Chapter 1: No Souls on Board | Inquisitor battle report

This is the first Chapter mission of Crown of Bones Inquisitor campaign, the first plot-driven instalment of the five-part story. This is the second game played in the campaign so far, as we kicked off with the Dust-up at Distro-19 annex mission last week.

Chapter missions are higher stakes – you have to spend a Resource (in-campaign currency) to ‘buy in’, with higher Resource rewards for finding evidence and completing objectives. Failing to secure any leads in Chapter missions means your warband might not be able to attend later Chapter missions. These warbands might need to do some Annex missions on the side to keep up with the others…

In this scenario, two warbands stumble into each other while exploring the ghost ship Ius Soli. Both are looking for a lead to the Crown of Bones, and according to our source at House Dacien, there is a cargo manifest somewhere on the ship with coordinates of exactly where to find it.

Setting the scene

The Ius Soli, meaning ‘Right of Soil’, is a corpse barge adrift in the outer reaches of the system. It was once carrying the bodies of guardsmen from warzones across the galaxy to their eventual resting point. It went missing during the Dacien Cataclysm and mysteriously reappeared some months ago, adrift and unresponsive to hails. House Dacien have dispatched a vessel to destroy the Ius Soli, but our two warbands have beaten them to the punch. They have to find what they can and evacuate before the corpse barge and anyone left on board are destroyed.

The ship itself is derelict. The miracle of grav-plating is still functional, and there is enough atmosphere left inside its silent halls to sustain our warbands without penalty. However, it is pitch black inside, so warbands will be relying on hand-held flashlights in the absence of any bionic vision.

Pitch black: Vision is restricted to 1/10th of Initiative. Characters can be equipped with flashlights for free, but have to be held in a spare hand or attached to a weapon beforehand. They provide a vision cone of about 18″ and we use little blast markers bluetacked to bases to indicate when a flashlight is active on a character.

Deathly silent: All hearing distances are doubled. That means someone can hear a door open or close from 20″ away…

Some power conduits are also severely damaged in a chamber at the north end of the board (represented with little dark red cotton wool clouds), and electro-magnetic energy is pulsing wildly in there.

Damaged power conduit: Anything passing through is effectively hit with a Haywire grenade, electrical and energy items ceasing to function until they reboot during the recovery phase (25% chance) or a character fixes it.

The cargo bay is also wrapped in a network of maintenance shafts and access tunnels, represented by the space hulk tiles around the periphery. These are broken up with pressure doors and access vents, the latter allowing characters to move between the cargo bay and the maintenance tunnels. These access vents have purple arrow tokens on eithe rside to show they can be traversed.

The warbands would be fighting over five objective markers, each representing a piece of evidence that helps paint a picture of what happened. Some are specific to their location, such as number 5 being the cargo manifest terminal on the upper walkway. Others are more general, such as number 2 being all tarpaulin-covered crates in the cargo bay, not just the ones the marker is on.

The warbands needed to gather at least 3 pieces of evidence to consider their investigation a success, and would be rewarded with 2 Resources. There is also a bonus resource for claiming the cargo manifest at number 5, as it is particularly important to the Crown of Bones investigation.

Finally, there are 5 ‘blip’ tokens on the map (thank you, Space Hulk board game!). The combination of twisted metal, warp residue and pulsing power conduits has obscured any attempts to scan the vessel, and warbands are relying on short-range auspexes. These blips are the auspex reading the strange environmental conditions as life signs wandering about the cargo hold, but surely nothing could be alive here any more… right?

The blips move a little bit at the end of each turn (at my whimsy) and when they get within view of a character I flip them over. Some are simply ghost readings and are removed from play, others might be a little more hungry…

Five numbered objectives and five auspex blips
The warbands

Crowblade’s warband makes another appearance after successfully infiltrating a stevedore gang at Distro-19. This time they have a direct lead to the Crown of Bones, so Crowblade is bringing in his big guns. He’s bringing along his chief advisor Karith Once-Touched, who has been tasked with finding the shipping manifest and avoiding combat. His other new hire is Mulbrak Thrice-Bound, a fearsome shadowy daemonhost. Schipka is brought along too, rounding the warband out to four.

From the left, Karith Once-Touched, Mulkbrak Thrice-Bound, and Crowblade (Schipka not pictured).

Interrogator Amourah’s warband is new to the campaign, but her exploits go back almost a decade of Inquisitor games. She represents the hardline puritan Inquisitor Alexandus, and they are indisputably the most heavily armed and armoured warband on the board in any circumstance. This is nearly always necessary, as they are bad at making friends and great at getting caught in crossfire.

Amouah herself sports an inferno pistol and retractible power blade, joined by Imperial Guard veteran Sergeant Jackson and cybernetically-reconstructed explosives specialist Bill ‘Tin Man’ Teller. Jackson wears a suit of motor-actuated carapace armour and equipped with a fearsome wrist-mounted hellgun, while Tin Man carries a combat shotgun and a smorgasbord of explosives.

From the left: Sergeant Jackson, Interrogator Amourah, and Tin Man
Deployment

After Crowblade’s warband ingratiated themselve so well among the stevedores of Distro-19, they gained enough insider knowledge to get the jump on the Ius Soli and got to deploy first.

They split their forces in two. Crowblade and Karith deploy in the maintenance tunnels near an access vent which comes out right next to objective 5. Their hope is to move in quickly and grab the cargo manifest while the other team “run interference”.

The other team is Mulbrak Thrice-Bound and Schipka, the surprisingly charming pit fighter who won the hearts and minds of the labourers at Distro-19. They had been tasked with investigating the cargo bay and dealing with any of the the auspex ghosts, should they turn out to be a little more material than just glitches on a scanner.

Interrogator Amourah’s warband deploy together inside the shuttle bay, having squeeze through an off-screen hatch to get there.

Game on

Both warbands begin advancing cautiously into the cargo bay, flashlights dancing through the racking and throwing unnerving shapes against the walls. Amourah’s team all have bionic eyes but no low-light vision, so they still relied on their personal light sources to see where they were going.

One by one they sneak towards the shuttle bay entrance, keeping their flashlights low and peering through the gloom. They strain their ears to pick up on the faintest sound of danger.

Schipka on the other hand, whacks his torch on maximum and marches into the cargo bay. Mulbrak slinks past him and slithers around to the right, pulling himself forwards on his massive claws.

Amourah sweeps the floor, walls and ceiling with her flashlight, checking for any signs of life. Bullet casings and blood stains lead to a scattering of bodies in the centre of the room – uniformed guards in the colours of House Dacien.

She doesn’t have time to investigate further as she spots the tell-tale twinkling of another flashlight across the cargo bay. She flicks the power button on her flashlight, moving into the vaulted room without making a sound. The rest of her team follow suit, wordlessly and well-practiced.

She wasn’t expecting company, but at least she’ll be able to keep an eye on them without giving her own position away.

In the maintenance tunnels to the south, Karith and Crowblade push through the hanging cables and pipes that crowd the headspace of the maintenance tunnels. His auspex reads movement in the room ahead, but he needs to press forward.

He knows from his crude deck plan that this room has a ladder to an access vent, which should bring him out near the cargo manifest terminal. Whatever lies ahead has to be dealt with.

Off in the distance behind them, Crowblade hears the gutwrenching sound of a pressure door opening. Something else is in these tunnels, and it has them surrounded. He has to punch through whatever lies in front of them quickly. He telepathically gives the order for Karith to advance ahead of him, who does so gleefully.

The pressure door slides back, and Karith nervously passes his flashlight around the room. Hissing pipes and swaying chains, but no sign of life. He lets out a sigh of relief – just a ghost on the auspex.

Crowblade wastes no time finding the access ladder, keen not to hang around to meet an auspex glitch can open pressure doors.

Mulbrak Thrice-Bound continues moving silently around the cargo bay, keeping close to the gantry overhead. He saw a trio of lights flicker and die across the room, and his nose is filled with the scent of blood. He has a target, and his orders are straightforward. Seek and destroy.

On the north side, Amourah’s uncanny sense pick up a figure in the darkness. She has an almost sixth sense for finding people, part of what makes her such a valuable asset to her Inquisitor. In game terms, we treat this as a Wyrd ability for the Detection psychic power, even though she’s not psychic.

She picks up subtle air movements, the shuffle of feet, the sound of teeth tearing at flesh. Something is feasting on the bodies in here. She draws her inferno pistol and sneaks towards the stairs that lead up to the walkway.

Jackson is not quite operating at her level of discretion however, and his servo-actuated armour rings out through the darkness. A bestial hiss replies from the blackness, and something stumbles forwards into sight. The first blip is revealed!

An emaciated figure clad in tattered ratings’ overalls clambers over the bodies towards Jackson. A sharpened blade is gripped in one hand and its eyes are a solid red. Blood and filth cake its mouth and hands.

This was perhaps once a crew member, touched by the warp after the vessel’s disappearance and driven to cannibalism and madness. Jackson felt brief pity for the wretched creature and began spooling up his hellgun.

His pity evaporated in the half-second it took the warp-touched malignant to cross the deck towards him. In a flash of steel the flensing blade scraped along his stomach, deflected by his armour.

He swung wildly with his hellgun, so shocked by the creature’s speed, but it ducked and weaved under his clumsy rebuke. Another glint in the dark, this time the blade finding its mark and piercing his bicep. A glancing blow, but only just. Next time it might not be so glancing.

He threw an intentionally heavy swing, opening up space to compose himself. The crewman was too close for his hellgun, but he always kept something for close encounters. In one swift motion, Jackson parried the incoming blade with a knife of his own. The sound of steel on steel echoes across the cargo bay.

Meanwhile, Schipka is calmly scooby-dooing his way through the cargo bay, stubbornly keeping his flashlight on and making no attempts to conceal his presence. Off in the distance he hears the sound of combat, metal on metal, and bestial hissing and screeching. He sweeps his flashlight round to settle on another emaciated crewman with a terrible hunger in his bloodshot eyes.

His two braincells whirred. His left hand is his prize possession – an implant claw. In his right hand is his flashlight. Drawing his pistol means putting down his flashlight, which means no light, which means no pistol. Think, Schipka, think!

He looked back at his claw again. Of course! It’s so simple!

With an excited bellow, Schipka charges into combat.

Schipka and the other pit fighters have a non-traditional approach to combat drugs. They have six different types in a roulette injector, designed by crowds who were bored of predictability in their pit fights. When they activate, every pit fighter on the board rolls a D6 to see what combat drug they get injected into them.

There was a cheer from the players as ‘hallucinogen’ was rolled, followed by mild disappointment as the ‘frenzies for one turn’ result followed. Schipka obediently charged into combat, and in a single action tore the face of the crewman clean off, killing him instantly. Another cheer from the players!

Interrogator Amourah spots a creature cloaked in billowing shadow on the edge of her vision – little more than two huge claws dragging a horrific tooth-filled maw. She lines up a shot with her inferno pistol but the deadly beam burns a hole clean through the floor where the creature stands, somehow missing a straight shot.

Mulbrak flattens himself behind some crates, leaving a billowing outline of where he once stood. Another screeching melta blast hits the floor. Taking his opportunity, he concentrates hard, drawing in malefic energies and attempting to manifest Curse of Charybdis. In a shocking display of dice rolls the warp ebbs away time and time again, leaving him wide open and with a splitting headache.

This time Amourah takes no chances. She whips her flashlight out, aims squarely at the daemonhost and opens up.

By now, Crowblade and Karith had negotiated the access vent and expertly positioned themselves within striking distance of their objective. Sounds of battle raged in the cargo bay.

He could see Schipka tearing the face off some unfortunate soul, his erratic flashlight movement showing the battle like some gruesome slideshow. There was clearly some more fighting going on elsewhere but he was blind to it, and the daemonsword in his hand egged him onwards to his goal.

And then another light appeared, this time illuminating Mulbrak. A melta beam strikes the daemonhost square in the chest, flooring him and consuming the area he stood in thick black mist. He couldn’t make out the target, but they were on the walkway, and they weren’t aware of him.

He telepathically ordered Karith to see to the terminal. He would deal with this problem himself.

While Amourah is distracted by Mulbrak, Crowblade sprints forwards. The daemonblade in his hand springs to life, crackling with pink-blue fire. The sword arcs towards the flat-footed Amourah, biting deep into her side.

She staggers backwards, failing to find her footing on the cat walk grating. She raises her pistol at her assailant, but it is too late. The blade gouges several inches from her skull, exposing the bionic components beneath.

She falls. Flames lick from the wound, her bionics sparking and failing. The light from her one good eye drifts away.

Crowblade rolls her over with the ball of his foot, checking for identifying marks. No obvious insignias, but he doesn’t recognise the uniform. An Imperial agent no doubt – well equipped and well connected – but just an Imperial agent. Their master is sure to reveal themselves after this incident, and Crowblade will be waiting. Yes. Just as planned…

He hears an excited yell from the catwalk behind him. “Master, I have it!”.

On the main deck, Jackson’s dance with the crewman continues. The crazed creature can barely penetrate the veteran’s heavy armour, but Jackson can never get far enough from combat to bring his hellgun to bear.

The stalemate was about to break however, necessarily in his favour, as the final blip moved through the shuttle bay access vent and revealed itself to be a third crazed crewman.

(By this point, the game had been going on for about three hours. Jackson moved about 12″ from his starting location and failed to make any successful attacks or roll more than two actions to break from combat. It’s very difficult to make that agonisingly funny poor performance sound thrilling.)

(By contrast, Tin Man had succeeded in rolling a single action every turn. He hadn’t been forgotten in this battle report, there just really wasn’t anything to report.)

Tin Man had been hiding behind studying a stack of stasis containers – evidence number 2. Fragments of bone littered the cargo bay deck, and corpses had been torn from their stasis. Only a handful of corpses seemed to have been eaten however – dozens, maybe hundreds, were missing.

Schipka dropped the ragged face of the crewman on the floor, rather pleased with how that went. The sounds of fighting echoed around him, but none of it seemed directed at him. He figured he’d use the opportunity to do a bit of sleuthing, which for a character with a Sagacity of 25 seemed like a long shot.

In an incredible series of dice rolls (008 and 003) he Sherlocked the shit out of his situation. He clocked the nearby stasis containers with missing bodies (evidence 2) and noticed strange battle damage on the walls and floor, almost like a whirlwind or large beast was thrashing around. These deep gouges lead towards the airlock, which had sealed over the drag marks, like whatever it was had been sucked out into the void. (Evidence 1).

Landing his flashlight on a pile of bodies in the middle of the room, he saw some dressed in Navigator colours, and some other rough-looking types. A particularly important body, dressed in Navigator robes, lay next to an empty container.

Sadly, or hilariously, depending on your viewpoint, this was the Sagacity test he chose to fail. He recognised the type of container from Distro-19, and despite it being empty and sat next to an important-looking Navigator dressed in House Dacien colours, he figured the box was the important part. Boss will be so proud.

Tin Man stepped out from behind the stasis containers. To his left, Jackson was fighting off two warp-touched crewmen. Up on the cat walk ahead was flashes of melta fire and the sounds of swords clashing. To his right, a flashlight bearing down on him.

He had faith in his team – they could handle a few bilge rats, and he wasn’t going to help anyone by shooting into combat. He levelled his shotgun at the incoming flashlight and fired. He thought he made out the silhuoette of a figure illuminated by the shot, they seemed to go down. He didn’t have time to check.

A hoarse screen sounded from behind him. He turned just in time to duck under a wicked blade aimed at his neck. One of the crewmen had peeled off the assault on Jackson and lunged at him!

Tin man found an opening and backed away down an aisle, putting a few rounds into the crewman as he went. The crewman enraged rather than hurt, so Tin Man readied another salvo.

The air around him grew cold. Despite it being pitch black, it somehow got darker. Loud rattly breathing was suddenly the only thing he could hear. He turned and saw the void itself stare back.

Having apparently saved up all his action rolls for this part of the game, he shoulder-barged the raving crewman out the way and ducked round the corner to the next aisle of racking, confident the two creatures would cancel each other out.

Mulbrak made one more failed attempt at manifesting Curse of Charybdis before abandoning that plan and going with something a little more hands-on: Warp Strength.

The crewman had other ideas. Although he immediately lost sight of Tin Man in the darkness, he found himself standing next to an extremely meaty-looking pit fighter rolling around on the floor. He sliced at him, the pit fighter deftly rolling out the way and pulling himself to his feet.

With an almighty crash, the newly hulked-out Mulbrak’s clumsy attempt to climb the storage racking ended with the aisle smashing apart, exposing a path to Tin Man.

Horror-movie style, the crewman with the ripped-apart face suddenly sat up. He had finally passed his True Grit check to get back in the fight. He pulled himself to his feet and found himself mere yards away from the person who tore his face off.

(And yes, Jackson was still fruitlessly wrestling with someone who couldn’t hurt him)

It was finally Tin Man’s time to shine. He was sick of this mire of mutants and monsters, and had a belt full of explosive solutions. The plan was simple: prime and throw a grenade, then retreat as fast as possible for all remaining actions.

The dice were rolled. He primed a grenade.

Mulbrak, now with a Strength of over 120, leapt forwards and smashed the par-boiled grenade clean from Tin Man’s grasp. It exploded harmlessly somewhere in the racking behind everyone, much to every player’s disappointment.

Jackson receives a garbled message relayed from their gun-cutter – the House Dacien kill team was almost here, they needed to finish up and withdraw.

With renewed vigour, he breaks from the terrifying emaciated lunatic with the rusty knife, and heads towards the stairs to find the Interrogator. He spools up his hellgun and fires wildly into the dark after the crewman, missing every shot.

Back on the catwalk, Karith hands over the data-slate to Crowblade, along with his findings. (Evidence 5) The cargo manifest contains largely unremarkable details of warzones these bodies have been collected from, but the last entry is particularly juicy.

A flight path of Novator Hypatos’ shuttle that started at a colony near Distro-19 on Gehanna. It ended docked in this very cargo bay some months ago. With some time, they could figure out exact coordinates and get closer to the Crown of Bones.

Crowblade took the dataslate and sent a message to Karith’s mind that he was pleased with his work. With another thought, he informed Schipka and Mulbrak that they had everything they needed – it was time to leave.

Tin Man received the withdraw orders from Jackson too, and decided it was time to stop playing about with the baby bombs.

As Mulbrak bore down on him, its awful maw ringed with teeth, he heaved a demolition charge straight down its gullet.

With a comedy belch of smoke, Mulbrak toppled over. He collapsed into the racking, engulfed by black smoke.

He had been saved by his Impervious trait, racking up a terrifying amount of damage but surviving a direct hit without permanent damage. Tin Man didn’t know or care however, as he had booked it across the cargo bay to meet up with Jackson on the stairs.

Karith and Crowblade left the board without fuss. They had what they came for, and Crowblade was confident that the other two would find their own way back to their shuttle.

Jackson and Tin Man met up on the stairs, pausing only to fill a screeching crewman that had been persuing them full of hellgun rounds. It felt good to finally hit something with that gun.

They grabbed Interrogator Amourah and evacuated back to their gun-cutter.

The last players on the pitch were Mulbrak and Schipka, who still stubbornly had his flashlight on. There were (somehow) still two crewmen left, but the pair made short work of them.

Schipka squared off against his old nemesis Faceless Guy, and in a statistically pleasing manner hit him square in the head again with his claw, crushing what remained like a paper cup.

The roided-up Mulbrak bore down on the final crewman, who had suffered shotgun blasts and stab wounds and yet still had barely a scratch on him. Mulbrak dragged himself up to the crewman, who had been busy duelling Schipka at the time, and pulled his arm clean from his socket.

With that surprisingly violent turn, the game was called to a close as our warbands fled the field.

The scores

With Amourah’s warband only getting a single piece of evidence, they failed their objective and lose 1 Resource from their buy-in. Not only that, but Amourah’s serious head injury needs serious medical attention which they’ll have to shell out another Resource for. Things are looking a little sparse on the ground for her warband…

Compared to Crowblade’s warband, who come out with +2 Resources overall. They lose 1 for the buy-in, but gained 2 for completing their objective (gaining 3 pieces of evidence) and an additional one for securing the bonus Resource.

Crowblade is victorius, and goes into the next game with incredible advantage.

The wrap-up

What a game! It had tension, investigation, knocking lots of scenery over, everything!

I’m very pleased with the board setup, it’s something I’ve spent a lot of lockdown hours on, and it’s finally paying off. I think I’ll definitely build more ‘filler’ walls – long pieces of foamboard with junk stuck onto them – to take the place of the more useful MDF wall pieces. It massively extends the amount of blocks I can use in construction and costs me next to nothing. It’ll also be helpful when I want to start creating individual buildings with this kit to help have some aesthetic differences.

I really liked using the space hulk tiles to have a secondary area to sneak around in. It’s a shame it didn’t get used very much, but I put that down to the third player being unavaible to play on the day. I think with a third party we’d have seen a lot more making use of all the crawlspaces.

I think we’re also seeing a shift in how some warbands are playing. We’re so used to playing one-off games, or scenarios that are only loosely linked by story, that other elements like persistent injury and ammunition has never come up. Tin Man burned through a lot of his expensive explosives, and Crowblade’s player felt guilty for immediately murdering Amourah by setting her head on fire.

All told it was an excellent game with plenty of laughs and dramatic moments. It’ll be great to see how these characters and relationships evolve over the course of the campaign.

See you next week!

Previous scenario

Dust-up at Distro-19 | Inquisitor Battle Report

It is the first scenario of the Crown of Bones Inquisitor campaign, and we’re starting with a bang.

This is an Annex mission, specifically one to test out some new character concepts that, in some cases, don’t have full miniatures yet. You don’t need perfectly painted minis to enjoy Inquisitor – when I got started, we would play with plastic Space Marine dreadnoughts and the cave troll from Balin’s Tomb. Don’t let perfect be the enemy of fun!

In this scenario, a newly-minted Ordo Hereticus Explicator team and a warband of Chaos Undivided descend on a busy distribution centre on Gehanna. Their target: a munitions depot.

Setting the scene

Distro-19 is a bustling distribution centre, similar to dozens of others scattered across the planet’s dig sites. Supplies flow in, archeological artefacts flow out.

Distro-19 maintains a reinforced munitions depot storing high explosives for blasting through bedrock, personally looked after by Foreman Ashford. With all this new Navigator coin flowing through the distribution centre he has secured each case with top-of-the-range shock-proof designs, and they can endure fire, shocks, or even gunshots. He often boasts “You’d have to blow ’em up to blow ’em up.”

Unfortunately for his paymasters he already has plans for these munitions, and he’s about to void a lot of warranties.

The munitions depot has two entrances and an interior roof ladder. The west entrance is next to the blue railcar, with the east entrance being opposite in the alley.

The warbands

Firstly is Ashford’s stevedore gang, a group of overworked, underpaid labourers of House Dacien who have been dealing with a spate of disappearances from their ranks. Through his network of contacts Ashford has sourced some weapons to arm his fellow stevedores, and they intend to take matters into their own hands.

Ashford in the top left and going clockwise; Staz, Grigori, Diogo, and Drummer

Explicator Stigg and Rogue Trader Phaelon make up the Inquisitorial representation, with faithful cyber-construct Gnasher in tow. Stigg is a freshly-minted Interrogator who has negotiated the use of Phaelon’s vessel and crew to investigate the Crown of Bones. What Phaelon gets in return is between him and the Explicator, but it’s reasonable to assume it’s not out the goodness of his own heart.

They are investigating a strange energy signature coming from Distro-19, a discordant but unmistakably similar energy signature that was present on the Ius Soli when it arrived in the system. Stigg has an auspex specifically tuned to this energy signature, which appears to be emanating from inside the munitions depot.

Explicator Stigg (currently a stand-in) at the top, with Rogue Trader Phaelon and Gnasher below

The Chaos warband is lead by a daemon sword-wielding mute called Crowblade, and is accompanied by an assortment of pit fighters who don’t display any outward signs of Chaos influence. Crowblade is bargaining on their relatively normal appearance to help him carry out his mission.

Crowblade also seeks the Crown of Bones, but is finding it extremely difficult to move about with so many rival agents in the system. He’s cooked up a few plans to keep authorities distracted so he can operate a bit more freely, and it starts with a bit of insurrection.

He has supplied a local disgruntled workforce with some small arms, and intends to carry out a false flag attack on their munitions depot to help galvanise them into action. They’re already on the brink with little trust left in their so-called protectors, and all it would take is a teeny-weeny explosion to set them down the correct path. Just as planned.

Crowblade and Shipka deploy north of the munitions depot
Pit Boss and Gunny prepare for a charm offensive and deploy close to the stevedores
Setting the scene

Gehenna is a sun-baked wasteland (not to be confused with the UK during a heatwave whose own sun kept blowing out my photos), and the tarmac surfaces of Distro-19 would be no exception. Although the game would take place during midday, the nauseating heat haze would require Initiative checks to spot anyone not obviously out in the open.

Not only that, but Distro-19 and its surroundings are still very much in operation. The clamour of rails, servo-lifters and machinery creates such a din that any listening checks would be halved.

Game on

Explicator Stigg and Rogue Trader Phaelon approach Distro-19 on the trail of a strange energy signature, but as they arrive things are not as they expect. Rather than the labourers going about their business, they are arming themselves in a courtyard while one of their number shouts about taking matters into their own hands.

Where these stevedores got so many weapons, and what matters they feel they need to be armed to deal with, are not his concern right now. His auspex is pointed squarely at the munitions depot in the middle of the distribution centre, and with all the labourers gathered in the courtyard, it is completely unguarded.

He pulls a small leather box from his pocket, pressing his thumb to the bio-coder to unlock it. Inside is a shard of mirror with a disturbing depth to its reflection. A haunting face leers back in the distance. A fragment of a daemon, bound to a mirror and broken apart. It hates the Explicator, but it hates the prospect of having a shard lost or broken into even more pieces, so it begrudgingly uses its powers to help while it bides its time.

With a hoarse cackle the mirror daemon reveals the presence of another daemonic entity near the distro centre, knowing Stigg would be compelled to investigate, and offers to commune with it to find out more. The Explicator hastily stuffs the shard back in its warded leather box. Stigg almost died preventing this daemon escaping from its mirror prison – he wouldn’t give it another chance.

He beckons Phaelon and Gnasher to follow and he breaks cover for a nearby railcar.

On the other side of the board, Crowblade’s daemon sword hums and squirms in his hand. He can sense the agitation of the workers here, and judging from the shouts coming from the courtyard up ahead, his supply of weapons has found their intended owners. He hears a voice in his soul. Yes… just as planned…

With his distraction in place, he makes his way to the munitions depot to weigh his options for havoc. Sadly these workers were better equipped than he’d thought. The explosives are reinforced for industrial-grade accidents, and nothing short of plunging his warpfire sword into them would set them off.

He’d need to find the remote detonator, usually in an office or with a foreman. He suspected he knew just where to find such a man…

While the rallying cries for safer working conditions continue, two more of Crowblades’ retinue approach the stevedores. Pit Boss, the more charismatic of the two, clears his throat. All the workers turn their heads to these augmented fighters.

He makes an impassioned plea to join their insurrection, citing vague similarities with his own non-descript working conditions, and that he works vaguely off over there somewhere, gesturing wildly. His Leadership check to convince them is appalling, and the stevedores look at each other nervously.

Gunny, another augmented pit fighter with guns for hands, staggers over to them screaming “LOOK WHAT THEY DID TO MY HANDS!”. He rolls a 001 for his persuasion, and against everyone’s expectation of how the game was going to play out, the stevedores welcome these two new augmented comrades into their fold with open arms.

Ashford cites these two as further examples of the cruelty that House Dacien can inflict on their workforce, with the two pit fighters nodding along. He explains they’re about to take all the explosives, load them onto the truck and ride to the next Distro centre, where they’ll bring their message of solidarity to the next lot of workers.

Ashford shouts that they’ll use the weapons of House Dacien against them, and asks Pit Boss and Gunny to use their augmented strength to help carry the munitions. Agape with how well this is going, they both agree and set off to the east entrance.

They spot Shipka and Crowblade in the distance, and signal that everything is going perfectly. Shipka and Crowblade double back, intending to check the covered containers for any more detonators.

Back on the other side of the depot, Phaelon and Stigg have moved swiftly and silently towards their target. Gnasher, on the other hand, has moved neither swiftly nor silently and his clanking alerts one of the stevedores, Drummer.

He shouts some demands at it, but it ignores his requests and clanks off into the distance. Drummer alerts Ashford, who orders Diogo to accompany Drummer and check it out.

Ashford stops Pit Boss and Gunny in their tracks with a click of his revolvers. “How many of you are there?”

Eager to please, the pit fighters insist it’s just the three of them. Ashford remains unconvinced, but time pressures mean he’ll have to give them the benefit of the doubt for now, and asks Staz to keep an eye on them while they load the trucks. Ashford takes Grigori with him round to the east side of the depot.

Largely oblivious to the unfolding drama, Stigg and Phaelon slip into the munitions dump. Phaelon orders Gnasher to keep watch, setting him to sound an alarm if anyone gets close to the entrance.

The auspex leads them to a keypad-locked container – the energy signature is coming from whatever is inside it. The Rogue Trader pushes past the Explicator to get a better look – there isn’t a lock he can’t crack.

At this moment exact moment Drummer appears at the west door, accompanied by Diogo, Pit Boss and Gunny. Gnasher’s bark-sirens go off, alarm lights beaming from his eyes.

Drummer bellows “Looks like we got company, boss! I think it’s a stitch-up!”

Ashford barrels into the depot, scanning the gloomy corners for signs of trouble. Phaelon realises both their exits are blocked, so the ladder next to them is the only option. With a successful Sagacity check, he spots some precariously-stacked girders in the corner.

With a flick of the wrist, he slices through their bindings and they topple, as predicted, towards the racking. Explosives clatter to the floor as the racking dominos across the room to the opposite racking. Ashford and Grigori dive clear of the crushing metal, Ashford ending up inside the depot, while Grigori is trapped outside the east entrance.

Phaelon tosses the box to Stigg, who drops his auspex to free up his hands. “Time to move!”

Crawling out from under the wreckage, Ashford is cursing like a sailor. “They gotta be House Dacien! They’ve sent some scum to finish us off! Shoot anyone who ain’t us!”

Phaelon didn’t like the sound of that, and sends a command to Gnasher to occupy Ashford long enough for them to make their escape.

Stigg knows stacked odds when he sees them and sets about creating an equaliser. He whips out an incendiary grenade in one hand, flicks the pin out with his thumb and rolls it into the west entrance. Drummers’ eyes widen. “Watch out, boss!”

Drummer throws himself onto the grenade, the blast punching through his gut, killing him instantly.

With the flames filling the doorway and temporarily equalising the fight, Stigg clambers up the ladder to the roof.

Ashford wails in anguish from the floor. He’s been around enough industrial accidents to know an instant death when he sees one. He fires his revolvers wildly at Stigg clambering up the ladder, shots pinging harmlessly off the racking.

“The Man is here, and he’s trying to kill us! Take ’em out boys!” He bellows, limping across the room and slamming a fist onto the emergency sprinkler system.

As the sprinklers burst to life, a horrible two-legged cybernetic construct launches itself at Ashford, its metal maw snapping.

Diogo pulls Drummer’s lifeless body free from the flames. Sobbing, he looks up at his new friend Pit Boss. He takes his shotgun off his shoulder and tearfully raises it at Pit Boss.

“I’m sorry, Boss says I gotta shoot you…”

Pit Boss somehow manages another convincing argument, explaining that The Man is the ones in there blowing things up, not the ones out here trying to help carry stuff. Diogo glumly nods and pulls himself to his feet.

Shipka, who had snuck up behind Diogo just in case, makes a “shall I kill this guy?” motion at Pit Boss. Pit Boss replies with a “No, definitely don’t kill this guy” motion while Diogo is isn’t watching.

Staz and Gunny have been at an impasse in the courtyard. Ashford shouted something about shooting people, but Staz would always measure twice, cut once. He had his combat shotgun trained on Gunny, and sweat was rolling down his face. He didn’t sign up for this level of decision-making.

Suddenly Stigg pops the hatch on the munitions depot, followed by a plume of black smoke. In a panic, Staz wheels his shotgun around to the newcomer and lets a few rounds fly. They all ping off the lip of the depot and Stigg dives for cover.

There is carnage inside the depot as Gnasher gnaws at Ashford, who is doing his best to avoid getting bitten. As the fire is extinguished, Diogo and Pit Boss leap into the fray to take out the ravening machine, who keeps dancing around his increasingly-frustrated opponents.

This continues for many, many turns.

Phaelon finally surfaces under a hail of shotgun fire from Staz, and following Stigg’s example keeps his head down to flee across the roof.

Gunny circles around the couryard to get a better angle for his guns, takes aim, and…

The injector rig on his back whirrs into life, a cocktail of drugs spinning in their frame like pinwheel. The games have begun!

A stray shot from Ashford’s revolver clipped Pit Boss’ injector rig, which has signalled to the other Pit Fighters’ rigs to activate too. As part of their creation they were fitted with a form of Stimm Roulette for the entertainment of the crowds. Nobody knew what kind of combat drug they’d be dealt once activated, and they could all be activated remotely from the master rig.

Drugs flood Gunny’s system and a red haze descends. He no longer wants to shoot, he wants to rend flesh from bone, to tear at limbs with his bare teeth. He has rolled Psychon, causing him to be subject to Frenzy, and he launched himself at the wall to clamber up after Phaelon and Stigg.

Even with guns instead of hands, his sheer bloody-minded determination to climb a wall saw him through, and with a wolf-cry of victory, gave chase across the roof.

Back in the alley, Grigori had picked himself up from the fallen racking. He barely had time to figure out what to do before a horrifying figure in a horned helmet came bearing down on him with a flaming sword.

He slashed Grigori across the chest, and even as Grigori tried desperately to reason and plea, the assailant kept silent. He simply stepped forward, parrying Grigori’s clumsy blows, and delivering more glancing hits on the stevedore, as though he wanted to take him apart piece by piece.

By now, Staz had run out of ammunition firing at the assumed House Dacien agents on the rooftop, and had retreated to a pillar in the alleyway to reload. He turned just in time to see an armoured warrior plunge a fiery blade through Grigori’s sternum, who slumped to the ground.

Panicking even more, Staz’s unpractised fingers fumble the magazine, and by the time he looked back down the alley, the horned fighter had disappeared.

Crowblade, annoyed at his botched silent assassination of the worker, had ducked behind a nearby shipping container. He wasn’t sure he could cover the distance between him and the gunman before he reloaded, and no amount of faith in the Changer of Ways can hold your organs together after a close-range gutfull of lead.

The chances of him getting hold of detonators at this point seemed slim at best, but circumstances had proven more favourable than he’d thought. A third party was somewhere else in Distro-19 stirring up trouble, and his minions had ingratiated themselves into the workforce better than he could have dreamed. He didn’t even need to create a false flag attack – someone else had done it for him.

While the gunner was distracted with reloading, he sprinted away down the alley and off the board. His work was done.

A voice cawed in his soul again. Just as planned…

With the crate firmly in hand, Stigg leaps from the depot rooftop onto some nearby crates. Checking over his shoulder, Phaelon is close by, followed by a frothing aug with guns for hands, clambering up onto the roof by sheer force of will.

Stigg wasn’t sure why the madman hadn’t taken a shot yet, but it wasn’t time to question. He slid down the tarpaulin and took cover near a flatbed truck.

By this point, everyone can hear sirens wailing in the distance. Authorities had clearly been alerted to the fire alarm in the depot and there was limited time left to make a getaway.

Stigg threw a hopeful glance at the truck. The keys were in the ignition…

Pit Boss, now juiced up on Reflex, finally puts an end to Gnasher. They take a moment to take stock of their situation, all of them battered and bruised but surprisingly unharmed.

Ashford clocks the sirens in the distance and signals to Diogo to grab some munitions. He points a revolver at Pit Boss, saying “I still don’t trust you, but we can deal with that later. Right now we have to grab these crates and scarper before more House Dacien thugs turn up.”

Pit Boss, overjoyed that his gossamer-thin cover story was somehow still intact, excitedly grabs a couple of crates and jogs towards the truck.

As Pit Boss loads his crates onto the truck, Phaelon steps out from behind his crate with a strange-looking flintlock pistol raised. He shoots, barely winging the brute, who turns to take a swing at the Rogue Trader.

As he does so, Pit Boss realises his hands aren’t hands anymore, but a mess of writhing tentacles. He panics and screams, looking around for help, dropping his axe in the process.

Ashford darts out the depot looking for the commotion and sees Pit Boss screaming at his (perfectly normal) hands. He doesn’t recognise the person in the fancy hat, but he looks ruling class, so has to be House Dacien. He aims carefully and squeezes off a shot with his revolver.

Bang! Phaelon’s conversion field absorbs the shot, firing off a blinding burst of energy in retaliation. Everyone passes their Initiative checks to avoid being blinded… except Stigg. He finds himself stunned for a dangerous number of turns with so many pit fighters bearing down on them.

Gunny had caught up with them, but in his frenzied pursuit had thrown himself off the roof and landed on his head, putting himself out of action for the remainder of the game.

The Rogue Trader had no choice but to draw his phase sword and duel with the pit fighter. Pit Boss realised his hands were fine after all and grabbed his axe to cut down this interloper. The Rogue Trader was well but his fencing days were behind him, and there’s only so much fancy footwork you can do against such raw strength and aggression.

In the midst of the cut and thrust, Phaelon managed to grab Stigg by the scruff and throw him onto the back of the truck. Sweeping the Pit Fighter’s leg, he dived into the cockpit and prayed it would start.

While the truck spluttered and coughed into life, Stigg’s vision had returned enough for him to draw his laspistol and fire wildly at the menacing blurry figures that had surrounded the truck.

The truck roared into life, and Phaelon slammed his foot on the accelerator. They left Distro-19 in the dust.

Pit Boss ran back to Ashford, demanding he detonate explosives on the truck. After a tense back and forth, Ashford finally agreed to part with those munitions (they were lost now anyway) and configured the detonator to explode only the ones on the truck.

Despite them being some distance away by now (well off the board), Stigg and Phaelon noticed the priming lights change just in time and threw themselves from the truck. With a thunderous explosion the mining charges tore the truck to shreds, setting off a small mushroom cloud of dust on the horizon.

Stigg and Phaelon disappeared into the wastes with their prize, and while all the workers and pit fighters at the distro were convinced House Dacien’s agents had been killed, Crowblade watched on from a vantage point. He didn’t know who they were, but he was sure he’d be seeing them again in the future.

Just as planned.

The wrap up

Both warbands were awarded 1 Resource for completing their objectives. Explicator Stigg made off with the source of the energy signature, and even though Crowblade didn’t blow up the munitions depot, he managed to infiltrate the stevedore’s gang so perfectly he didn’t need any other provocation.

Only a couple of pit fighters took any hits on the players’ side – and even then, only light or heavy injuries. Stigg and Phaelon never took any injuries at all! As per the campaign mechanics for injuries they both walk away with clean slates, but the same couldn’t be said for poor Gnasher.

We discussed afterwards that Gnasher is a good piece of wargear, but a carbon copy of the cyber mastiff rules didn’t fit his intended use as well as we’d hoped. He’ll be getting some slight tweaks for his next iteration – discussions were had about giving him a photon flash attack, or some kind of area denial effect like a webber or grease bomb.

The player would use the Resource he won from this mission to build a new Gnasher back on Phaelon’s ship, harder, faster, better, stronger. We look forward to seeing what Gnasher mk.2 looks like!

Next scenario

Chapter 1: No Souls on Board

Inquisitor Battle Report: Dog-watch Nights

We enjoyed our second scenario of the The Gorgon Crystals campaign run at Asgard Wargames this week: Dog-watch Nights.

+++++ Message Incoming +++++

It is the late hours of the night shift on Port Impetus – the Dog-watch – and you are pursuing leads on smuggled xenos artefacts salvaged from the wreck of a merchant vessel, The Sojourner. 

The port is rocked by an explosion. Reports filter in, scattered at first, but the picture builds quickly – a warehouse on the docks has been bombed. It is supposedly a Cold Trade hideout, a likely location of the smuggled xenos artefacts, and the reports of madness and violence that follow confirm your suspicions.

You scramble together a team, knowing you have only a few minutes on site before the Adeptus Arbites arrive to shut the entire investigation down.

+++++ Message ends +++++

Setting the scene

Three warbands are close enough to the warehouse to investigate before the Arbites lock down the area. A small gang of Longshoremen deploy on the board too – a collection of criminals and bored voidsmen on shore leave – who set off the explosives hoping to get their hands on some valuable artefacts. They should provide a nice buffer between the players and reinforce the idea that the warehouse is in a densely populated area.

The game takes place during the Dog-watch – the night shift – which is quiet by dock standards but still noisy enough to reduce hearing distances by half. Dimmed global lighting and crimson emergency lumens from the warehouse floor mean standard Detection tests for spotting people.

Diamond One sets up over the entrance to the warehouse, the Longshoremen ready to pick over their spoils
Objectives

There are six loot tokens on the board, inside which are three xenos artefacts and three empty loot tokens. To find the artefacts, characters must pass a Sagacity -20 test on a loot token, then roll a D6. On a 4-6 the token is empty, and it is removed from the board. On a 1-3 there is an artefact inside! Remove the token from the board and replace it with a crystal.

Like the previous scenario, the crystals give off a horrifying warp-taint, capable of worming its way into the strongest of minds. Anyone picking up a crystal must pass a Willpower test or roll on the Hallucinogen table.

The Arbites are mere minutes away. The players have less than a dozen turns to complete their obejectives before they’re forced to evacuate the scene.

Setup of the six loot tokens

Objectives

All the campaign scenarios use a rough ideology aligment to determine scenario objectives. They are designed to be conflicting, but not mutually so, and can change between scenarios. They can’t see the objective before choosing, however, so players are not necessarily aware of other players’ goals.

Puritan: Ensure no other parties escape with artefacts.

Radical: Recover more artefacts than are destroyed or captured by other parties.

Selfish: Recover an artefact.

The artefacts themselves are fab resin scenery from Bad Squiddo Games, and I did a Meanwhile On The Bench for them here.

Warbands

Three warbands arrived to loot the bombed warehouse, plus a small contingent of NPC longshoremen played by the GM.

The Crimson Wake

The Crimson Wake are a house warband, you can see a detailed overview for them here. We are joined by the Traitor Guardsmen Tlaxcala, Dmitri and Kraw.

Tlaxcala has an implant plasma gun and his blood has been replaced by burning-hot plasma, making him a foe to not underestimate.

Dmitri has a hell-forged lasgun and a gift from his dark patron, the Balaghron Horn.

Kraw is a gunslinger with an uncontrollable dimensional shifting – something that grants him forcefield armour and makes him harder to detect, but he can’t regulate when it happens.

The Crimson Wake have had a run-in with the crystals previously on the Sojourner and wanted more, so were pursuing a Selfish objective – pinch an artefact for themselves.

Diamond’s Interests

From left to right: Clamps, Diamond One, Guilder Fetch (and medicae skull)

The first outing of Diamond’s Interests – these guys are another house warband, and their overview is here.

Clamps is a cargo-lifter servitor – possessing immense strength and industrial skeleton reinforcement, plus a big ol’ pair of clamps to clamp things with. He’s not smart, fast or capable of thinking for himself, but he’s got a heck of a punch.

Diamond One is a wealthy noble scion with an esoteric collection of xenos and archeotech miscellany, including a shuriken pistol and a custom displacer device that he can manually activate.

Fetch is tech support – he brings all the tools necessary to open doors and repair things, plus his trusty lasgun with underslung grenade launcher and all manner of grenades – frag, flash and haywire to suit his needs.

Diamond One is eager to get his hands on some of the much-lauded xenos artefacts, so is pursuing a Selfish agenda.

Arbitrator Havelock and Corporal Salem – the Mysterious Strangers

The mysterious strangers are back, this time with a different contingent than the expeditionary force on the surface of Asteroid 825-79C. The same strange medicae skull has followed them however, and unconfirmed reports suggest the warband have been conversing with it. Tech heresy perhaps? Rumours abound that the mysterious strangers are actually in service to a radical Inquisitor, but these rumours are so far unfounded.

Raiding the warehouse for the mysterious strangers are Senior Arbitrator Lucius Havelock and Corporal Rynn Salem of the Bastille XIV Regiment. The first is an ex-Arbitrator (retired or volun-told?) with all the associated trimmings – shotgun, shock maul and stiff upper lip. Corporal Salem is the fire support, toting a drum-fed boltgun.

Although they didn’t experience it firsthand, their warband’s previous encounters with the xenos artefacts have left them concerned about letting them fall into the hands of fools. They are pursuing a Puritan objective – don’t let anyone escape with an artefact.

Deployment

I tried something new for deployment – the intent was to eliminate the first few turns of walking towards each other and Pausing For Breath round corners. We were on a time limit, both in game and out, and I wanted to jump straight into the action.

Players can deploy characters anywhere on the board, but they are placed slowest speed first. I figured this gives faster characters opportunity to counter-deploy and react to their surroundings better. It certainly worked for getting characters into the thick of it!

Warbands broadly deployed close to one another with the Longshoremen setting up on the east side entrance to the warehouse.

Clamps deployment

Clamps deploys in the centre of the board, round a container from one of the central loot tokens.

Fetch sets up on the outskirts of the warehouse to the north, overlooking Clamps.

Diamond One deploys above the ruined east entrance to the warehouse, directly above the Longshoremen.

Kraw deploys directly next to the second central loot token.

Tlaxcala and Dmitri set up centrally only a stone’s throw from Kraw. They appear intent on holding down the centre of the warehouse.

Arbitator Havelock sets up on the other side of Dmitri’s container – it was going to get real bloody real quick.

Finally, Corporal Salem deploys above the ruined west entrance overlooking the warehouse.

With everyone deployed in tinderbox proximity, it was time to let the sparks to fly.

Game On

Arbitrator Havelock has pressed forward to the centre of the warehouse, confident that Corporal Salem has him covered. Dock alarms wail and the crimson glow of emergency lumens flood the warehouse.

In the distance he can hear the excited chatter of local dockers, and up close he can make out the heavy footsteps of Military-grade combat boots. He peers round the container to get a better look…

Mutants in the warehouse!

Kraw’s spider senses tingle and he checks his surroundings – he spots an all-too-familiar sight of a lawman’s silhouette cut against the crimson lights.

“They’re already here!” He hisses, squeezing off a pair of manstopper rounds against the Arbitrator. They explode off his shoulder, biting deep through his carapace armour. The gunshots ring out across the warehouse – if the warbands weren’t aware of other parties present, they were now.

Dmitri presses himself up against the container, peeking round but not spotting Kraw’s target. Havelock grimaces in pain as his master’s medicae skull goes about its duty, knitting his torn shoulder back together.

On the other side of the warehouse, Diamond One moves through the archway to get a better view of the gunshots he just heard. Below him are the chattering Longshoremen, somewhat more alert since the sound of gunfire.

He comes out to a ruined balcony overlooking the east side of the warehouse and crouches behind some crates, readying his splinter pistol. There are far more people here than he’d expected, and even with the help of the Deathclocks Guild he’d hired, he didn’t fancy his chances. If only there was some way to-

Hello there! A loot token right next to me? Don’t mind if I do…

I’ve got a bad feeling about this…

In a single action, Diamond One busts open the crate and finds a xenos artefact. In a subsequent turn, he bundles it up under his arm (passing his Willpower test to avoid a hallucinogenic effect, darn it!) and makes a break for where he came in.

The Arbitrator player lets out a quiet “Well, shit.” as he realises his Puritan objective has already been failed. Time for plan B…

Grigori and Ashford head south

The Longshoremen split up into two parties – Drummer and Staz heading north, while the other three head south. The southern party, lead by Captain Ashford, edge towards the sound of gunfire.

Drummer and Staz check out their first loot token, oblivious to Tlaxcala peering through the broken window and Clamps round the corner

The northern party stumble across their first loot token and Staz sets to work rifling through it for goodies.

Clamps had been inloaded with a layout of the warehouse prior to arrival, so he knew his way around. He’d been given a simple directive – clamp anything that isn’t Deathclocks Guild property or their employer.

He hears excited cackling from the longshoremen around the container and lumbers into combat, clamping excitedly.

CLAMPS

He takes First Mate Drummer by surprise, but that isn’t enough to land a blow against him. Drummer deftly dodges his clumsy swipes, returning the favour with his sabre and causing a few glancing blows.

With Clamps unable to hit and Drummer unable to hurt, this started to look like a stalemate.

Die, mutant scum!

It takes Havelock no time to identify these mutants as Chaos-worshipping scum – the worst kind of mutant – and charges at Kraw across the bulkhead floor. His shock maul is held in his off-hand as his right arm is still too torn up to hold a weapon, and he can’t land a solid blow against the jinking, flickering Chaos cultist.

Dmitri takes advantage of the distraction and flanks the Arbitrator, peppering him with lasfire from his hell-forged lasgun. A series of duff damage rolls mean the attacks bounce harmlessly off Havelock’s carapace armour, giving Dmitri a slight sense of panic.

“Dmitri! Get the tooter!”

Kraw recognises quite quickly that even a disadvantaged Arbitrator is still an Arbitrator and doesn’t fancy his chances, so he backs out to try and bring his pistols to bear again.

Dmitri decides to play his trump card, and reaches for his Balaghron Horn.

It takes him the best part of two turns to finally equip and toot his horn, meanwhile Kraw and Havelock skip around one another in a deadly dance.

INCEPTION NOISE .MP4

The horrifying toot washes over the warehouse, and characters from all over clap hands to ears to keep the ghastly noise from bursting their eardrums. People all over the board get stunned, including Salem (who hadn’t accomplished anything at this point anyway)and a few Longshoremen.

Our major players, particularly the Arbitrator, were entirely unaffected. Kraw uses the distraction to scamper off into the warehouse, while Havelock slowly turns round.

While Clamps and Drummer were distracted with one another, Staz finished searching his loot token and found nothing. He figured the First Mate was under no real threat from the jumped-up JCB so began clambering up some nearby crates to get a better view of his surroundings.

Then the toot happened.

“Man down! I’ve been tooted!”

Dmitri’s Balagron horn booms across the warehouse – Drummer and Clamps are unaffected, but Staz falls to his knees and clutches his head, blood streaming from his nose.

While he’s stunned the cunning Tlaxcala waits in the wings, steadying his aim with his implant plasma gun.

Guilder Fetch had been keeping an eye on proceedings from afar and decided it was time to strike. He’d kept a photon flash grenade loaded in the underslung launcher and dropped it right behind Clamps’, attempting to stun Drummer. The tricky sod passed his Initiative test, so Fetch shouldered his lasgun and fired into combat.

What’s a bit of friendly fire between friends?

Nutmegged!

In a burst of effectiveness, Fetch threads the needle beween Clamps’ legs and catching Drummer square in the groin. He hits the deck, stunned. Clamps wastes no time in taking advantage of the situation and plows both clamps down straight into Drummer’s torso.

What follows is a Critical Injury to the groin as Drummer is raised into the air and juiced – all his fluids squeezed from his lifeless corpse, somewhat like that poor Ork from the intro of Dawn of War 1.

Ah, zog it

Not content with merely clamping Drummer instantly to death, he hurls the body like a ragdoll at the stunned Staz. Fortunately for Staz, Clamps’ aim isn’t all too good, so Drummer’s body bounces off the wall and lands on the nearby container with an awful wet thud.

Champin’ for a clampin’

Back on the western conflict, Kraw has used the Death Toot as a distraction to slip out from underneath the Arbitrator’s nose and past two unsuspecting Longshoremen.

Kraw on the run

Dmitri and the Arbitrator exchange shots at close range – both digging small chunks out of each other, but not substantial enough to tip the conflict one way or the other.

The characters can also hear the sounds of the real Arbitrators in the distance – they only have a few turns left before they’ll be overrun by the law.

“Dead or alive, you’re coming with me”

With the Arbitrator’s objective unattainable thanks to Diamond One’s stroke of early-game luck, Havelock decides Dmitri is his silver medal. He spots Corporal Salem is (finally) in position to contribute, and gives him a definitive hand signal.

Caleb opens up with his bolter, blowing gread wads of flesh from Dmitri’s stomach. He unceremoniously slumps over, rancid blood pooling around him. As loathe as Havelock is to administer assitance to an agent of the Archenemy, he instructs his medicae skull to perform life-saving duties on Dmitri. You can’t interrogate a corpse, after all.

The sound of a plasma weapon firing ripples out across the warehouse, followed by the sound of hacking, phlegmy laughter. Tlaxcala’s aim was true, and vaporised Staz’s head with a well-placed shot from his plasma gun.

Knowing the Arbites would arrive before he could get a second shot off, Tlaxcala slinks back into the shadows and off the board, cackling away to himself.

Kraw tries to make his getaway through the same route as the Longshoremen – Grigori barely notices the unsubstantial blur moving past, but Captain Ashford is wiser. He opens up with his own twin revolvers, plinking a few shots off Kraw’s boney extremities.

POW!

Kraw about-faces and blasts Captain Ashford off his feet, knocking him back through the ruined walls of the warehouse. Grigori decides discretion is the better part of valour and disappears back through the hole they came from.

The strange electrical drone continues to carry out its nefarious task. It was noticed by some characters but they weren’t able to capture it to discover its secrets. What is its purpose?

Dead or (mostly) alive, you’re coming with me

Determined not to leave with figurative or literal empty hands, Havelock cuffs the freshly-stabilised Dmitri and begins to drag him off. He has a date with a couple of knuckles in a nearby alleyway that Havelock is keen for him to be punctual for.

Unless…

Pulp Fiction briefcase moment

Before the Arbites arrive, Havelock couldn’t resist poking his nose into the one untouched loot token the Chaos cultists had been so keen to get their hands on. Inside is an artefact of strange provedence and unknown power – it radiates warp energy, making him stick to his stomach to even lay eyes on it.

Whatever it is, it’s bad news.

He’s presented with a conundrum – make off with a tool of the enemy, or make off with one of the enemy.

He quickly decides that the warp artefact is a matter for the (proper) Arbites and he can get some quick answers from his new Chaos acquaintance.

He drags off Dmitri, beats him to near death (again) and leaves him bleeding in the corner of a manufactorum nearby. Dmitri thinks he’s escaped death a second time, Havelock knows better…

In the closing actions of the game, Fetch gets greedy and pops open another loot token. This final crystal proves to be his undoing – as he touches it, an ice cold sensation shoots up his arm and swallows his conscious thought. He goes to scream but no words come out, and collapses on the floor.

Just in time for the Arbites to arrive…

Roundup
The closing scene of the game

Diamond’s Interests snagged a crystal early on, completing their objective. Unfortunately the Crimson Wake were fighting a battle on all sides from the beginning and never got their hands on one of the xenos artefacts and left the board empty handed.

Although the Arbitrator and Corporal failed to prevent anyone leaving the board with a crystal, they did manage to cart off a heretic with valuable information, so they were awarded a Vital Evidence as recompense!

The deployment for this game was a gamble – I’d never tried it before, but I think it worked very well. I wouldn’t want it for every scenario, but for close quarters ones like this I think it worked really well.

Typically you could spend several turns of characters walking cautiously towards each other, pausing for breath around corners, generally taking a while to get to the Good Stuff. This way we had action from the first turn, as our characters had already pre-sneaked their way into the optimal positions of carnage. Definitely one to try again!

Week 1 end results

Week 1 of the Gorgon Crystals campaign draws to a close and the Vital Evidence is tallied up – everyone has one piece of Vital Evidence except the Crimson Wake with zero. It’s neck and neck, but the campaign is yet young, and there are plenty of opportunities for that gap to widen.

Watch out for the next scenario, The Stone Baron, coming soon!

Inquisitor Battle Report: Forsaken Quarry

Inquisitor forsaken quarry mining colony board

The Gorgon Crystals, an Inquisitor campaign run at Asgard Wargames kicked off last week with our first scenario, Forsaken Quarry.

+++++ Message Incoming +++++

Asteroid 825-79C – an unassuming ball of rock in the outer reaches of the Haimm system, swaddled by dust storms that rage across its surface. There is just enough atmosphere to support a small mining colony nestled on a rich vein of industrial metals. 

The colony has recently gone silent. 

This is not an unusual occurrence among the outer reaches – pirates, rogue asteroids, and civil disobedience are but a few reasons a mining colony might be lost, and all these beneath the interests of the Holy Ordos and their counterparts. However, this colony went dark shortly after an escape pod landed on Asteroid 825-79C, tracked from a ghost ship called The Sojourner, hours before the vessel was destroyed by the Imperial Navy. 

In your line of work, there are no coincidences. Investigate the quarry where the escape pod reportedly landed.

+++++ Message ends +++++

Setting the scene

Four warbands approached the quarry, acutely aware of the clarion call that such an opportunity presented to other interested parties. They didn’t know each other would be there, but they all had the impression they wouldn’t be the only ones at the crash site.

A violent dust storm raged across the quarry, reducing all line of sight to one quarter of a character’s Initiative. They also knew their time here was limited – the dust storm would soon pick up, reducing visibility to zero and forcing everyone into shelter.

Objectives

For the campaign, all warbands are provided with the scene-setting text (the message above), plus an objective roughly aligned to an ideology – Puritan, Radical and Selfish. These objectives would be known only to those players, and other warbands’ objectives can only be guessed at (or interrogated in the field!).

They are designed to be conflicting, but not mutually so. They may require creative thinking on the player’s behalf to complete, and the are sometimes unrelated to the ‘obvious’ objective on the board. The objectives for Forsake Quarry are as follows:

Puritan: Take readings of whatever was in the escape pod, then destroy it.

Radical: Take whatever was in the escape pod.

Selfish: Capture a local for interrogation.

The crystal(s) are fab resin scenery from Bad Squiddo Games, and I did a Meanwhile On The Bench for them here.

Warbands

We had four warbands on the board for this scenario, plus three NPC miners who had taken a slight turn for the worse after prolonged exposure to the strange xenos artefact in the crashed escape pod.

Vanth’s Warband

From left to right – Trooper Ric, Colonel Vaux, Sergeant Honeis

One of our house warbands – you can find more details on them here.

Whereas other warbands were limited to two agents, Vanth’s warband were allowed a third, as two of them were played by plucky guardsmen (and not psychic monstrosities, alien bounty hunters or bionic swordsmen). Little were we to know at the time that one of those plucky guardsmen would end up being MVP, but more on that later.

Vanth, unsurprisingly, would be pursuing a Radical agenda, so instructed Colonel Vaux to recover the artefact for study.

Haimm mercenaries

From left to right: Sophia, Esmeralda

Esmeralda “Spark” and Sophia “Ember” are part of a small band of mercenaries that operate out of the Haimm system. They were originally pilgrims whose ship dashed upon the rocks, leaving them abandoned on one of the wasteland planets in the outer reaches. They were hideously burned and mutilated from their experiences, but somehopw survived and prospered, rebuilding themselves (quite literally in Esmeralda’s case) as mercenaries and bounty hunters.

Sophia is the de facto leader, and oldest of the three triplets (the third is toting a flamer), and more of a generalist in combat. She has a variety of tricks and tools to help her take down her quarry, including web shells for her shotgun and a poisoned blade. Esmeralda is mostly bionic, giving her increased speed for getting within sword-hitting range. Her huge blade is mono-edged and can (and did!) easily bisect a person in a single blow.

It’s rumoured that they are acting as agents for a powerful Household, which would explain their interference in matters of the Inquisition, but these rumours are so far unfounded.

As these characters have encountered these artefacts before, they want to find out more about its effects and confirm they are from the same origin, so are pursuing a Selfish goal to capture a local for questioning.

Dune’s warband

From left to right: Omar Anoke, Interrogator Ezekiel Dune

Our second house warband – better pictures and more details on Dune’s warband here.

Dune is investigating the crash site personally, with help from his old hunting partner Omar Anoke. His natural stealth and sixth sense should help them track down the source of the mining colony’s silence.

While considered a radical by many of his peers, Dune is still gathering information before forming an opinion on the xenos artefacts. He believes the best data can be gathered from the artefact’s effects on those it comes into contact with, so he is pursuing the Selfish objective to capture and interrogate a local.

The mysterious stranger(s)

From left to right, Shé’Vanti “the wind that stalks the void” and House Agent Devram Korda

The shop warband! A pair of mismatched characters supposedly under the orders of a shadowy overseer. I actually know very little about these guys – a rarity for games these days! I suspect their motivations will be unveiled as the campaign progresses…

One is an Aeldari, perhaps an outcast or pirate, called Shé’Vanti “the wind that stalks the void”. The other is a sketchy House Agent called Devram Korda – a powerful telekine and perhaps the leader of this warband? All will be revealed, I’m sure…

We do know that for this game, they were interested in containment. Such power shouldn’t be in the hands of mere Mon’keigh, and were approaching with a Puritan mindset – identify and destroy the artefact.

Deployment
Inquisitor forsaken quarry mining colony board

Shé’Vinda and the Korda set up in the top left of the board, intent on using the outpost as cover to strike from. Vaux takes his men and deploys in the top right, near some rock formations and ruins. Dune is in the lower right, with plenty of barrels and mining equipment for cover. Finally, Sophia and Esmeralda deploy in the bottom left, praying the dust storm will cover their advance until they can get within striking range.

The board is populated with three (ex?)miners from the colony, driven mad from exposure to the warp-tainted crystal – Clevis (pictured above), Kingbolt and Axle (pictured below.

They don’t have much left in life other than guarding the crystal. They love the crystal, and will do what they can to prevent it falling into enemy hands. They’re frenzied, so operate at half Speed until they see an enemy.

Until then, they’ll wander aimlessly with the help of a scatter dice until they see or hear some commotion, then they’ll rush to defend the crystal.

Game on

The howling dust storm keeps our characters cautious -everyone advances slowly towards the centre of the board. They know this is the crash site, and they know other parties are likely in the area, but they don’t know specifics.

At this stage, it’s ask questions first, shoot later.

“This way… I can cut us an entrance”

Esmeralda and Sophia advance quickly, eager to cover the open ground. Through the busted wire-link fence they can just make out the hulking figure of Axle – a miner who has mutilated his flesh with obscene carvings that strain a lingering eye. They had seen this kind of activity before on the Sojourner – they knew what they would be up against.

“Recon only – only fire on my mark”

Vaux gives the order to his men to advance, using the cover of the rock formations and ruins to mask their advance.

Shé’Vanti makes it to the ruined hab, a brief respite from the dust storm, and a good vantage point to strike from.

Anoke spots a strange light in the dust storm – arcs of electricity coming from a tentacled drone on the outskirts of the outpost. A strange sight out here. It has piqued his avian curiosity and he stalks after it.

“OH MAN, I LOVE THE CRYSTAL.”

Axle and Kingbolt meet in the middle, thanks to some surreptitious scatter dice rolls. They talk loudly and enthusiastically about their love of the crystal – enough to alert anyone nearby of their intentions to aggressively defend any action against the xenos artefact.

Anyone observing at this point would notice the crash site had all but disappeared into the dust, the only thing remaining of the pod had been salvaged for scrap, or used to erect the makeshift shrine that the crystal sat on. There would be no doubt – the crystal was the main attraction.

All the players were in place – Dune had moved into position behind the mining carts in the top right. Tensions mounted as to who would make the first move. Nearly all warbands were aware of the miners at this point, but none were aware of each other.

Blissfully unaware of the mounting tensions, however, was Anoke. He was having a wonderful time chasing the weird sparky tentacle thing that just drifted away from him whenever he neared it.

Shé’Vanti eyes up the grotesque mutants around the crash site, illuminated even through the dust by the baleful glow of a xenos crystal. He would bide his time and wait for an opening.

Perfect! Kingbolt and Axle both drift away from the crystal in their turn, leaving a clear run at the artefact. Shé’Vanti didn’t know what it was, but sensed an unmistakably foul warp presence surrounding it. Whatever it was, it was better out of the hands of the Mon’Keigh.

He breaks cover and sprints for the crystal.

Go go go!

Trooper Gene Ric spots a blur through the dust storm, moving through the sand as if it wasn’t there. A sharp, gaunt face is illuminated by an awful glow that gives him a feeling like lead in his stomach. He couldn’t identify the target, but knew it wasn’t human. He quietly whispers to his commanding officer for backup…

“Uhh… boss? What’s fast and pointy and purple all over?”

Dune, however, is not off to quite as fortunate a start. Narrowly avoiding a wandering Clevis, he now has Axle bearing down on him too, but this one spots him from behind cover and bellows with rage.

In a snap, Dune’s splinter pistol is raised to eye level and a burst of monomolecular toxin-laden shards sink deep into the target’s flesh – more than enough to slow or stop an ordinary target of this size.

This appears to be not be an ordinary target.

On the west side of the board, Esmeralda slices an opening in the wire link fence and grabs a handful of tanglefoot seed pods from her pouch. Her arm was good, but the seeds are caught by the wind and land short of the target.

No matter, we’ll disarm this creature the old fashioned way…

Anoke, oblivious to his comrade’s imminent angry danger, chases the strange flashing lights further into the storm. A new figure emerges from the dust – it looks like a guardsman aiming a lasgun directly at-

“Hey what’s going on over he-“

A burst of lasgun fire is heard above the howling winds of the dust storm. Gene Ric’s grouping is phenomenal – two to centre mass, one to the head. Anoke is knocked to the ground, stunned.

House Agent Devram Korda

The mysterious House Agent moves into the outpost, accompanied by his medicae skull. With the Eldar in his sights, begins to chant under his breath, summoning the will needed to cover his escape. Nobody has seen him yet – and he intends to keep it that way.

“Hands where I can see ’em, xenos scum!”

Vaux is quick to move on the sounds of gunfire. Following the lead from Trooper Ric, he strides forward to take control of the situation. Bolt pistol levelled at the strange figure’s head, Vaux recognises it for what it truly is – Aeldari filth.

With gunfire from his own men and howls of rage carried over the wind, he didn’t want to get involved in a fire fight with a number of unknown assailants. The Aeldari obligingly raised its hands, stepping slowly away from the crystal.

Little did Vaux realise the treacherous xenos sent a subtle hand signal to the hidden House Agent in the derelict hab…

WHAM! Well, sorta…

Korda focused all his will, intending to hurl a pallet of detritus at Kingbolt and/or Vaux. The fickle powers of the warp bled through his fingers, barely able to move the pallet more than a few feet. He takes a deep breath and redoubles his efforts – clearly proximity to this artefact is causing more warp disturbance than anticipated.

Sneak attack!

Gunfire and screams are on the wind – Esmeralda and Sophia move in. They need to take one of these locals in for interrogation, but realise on closer inspection this was not such an easy task. They appear incredibly resilient and largely impervious to pain – not to mention equipped with fearsome implanted mining equipment. That would have to change…

With Sophia dancing round acting as a distraction, Esmeralda begins the arduous task of disarming the miner – quite literally. Called shot after called shot against the implant rock drill leaves Kingbolt with little but a gory, sparking stump – spewing blood and engine oil.

Although this tactic saves them from an unpleasant impaling, it doesn’t seem to slow down Kingbolt, and they have to change up their tactics.

Sophia moves behind the mutant miner and begins severing tubes and tearing out implants. Kingbolt roars in fury, but with only one arm and hazy vision from blood loss, finds it near impossible to land a blow.

Although pinned, it doesn’t keep him down for long

The beast bears down on Dune, thundering towards him with rockrete mallet raised above his head. His splinter rounds either bounce off his makeshift armour or fail to deliver their deadly toxin. Dune was running out of options, he couldn’t go toe to toe with such a monstrosity…

Dune rolled a headshot, followed by a 10 on a D10+2 weapon (A Lucky Hit!) and rolled a 9 on the followup damage. 21 damage from the splinter pistol, piercing an eye lens and delivering the toxin directly to the brain.

The miner slumps unceremoniously to the ground. Everyone around the table is in absolute awe. Absolute madman.

Thinking on his feet, Dune assesses his surroundings.

“Are those carts moveable?” The player inquires. I don’t need to know where such lines of questions are going to know that the answer is always “Yes.”

Superminer Sweep! *Airhorn noise*

Dune unceremoniously wheels off the braindead miner, completing his objective to capture a local for interrogation (it didn’t stipulate alive – they’ll probably scoop his brains out and run it through the brain-o-matron to see what he knows).

Dune, Clevis, Shé’Vanti and the House Agent all lined up

Back in the standoff, both Vaux and Shé’Vanti had been oblivious to the approach of the third miner. While his two colleagues had been shot through the face or hacked apart, he still had full control of his faculties.

Roaring into action, Clevis charges towards the nearest target to the crystal – the Eldar – and lands his bladed hammer square in the xenos’ chest. The force of the blow breaks nearly every bone in his body, sending him spinning into the dust storm, and taking him out of the game in one brutal blow.

After seeing the Aeldari get hammered out of existence, Vaux makes a play for the crystal. As he touches it, he feels the insidious whispering of the warp trying to worm its way inside his skull, but he shakes it off.

Gently cradling the crystal in his power fist, he issues the order to withdraw. Honeis, having finally rolled enough actions to get into the action, is now requested to leave the action.

A pulse of telekinetic energy blasts Vaux off his feet, colliding into Honeis on the way. The House Agent’s fingers still smoking with wisps of psychic energy.

Both are knocked sprawling on the ground, almost 20 yards from where they originally stood.

“Ow…”

The crystal embeds into the sand, unfazed by the assault.

Omar Anoke might just have enough turns left in the game to recover from being stunned…

In the final moves of the game, it remained unclear how things would resolve for the main conflict over the crystal. Sophia and Esmeralda had all but torn apart Kingbolt, hacking his other arm off and knocking huge lumps out of his breathing apparatus, leaving him a wheezing (yet somehow still alive) mess.

Clevis, enraged that his precious crystal has been taken, charges round the corner to confront Vaux, who is still prone on the floor. The House Agent is making moves to withdraw, knowing there is little more he can do to resolve things in his favour.

With Clevis’ hot breath practically in Vaux’ face, it looked like Vaux was in trouble. As Clevis raised his hammer to bring it down on Vaux’ prone body, another crack of Gene Ric’s lasgun stops him in his tracks. A trio of lasbolts slam into Clevis, the third one a clean headshot and blowing out his sand lenses and breathing apparatus, stunning him for a turn and giving Vaux a chance to react.

There was only one sensible thing left for Vaux to do. The pro gamer move, monkey steals the peach.

Rising from the floor with a powerful Shoryuken, Vaux strikes his foe squarely between the legs, punching his pelvis into his throat and sending Clevis sprawling.

With Trooper Ric’s uncanny aim as cover, Vaux regains his footing and makes for the crystal one final time. It is entering the final turn – the dust storm threatens to engulf the entire outpost, and they only have a few moments before visibility is reduced to zero and everyone is forced to withdraw with whatever they have.

Korda is dragging Shé’Vanti off the board, leaving empty handed. Dune has escaped with a captive, completing his objective, and Anoke recovers and stalks off after him. Sophia and Esmeralda have disabled (read: hacked enough lumps out of) Kingbolt to take him in for autopsy/interrogation but decide to make one final play for the crystal, hoping to keep it out of Vanth’s hands.

As Esmeralda rounds the barrels, stepping over the mashed groin of Clevis, she comes face to face with Vaux – the crystal resting on the ground between them.

Just as she begins to make her move to recover it, a third and final salvo from the now-unstoppable Trooper Ric bounce off Esmeralda’s bionic bonce. The headshot stuns her long enough for Vaux to snatch the crystal up, giving his men a hasty order to retreat (and several commendations for marksmanship for Gene Ric).

The dust storms drew in as the final play of the game was made – Vaux escapes with the crystal, earning a completed objective for Vanth’s warband.

And it was all over!

Roundup

Three out of four warbands completed their objectives, earning themselves a piece of Vital Evidence to contribute towards earning their place in the campaign finale.

A tense, exciting opening game, with plenty of thrilling heroics and unbelievable dice rolls. The players are excited for the next one, which is a measure of success for me!

Questions still remain however – who are the mysterious strangers? Where did the crystals come from? And what was that odd electric tentacle drone that kept itself to itself on the peripheries of the conflict?

They’ll just have to play on and find out…

MVP

We couldn’t wrap up this battle report without a special mention for undoubtedly our Most Valuable Player – Trooper Gene Ric.

Just an Average Guardsman(tm) with one or two luck-related special abilities, Gene Ric surpassed all of our wildest expectations. Given that his counterpart, Honeis, managed to run around a bit, equip medkit, then re-quip lasgun, Gene Ric absolutely carried the team.

Every opponent he levelled his lasgun at was slotted in the head by at least one round, always putting his target down with the first round of shooting. Incredible marksmanship like that must surely earn some kind of commendation…

Catch our next scenario here:

Dog-watch Nights

Inquisitor Battle Report: Death of a Vagabond, part 2

I’m running an Inquisitor campaign, The Gorgon Crystals, at my FLGS Asgard Wargames, and this is the second Prologue mission.

The setup is the same as the first mission, designed to introduce new players to the game with pre-made warbands and set the scene for the campaign. Although there will be many different versions of the events that happened on board the Sojourner, these will all just be part of the usual rumour, speculation and conflicting reports the Inquisition has to deal with.

Setting the scene

Our two warbands were meeting in the cargo hold of an ore hauler, the Sojourner. The cargo crews had built a city of sorts among the ore, and it was among these ruins our explorers would come to blows.

Upon arriving, the warbands find the crew butchered by their own hands – some had clawed the skin from their flesh in a horrendous bout of insanity. The cause for this wave of madness wasn’t clear, but drag marks, manic wailing and strange energy readings indicated the source was in the cargo hold.

Full scene-setting details are in Part 1 here.

The Warbands

We once again had two players, both new to the system, and a pair of deranged crewmen NPCs who are defending their junk totem in the centre of the cargo bay. Both players were using pre-made warbands, picked from a roster of 5.

The warband of Colonel Vaux

From left to right: Sergeant Honeis, Colonel Vaux, Trooper Grey

The radical Inquisitor Vanth is not one to miss an opportunity like the Sojourner. He is, of course, too busy to attend himself so sends his right-hand man, Colonel Chase Vaux, and a pair of guardsmen to back him up.

On the left is Sergeant Hugo Honeis, first-rate medic and vital to the survival of the team. He has been called upon countless times to patch up whatever’s left of Vanth’s warband after a run-in with his usual foes. Colonel Chase Vaux is in the centre – a steely-eyed sharp shooter armed with bolt pistol and power fist. Finally is Trooper Michael Grey, an unassuming guardsman with autogun and a secret power – traces of the Pariah gene. Vanth seeks out pariahs for his warband, and has ordered Grey along on the expedition. Whatever they find on the Sojourner, Grey’s powers against the warp and daemonkind would certainly come in useful.

Trellio’s hired help

From left to right: Conan, Trellio and TJ Razor

Hecate Trellio is an ex-guardsman turned smuggler, with dubious links equally to the Inquisition as to the criminal underworld. In this instance, she has been ‘requested’ by a former Inquisitorial associate to investigate the Sojourner and bring back whatever she can. Speed is vital, so she has rounded up two hired thugs from Port Impetus to help her – Conan the Unkillable and TJ Razor.

Conan was born in a hive city and brought up a criminal racket called the Red Hand Gang. His pigmentation mutation was largely overlooked for his convenient ability to see in the dark (although he has to wear special shades to see in the daylight), but none were prepared for his final party trick – regeneration. After ‘dying’ too many times to be believable, he moved to the fringes of space to make a living as a nigh-unkillable mercenary.

Razor was born into servitude in the belly of a great voidship, falling in with a labour gang called the Pursers Grim. His survival skills were sharpened as keenly as his knives, and his skills are highly sought after for those who need something dealt with quietly.

The investigation begins

Once again, our warbands start on opposing corners of the map with the objective in the centre. Unlike the first Prologue mission the map is dense with terrain, making progress along the ground safer but slower, whereas taking the high ground across the platforms would be quicker, but far more exposed.

Vaux’s warband on the left, Trellio’s warband on the right

Trellio’s mercenaries quickly move to cover, scanning the terrain ahead of them for the origin of the insane cackling they can hear. Trellio spots a pair of crewmen covered in dried blood on the central tower, the base strapped with metal like a bizarre totem pole.

She taps her microbead and informs her colleagues of the situation while TJ Razor sprints ahead.

Even in the guttering emergency lumens, the remaining crewmen can be seen welding chunks of metal to the loading tower, talking to themselves in a lilting cackle, occasionally breaking into wails of laughter. Trellio takes no chances, signalling both to her team as hostile.

Vaux’s warband are less fortunate with their initial checks – identifying the sound but not their source. They clamber up gantries and cautiously head to the centre, double-checking corners and scanning horizons for movement.

Trooper Grey mounts the base of a ladder, intending on taking the exposed catwalk directly to the centre.

Hearing the green light for a kill shot, Conan gets over-exuberant with mounting the walkway. He learns the importance of a Risky Action check, and clotheslines himself in the gut trying to leap onto the platform (right next to a perfectly good ladder).

Pretending not to notice Conan’s performance, Trellio scales the catwalk and crouches behind some railings. She clocks both crewmen and a mysterious third party – a military figure in dark uniform shouldering a rifle at the crewmen. She keeps her head down to see how it plays out.

The crystal is revealed! As Trellio squints through the gloom, she notices a sickly purple glow emanating from a cluster of crystals in the centre of the totem tower. The crewmen seem to be coveting it, talking to it as an exhausted father would a newborn.

An ill wind surrounds it, and staring too long strains the eyes and gives an overwhelming sense of nausea.

As Trellio looks on, Trooper Grey executes his orders. He squeezes his autogun’s trigger. Hot lead spatters the metal totem, chewing through the padded work gear of the crewman and biting into his gut.

The sound of gunfire is punctuated with the sound of manic wailing. Everyone hears and quickens their step.

Sergeant Honeis shoulders his lasgun and sets his sights on the second crewman. He looses a burst of fire but they patter harmlessly off the totem around his target. He curses under his breath as the crewman dips out of sight, hammer raised, screaming into the darkness.

The first crewman bounds towards his aggressor, dropping his welding torch en route from a heavy blow to the arm. Grey keeps his cool and keeps plugging shots into the mad deckhand until he stumbles and falls to the ground.

As far as she could tell, the dark-uniformed guardsman (and, presumably, whoever else was with him) hadn’t noticed her or her team yet. Trellio sneaks over to the vacated welding torch to see if there is a cunning distraction she could concoct with it, but locks eyes on the prize instead – a trio of incredible, glowing, nausea-inducing xenos crystals.

Meanwhile TJ Razor has secreted himself into a perfect striking position on the other side of the loading bay. TJ takes a huge huff on his inhaler of Spur, readying himself for a few turns of thrilling heroics.

The raging crewman on the walkway hasn’t noticed TJ at all, more predisposed with Sergeant Honeis peppering him with las fire. The crewman looses an unhinged laugh and bounds from platform to platform trying to close the gap.

Honeis realises the sudden danger of his situation and snaps his rifle to his cheek. The crewman was moving too fast to get a clear shot , ducking and weaving behind railings and exhaust stacks. The crewman leaps from the final platform…

Meanwhile, Vaux has moved into a central position and takes cover behind some low crates. He has been kept appraised of the unfolding situation by his inferiors, and has chosen this moment to place his considered shots.

Slowly and purposefully, he raises his bolt pistol to eye line and squeezes. The bolt rounds explode across the crewman, carving out huge chunks of flesh with every round. He is knocked from the air mid-flight and tumbles to the ground.

TJ Razor finally makes it to where the crewman was, only to see him tumble to the ground below. Not wanting to waste an opportunity, he leaps onto the wounded crewman, knife flashing in the lumen-light.

The blade plunges deep into the crewman’s shoulder, blood pouring from the wound. The crewman’s struggles bleed away in moments, leaving a lifeless body on the floor.

With all the enemy guns seemingly pointing everywhere except her, Trellio makes a break for the crystals. She thumbs a few snapdragon shells into her shotgun in case she needs to make a quick getaway, but Grey is too busy finishing off the crewman on his platform.

Conan, having spent the entirety of the game failing to climb ladders or roll more than 1 Action at a time, suddenly finds himself with a glut of energy.

With all four Actions being rolled every turn until the end of the game, he throws himself onto the platform and lays down a punishing hail of fire in Grey’s direction.

Vaux takes cover behind the crates and squeezes off a shot at TJ Razor, who returns fire with a throwing knife. Both marksmen fidget around cover, trying to land a definitive shot without revealing themselves.

TJ’s microbead pipes up – Trellio shouting over the sounds of gunfire and boots pounding on metal. She had secured whatever they’d come here to find – it was time to evac.

Protected by the withering covering fire from Conan, Trellio effortlessly covers the distance between her and the evac point. She makes off with the prize, ensuring she hands in the three two crystals to the appropriate authorities, as requested.

The last few warband members take a final few pot shots at one another to cover the retreat, but the scenario is over – victory goes to Trellio’s warband.

And yet…

With Trellio’s warband in hasty retreat with the crystals, Vaux and his team take a few moments to pore over the carnage the crewmen left behind. They discover the crystals were only one set of a much larger shipment – a shipment that is now conspicuously absent.

Scavengers must have made off with the other crystals, and with Port Impetus being the nearest convenient fence point for stolen xenos artifacts, it seems that they might have a much larger problem on their hands…

What next?

Thanks to our players and to our gracious hosts, Asgard Wargames! We’re pretty much done on prologue missions now, maybe squeezing in another if there is more interest among new players, but otherwise it’s on to the main event! Watch this space…

Inquisitor Battle Report: Death of a Vagabond, part 1

All the essentials

I’m running an Inquisitor campaign, The Gorgon Crystals, at my FLGS Asgard Wargames. The campaign will run over two weeks and comprising up to six scenarios, with a prologue period of almost a month to introduce people to the game and help build warbands.

We played our first prologue scenario this week – Death of a Vagabond.

++++Message Incoming++++

“We have received reports of a vagabond-class merchant vessel, the Sojourner, on a collision course with Port Impetus. It is non-responsive to hails, and at least one scavenger crew has boarded the Sojourner and not returned.

The Imperial Navy has been dispatched to intercept and destroy before it reaches Port Impetus, but the question remains: what happened on board the Sojourner?

Assemble an insertion team to investigate before it is destroyed and report your findings. Emperor protects.”

++++Message Ends++++

Setting the scene

Our two warbands were meeting in the cargo hold of an ore hauler, the Sojourner. The cargo crews had built a city of sorts among the ore, and it was among these ruins our explorers would come to blows.

Upon arriving, the warbands find the crew butchered by their own hands – some had clawed the skin from their flesh in a horrendous bout of insanity. The cause for this wave of madness wasn’t clear, but drag marks, manic wailing and strange energy readings indicated the source was in the cargo hold.

Environmental conditions

Emergency lumens still flicker here and there from fading batteries – it would require an Awareness check to successfully see another character.

Warbands

We had two players for this prologue game and some NPCs – a pair of deranged crewmen who had taken to building a pile of miscellaneous junk in the centre of town. One player used their own warband, the other was from a selection of pre-made warbands I had put together to introduce people to the game.

The Crimson Wake

From left to right: Zenkhang, Karo and Kraw

The Crimson Wake are a group of traitors, scum and heretics that have banded together to pursue whatever power is fueling the unrest in Haimm. They don’t care what it is, they just want to pinch it and use it for their own ends.

The first is Traitor Guardsman Zenkhang, an ex-soldier blessed with a strong constitution and a warp-tainted Plague Knife. The second is Arch-Heretic Lurz Karo, an ex-planetary governor who plunged a city into the abyss to further the whims of his dark patrons. The third is Traitor Guardsman Kraw, a gunslinger with an uncontrollable ability to phase in and out of reality.

Haimm Mercenaries

From left to right: Esmeralda, Sophia, Maxwell

This band of mercenaries were once part of a pilgrimage beyond Imperial space, but their vessel was torn apart by the gravity riptide of Haimm and they were stranded. They rebuilt themselves (literally, in some cases) as mercenaries capable of any job, and on the fringes of civilised space, there were plenty of jobs for those who needed to slip between the cracks.

First is Esmeralda, a bionic woman with a powerful terror-sword, a semi-powered two-handed weapon easily capable of cleaving a man in two. The leader of the group is Sophia, packing a sawn-off shotgun pistol, duelling blade and hidden conversion field. Finally there’s Maxwell, the team’s ranged support. His scoped rifle has put many holes in many heads.

The investigation begins

Our warbands begun at opposite corners of the table, with a pair of maddened crewmen in the centre to act as a buffer.

It is eerily quiet, without even the familiar hum of a plasma drive, and both warbands advance cautiously.

Zhenkang takes point for the Crimson Wake

Maxwell takes up an observation point in some ruins to the north of the clearing, picking out two figures in the gloom ahead. They seem to be dragging detritus onto a central pile – perhaps some kind of storage? It’s not clear. They also appear to be talking to themselves and covered head to toe in dried blood.

Poor crewmen, just want to make their awful sacrilegious totem in peace

Esmeralda wastes no time closing the gap between her and her prey. Maxwell had tagged two potential hostiles around the storage pile, and Esmeralda was having none of this ‘potential’ nonsense.

Maxwell sees Esmeralda moving up and places a shot straight into the crewman’s gut with his suppressed rifle. He rolls around in agony, wailing to himself. Someone’s sure to have heard that…

Meanwhile, the Crimson Wake have been taking an uncharacteristically cautious approach. Lurz wants whatever has turned these crewmen mad, and isn’t that fussed as to how he gets it.

He gives the nod to Zhenkang who unleashes a hail of lead from his shotgun, striding across the barricades and open ground, firing wildly from the hip. He’s having such a good time.

Gunfire fills the hangar bay. Sophia recognises the familiar sound of a pump-action shotgun – something none of her comrades carry – and identifies a third party threat. She microbeads a warning to her team – expect a fight.

Maxwell spots a strange purple glow emanating from the top of the garbage pile – a collection of crystals that churn the stomach to look upon. The crewmen seem to have been building this totem in reverence of the crystals – nobody has any idea what they could be, but it is undoubtedly the source of the crew’s madness.

With the objective revealed, Sophia breaks cover and sprints for the detritus heap in the centre. Maxwell covers her advance by putting a rifle round through the hip of the second crewman, who had been left bloodied by Zhenkang’s shotgun assault.

Esmeralda charges the crazed downed crewman, bisecting his top half from his bottom half in a single swing of her terror-sword.

Sophia scrambles up the side of the garbage heap to come face to face with a masked man covered in symbols of the Arch-Enemy. His mouth twists into a grin, warmed by the purple glow of the crystal, and bares jagged teeth.

“Oh, how I’d hoped I wouldn’t be the only one!”

Kraw had finally drawn a bead on Esmeralda, loosing off shots with his revolvers but unable to stop the relentless charge of the sword-wielding mercenary. Kraw’s dimensional instability had helped him avoid detection, but it didn’t help him against an overhead blow from Esmeralda’s terror-sword. A huge gash across his chest sends him sprawling to the ground.

Karo and Sophia pause, eyes locked, trying to guess the other’s intention. They both lunge for the crystal, Sophia’s hand grasping it first. Karo lurches awkwardly to one side, his play for the crystal was a fake!

She finds herself staring down the barrel of a mid-magnum stub revolver, just in time to hear the hammer crack against the firing pin.

An incredible burst of light erupts from Sophia’s chest. A concealed conversion field, undetected until now, exploded into life. The stub round’s kinetic energy reborn as a burst of sound and light, protecting Sophia and dazzling everyone unfortunate enough to be looking at her.

Karo raises his arm just in time, but Kraw and Zhenkang receive the full concussive blast, leaving them gasping for air. Maxwell had sighted up Zhenkang ready to land another shot only to have his optics fried by a sudden burst of light. He cursed, knowing full well what had happened, but was powerless to do anything about it.

Sophia raises her sawn-off, aiming for centre mass. Karo’s erratic movements throw off her aim and she tears a hole from the cloth on his arm. His twisted smile writhes into a manic grimace, his crooked teeth like a tray of used needles. He feints again, this time thrusting his sword straight towards Sophia’s face.

Her reflexes fail her, and she feels the cold steel inside her cheek, cutting a jagged tear from mouth to ear. Pain overwhelms her and she drops to a knee, spitting blood and broken teeth.

Her vision sharpens enough to see the red-robed figure of Karo escaping across the hangar floor, purple glowing crystal under his arm, with Zhenkang in tow. She makes a quick headcount, her senses still spinning. All her team were alive, but that flickering guardsman Kraw was nowhere to be seen.

Karo had escaped with the crystal, but Sophia was sure it wouldn’t be the last she saw of him.

MOTB: Cathedral Assault

Our Dark Heresy campaign has made it to the planet of Syracuse -a dank and miserable affair perfect for acolytes tramping around in the mud and rot. For the campaign I wanted some epic set pieces, and even put together a game board to help build the mood.

It was time to return for another brawl, this time to defend an Imperial Cathedral (or what was left of it) from rampaging Undertow during a full-blown civil war.

The setup used parts from previous encounters, as well as some lovely houses from 4Ground to make it appear a little better lived-in than previous encounters. The cathedral came from the Kill Team boxed set I picked up when it was still circulating, and now goes by Sector Imperialis. It’s a nice kit that I went a bit overboard with, and I’m sure will get a write-up at some point.

I wish I’d taken more photos, but c’est la vie. The players were entering on the opposite end of the board to the Cathedral, with angry Undertow in the middle laying siege to the beleaguered Adeptus Arbites defenders (who did have a write-up for them done here.). If the players got to them in time, they would make valuable allies in the war to come.

The rain was bucketing down. Weather was a big part of this campaign, and nasty environmental effects include reduced vision and penalties to shooting. Not ideal for a predominantly ranged band of Acolytes!

The Undertow were out in force, showing that fancy equipment isn’t necessary to be a threat in such environments. Armed with reliable weaponry that won’t jam when dropped in the mud, firebombs filled with water-retardant chemicals and good ol’ fashioned shivs, they were more than a match for the players on the day.

They even set up a heavy weapon in the house across the street, ready to spit out a harrowing amount of lead if the Acolytes didn’t neutralise it.

The gang were joined by a temporary character, an ex-Zini armsman mercenary guardsman handy with a mono-club and with a penchant for explosives. The player would come to be a regular part of our gang in future campaigns, but for now we enjoyed having the extra muscle.

The house with the heavy weapon was unceremoniously lit up by the new guardsman, who had acquired a single-shot missile launcher earlier on and had been holding onto it for a special occasion.

On the players’ right flank, the Arbitrator had made a dynamic entry on a stolen dirt bike, ramping off a pile of debris and landing in the fountain for cover. It kept the Undertow at bay, but not for long. A criminal with a massive two-handed meathook charged up a set of stairs and bit deep into the Adept’s leg, dropping her into -5 Critical damage. It was at this point that we all realised how little armour the Adept was wearing – she still had on her starter set of armour that her career is given at character generation – a flak vest and some loose-fitting robes. In almost 6 years of playing with these characters, it had never come up that she might be under-dressed for the occasion of saving the world!

The mercenary handily finished off the offending criminal before he could finish the job of hacking off the Adept’s leg and swept round clubbing anyone she could find.

Many, many firebombs are thrown back and forth over cover. Some Undertow accidentally blow themselves up, but one particularly mean firebomb scatters over the heads of the tough frontline characters and directly onto the squishy techpriest who was patching up the near-dead adept at the back of the battle. Both immediately catch fire, the Adept passing out from excessive crispiness and the Techpriest doing everything in her power to avoid the same fate.

Meanwhile our damage-dealing characters had broken out into no-man’s land, identifying themselves to the Arbites to avoid getting shot and moving in to support. Everything, of course, is now either on fire or has been set on fire.

With the bulk of the criminals put down by a combination of Arbitrator and Scum, the injured support characters at the back of the pack gingerly move forwards through the fire and smoke.

They get ambushed by one last Undertow who had hid behind a ledge, who gets speared to the floor by an enthusiastic Cleric and choked to unconsciousness for interrogation later. You know what they say – it’s better to dive for the Emperor than live for yourself…

The team rendezvous with the besieged Arbitrators at the Cathedral and plot their final moves against the campaign’s villain(s). A very enjoyable battle to run and great scenery to play it on!

Mercy Crier 8: Apotheosis

What a turnaroud! Our final week ends with the biggest comeback we’ve seen, with the Calorie Crooks jumping from last to first place in a single evening, guaranteeing themselves a position in the finale.

Apotheosis week has been kind to the Order as well, with their pole position from a successful rescue, shoot-out and downtown dust-up. The Mayhem gang maintained their lead, and the Iron Rovers managed to claw the necessary Rep out of the Inheritors’ weird, clammy hands in the final few games of the Turf War. A 3-way Border Dispute was always going to be messy…

With Apotheosis rules in full swing, the only thing for our gangs to do was duff each other up until four remained. The most significant effect this had was for Calorie Crooks who managed to steal Rep from all their games, and combined with a series of very good Cool checks in some shoot-out scenarios, managed to grab 12 Rep in just 3 games. The Top Dogs have been decided, all that’s left is the showdown…

All to play for: Apotheosis is a series of climactic battles designed to turn the tables on the bigger gangs. The 4 Gangs with the highest Rep at the end of this week will enter into a 4-way Showdown to determine the Lord of the Callowdecks.

  • A gang with a lower Rep than their opponent rolls 2d6 for Bottle checks and discards the higher number
  • A winning gang with a lower Rep than their opponent steals 1 Rep in addition to any other Rep rewards for that scenario
  • A losing gang reduces their Turf size by 1 to a minimum of 1

Juve of the week 8

It’s the final Juve of the Week for the Callowdecks and we have some candidates that personify the campaign in totality – two angry lads with shivs just trying to make the world a better place.

Juve of the week will return for one last special edition when the dust has settled, but until then let’s look at this week’s contestants on Who Is Knifiest:

Jim ‘Jimmy Two-Knives’ Bean made his final week a particularly spectacular one. In a shoot-out with the Order, he came toe-to-toe with a chain glaive wielding madman who whispered something about offering eternal knife.

Perhaps it was the multiple head injuries taking their toll, but Jimmy charged the demagogue with a vision to taking him out, but caught a chain glaive to the face instead.

Captured after the game, Jimmy now languishes in a stinking Order jail for the crime of bringing a knife to a gunfight.

Mincemeat is a new contender to Who Is Knifiest but has proven his worth. In a showdown between his own Leader and the punchy Inheritors Leader, Mincemeat intervened when his hammer-hefting boss wasn’t producing results.

In a stunning round of combat, the baby-faced Juve hit and wounded with all attacks, and when all the Leader’s saves came up snake eyes he kerb-stomped him with a flourish, causing the Inheritors to break and costing them the Rep needed to stay on the Leaderboard.

As always with Juve of the Week – will you vote for effort or for achievement?

Vote for your favourite Juve of the Week on both our regular vox channels:

Public service announcement, sponsored by Distilled Mayhem

“Resident idiot Juve last seen charging down the leader of the Emperor’s Sole gang, swinging knives wildly. 

The Distilled Mayhem gang are offering a reward for the safe return of this stupid but weirdly endearing Juve who arrived to a shoot out without anything to shoot with.

Or at least we want his knives back.

They were pretty nice knives.”

The Order of the Emperor’s Sole have released a statement:

“To all heathens and false-claimers of the Callowdecks, the scoundrel and drunkard known as Jimmy “Two Knives” was recovered from the field of glorious battle. Even though the heathen reeked of Amasec he has been granted mercy by my own blessed hand, as even though he was clearly out matched, unskilled and unworthy to fight the Emperor’s chosen sons, he did engage in pure, glorious and divine melee combat and for this his wounds were treated and he has been given “food” and shelter. For a suitable donation, the Order under my blessed command will make sure this man returns to his “family” healthy and in one piece. Do not dally however, the Emperor’s mercy does not last long”

Rumour in the underdecks is the going rate for Jimmy Two-Knives is 80 Credits – will Distilled Mayhem pay the ransom in time for the showdown?

Fashion Corner – King Beeflump III of the Calorie Crooks

A rarely-seen sight in the Callowdecks, the Leader of the Calorie Crooks made a smashing return to form. His twin power hammers and spooky smile make him look as deadly as he is.

Other highlights

Fighting was bitter, and we saw several shoot-outs, a downtown dust-up, a game played entirely in the dark and a three-way Border Dispute that lasted almost five hours!

The fighting was harsh as everyone battled for a chance at the coveted title of Lord of the Callowdecks.

shoot out – calorie crooks vs iron rovers

Two Goliaths roll cool checks at each other for 26(!) turns before the Rovers break and the Crooks butcher them.

Downtown dust-up – Iron Rovers vs The Order

Downtown dust-up, now with new civvie models!

The citizens of Mercy were delightfully unpredictable

This was a common sight – Civvies running for their lives

Iron Rovers took some hits early, but when both gangs were making Bottle checks they ground down the Order by attrition

This guy took a shining to Pooch and kept shooting in him in the back for the whole game

The final shot of Muzzle taking out the remaining Cawdor ganger. No civvies dead and only two fleeing meant the Rovers gained the full reward for victory

In the dark – calorie crooks vs the inheritors

The gangs could only target each other in 3″ or if someone had recently fired a weapon… bad news for both teams!

The Inheritors spider-bros out in force but struggling in the pitch black

The Inheritors Champion slotting Goliaths whenever he could see them

When the inheritor’s grav gun is on the field, this is a very common sight

Mincemeat deals the killing blow to the Inheritor’s leader, breaking the gang and scooping Rep for the Calorie Crooks

Rescue mission – Iron Rovers vs The Order

In our first (and only) stealth mission, the Order burst in the first door they find and gun down the Rovers heavy bolter champion

Before the others get a chance to react, the Order sweeps the rest of the Rovers off the board, leaving Muzzle alone to guard the hostage

The Rovers reinforcement arrives… on the other side of the map. The Rovers flee the field and the Order get their captive back.

Shoot out – Distilled Mayhem vs The Order

The Order are fortunate enough to have their Leader, a blunderbuss and a plasma gun in their line-up

Did we mention that every ganger in Distilled Mayhem packs blasting charges?

Jimmy charges but gets put down and captured. The Leader goes on to clean up the rest of the Mayhem gang now they’d run out of explosives.

shootout – distilled mayhem vs iron rovers

Distilled Mayhem bring their new bouncer to a shootout

Ogryn-servitor “Bouncer” with Flamin’ Moe in one hand (counts-as Arc Welder)

Iron Rovers learn a valuable lesson in not bringing any guns to a shoot-out and get flattened by the Bouncer

Border dispute – Iron Rovers, The Inheritors and Distilled Mayhem

Three gangs have a dispute over the bar

The Rovers’ luck was against them the whole game

Distilled Mayhem’s gang icon is well-themed

The Inheritors’ Champion guarding their stash

The brutal 3-way lasted 5 hours and only two Inheritors gangers were left standing

Mercy Crier 7: All That Glitters

Two down! Blackstar Hunters have officially retired this week due to commitments elsewhere and the Dreadquill House Gang 16th Law have stepped down. It would be difficult arbitrating the finale if the Arbitrator also had a horse in the race.

This is also the penultimate week before Apotheosis, so the gangs were dropped hints about what was to come. The finale will be an epic multi-brawl between the top four (!) gangs, no-holds barred, last-gang-standing fight to the end.

There is everything to play for to get into the top four gangs!

This week’s event shook things up for our gang but made it a little easier to get any last minute kit for the finale. D3 random fighters at the beginning of each game from every gang had to test Leadership – if they failed, they would be stricken with Insanity! This lead to some interesting tactical changes mid-way through some games, as well as some valiant sacrifices from some gangers deemed not worth saving from themselves.

On the up side, they got a boost to Rare Trade rolls, so they couldn’t say the Arbitrator was not merciful…

Whispers of the warp: The Callowdecks is giving up its riches… at a price. Forgotten things that slumbered are now waking, haunting the dreams of those that have ventured too far.

  • Rarity of all Trading Post items is reduced by 2
  • At the beginning of each game, randomly select D3 fighters in yoru crew and make a Leadership test for each. If they fail, place an Insanity marker on them as the voices in the walls become too much to bear
week 7 juve of the week

It’s a battle of madness for this Juve of the Week! Our event ‘Whispers in the Warp’ meant fighters had the chance to start every game with a touch of Insanity. Not much concern for the strong-willed among us, but for Juves who’ve had one too many head injuries, this was going to be a hard week for them…

Let’s see who was a few bullets short of a bolter this week!

Godfreed the Mad found himself facing off against two Goliaths in a darkened alley – not a pleasant place to be. Luckily, he’d seen things in the darkness he’d attributed to the Emperor and found himself afflicted with a bout of madness.

Such angry gnashing of teeth and stammering prayers had (apparently) caused the rival Goliath juve to panic and fire their only bullet at his team-mate.

Naturally he missed and jammed his weapon, earning ire from all those involved, so Godfreed hacked him apart in close combat. A devastating blow to both the Goliath team’s dignity and the poor juve’s skull.

Pup the Mad was afflicted with a case of the terrors at the beginning of a three-way Archeo-hunt – the least useful time to have a wayward juve shooting your team-mates in the back.

The Goliath Leader had a plan – when he showed a brief moment of sanity, he pumped the little guy with combat stimms, sending him into a frothing frenzy and aiming the mad lad towards the Emperor’s Sole Leader.

Actual achievement is overlooked in favour of effort, right?

Vote for your favourite Juve of the Week on both our regular vox channels:

Fashion corner – Hector the Crusading Step of the Order of the Emperor’s Sole

The newest Champion for the Order (and the longest title of any ganger to date) – an angry chap with a pair of flails and Crushing Blow. He’s yet to bloody them on the bonces of heathens, but we’re sure it’ll be impressive when he does.

Other highlights

This week saw a Shootout between the Rovers and the Order, with the Order having a great bout of luck with their Insanity rolls. We had a three-way Archeo-Hunt between the Order, Rovers and Boom Slag Belles, and another three-way Spook Harvest between the Sarin Sirens, Calorie Crooks and Distilled Mayhem.

Spook Harvest – Distilled Mayhem, Calorie Crooks and Sarin Sirens

Lots of gangers got very high on Spook including the Sarin Siren Juve ‘Rimes’ who became convinced that she was the living embodiment of the Emperor somewhere between her third and fourth huff of that sweet, sweet powder.

Eventually ‘Turner’ took one sniff too much and she had to be put down by a quick hose of Cassidy’s chem thrower. So that’s yet another death for the Sirens to mourn.

With the purchase of a new ganger to replace Turner, the sirens are right back to square one except for the rep they have picked up!

Shoot out – Iron Rovers vs The Order

This alleyway ain’t big enough for the two of us…

Godfreed cleans house and the remaining Rover retreats

Archeo-hunt – Rovers, Order and Boomslag Belles

Three gangs, two beep-boops, one vault

The newest member of the Order fails his Insanity check and blasts his boss

The Vault has its own guardians…

The mad Order ganger fails again, flees and is flamed *into* the flaming pit

The Order get sandwiched between two hungry gangs

The gangs call a brief truce to take out the Automata

The Order are wiped from the board, and the bottling Rovers declare a ceasefire with the Belles to get access to the Vault

Betrayal! The final Rover charges a Belle to remove her from blocking the Vault in his final turn!

Mercy Crier 6: Prying Eyes

This week saw some grudge matches played out on the broken hull-plate floors of the Callowdecks – some shootouts between rival juves, a rematch between old rivals and a new stompy Brute has entered the field.

After this week, 16th Law will turn down the chance of being in the Showdown – being part of the Turf War has been great fun, but the finale will need an Arbitrator! Hopefully we’ll see them again in another Turf War soon.

It’s also been a bad week for pets – the Inheritor’s spider, “Numbers”, got torched, Mayhem’s pooch got blasted by las-fire and the Iron Rovers got to field their first pet, a sumpkroc named “Dog”, for all of a single game before the Inheritors cut it down with massed small arms fire.

This week’s event introduced some extra creds for tipping off House Agents with useful intel about 16th Law, potentially earning a gang extra cash as a Leader’s Post-Battle Action. They’ll surely need it for the next two weeks…

We also agreed to increase the campaign’s length by 1 week due to scheduling conflicts.

Extra Time… For Some: The treasures of the Callowdecks attract many interested parties, some more profitable than others. Some agents of a Noble House have been spotted nosing around 16th Law’s turf and are willing to pay handsomely for any information of their recent activities.

  • The campaign is extended by 1 week
  • 16th Law receives half income from the Working the Turf Post-Battle Action
  • All gang Leaders (except 16th Law) may make a special Post-Battle Action this week:
    • Valuable Information: if you pass an Intelligence test the Agents compensate you 2d6x10 Credits

Week 6 Juve of the week

Juve of the Week is a little unusual this week as we have an honourary Juve vying for the title. There were strong contenders – Jeacock the Gammy was looking to make his third appearance by gunning down an Iron Rover Champion in a Shoot Out, and Job ‘Tentacle Wrangler’ showed enthusiasm but was ultimately shown the door against Mayhem’s leader with a servo-claw. We’re running short on Juves…

Dog is no ordinary Juve, but he lived like one (and most importantly, died like one) and earned a place at the Emperor’s kibble bowl.

He lived only one game, but lasted long enough to vault two ravines on a 6+ and charge down a corridor of Van Saar laser death to save his master.

“H*ck”

He would have gotten away with it too, were it not for some cheap resourceful tactics by the Order sending the Rovers’ Champion to the doc. When they only had the cash to save one, Dog gave his organs willingly to save the team’s Champion (who had gotten himself crushed by walls again).

 

Jimmy Two-Knives found himself in a predicament, but rose to the challenge in a way only a Juve with Two Knives could. Jimmy had not been paying attention in Knife School, where he would have learned that the trend of the campaign was More Knives > Fewer Knives.

He bravely charged down the Inheritor’s newest toy, an Arachno-Rig, knives blazing. Unfortunately the giant cyber-spider had three knives, and made very short work of the spunky young go-getter.

Will we see him return from recovery with a third knife? Only time will tell…

Vote for your favourite Juve of the Week on both our regular vox channels:

Fashion Corner – Muzzle of the Iron Rovers

The Leader of the Iron Rovers, Muzzle is more steel than man. Part from his massive biceps, part from all the metal plates in his head from stray fire. It turns out that many gangers would kick a dog when he’s down.

Other highlights

We had two Shootouts and another three-way Escape The Pit with the Inheritors, Iron Rovers and the Order, and rounded the week off with a Stand-Off between the Inheritors and Distilled Mayhem.

Shootout – 16th Law vs The Order of the Emperor’s Sole

Juvie battle! A terrible idea in a scenario where you shoot at each other!

With 2 guys down and 1 fleeing, somehow 16th Law turned it around to win this shootout

shootout – iron rovers vs the order of the emperor’s sole

Four goliaths at close range? It can’t end well for the Order…

JEACOCK OUTTA NOWHERE SLAYING FOOLS LEFT AND RIGHT

Escape the pit – the inheritors, Iron Rovers and the Order

The pit needs escaping from!

Inheritor’s Champion does what he does best – running in first and getting shot while Numbers observes and takes notes

Dog heroically charges down the Inheritors

The Order heroically flame the Rovers’s Leader and ganger while they lie on the floor bleeding, preventing them from winning anything

The Inheritors stack up ready to heroically shoot the Rovers’ Leader to death while he lies unconscious and on fire

shootout – distilled mayhem vs the inheritors

Jimmy takes on the Cyber-Bastard. Loses.

Mayhem’s leader catches a bullet and calls for the doc

Job tries his luck with a charge and finds he’s punching well above his weight

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