Welcome back! Our last shortened session paused where the Acolytes had a chance to take stock and decide whether to “surf” on the wave of incoming Canopus Imperials to move closer to their main objective, or stick with their allies.
Our experience with DH mass combat rules and the hint last week from the GM convince the three of us that turn up – players for Grimm, Zarkov and yours truly playing Mola – that we should press on.
In probably the smartest call of the night the GM rules that Jahr has remained with the Guards to lend them his melee expertise. We pick up with the next move from the three that have decided to press on.
+++++++++++++++++From the data slate of Quintilla Mola+++++++++++++++++
Reaching the Arbiter station
Jahr seems very intent on lending the weight of his stubber fire to the Canopus Guard, but we other three use their weight of numbers to cover our rush to cover against the nearer of the three ancillary buildings.
It is an Arbiter field command station and Grimm’s preferred starting-point. Some 50m beyond it a massive ziggurat-like fortress rises, surely the command centre of this sector. It is there we trust to find at least a lead to the false St. Drusus.
“Got a feeling the Arbiter and Command blocks will be linked” – Grimm
“Agreed!” – Mola
The command fortress is well defended by sandbagged stubber emplacements atop and razor-wire sandbag lines below. Short of an AFV, we need an indirect approach.
Grimm voxes Lt. Zolokov – now in near proximity – and with our allies up to date we turn to find Zarkov has abandoned his pretence of unlocking the station door.
“We have two light charges left. We need in. Let’s blow the lock” – Mola
Sturdy material these doors! It takes both our charges, leaving us with none. And our allies used all their charges.
[Shaped charges are underwhelming in DH. You roll d10s and account for Penetration, but a poor roll won’t do more damage than, say, a powerful handgun. As will be seen later.]
The Acolytes search, finding keys and a code
The station door lets directly into the main receiving chamber, and from there we proceed to the holding cells, in manner a gallery that runs the width of this building. The stench of stacked bodies penetrates even my filtration plugs. Many were Arbiters: the tattoo of Precinct 98 is clear on the higher-stacked.
“They held out here, I guess, but the fanatics were too many” – Grimm
At rear – and this is the final chamber – a duty desk, showers and lockers. The desk lock seems surprisingly tricky [it isn’t but the theme of the evening is ‘can’t roll Security’] so Grimm’s handcannon persuades it open. Fishing through the broken Amasec flask we retrieve access codes for a vehicle and a bunch of keys.
The Way is covered – by stubber fire!
There is no secret under-tunnel, so we have now to consider the distance across the Way to the large hangar-like building across there: versus the easy distance from the gun emplacements covering the Way from the command ziggurat.
A quick sprint leads to a hangar
Back at the barricade and bunkers, the firefight continues. Reinforcements issue from the command ziggurat, and we time our run to coincide with their passing our position.
In theory the gunners ought to hold fire for hitting their own troops but in practice my sprint across alerts them and stubber rounds pock the Way around Grimm and Zarkov as they join me.
[The GM buys my opinion that Mola has surprise and since she clears the entire 30m distance in one round, she cannot be a target. Z and G have a run of 18, so take two rounds. No rounds strike home.]
“Unlocking” requires some skill, or a volume of fire
I report that the first personnel hatch is locked, and so is the first vehicle bay door. Zarkov tries his best on both [fails on reroll] but with time pressing Grimm resorts to his handcannon again.
[A single round of semi-auto handcannon fire does very similar damage to a shaped charge. Three rounds later the door’s lock collapses.]
Inside, Grimm creates terrain advantage and butchery follows
Far along the vast hangar, we can hear militia spilling down from their stations above. The dim orange light above prevents us from seeing any detail that far away. But the hangar is littered with crates and vehicles – or their stripped remains – and it seems we may have the advantage of awaiting them in cover. We can turn their fanaticism against them.
Then Grimm’s quick eye for terrain improves our position still further! Aiming carefully with his hunting rifle, he explodes the light source. Now we are in the dark with our photo visors and IR equipment, and they are entering a chaos of cover with no visual equipment.
|Acolyte||Hit/Shot taken||Kills||Of kills, number butchered heartlessly once helpless|
Defence evaded, the Acolytes seize an AFV
Suffice to say that the advantage is fully with us, we use several Frag grenades, and the last remnant are glad to find that we have eluded them. They depart out of the shattered door, to join the less-frightening firefight beyond. By the sounds of the gunfire it has gotten close indeed.
Meanwhile I have succeeded in stripping the tarpaulin from the only intact vehicle. To our delight it proves to be an Arbiter riot vehicle, unfamiliar to me but surely matching the access codes we retrieved. And so it proves.
After some minutes, a Rhino erupts onto the Way
It takes me some time to understand the controls. [Mola has drive land vehicle but not the specialist skill for AFV, and her check to familiarise is an 00. After a few minutes stand-down a second attempt makes it with a raise.] In the meantime, Zarkov has assessed the gun and grenade-launcher system, and Grimm has reloaded all weapons and searched the storage bays in the vehicle. He tells us it is a Rhino “peace wagon” and the grenade system is probably to disperse crowd control gas. [Actually the GM tells us this, but it’s a nice piece of colour.]
At length the engine rumbles to life and I have it rolling forwards. I smash through crates, stripped vehicles, and finally one of the vehicle bay doors, and swing it hard right and around towards the ziggurat!
Behind us, the firefight continues. The defenders are fanatics and show no sign of giving ground: which suits Lt. Zolokov perfectly, I am sure.
The barricade is stormed and a door persuaded open
The Rhino’s pintle-mounted stubber comes into its own. In Grimm’s hands it silences the defending emplacements long enough for him to hammer the sandbags of the wired barricade.
[If you have the option, use a heavy stubber loaded with manstopper to attack sandbags! Their full-autofire and extra Pen guarantee damage through the sandbag’s 8AP. I suspect the module bent the rules to allow manstopper rounds but in our favour.]
I have not even needed to slow the Rhino and it lurches and bucks over the entrenchment. I have no idea if any defenders were behind it, for I swing the thing around the far side of the ziggurat, seeking a soft opening.
There is but one way in: an access tunnel leading to a solid-looking door. But the stubber can target it! Grimm’s last dozen or so rounds riddle the lock area and it sags open.
Upon the stair, the Acolytes find their sanity… tested
We disembark and – with due caution – sweep inside. There are no foes, merely a stair running helix fashion up, around a central pillar. We mount.
A noise behind us as the door attempts to close – without success, of course. Then horror strikes!
- Grimm: fails (on reroll), reeling, backs away, +1 insanity, -10 to all rolls once active again.
- Mola: OK by some raises
- Zarkov: fails, freezes, no action, +3 insanity, -10 to all rolls once active again.
[The attack is of ‘worst fear’ – for example Mola fears her hidden Corruption be detected, Zarkov fears being defrocked.]
I reach the top of stair, where lies another solid door. After a short delay Zarkov joins me, then Grimm. Much to my surprise – and probably his own – Zarkov manages this lock swiftly and quietly.
Amidst flickering cogitators the deluded heretic awaits death
Cogitators flicker all around the room, providing what light avails. Trapped amidst a volley of feeder and psyker tubes, a vast tub that was once human speaks.
“I knew you would come. You behold the Oracle of St. Drusus. My master fell silent but left word.
“Once I was of the House Drashkon, but from illness, later madness, I fell victim to therapy such as this.”
“He may genuinely believe he follows St. Drusus. Let us hear what he has to tell us” – Mola
“I have a remedy, and it comes with bolt rounds” – Grimm
Once Grimm has put this wretch out of his misery – a fate he welcomes – I operate controls enough to open shutters and gates to the benefit of our allies, and Zarkov takes a feed in.
“He was an illegally-augmeticked Psyker!” – Zarkov
+++++++++++++++++data slate paused+++++++++++++++++
That was a good time to pause. A session with little interruption from cross-talk – but plenty of laughs. The GM did a good job keeping the long main combat ticking along and making calls on the fly about what the militia could and could not attempt, and what could and could not be done with heavy ammo. Full credit to Giant Lego for providing most of the scenery, it really helped.
Next session we search further, seeking the false St. Drusus. Stay tuned!