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.

 


Dungeon World tester game Session Write-up

In the basement of a grocers in the city of Trademeet, Rundrig warily circled his opponent, the burly shaven headed man grinned as he stared back at him, from around came the cheers of the spectators; Jack smiled as he moved through the crowd, none of them knew his friend the dwarf fighter and so the odds on him has been long, if Rundrig won (and the poison that Jack had slipped the other combatant said his chances were good) then the young thief would clean up, minus his partners percentage of course, not that Rundrig knew anything about the poison, dwarven honour and all that.
Across town Xeno and Priscilla were exploring the bizarres and markets, accompanied by Sistranalle the elven bard who stared with delighted eyes at the bustle and general hubbub around him, whilst to the wizard Xeno this place represented a potential gold mine of arcane ingredients and ritual foci that he could use; his associate Jack had sloped off somewhere with the dwarf Rudrig, no doubt off to another prize fight, and so it looked as though he would have to resort to actually purchasing something for once. The sound of commotion drew them to where a bedraggled looking human figure was emptying various bric-a-brac out of a torn rucksack and attempting to sell it to passersby; Xeno was about to move on when, amidst the rubbish, he spotted a small pyramid like sculpture forged of blue/purple metal and inscribed with strange runes. Immediately recognising the script of his homeland and the arcane metal found thereon (although the language appeared to be in some kind of code), but trying to conceal his eagerness, Xeno offered the rough looking trader two healing potions for the sculpture; unfortunately something about the look in his eyes betrayed him and the shrewd seller claimed that it had been given to him as a gift and he could not think of selling it for such a paltry price.
Priscilla pointed out that the sellers story about receiving it as a gift contradicted what he had been telling another person as they had approached; backed up by her threats, and Xenos offer of a third potion, the old man agreed to sell it and passed it into the waiting arms of the human wizard. A few short streets away Durga, priest of the Dwarf Father had been attempting to preach his creed of honour and glory in battle to any who would listen, unfortunately this was a city of traders and merchants, not of glorious warriors although he did manage to attract a small gathering; as Xeno and Priscilla headed to a nearby tavern ‘The Cockatrice in Cider’, Sistranalle said that he would go and meet Rudrig. Spotting Sistranalle as he left the others, he finished his speech and ran to join them.
Arriving outside the grocers where Rudrig and Jack had told them to meet, Sistranalles elven hearing picked up the sounds of cheering and celebration from somewhere below the shop; walking in they were met by a kindly old woman called Doris who chatted merrily to them about her shop having the finest turnips in the Known World. Distracting the old woman by saying that his companion would like to try her famous turnip gumbo, Sistranalle located a hidden trapdoor down to a cellar and slipped down the stairway; charmed by Durga calling her a young woman, Doris mentioned that she was sure a strong, strapped dwarf like him could make a good living in the city, and asked if he’d ever considered fighting for money? Feigning interest, Durga allowed the woman to lead him down the trapdoor where he was in time to witness Rudrig deliver the finishing blow to his slightly dazed opponent as Jack rubbed his hands in glee and collected his prize money.
Doris escorted Durga over to an armoured human with a stern face who introduced himself as Captain Morgan of the Trademeet city guard and said that he’d willingly introduce Durga to some of his contacts if that was his wish; the Captain had been impressed by the fortitude of the dwarf Rudrig and, as he talked, it became obvious that the city guard were well aware of these “underground” fighting areas and actively encouraged it because it made it far easier for them to monitor and control violence in the city by giving it an outlet. Clapping his hands on the shoulders of his fellows Rudrig said that they should probably get going, after all Jack had volunteered to buy them all a drink from his winnings.
Pushing open the door of the ‘Cockatrice in Cider’ they were greeted by the sight of Priscilla gleefully challenging all and sundry to unarmed combat and arm wrestling for drinks (although the list of potential challengers was becoming shorter with every victory), Xeno was sat in a shaded alcove as he studied intently the sculpture that he had purchased; he could sense some sort of energy emanating from it and occasionally the writing seemed to glint with a warm golden sheen, but he could only make out the word dragon of the writing. Jack ordered some drinks and was soon scoping out a patron who seemed far too well dressed for such a low-class establishment, Rudrig is accompanied by Gregor, one of the others fighters, and the two of them commence getting extremely drunk.
Jack is about to follow his mark outside when suddenly there is a scream from outside, the door flies open and the man staggers inside on fire, falling to the floor; outside panicked crowds of people are running in a huge mob away from a large shadow that falls across the city, peering over Jack’s shoulder Sistranalle looks up and sees the shadow of a huge beast flying over the city, fire gouting from its lizard-like face. Shuddering the elf recognises one of the legendary fire-drakes from the ancient myths of his people, creatures who were deemed little more than fables even in the younger days of his people, long before they left to the west. Shrugging off his drunken haze Rudrig grasps his ancestral weapon and dashes up the stairs to the second floor of the building whilst Durga and Priscilla join Jack and Sistranalle at the door; the barbarian woman shoves the elven bard out of the way as a blast of white hot fire engulfs her, leaping into the air as her hair, flesh and clothes catch fire the warrior woman swings her weapon at the snarling beast.
Realising that the appearance of this beast cannot be coincidental, Xeno realises that he needs an opposing energy or a blood sacrifice to cancel out the energy beacon that his sculpture is broadcasting; refusing to fall back on the bloody religion of his people he eventually is joined by Sistranelle who channels tendrils of icey magic into the mage, who then sheds his own blood, falling as frozen crimson crystals onto the sculpture.
Outside the beast roars as Rudrig leaps from the second floor onto its back and sinks his axe into its flesh, gasping as the creature burning blood sears his skin, the dwarf fighter none-the-less holds on as it tries to shake him off and scrape him against nearby buildings. Xeno continues to shed his frozen blood over the sculpture and gradually the energy emanating from it stutters, slows and stops; with a bewildered roar the fire-drake suddenly loses interest in its rampage of destruction and with great beats of its wings begins to head westwards, Rudrig manages to leap from its back onto a nearby building before it soars too high and is lost in the clouds. Jack meanwhile has been tending to the delirious burned man and attempting to con the man out of his life savings into the bargain.
Days later the adventurers are rewarded for their saving of the city and many local buildings by the Master of the Brewers Guild, Marlow TombĂ© and each of them is gifted with 100 coins in recognition of their valiant defence of both the city and its citizens, but some questions remain unanswered, how did the sculpture get to the known world? Who was the strange merchant? And more unsettlingly, over the next couple of days, rumours begin to filter in from the dwarves of the western mountains that other drakes have been sighted, if this true what is bringing these creatures to the Known World? 

So what characters did we have in our recent Dungeon World game?

Recently I ran an impromptu tester game for Dungeon World for six of my local player, you can see my review of how it played here:
For this initial game we decided to just go with the basic options as presented on the Dungeon World character sheets, after genning characters we talked out the player characters bonds to each other and some elements of their backgrounds as directed by the rulebook; we ended up with the following characters:
  • Rundrig – Dwarf fighter – Come from a loud and proud family of warriors who have helped guard their dwarven mountain hold since memory began, his ancient axe has been handed down from father to son for many, many years. A few years before the game began, Rundrig freed Sistranalle from orcish slavers, allowing the elven bard to advise the barbarian Priscilla (saving her life); Rundrig considers that she owes him a life-debt although the barbarian woman does not agree, however the dwarf has sworn to protect the human wizard Xenos and worries about the abilities of Durga and Sistranalle to survive in the harsh environments where warriors such as himself tread.
  • Xeno – Human wizard – A sharp eye, wild haired human who comes from a mysterious land rules by powerful mages that lies somewhere across the western sea, knowledge of it having faded into myth and legend; not satisfied with the religious zealotry that his people head as a central tenant of their magics and outcast for his belief in magic as a science, Xeno fled eastwards to the known world. His arcane powers lead him to Priscilla, a vision of a shadow dragon and the girl telling him that she would play some pivotal role in the future of the world.
  • Jack – Human thief – A mysterious figure shrouded in mystery, the shifty thief tells contradicting stories of his background and wears the talismans of many gods hanging around his neck; working for Xeno he has stolen many things and arcane baubles for the wizard, including what seemed to be a roughly hewn jewel from the barbarian woman Priscilla, but that the human wizard Xeno knew to be a fossilised dragon egg.
  • Durga – Dwarf cleric – The older dwarf cleric has a sadness in his eyes and seems to carry the weight of the world on his shoulders; a follower of the Dwarf Father, god of honourable combat and conquest through strength of arms he places less value on upbringing or race and more on actions and deeds. Distrustful of Xeno and anyone who doesn’t believe in the power of the deities he none-the-less admires Priscilla’s strength and sees his attempts to convert her as a test worthy of his skills.
  • Sistranalle – Elf bard – One of the rare elves enamoured of the lives of the younger races, who chose to stay behind when his people sailed westwards across the sea to the mythic lands beyond human knowledge, Sistranalle finds beauty in the chaotically short lives of the younger races and, after being freed from orcish slavers by Rundrig and helped Priscilla escape from a desert basilisk he has set himself the task of chronicling her (mis)adventures. Delighted to have met the famous fighter Rudrig (who he had sung many ballads about), the elf has a friendly rivalry with the dwarf cleric Durga who, he thinks, takes life far too seriously; he accompanies the band playing ballads and histories on the mandalin that his father left behind as a memory of him. 
  • Priscilla the Triumphant – Human barbarian – A warrior from the icy northern wastes who travelled south, forsaking her tribe, when a new chief took over and outlawed women fighting alongside their men-folk; this did not sit well with Priscilla and she travelled south, reasoning that she could make a legend of herself in the soft southern lands beyond the deserts. She finds many of her new companions ways bewildering, especially Durga and his (amusing) attempts to convert her, she has appointed herself protector of Jack, knowing that the thief will eventually slip up and get himself in trouble; although unwilling to admit it she is flattered by Sistranalle’s attentions and sees in him someone who shares her thirst for glory.


All of these characters were created using the basic rules (including the names and epithets chosen) and by spending a bit of time chatting about the world elements connected with them; it probably took about half an hour in all, if that, to get ready to play.