+++++++++++++++++From the data slate of Quintilla Mola+++++++++++++++++
In the Emperor’s Name! We assemble to once more pluck out heresy root and branch.
Scintilla is in grave danger of destruction! And, what appears to be an asteroid also contains xeno-craft and worse than that, signals that seem to originate from the centuries-lost holy Adorjin. Because of this, an intercept team of acolytes led by a member of the Astartes ordos is scrambled together and sent in.
+++++++++++++++++the Characters for this shakeout+++++++++++++++++
Grimm: Judge-tastic iron-jawed Arbiter, played by the chatty guy in our group. Heavy armour, great BS, a couple of really powerful handguns – a bolt pistol and a hand cannon. Poor social skills.
Jahr: Barbaric Guardsman, a feral-world barbarian but beginning to show some engagement with the Imperium. Player owns a rulebook. Heavy armour, lots of big weapons. Lousy social skills and low WP.
Mola: Orthodox Adept, played by yours truly. Good armour, good BS and tends to be lucky with shots. No special social skills, but fair Fellowship. Great WP.
Zarkov: Urbane Tech-Priest, played often for laughs. Great tech based skills, and fair WP and BS.
+++++++++++++++++now, back to the session+++++++++++++++++
We are gathered, after a hasty scramble under Inquisitor guard, in one of the staterooms of the Imperial Cruiser Magnus Ecthelion, currently in high orbit around Scintilla. After sampling nearly the whole supply, Jahr tells us that the Amersac there is high quality liquor. Minutes later a chime sounds and we are face-to-hologram with Captain Safir.
He explains the situation and introduces vast, mighty-armoured Adeptus Astarte Skold Grimpelt, who will lead the interception. The Adeptus draws a command wand from Safir’s holo-sphere and explains the situation.
The Twilight: This is the code name given the Object. It appears to ordinary scans as a large asteroid with starships accreted into it.
It is half a day-cycle away from Scintilla.
The Imperial strike force is ready to destroy it. But there is time – just – to search into it, for Adorjin’s transponder, and her holy blade the Luminous Reproach.
Her last signal refers to a fitting end for someone she may have hunted down.
Having been blessed with sacred oils, equipped as quickly as possible from the naval supplies to hand, we go to put our hastily-conceived plan into effect.
This is a shakeout session after a gap of two years, to refamiliarise with the rules. I can report that I remembered to bring percentile d10, but forgot damage d10 are used as well. More importantly I remembered to stand behind the meat-shield Jahr and to spray automatic fire into melee, since our front-rankers can’t be hurt and it doesn’t worry my character if they are.
It is a heavily, heavily railroaded scenario. Although we do try some ‘planning’ rolls and make a suggestion about altering a route into the Twilight, it makes no difference to events. The scenario rolls along like a side-scrolling console game. And, as soon as Greypelt lets us know he will be along, – “I will accompany you” – Grimm’s player SM cannot take this seriously. It is equivalent to sending L4 D&D characters to tag along with a high-level NPC. Sometimes there’s a point to that, such as betrayal or forcing a difficult moral choice on characters.
+++++++++++++++++And back to the session+++++++++++++++++
The lander Helios, under the paws of our barbaric pilot Jahr, approaches the Twilight.
—Helios: energy has been detected—Naval command
The Twilight begins sending blasts of energy out. They could come from the shifting mass or the weirdly shaped xeno craft or ancient Imperial craft agglomerated onto it.
“Dodge?” – Jahr
“I thought ‘dodge’ for a lander was landing, really fast” – Mola
“Dam’ right!” – Greypelt
“I thought I saw another vessel just then” – Grimm
“Yes, I too saw something” – Zarkov
[Mola and Grimm have made Awareness-20 and see that parts of the Twilight shift; and shortly after that Grimm and Zarkov made Awareness-10 and spotted a xeno-craft outlined by blasts of fire]
Jahr slams the Helios down [a -10 pilot check] and melta-charges take us through the first layer of the Twilight: we leap across! The mighty form of Greypelt, fully 2.5 meters tall now he is at full height, is armed with power claws. He takes point, followed by Jahr with chain sword, myself with lamp and autopistol, Grimm with Lawgiver and Zarkov with auspex of advanced design. It is Demolition minus 12 hours.
Our void suits read breathable atmosphere and the rime of frost on the corridor agrees. We retract face masks, the better to see and signal. We push along the tunnel and into a ruinous chamber, that might once have been a vessel’s hold. Almost immediately we become aware of three flanking creatures: but they move too fast for that to make any difference.
[We begin with a hostile Surprise round, as all the opposing ambushers smoke their Silent Movement check.]
Surprise round: Weird Creature #1, a demon hound, savagely claws Greypelt; WC#2 claws Jahr and WC#3 claws Grimm. The claws pass straight through their massive armour! Grimm uses a fate point to reduce the damage to 5, Jahr decides to suffer his 6.
Round 1: Greypelt splatters his WC with two of three claw hits. Mola levels her autopistol, and fires into melee at WC#2 [all six rounds easily hit and the damage rolls are good]: the dum-dums she uses in it severely injure the beast! Zarkov’s chest-mounted laz flashes out at WC#3, missing, and he calls: “Step away!” to Grimm as he aims his Mauler.
Sadly that gives WC#3 the chance to activate its fear effect: Grimm [fails WP and rolls a dire result roll] panics and turns tail! [also, d5 insanity] The creature gleefully slices him again [another fate point spent]. As Grimm flees Zarkov sees his chance, but the Mauler’s shot is a damp squib, slightly injuring the beast.
Round 2: Jahr finishes the nigh-helpless beast; Grimm recovers his nerve.
Over the next minute Grimm arrives back and Zarkov tends to he and Jahr. [Jahr recovers most of his loss but Grimm is not helped.]
By the time Grimm has re-sealed his void suit I have had time to study these creatures. They smack of the warp! One is collared with a bladed collar. Greypelt tells me it is, most likely, a pet of a foul Eldar.
“We are not alone” – Greypelt
“I’ve heard that Eldar come in light variety, not just dark” – Grimm
“Interesting. In all the official reports, we meet only dark Eldar” – Mola
Not far further, a massive chasm in the body of the tunnels offers us a chance to penetrate further in. We clamber round: on the far side, a mysterious keel forms one wall, asteroid-like rock another. Zarkov’s auspex picks up a way forward, and we push in, finding a cavern.
Frost forms and a strange semi-opaque small girl-child appears
“You’re all in big trouble” – annoying red-queen like child
I incant a quick Creed, then seeing that it does not recoil, attempt to question it.
“We seek the holy Adorjin, do you know the name?” – Mola
“I’m picking up something residual, it’s hard to say what it is” – Zarkov
The spirit-shape looks sharply up, and we duck for cover.
But then… nothing.
We stride through decaying rock and crushed transport vessels. It makes me consider how so many lives have ended, unblessed by the Emperor’s rule.
“Just think, if we had endless time and were salvage rats, we could be unearthing a fortune” – Mola
“But then, we would not be dedicating our lives in Imperial service” – Grimm
“Yes, we would be surplus heroes… what about that auspex?” – Mola
“There is something! I’m picking up something from yonder arch… xenos reading!” – Zarkov
I signal to the others, drawing a frag grenade. Grimm signals that he will toss a krak grenade first. We count through and Grimm steps to the arch and flips his grenade through, stepping back swiftly: I follow suit. Then I realise that Jahr has his grenade launcher ready!
[Grenade launchers are great but this is a situation where, since you don’t know if there’s a wall a few feet away into the dark room beyond, you just want to flip the grenade softly! But that’s not something that can be explained at the instant.]
Round 0: As Jahr steps up to get Line of Sight, something comes bouncing through our side! We dive for cover! Except Zarkov, who is still well back. And possibly Greypelt, who is probably immune to diving for cover. A weird blast envelops us! [WP – diving for cover made no difference – everyone fails] Mola is startled, Jahr frozen and Grimm flees again, taking more insanity. Jahr takes another insanity point, and it makes no perceptible difference.
Round 1: Mola levels her Carnodon at the arch, expecting a follow-up attack. Zarkov jabs Frenzon into Jahr. Greypelt, immune to fear, barrels through the arch and gets into close combat off-screen.
Round 2: Mola realizes Greypelt has nullified her tactic, and runs after Grimm, changing Carnodon for Frenzon. Zarkov checks the auspex. Jahr snaps into combat readiness, runs to the arch then around the melee where Greypelt is mixing it up with an Eldar. The Eldar, realising it is cut off from retreat, raises a shell-like horn to its mouth and screams into it – blood issues from its mouth!
Round 3: Mola catches up to Grimm, but he has mastered his nerve anyway. Zarkov activates a powerful Feedback Screech, affecting the Eldar somewhat. It fails to dodge Greypelt and bits of it splatter over the combat zone!
+++++++++++++++++Data slate paused+++++++++++++++++