DH3.02: Spectre

 

+++++++++++++++++From the data slate of Quintilla Mola+++++++++++++++++

Flickering lights ahead beckon us on deeper into the madness of the warp-infected mass known as The Twilight. Tucking Zarkov’s forensic sweep kit back into his carapace after the Eldar odds and ends I shovelled in, I check my Chrono.

“Ten hours” – Mola

“Or more, or less. Some Chronos are out by some hours” – Greypelt

“Did you note the Serrated Edge cult pendant in that lot?” – Zarkov

“Yes, but even though I do know something about some cults,that will have to wait” – Mola

“You did stick that shell thing in there too right?” – Grimm

“Yes! Now move up, take position” – Mola

“Sure, but after that last fight I will be watching out for ambush. You know, in case our mighty vanguard is also immune to noticing stuff” – Grimm

“Your words are suspect, arbiter. The Ordos Astartes is infallible. Records prove this” – Mola

+++++++++++++++++the Characters for this shakeout+++++++++++++++++

Grimm: Judge-tastic iron-jawed Arbiter, carries a bolt pistol and a hand cannon. 

Jahr: Barbaric Guardsman, carries a grenade launcher and a chain sword. 

Mola: Orthodox Adept, played by yours truly, carries five handguns.

Zarkov: Urbane Tech-Priest, carries onboard las-gun and a bolt-pistol.

Guarded by:

Skold Greypelt, Ordos Astartes, superbly equipped for melee, immune to fear.

+++++++++++++++++now, back to the session+++++++++++++++++

Following our present course we find ourselves pacing an ancient starship’s interior. Grimm’s caution does slow us somewhat. In the event, it is not needed, for our next foe signals their approach! Even as our vox units squawk once more with the call sign of anciently-lost Adorjin, we hear a deep baying or barking. The wide space we are in favours us, but out of caution I suggest we move in reverse order down a side passage.

Combat begins

The terrain is an even and relatively narrow horizontal shaft. Party order from nearest the oncoming demon-dogs is Greypelt and Jahr (the latter hoping to use grenade launcher at range as the dogs show themselves) then Mola and Grimm, then lastly Zarkov.

The demon-dogs race around the corner and into the passage at great speed! One rushes along the wall, the other along the floor. They are both larger than the first couple fought but otherwise similar. One is whitish, the other seems to have no hide and its raw muscles are red.

Initiatives:

  • Zarkov
  • Grimm
  • Mola
  • Jahr/Dogs
  • Greypelt

Round 1: Z misses, G fires two rounds on rapid at the wall-runner and hits with one, damaging right forearm. M, who has been hoping Jahr would take care of it, sprays a burst of dum-dum into the same, destroying it. J finds himself in close melee with the other and drops his grenade launcher, and grabs his mighty chain-sword. His arm is gouged with the creature’s fangs, and he must make a fear test! He makes the test and uses a fate point to reduce damage, and makes two attacks, hits once, severe damage to the creature’s hind leg. Greypelt finishes it off.

 

An auspex check tells us something else may be approaching. Grimm heads further along the passage to see if we can escape that way, while Mola checks towards the rear. A huge mass of Warp creatures surges towards the party and everyone is in danger!

“Everyone: run!!” – Mola

“Guardsman – it falls to you to protect those others from here on. I shall delay the Warp. Flee!” – Greypelt

Combat ends

 

We can hear Greypelt for what seems at least a minute as he battles the Warp, then we hear his roar:

“For the Emperor!”

And we hear no more.

 

Our flight takes us from the ancient ship into broken, seemingly igneous rock. With little delay our chosen course opens to a vast and dark cavern, at the other side of which can be spotted the glimmer of an ancient hull decorated in High Gothic fashion. Many of the decorative gargoyles on it have been defaced or altered.

As our limited light picks out possible entry hatches on the underside, Zarkov pauses to mend Jahr’s arm. A shotgun crunches menacingly and Grimm warns us of four possible enemies.

“Declare yourselves!” – Logi Trempan

“Justin Grimm, arbiter of the Emperor” – Grimm

“Who do you serve?” – Trempan

“Ordo Hereticus, Inquisitor Vaarak” – Mola

“Not Globus Vaarak! – why we serve Soldevan, they are practically school chums” – Trempan

 

Our new [provisional] allies:

Calculus Logi Trempan, tech-scholar

Molochan – tech priest

Sgt. Ferdan – cyber warrior

Lady D – Scum

It takes Zarkov a long time to open the doors to the ancient hull, and by the time we enter we are roughly formed into a new side-by-side party order. Pale red lights sporadically light the area, offering few clues as to the purpose. Faint sounds can be heard.

A short stair leads up to a hopeful corridor and we follow it until with a nervous laugh the annoying ghost child appears again.

“Have you come to join the others?” – annoying red queen child

“We seek the holy Adorjin” – Mola

“They always want company” – arqc

“We will follow you” – Mola

Deep down we reach a nave of illimitable dark. At first misty, then we pick out pale figures that begin appearing.

Something about their presence rattles Grimm, and he begins giggling insanely and muttering about the sacred stone where each year a spectral horde meets and awaits the king. I sadly record each heresy as his lips drool them forth.

[WP check only G really fails badly. Z makes it, others are at -10. G hits 10 insanity and overacts it.]

The thin, miserable ghosts part, revealing some type of leader figure at the end of the chamber. His name, he gives out, is “Krovus” and he challenges us.

I announce us as Inquisitors…

 

When we awaken some time has passed and we all have experienced terrible dreams of being torn apart by the spectral hands. And we do all feel bruised and battered. But more substantially, most of us have lost weapons to damage. Grimm and Jahr mourn deeply, they have lost their main armaments. Then we are aware that another ghostly figure is looming over us.

 

“I see you received my signal” – the late Ishtan Vogel

 

Vogel – or his spirit remnant –  offers to conduct us to the chamber wherein lies the remains of holy Adorjin, explaining that this was once a Black Ship that harvested psykers for the Emperror – hence the hostility of its ghosts – and that he has used Adorjin’s call sign to get relief from Krovus and Corsair attacks. Although the time is late, he says, as the Imperial Navy bombards the Twilight it will break up and we can use the Black Ship’s escape pods to attempt to survive. And we reach the chamber and we behold holy Adorjin:

Tacked high above to a vast daemon by her grasp on the holy sword, the Luminous Reproach, embedded in the beast. And at her waist is chained a forbidden text, the liber daemonicus.

“That’s the real matter – the book” – Vogel

“A woman’s belt… unlocking… yes!” – Grimm

“I bags that sword, mine’s bust” – Jahr

“Of course if you pull that sword out there is a chance the daemon awakes” – Mola

“Who’s got grenades and demolition skill…” – Jahr

“I can unlock the sword and pull out the belt all at once with my many protuberances!” – Zarkov

“Best focus on only one task” – Mola

Lady D steps forward to scale the daemon alongside Grimm but then stops as she attempts to grasp its immensity, falls to her knees and begins vomiting.

“Best tuck that hair back lass… ooer, too late” – Grimm, stepping around the puddle

The arbiter then scales the vast obscenity alone, unlatches the book and heaves the sword out of the saint’s grasp and out of the daemon corpse. Scrambling down he brandishes the brand in triumph.

“Swordswordswordsword” – Jahr

“Ooo, whosa wantsa sword then…. Here you go… Psyke! No, heere you goo…. Psyke!” – Grimm, teasing Jahr with the sword

At length he stops giggling, releases the sword and passes the forbidden book, still bound in chains of adamantium, to my keeping.

Sgt. Ferdan leaps forward!

Combat begins

Surprise round: Owing to Grimm’s ‘insanity’ the GM agrees his player cannot spot a treacherous play at the same time as arsing about. However Zarkov, Trempan and Lady D do notice.

“You son of a grot!” – Trempan

Trempan shoots Ferdan with his hand cannon, in the head. Lady D uses a small las-pistol and misses. Ferdan meanwhile fails to wrest the book from Mola. Zarkov draws and fires his fearsome Mauler, hitting Mola in the body. For a change Z rolls good damage and Mola is badly wounded.

Initiatives:

  • Jahr
  • Mola
  • Trempan/Grimm
  • Lady D/Ferdan/Moloch
  • Zarkov

 

Round 1: Jahr misses his mighty swing, Mola [reroll, called shot] shoots Ferdan in the head, partly stunning him, and steps away. Trempan shoots and misses, Grimm fires dum-dums that fragment on Ferdan’s armour, Lady D misses again. Ferdan tosses a Nightmare grenade at Jahr and dodges towards Mola: Jahr dodges the grenade which sails away harmlessly, and swings at Ferdan who would have been better off getting completely clear. This time the saint’s sword cleaves Ferdan! The traitor melts, his ammo explodes, Jahr again dodges the damage!

 

We run to the escape pods!

+++++++++++++++++Data slate paused+++++++++++++++++

There weren’t quite as many requests for ‘obscure skill X’ this session, which featured the staged exit of the Protector character and a late-act entrance of an NPC team I imagine would have been used as pick-up characters normally. Too late to build any rapport with them. Not that Acolytes do rapport, anyway. Their introduction allows the story to sway between ‘stay true to your office and declare yourself’ and ‘lie through your teeth and fool ghosts’. The payoff for being true is a party of about equal power to ally with, and the penalty is being torn apart by psyker ghosts. Since we hadn’t agreed on any cover story Mola just stuck to the ‘true to office’ line.  

Next session we finish the shakeout, and assuming the adventure stays just as merciful (we got killed by vengeful spectres then ‘woke up’!) the same bunch of Acolytes will get back to the business of hunting daemons through black sepulchres. Stay tuned!

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