Three Acolytes – Grimm Mola and Zarkov – manage to get themselves invited into House Drashkon on the trail of the false Drusus, and they bring along a wily Canopus Guard named Sank, who has a way with locks.
Hardly have they settled in the luxurious quarters allotted than they are exploring the immediate environs, discovering two possible leads for hidden heresy: one in the parlour and one in the shrine. Neither are easily persuaded open so they retire to quarters.
++++++++++Mola’s data slate resumes++++++++++
The acolytes’ discussion is interrupted by reinforcements
Discussing which of the two may be the more feasible, we are knocked up by a soft-spoken servant.
“We received a message of sorts for Mistress Mola: can she contact the unwell comrade. Apologies if that has become somewhat garbled at third hand” – House Footman
Therefore dressed once again as Arbiters we find ourselves once again “arresting” Thebe in the lower-level cantina. Once seated in our Rhino she explains.
“I have been doing some scouting of House Drashkon’s exterior. I noticed you left this big truck outside? – Thebe
“Yes, they wouldn’t let me drive it in through the front doors for some reason” – Mola
“Even though there’s plenty of room in there” – Zarkov
“Well, I picked up some vox signals off the Rhino. Someone’s trying to contact you” – Thebe
“Hey, what… well what do you know, the vox unit here does have some calls on it. From Zolokov… yeah we really should check in” – Grimm
“Before that, let’s just run through signals with Thebe here” – Zarkov
[Zarkov sets up some easy code phrases or words so that Thebe can vox us without giving the game away. The GM hand-waves this as done.]
Once Thebe has been “released” – this time with a much less aggressive incision dressed up to look like a severe cut – Grimm voxes Zolokov. The import of the Lieutenant’s information is that:
- Jahr has recovered and wishes to join us. They don’t have a suit of Arbiter armour large enough for him, so he’ll be wearing his Guard armour, suitably repainted.
- Vaarak’s cogitator specialists recovered information from the Oracle’s equipment. We now have a new menace to the orthodoxy to hunt down: the Prophet of St. Drusus. No description, but a Drashkon affiliate.
- Regular vox chirps are to be sent through to Zolokov so that he knows we are still in action and safe.
We pick Jahr up at the same gate we entered. [Grimm makes a near-miss on Fellowship which is good enough to get Jahr in.] I drive the Rhino back up to the mansion, and somehow manage to excuse Jahr’s appearance to major-domo Balthazar. [Mola makes a straight Fellowship check and has both Deceit and Charm.]
The parlour games come to a halt
By an easy majority we opt for the parlour first. After the evening meal, retiring for drinks makes a plausible reason to gather there.
Unfortunately Sank and Zarkov are foiled by the pict-stealer guarding the lock. [Z fails by 5 on reroll which is judged not a disaster, just not successful.]
Zarkov repairs himself to the Mechanicus shrine while we others discuss the next option.
An ingenious ploy introduces house security
Time moves on, but at length, I propose that we create a diversion using ‘barbarian is drunk’ which Jahr is quite happy with. Sank is seen disappearing into the shrine’s depths as the “drunken” Jahr puts his helmet over the shrine’s skull-sentinel.
[The plan kind of compressed into one scene, where I’d originally thought it was two, but it made no real difference.]
Security is very swift! A large sentinel – though not as large as the full combat example at the entry gates – and squad of five guards arrive. They escort us politely back, not knowing that Sank is hidden away with Zarkov. They are all very heavily armoured, and the sentinel has a flamer and shot cannon.
In the shrine, Zarkov and Sank investigate
Unseen in a private alcove, Zarkov and Sank tackle the code-locked prie-dieux. [Z makes 2 raises on tech and Sank helps.] The piece swings back, revealing a steep slope down, then a circular stairwell plunging deeper!
Light can be seen faintly emanating from below, and Sank can hear a faint, regular and mechanical sound.
About 50 metres down, the stair comes to an end at an arched entrance. The entrance is warded by a pict-stealer on a swivel: it is this that is making the noise. Beyond is a smallish chamber and on the far wall a ship’s hatch style of exit, and a keypad and vox-hailer arrangement.
Zarkov and Sank retreat and report back to quarters.
It’s time for the GM to ask what weapons we are bringing. Later, Grimm’s player and I regret not thinking harder about grenades.
Except for Jahr and Sank, we all just bring our usual handguns. Jahr brings grenade launcher, stubber and power blade; and Sank brings his Hellgun laser.
The acolytes penetrate in full force
My plan is the one we put into practice, some short while later. Zarkov uses his precision laser to jam the pict-stealer at one end of its short arc: which leaves it watching elsewhere as the others steal across to the keypad. I remain alert there.
Within a very short time Sank has plumbed the keypad’s mysteries and the hatch swings open.
Party order: Sank, Mola, Jahr, Grimm, Zarkov
And not far in – in fact at the first corner – Sank proves my wisdom at setting him in front: he signals that we are about to face a security detail.
Round 0: Jahr steps around the corner and pops a well-aimed grenade over a table and among three security guards and one security servitor. The blast slightly injures two of them.
Round 1: The guards are surprised! Sank, Mola, Zarkov Grimm and Jahr (in that order) do their best, but the only real effect is from Sank, who has a Krak grenade and damages the servitor with it; and Jahr who draws his power blade and charges a guard, stabbing him in the well-armoured head.
Initiatives: The security detail goes between Sank and Mola’s turns.
Round 2: Sank repositions himself, and is promptly blinded by a flash-grenade one of the guards throws. One of his detail moves to an Alarm Button on a desk. The remaining guard draws his chain-sword and misses Jahr. The servitor has an easy target: Mola was sheltering behind Jahr as she traditionally does, and is left exposed by his charge! But the flame spouts well above her head, charring the ceiling and triggering sprinklers. Zarkov lasers the alarm button [on reroll] removing that threat. Jahr injures his opponent’s left arm [and uses Crippling Strike to make the crit worse].
Round 3: Jahr is surrounded by all three guards, but parries one sword, breaking it. He is uninjured. The servitor now opens up with shot-cannon and misses. Bits of ferrocrete shower around, but the water pouring down from the sprinklers douses the dust out of the air. Grimm’s return fire manages some damage to one of the servitor’s legs [coupled with the krak grenade damage that is now a rank 2 crit] and it falls! Jahr finishes putting his injured opponent down and with two further strikes stuns a second guard.
Round 4: The servitor fires from prone and its shot-cannon jams. The remaining fully active guard backs off rapidly, drawing his combat shotgun. Mola kills the stunned guard with her last Carnodon round. [Not much wrong with previous shots but damage has been minimal, and these lads have 12 between armour+Toughness!] Jahr closes on where the last guard is standing near the fallen servitor – but rams his blade into the servitor, and black smoke billowing out signals it has been taken out of commission!
Round 5: The last guard fires on semi-auto and misses. Sank, finally able to see, shifts into position. Mola and Zarkov walk forward, reloading. Grimm advances out of cover and gets to point-blank distance from the guard. Jahr gets two good hits on that same guard, injuring him.
Round 6: Sank rushes to melee, bayonet at the ready, and the guard swings his fire on the new target: but misses. Mola fires into melee [as usual but concerned at the damage the Carnodon might do to Jahr or Sank, taking the -20 penalty] and stuns the guard. Zarkov gets a good hit, virtually removing the man’s right leg, and Jahr finishes him off.
The acolytes behold a dreadful operation
Muttering about the rich loot – each has augmetick eyes – we press on, exploring what seems to be simple but extensive barracks and meditative cells. Until we find the observation mezzanine!
This fully enclosed viewing course, protected by plasteel and completely bulletproof, runs above a broad operating theatre. The chamber is dominated by a red-robed priest of some kind, operating on a gruesomely huge and disfigured figure. The figure appears to be conscious and perhaps begging mercy of the priest. Or possibly taunting him. For as Zarkov and I can see, the Warp is embedded in the creature’s vast torso, and tentacular appendages extend from it!
While we cannot be sure, a heavy good lift does seem to run down to that level, and ought to offer a way down!
++++++++++Data slate paused++++++++++
Once again a dire shortage of fate points saw us folding our tents early and leaving the next stage for next session.
The highlight of the session was easily Jahr’s combat abilities. His player has spent a lot of builds getting to a very effective melee fighter and it shows.
While the high total of the opposition’s armour+Tough is a concern, I did enjoy the tough fight. “It’s only going to get worse” the GM assures us last thing.
The lowlight was once again depending on 50-50 sort of rolls to gain any access.
So next session we will attempt to tackle the red-robed Priest, who just might be the Prophet. Stay tuned!