in pain he explains that the chaos vessel they fought previously may have arrived in the system.
Trailing smoke from their damaged thrusted, Borsch has no choice but to land back on the planet and, leaving Pak to repair the damage, Benetec and Borsch head back to the settlement, whilst Lord Admiral black determines to visit Deacon Kiril; before they leave Oberlieutenant Borsch, seeking to fortify himself against the trials ahead grabs a bottle of surgical spirit from the gun cutters emergency medical kit. Arriving at Deacon Kiril’s hut, Admiral Black finds the old priest tutoring some of the native children in the holy Imperial psalms and stories; asking for a private word with the old priest, Black requests that he reveals all he knows about chaos. Kiril tells the Admiral that he has been trained by the Ecclesiarchy to resist the lying promises of the Ruinous Powers but that he is concerned two of the most barbaric clans, Blod and Klok, may have given themselves into heathen patron deities that may be nothing more than a guise for the gods of chaos. He also mentions that Clan Klok are a Sjomann/Navigator clan and that he has heard rumours they have a ship hidden by magic around something called the Eye of Byggmeister near the systems sun.
At the hall of Baldur, Borsch strides into the hall like he owns the place, only to find that he has interrupted a private meeting between Baldur and his generals, one of whom takes exception to this familiarity and smacks Borsch around the side of the head; it seems as though blood is about to be shed when Baldur stands and, with a forceful tone in his voice says simply “Enough.” His voice brooks no arguement and the warrior sits back down as Baldur apologises to Joergan Borsch; Benetec explains about recent events and says that he has heard the Drod clan maintain some sacred writings from their ancestors that lead to them rejecting the new-Sky Warrior. Nodding Baldur rummages in the bag hanging from his throne and produces a metallic cube that he places on the table, he calls it a speaking stone and says that it used to tell many tales of the Sky Warrior but that over the years it has fallen more quieter; running his hands over the box and murmuring a prayer in his native tongue the box hums for a couple of moments and then a flickering green fanged figure clan in the armour of the Adeptus Astartes appears in miniature above the box, projected from an apperture that opens in the top of it.
“…not survive my wounds, I will soon perish, but the thralls of my ship may yet live on this planet that I have bought them to for it is capable of bearing life. It is my wish that the blessed technology on my vessel not fall into enemy hands, I will set course for the sun of this system and it will become my tomb. It is my hope someone will find this and bring my people back to the Imperium. In the Emperor’s name!” – Unnamed Space Wolf Commander
York Benetec says that Admiral Black has come to return the chieftains people to the light of the Emperor as the Sky Warrior prophesised, he even says that their other ship has a Sjomann who has dealings with the brotherhood of the Sky Warrior and that they would be happy to see their lost kin returned.
Chief Baldur explains that his tribe have been approached by a person with a similar aspect to the Sky Warrior seeking their allegiance to the Sky Warrior Returned, however, where the ancient writings said that a serenity and peacefulness were felt in the presence of one born to fight for justice, Baldur felt only rage and darkness in the presence of this emissary. Attempting to stall (knowing that the Sky Warrior Returned had already rallied several of the other clans and that his own could not stand against them) Baldur asked for time to consider the request, as he speaks to Benetec, he has half a year remaining before he has to give his decision, although he has no plan to join this new Sky Warrior’s alliance. 
“You seem nearer in aspect to the Sky Warrior of old than this new false prophet” – Navigator York Benetec
“You do me much honour Sjomann” – Baldur, Chief of the Drod Clan
Benetec tells Baldur that he believes this false prophet is called Lorgar, a twisted corruption of the true Sky Warrior’s ideals, and that they have encountered him previously. Chief Baldur explains that they have been expecting attack for a while and that he has been moving the women and young to caves in the mountains whilst his warriors have been making preparations to fight a last stand; the remaining clanships of Clan Drod have been pulled back and hide in the atmosphere of the nearby gas giant, Baldur tells them that his clan see this world as a sacred place because the Sky Warrior bought them here before they split into clans.
“And if it be our fate to fight and die here, then we will not flee from it, we will fight and we will die, making such a tale that our glory will live on forever.” – Baldur, Chief of the Drod Clan
Admiral Black arrives at this point and catched the end of the conversation; Baldur says that he will understand if they do not wish to get involved, it is not their fight and they if they leave now seeking to avoid being perceived, he will understand and not think less of them; Admiral Black shrugs this off and says that they will stay and make their stand with the clansmen. At this point Admiral Blacks personal vox unit beeps and, through it, Pak tells him that the gun cutter is repaired but that the repair is only temporary, he can’t say how long it will last if the cutter runs into trouble; the Admiral thanks him and tells him to join them at the chieftains hut.
Baldur tells the group that one of his scouts reported seeing a fire in the sky and something falling from it, Borsch thinks from the description, that the fire may have been the exploding fighter that he shot down; Pak arrives at this point and says that if he can salvage parts from the fighter it may help improve his repairs on the gun cutter. The chief of the Drod clan leads them outside and shows that his men are preparing some strange two-legged saurian riding beasts to go and investigate the fallen item, he invites his new friends to join him and Admiral Black accepts despite Benetec looking entirely unthrilled about riding such a beast.
As they leave Admiral Black asks if Baldur has any Sjomann on the planet that he could speak to and the chief tells him that there is a Sjomann, Shulfar of Clan Krieg in the settlement and he will arrange and introduction on their return. The party (accompanying by Baldur and several of his warriors) begin to head through the valleys of the planet, the riding beasts taking strange springing steps; as they travel Benetec and the Admiral fall back to talk more privately, although the Admiral sees a grand opportunity for trade, York tells him that the opportunity is far greater, if they help deal with the chaos threat can potentially bring those clans not truly lost back into the light of the Emperor and that the Space Wolves would surely be grateful to the House of Black for the return of their lost people.
They emerge from the treeline on the lip of a huge crater, the sides of it being studded with twisted fragments of metal debris from the shattered fighter craft; locating a tree that had collapsed into the crater Pak begins picking his way down, followed by the others, leaving a couple of warriors with the riding beasts. Focussing the power of his third eye, York Benetec was able to perceive to his psychic vision a set of glowing footprints heading from the centre of the impact where he could see a monstrously large human shape outline, to the far edge of the crater, climbing up and heading into the tree line beyond.
“What on earth could have survived a fall like this?” – Lord Admiral Black
Piercing through the illusion of time, he witnessed a phantom of a power armoured huge figure with long black hair, black souless eyes and fangs climbing out of the crater, it removes a cracked Astartes helmet and, in frustration throws it to the far side of the crater where it sinks into the muck. Scrambling over to the spot in the present day Benetec digs out the Astartes helmet and finds that it looks like a snarling, cracked demonic visage; he tells Chief Baldur that this is the helmet of one of the false prophets.
“It may have been a helmet but it’s now my personal piss-pot” – Lord Admiral Black
Climbing up the far eye of the crater, against the rising moon and treeline Borsch sees a huge silhouetted figure, it turns red glowing eyes towards him and roars.