Stars of Inequity

Okay, so tonight i’m going to be putting down on paper as many details as I can for the main NPCs of my game; inspired by a number of youtube videos/channels that I have seen on the subject (including woodwwad‘s channel and others) and the free-flowing explorative nature of the Rogue Trader game I have decided to detail out as many of the core systems (the basics of which were already generated as described in my post on system design using the Disapora rules) in the sector of space where our game takes place as possible.

Some of the planets in the system have already been detailed (see my Hiveworld Scelus Prime and Catan II posts earlier in the blog) but this still leaves vast swathes of the gaming area either very loosely defined or not at all; recently reading Fantasy Flight Games Stars of Inequity book for the Rogue Trader system has spurred me into wanting to define these areas in more detail since it provides detailed systems for using this that will allow me to create worlds and detail the star systems more closely (although i’m sure that I will tweak them to fit the tone and established “facts” of the campaign). The charts in the book are largely system independent or can be used quite easily with a few little alterations, so that it won’t take a great deal of struggle to port these details over to the FATEcore rules system that we are currently using in the game.

One thing that I have also gained from watching woodwwad‘s youtube channel is an appreciation of the fact that, paradoxically, in order for the game to give the players a sense of freedom and the ability to explore as their whims dictate, it is very much necessary for a gamesmaster to have put a lot of work in detailing the sort of people and societies that they are likely to meet, in order to convincingly and consistently portray these non-player characters in the game. Whilst I have been enjoying the game tremendously and the players seem to be doing likewise, most of the action has, at the moment focussed around a couple of key areas, not really capturing the exploring, go anyway, feel of default Rogue Trader; my plan to help deal with this is to detail as many of the key-NPCs that the players are going to meet as possible, providing them with character sheets, backgrounds and goals (a lot of this work has already been done on key npcs already but i’m planning to standardise my NPC information).

Having located at home a large box folder my plan is to generate (or note down) the following:

  • Character sheets & backgrounds for the named NPCs encountered so far
    • These will also contain details of the NPC goals plus any fleets or forces that they command along with their strengths and weaknesses.
  • A one page write-up for each system containing details on the planets and any other astronomical anomalies in the star system.
    • Currently I am also considering adding some areas of unexplored or wild space to the map where there are no established warp routes but that players can explore if they wish, there would be a small chance of the players encountering a habitable system (that would then be randomly generated).
    • This does pose the issue of how to prepare for these random systems, however, no more than one is likely to be explored per session so it would be easy to prepare a number of NPCs that could be bought in when an appropriate star system was discovered.
  • A one page write-up for each planet of interest containing details of the prevalent societies or main dangers and encounters likely on those planets.
Next session I intend to begin with the Eldar envoy Da Duith Iath giving a small briefing containing the details that his race are willing to share about the ancient enemy that has returned, then I intend to pretty much hand the session over to the players and let them do what they want; with all of the NPC and star system/planet information that I have generated, it should be easy for me to respond to whatever they want to do.

Recording Game Sessions

As stated in my previous posts, I made a recording of my previous session; just to clarify for anyone who may be concerned

  • NO video recording of the players was made
  • Once the recording had been made the audio file was stripped out and the video (which mostly showed me since the laptop was facing me during the session) was deleted
  • The recording WILL NOT be used in any way beyond assessing ways to improve the session and enhancing my note taking ability.
  • Any recordings made WILL NOT appear on this blog or any other set up by myself.
  • The ONLY session reports that will appear in this blog or on any other I set up will be written reports that do NOT feature the names of the players.

    My main purpose of recording my sessions is because I don’t want to hold up the action whilst I furiously scribble notes and (unfortunately) my memory isn’t all that great, however making skeletal notes and listening to the sound file afterwards has already enabled me to write a much fuller report of last session.
    It has also enabled me to highlight areas of possible improvement for the game.
    • OOC chatter: An awful lot of OOC chatter went on during the session (I myself was as guilty of this), I intend to re-organise the playing space and have a couple of breaks so that we can confine OOC chatter to these breaks and keep more IC during the sessions.
    • Rewarding good RP/selling other characters: The sound file makes it easier for me to pinpoint areas of exceptional RP that deserve reward.
    • More detail required: It has become obvious that I need to put more detail into the areas and NPCs to give them more verisimilitude, it is my intent to begin this as soon as possible.

    Rogue Trader Campaign Log – Session 11 : An Ancient Enemy

    A week after the wedding of Lord Admiral Black to Lady Dominique Decusis the celebrations had finally died down on the Hive World and life was slowly beginning to return to normal; with the blessing of the Imperially appointed rules of the planet Lord Corith Decusis enough additional crew members had been recruited from the hive city to provide the refitted Venerus with something approaching a full compliment of crew. Enginseer Prime Pak and Confessor Cornelius were placed on the Venerus (under the command of Lord Captain Polaris Black) and took it back to the Imperial port of Wander, on their way the Enginseer took the time to examine the scarab like creature that he had captured down on the hive city and had held in isolation every since; although the creature stubbornly refused to give up many of it’s secrets the Enginseer was able to establish that the creature seemed to be made of some sort of metallic alloy that shared several similarities with living tissue and that it could interface with/control mechanical apparatus using twin wire-like proboscis that it could project from the “head” end of the creature.

    Upon their arrival at Port Wander, Confessor Cornelius, pleased that Lord Black was now Admiral of a fleet (albeit a small fleet of two ships) decided that it was only appropriate that the occasion be celebrated, purchasing two bottles of rare terran vintage wine, a box of cigars and commissioning an especially fine black and purple suit with silver embroidered trim; in addition he collaberated with the Enginseer to obtain a swagger stick topped with an Imperial Eagle and containing a shock capacitor (provided by the Enginseer) built into the other end to act as a surprise weapon. Following his work on the swagger stick Pak visited the Adeptus Mechanicus outpost on the station and was met by senior techpriest Rha-Haz, the same member of the order who originally recruited him into the mysteries of the Omnissiah; he explained about the almost unstoppable meldings of dead flesh and machinery that they had faced on Hiveworld Decusis and about the heretical xenos technology encountered, in response Rha-Haz showed Pak footage from one of their monitoring posts on the outskirts of the sector of an unknown vessel moving towards the rim at tremendous speeds, Pak recognised the same ship that he had witnessed leaving the Sycorax system.

    Enginseer Prime Pak discussed the possible setting up of a Mechanicus outpost on Hiveworld Decusis, he was also asked by Rha-Haz to enquire about whether or not Lord Admiral Black would investigate whatever remained of the old Mechanicus base in the Sycorax system, since most of the explorator fleet were on deep patrol searching for the xenos vessel. Rha-Haz strongly hinted to Pak that in return, the order would ensure that Pak’s request for additional shuttle and landing craft would be pushed through the system.

    Meanwhile the Lunatic Pandora was still in orbit around Hiveworld Decusis, Lord Admiral Black was showing his new bride Dominique around the ship, she seemed thrilled by the image of her husband, the brave Rogue Trader exploring the stars with his fleet, however a meeting between the two nobles and the surly Navigator York Benetec threatened to sour the situation when Lady Dominique took a clear disliking to the mutants lack of manners and appropriate etiquette; despite Lord Black’s best efforts to smooth over the friction, it was clear that the Lady had already developed a strong dislike of the twisted, hulking Navigator. Escorting his wife to their quarters, Admiral Black bid his Navigator make the ship ready for their journey to the Sycorax system. Upon arrival in the system they were able to navigate the Sycorax warp storm using the knowledge that they possessed from their previous trip of a safe route through, along with York Benetec’s ability to factor in the warpspace drifts over time; an automated probe was launched to scan Caliban II whilst the ship itself continued into orbit around the jungle planet of Caliban IV.

    Taking a squadron of troopers and his Navigator, Lord Admiral Black took a small landing craft and began to skim the surface, searching for the area where they had previously encountered the strange almost human xenos creature; unfortunately the area that they had cleared of vegetation had grown back making it almost impossible to locate, however, something just beyond the physical tugged at Fortunus Black’s awareness and he was eventually able to guide the lander to roughly the same area that they had journeyed to previously. Using his ability to peer into the warp Navigator Benetec was able to see that the huge double tree at the centre of the clearing was actually some kind of artificially made entrance into the immaterium that was surrounded by strange, elegant symbols – they appeared to be of the same construction as the symbols seen on the metal xenos creatures although obviously not actually the same language.

    In a small cantina on Port Wander, Enginseer Prime Pak was approached by the grimey, dirty figure of the criminal Thomas Vitanteur; tensing slightly (Pak had hoped that they had seen the last of the criminal when they had dropped him and his accomplice the rogue-tech Vorl on Port Wander) the Enginseer felt a thrill of fear when Vitanteur admitted that he had recognised Pak as a person who had double crossed the syndicate prior to his induction to the Adeptus Mechanicus. Vitanteur made Pak an offer, his rogue-tech Vorl had located a potentially new source of technology on a world in the system, technology that a Rogue Trader could legitmately claim as salvage, in return for a share of the profit Vitanteur would provide the coordinates and would forget to report Pak’s identity and whereabouts to his superiors in the Syndicate; Pak agreed to take the idea to Lord Admiral Black.

    Meanwhile Confessor Cornelius had visited one of the many cathedrals in Port Wander that issued forth praises to the Emperor, he was surprised at the level of bustle going on in there as people rushed around preparing provisions and items for some sort of expedition; introduced to Deacon Kiril, Cornelius discovered that the old Deacon and some of his congregation were making a missionary expedition to the Endeavour system, a violent and primitive world that did not know the Emperor’s light. The two priests briefly gossiped about scandal in the past of the Black noble family, although Cornelius was careful to play up the virtues of Fortunus Black by comparison to some of his more infamous relatives and parted on good terms with the Deacon, promising to look in on the Endeavour system if he could during his travels.

    Deciding that it was time to rendezvous with the Lunatic Pandor at the Sycorax system, Navigator Passacaglia Belisarius charted a course through the immaterium and over the next three months they travelled through the warp to their destination; during these three months Lord Admiral Black had his men survey the planet and had, amongst other things discovered a tree sap with a potential anaesthetic properties that was potential harvestable.

    About a month and half into their stay Navigator Benetec began to experience chronic headaches, as did the young girl Dana who had joined them on the planet to advise them on the native animal life, these headaches culminated when Dana appeared to go into violent spasms and had to be restrained by the huge bulk of Navigator Benetec. Outside, Lord Admiral Black and the troops had surrounded the strange “tree” when it had begun to glow, faintly pulsing at first and then bursting into a blinding flash that, when fading, revealed an armoured troup of slender figures lead by an enigmatic individual in some sort of ceremonial robes and helmet, each of the aliens wore figure hugging armour studded with gems and carried strange rifle-like weapons. Lord Admiral Black’s initial attempts at friendly conversation were rebuffed in halting common tongue when the leader of the aliens stepped forward (removing it’s helmet to reveal a pale, chiselled, beautiful face) and laid the blame for the awakening of an ancient evil squarely on the bumbling interference of the original Adeptus Mechanicus explorers of the system, claiming that the only reason this sector still existing was because the enemy had not truly awakened.

    Offering to help against the ancient foe, Lord Admiral Black persuaded the aliens to send an observer/advisor to one of his ships, an Eldar called Da Duith Iath was chosen for the mission; although the news of a xenos advisor onboard did not go down particularly well with Confessor Cornelius.

    Using FATE Core Rules 31-03-13

    Overview

    The 31st March session was my first Rogue Trader system (using the FATEcore rules) to have all of the players present; following a discussion on one of the G+ RPG communities that I am signed up for, I used my laptops webcam to record the audio from the session, this has (as well as being great fun to listen to) helped a lot with filling in some of the gaps in my written notes. A write-up of the actual session events will go up on the blog in the next few days, but I thought it worth putting up a post about how the FATE rules worked within the game.

    Overall the rules seemed to work really well, there was an initial few minutes with me explaining the basics of the rules and handing out character sheets to people – for the sake of jumping into the game quickly, I had translated the players characters from the Rogue Trader rules to FATEcore myself with the proviso that the players could tweak them as they saw fit (with my approval) after they’d seen how the translated characters played under the new rules set. For the first session with the full player complement I wanted to ease the players into the new rules so it was kept fairly combat-lite and had plenty of opportunity for the players to make basic skill tests, become familiar with fate points and get used to how aspects work.

    Aspects & Fate Points

    Most of the players seemed to have no problems getting to grips with this and were soon spending fate points with merry abandon to utilise their aspects, the discussion about tagged aspects onto scenes and gaining fate points for having plot-complications arise connected with aspects was a little longer, after a short while though the players got the hang of it and were soon suggesting complications to earn fate points (two of which lead to the new wife of Captain Black taking a strong dislike to the socially crude Navigator York Benetec and to the final session encounter with the Eldar guardians of Caliban IV).

    Skill rolls

    This seemed to go fine, the game using words to represent different levels of skill seemed in particular to be enjoyed.

    Stunts

    Generally worked very well, with the player of the Navigator making use of his psychic stunt (allowing him to substitute in his Will score in certain tests) at various points to increase his chances of success, as yet the Enginseer has not really made use of his stunt (that works in a similar way).

    Additional

    One other aspect of the game that worked far better than I could have hoped was the use of the time scale taken from Diaspora to determine travel times through the warp (as discussed here), this particularly highlighted problems with having a fleet (albeit a small fleet of two vessels in this case) travel in convoy through the warp. Our player character Navigator York Benetec was at one point able (due to his high skill and good roll) to cut the travel time of the ship he was on down to three hours, however the NPC Navigator with a slightly lower skill was only able to cut their trip down to three months creating some interesting interpersonal RP whilst the players discussed what they were going to do as the second ship caught up to them.

    Next session

    Next session i’m planning to start bringing in the combat rules to introduce players to those, and also to start exploring the advancement system listed in the FATEcore rules.

    Warp travel times in Rogue Trader FATE

    I’ve been looking at the times that I would use to travel through the stable warp corridors on the system map that we had generated for the House of Black Rogue Trader game (a copy is printed below for convenience).

    Originally I had planned to make it so that  each line on the map took 3 months, however looking through the Diaspora rules I decided to use the Time Track that was presented on page 10 of the book.

    The time track runs something like this:

    • Instant
    • A few seconds
    • Half a minute
    • A minute
    • 3 minutes
    • 15 minutes
    • 30 minutes
    • An hour
    • 3 hours
    • 12 hours
    • A day/24 hours
    • 3 days
    • A week
    • 3 weeks
    • A month
    • 3 months
    • 4 months
    • 6 months
    • A year
    • 3 years
    • 10 years
    • 50 years
    • +each step beyond this adds 50 years
    The first thing that I wished to resolve was that several of the measures listed were slightly nebulous so I defined them further (changing ‘a lifetime’ for ’50 years’ for instance); I decided that the for a distance of a single line on the map the normal time taken would be 3 months, each additional line traveled would add one step on the time track (so a journey of 3 lines would take 6 months by default).
    This time period can be modified by the ship’s navigator making a Fair Will roll on 4DF with each degree of success or failure adding or subtracting from the timescale as appropriate.
    So if our ship was making a non-stop journey from Sycorax to the Undred Undred Teef (a journey of three lines on the map) then the standard distance would be 6 months; our Navigator York Benetec has a great (+4) Will score meaning that he already has 2 degrees of success before rolling the dice, lowering the time taken to 3 months before making the roll.

    If York rolled +4 then this would give him a total of 6 degrees of success and lower the time taken to 3 days; however if he rolled a -4 this would give him a total of 2 degrees of failure, raising the time taken back to 6 months.

    Planet Spotlight: Catan II in the Catan System

    Technology: +2 (warp use)
    Environment: +3 (some garden worlds)
    Resources: +2 (one significant export – grox meat)

    Aspects: Grox exports & Imperial agri-colony.


    A lush green planet covered in shallow rolling hills and grassland, from the Imperial Butcher city of Pulon experienced herdsmen farm the vast herds of  lizard-like Grox using mechanical quad-bikes and shock pikes; following regular schedules some of the grox are herded to the single city where skilled craftsmen butcher the animals, some of the meat being taken for local foodstuff and other being shipped off to the neighbouring Decusis system. The planet is under the charge of Commander Hardecker, a grizzled ex-Imperial Guard Captain from the shrine world of Omicron IV who lost an eye defending his post from servants of the ruinous powers; as a reward he was granted custody of the Catan system, although some see it as a form of enforced retirement.

    Following the destruction of a number of Ork space vessels in high orbit by the Rogue Trader Fortunus Black, fragments of the ships form a debris field of space wreckage.

    Planet Spotlight: Hiveworld Scelus Prime in the Decusis System

    Technology: +3 (warp mastery)
    Environment: +0 (one profitable world, additional barren worlds)
    Resources: +2 (one significant export – grox ration packs)

    Aspects: Industrial, polluted & asteroid field.

    The hive world of Scelus Prime is named for the founder of the current ruling dynasty of the system, Scelus Decusis who was an Imperial Guard commander who helped pacify a rebellion in the system; realising that Imperial forces would never take the world unless the orbital defences (which had fallen into rebel hands) were disabled, Scelus took a party of trusted guardsmen and launched a suicidal attack on the orbital las-batteries. Against all odds his group manage to take the orbital defences and set them to self-destruct, Scelus miraculously surviving when the section of the las-battery that he was in, crashed onto the planets surface; the only survivor Scelus took his survival as a sign from the Emperor and swore his life to the Ecclesiarchy ritualistically shaving his head as a sign of his faith (a fashion that endures in the ruling houses of the planet to this day). The remnants of the destroyed defences fell into a slow orbit around the planet, eventually attracting other rocks and debris, forming an asteroid belt around Scelus Prime.

    Since that day the house of Decusis has ruled the planet, although their hedonistic ways are a far cry from the chaste faith of their founder; the current rulers of the planet are Corith Decusis and his twin sister Dominique. The single great hive city of Scelus Prime houses millions of people all crammed into a large twisting spire of metal, studded with factories processing raw grox meat shipped in from the neighbouring Catan system, bulking it out with algae and corpse-starch to form the unpalatable but nutritious ration packs that much of the Imperial troops in the sector rely on; the many factories studded around the base of the hive belch poisonous fumes into the atmosphere creating a poisonous layer of cloud rising up to five miles from the planet’s surface, many lower hive dwellers never rise above that layer or see the sky, only the rich nobles of the Spire have the privilege of peering beyond the deathly clouds.

    Using FATE Core rules

    As i’ve said in previous posts one of my players was missing from the last session and another unfortunately couldn’t stay for the whole session and so I didn’t spend time converting over the character of the missing player (also it was one that I wanted to take a little more thought over); determined to get a bit of a head start on copying across neater versions of the character sheets I had a quick skim through the FATE Core preview pdf, and liked the look of the cut down skill list and simplified character sheets. I wondered whether it would be possible for me to write up the characters using the FATE Core system’s simplified character sheet and still maintain the essence of the characters.

    A few thoughts that occurred to me were…

    • Aspects
    Characters start off with less aspects than the FATE variants I had previously read (5 in total), one of these is flagged as the character’s high concept (normally a descriptive term encapsulated the essence of the character) and the other is flagged as their trouble (something that makes their life challenging). This didn’t seem too much of a problem since I had struggled coming up with the larger amounts of aspects for some of the characters and it was easy enough to amalgamate some of them into a single aspect.
    For example: the character York Benetec now had the aspects – Navigator (high concept), Mutant (trouble), Touched by the Warp, Jaded and Hulking Size.

    • Skills
    FATE core includes 18 or so very generic skills as a base level that the GM can build on or expand in order to add individual flavour to their game, however, I think the skills are sufficiently generic that they can be used for a lot of different things, some of my thoughts on particular skills are written below.
      • Crafts: A catch-all making/repair skill that I will use in my game to replace engineering and repair skills, the type of crafting will be determined by the character’s high concept.
      • Drive: This will be used for driving/piloting all types of vehicles, players can take stunts or aspects to represent any advanced skill with particular types of vehicle.
      • Lore: I am planning to use this for knowledge rolls in my game, any specialised fields of knowledge being represented by stunts or aspects.
      • Will: This skill is going to be used (in addition to it’s normal uses) to represent psychic strength (for those who have psychic stunts).
    One thing I did notice which seemed like a bit of an ommission was the lack of a ‘medicine’ skill, this is important for my game given that the priest Confessor Cornelius is quite skilled in patching up his team-mates; i’ve not yet decided what to do about this, whether to add a seperate skill or just make it a subset of the craft skill – currentlty I am leaning in favour of making it a seperate skill.

    • Stunts
    In this version of the rules characters begin with a single stunt for free, and any additional ones that they take (up to a max of 3) subtract 1 from their refresh rate of fate points (so a character with 2 stunts has 2 fate points and a character with 3 stunts has only a single fate point).
    Below are the stunts that I came up with for my characters…
      • York Benetec (Navigator)
        • Psychic: Substitute Will skill for another skill by expending 1 fate pt (this also allows skill rolls to occur at range); if the player doesn’t want to spend a fate point they may still perform the action but it takes 3 times as long.
        • Navigator: May navigate a ship through the warp using his Will skill to determine time taken for the journey.
      • Enginseer Prime Pak (Techpriest)
        • Mechandrite arm: Player may spend 1 fate point to use craft skill instead of any other skill in a test, if the player doesn’t wish to spend a fate pt then they can still do the action but it takes twice as long.
        • Servo-skull: Allows the player to perform actions using the craft skill (as per the mechandrite arm stunt) but at range.
      • Lord Captain Black (Rogue Trader)
        • Ship: Lunatic Pandora (Cruiser)
      • Confessor Cornelius
        • Inspire the Faithful: Allies may use Rapport skill in combat (the max level is 3 unless Cornelius spends a fate point).
    • Equipment
    For the moment I have stuck with my hacked version of weapons/armour, halving the modifiers from the weapons and armour and using them as the FATE harm, penetration and armour levels.
    This yields me results such…
      • Plasma Pistols: H 3 PEN 3 Energy weapon (ranged)
      • Power Sword: H 2 PEN 2 Energy weapon (melee)
      • Neural Whip: H 1 PEN 0 Energy weapon (melee)
      • Body Armour: 3 AP
    At the moment the only sticking point are the personal force fields possessed by certain characters that disperse kinetic energy into light energy, whilst I was initially tempted just to have the force fields add armour points the light refracting/blinded capabilities of the force fields have played an important roll in the game thus far and it seems a shame not to do anything more with them, obviously these items will require some more thought.

    Psychics and Techpriests

    Two of the more interesting characters in terms of rules in my game are York Benetec, an imperially sanctioned Navigator, member of a family with a specialised psychic mutation allowing them to steer a warp capable vessel through the shifting dangerous tide of the immaterium and Enginseer Prime Pak, a member of the Adeptus Mechanicus who had risen from humble beginnings to become a bionic priest of the Machine God.

    In terms of what the rules needed to reflect…

    • Navigator: Psychic powers and the ability to navigate a ship through the warp.
    • Enginseer: A bionic third arm attached to his body and a floating servo-skull that he can directly interface with.
    …the person playing the Enginseer wasn’t able to make last session and so I didn’t have to worry so much about the tech-powers, for the Navigator I just jotted a couple of psychic stunts down based on information from the Diaspora system, but they didn’t really come into play.
    Trying to think of ways in which I could represent the abilities of the two characters without unnecessarily complicating the system, having spent the day reading through FreeFATE (as recommended by Teo Tayobobayo on Google+) I realised that I could adapt some of the ideas about stunts (particularly in the magic system) to cover both character types.
    What I came up with was…
    • Navigator
      • Psychic stunt: Player may spend 1 fate point to substitute their psionics skill for any other skill and may carry out the skill check at range – if the player doesn’t want to spend a fate point then they may still use this stunt but the activity will take three times as long since they have to focus their psychic energies.
      • Navigator stunt: Player may spend 1 fate point to guide a vessel through the warp using their psionics skill to determine the length of time taken, by default a single leg journey takes 3 months, each shift on the roll reduces the time by one step on the table. Originally this used the navigation skill but I decided to incorporate it into the psionics skill.
    • Enginseer
      • Mechendrite-arm stunt: Player may spend 1 fate point to substitute their repair or engineering skill for any other skill – if the player doesn’t want to spend a fate point then they can still do this but the activity will take twice as long. 
      • Servo-skull stunt: This stunt allows the player to substitute their reapir/engineering skill for any other skill (as per the mechendrite-arm stunt) at range.
    …we’ll see how well this works next session 🙂

    Rogue Trader Campaign Log – Session 10 : Two Houses United by War

    Lord Black’s party were swiftly conveyed to the palatial estate that had been allocated for their use during their time on Hive World Decusis by it’s ruler Lord Corith Decusis, they were accompanied by the simpering Dorath Farah, seneschel to the ruler of the planet who had been assigned as their liaison during their stay. Whilst Farah began arranging a meeting between Lord Captain Black and Lord Decusis, techpriest Pak retired to one of the isolated halls of the mansion seeking privacy in order to begin delving into the strange secrets of the scarab-like device that he had recovered from old underhive vox tower, promising that he would also repair the Captain’s armour he was allowed to retreat into seclusion in order that he might better commune with the tech-spirits of the Omnissiah.

    With the meeting arranged Lord Captain Black took the opportunity to bathe before outfitting himself in his best dress uniform, resplendent in the black and silver livery of his House, stopping briefly to talk to Criute, the chef present in the mansion and cousin of the young blind girl Dana that they sought to recruit for their crew. Criute seemed quite willing for the girl to make something better of her life, but worried that no-one would be behind to take care of her sick guardian, considering the matter, Lord Captain Black offered to setup a regular stipend for the care of the woman, if Criute would arrange it; taken aback by the generosity the young chef was only too happy to agree, glad that his cousin would be free from the oppressive pollution and grime of the hive world. Having likewise attired himself in his finest white, red trimmed robes Chief Confessor Cornelius and the black cowled form of York Benetec joined their Captain as they were lead to the luxurious quarters of Lord Corith Decusis, Imperial ruler of the planet.

    Walking beneath the stretched silver skull logos of House Decusis, Lord Captain Black’s party were escorted by household guards into the main meeting hall where they had previously received an audience with the imperially sanctioned rulers of the hive world; Lord Decusis was flanked by his twin sister Dominique, the two nobles both bearing the eerie androgynous good looks and fashionable bald heads of their household.

    Decusis was concerned by the Rogue Trader’s talk of strange robotic xenos creatures who (according to the Navigator York Benetec) were capable of moving through vast distances without the use of warp technology, his fears stoked by Confessor Cornelius’ suggestion that the asteroid field surrounding the planet would provide more than suitable ammunition were the Ordo Xenos of the Inquisition to become involved and to declare Exterminatus against the world. At one point these dire portents of doom caused Lady Dominique to swoon and temporarily take a small absence from the meeting, although she re-appeared several minutes later apparently no worse for wear.

    By the time Lady Dominique re-entered the chamber, Lord Captain Black was in discussion regarding providing additional crew to Lord Black’s burgeoning fleet; he appeared willing but hesitant about the amount of crew members that Lord Black was requesting. With fairly little subtlety Lord Decusis proposed that their alliance be formalised with a marriage between Lord Black and his sister Lady Dominique, once that alliance had been forged and the safety of his world secured, Decusis would provide the crew required. In dire need, and aware that Lady Dominique had already displayed a liking for him, Lord Black agreed and a simple ceremony was conducted by Lord Decusis with York Benetec acting as witness for the groom and Dorath Farah acting as a witness for the bridge. Twin ribbons were used to tie the outstretched arms of the bride and groom together, white to represent their new life beginning together and red to symbolise the joining of their two bloodlines.

    As the ceremony drew to a close Lord Decusis proclaimed that today would be a half-holiday and that a great celebration would be held in honour of the newly-weds.