I could sum this session up into one sentence – in Jane Austen style – with many clauses – which is to say we did not progress very far.
But that’s not how we roll! So we rejoin the four Acolytes: Grimm, Jahr, Mola and Zarkov: and their Canopus Guard by the name of Sank: as they finish goggling down at a large enclosed operating chamber, where a red-robed priest does un-nameable alterations to a huge warp-infected humanoid.
++++++++++from the data slate of Quintilla Mola++++++++++
An impromptu ambush is staged
We pull hastily back into the passage letting onto to the mezzanin: Grimm and Zarkov have caught the approach of security guards. Unwisely, Zarkov lingers to peer around the corner: and his probing lens is instantly seen!
[The session kicks off with Awareness checks, which is exciting, and both characters get 3 raises. Mola usually dominates this area with her 65 Awareness but in a sign of things to come, muffs the roll. Zarkov decides to wait to count guards and our GM rolls a critical success for the guards.]
There are two but they come on apace! We pull back even faster, to the place where we know Jahr can use his combat abilities: the guard station we began with.
“We have a few seconds before they catch us. Lay down like corpses and ambush them” – Mola
Sank promptly, then the others and I myself, lay us down in what cover we can find from the ruin of the sentinel and the desks. The two guards enter and are killed instantly by our barrage of fire.
“That was our most successful ambush. Ever. By a large margin” – Mola, slightly awe-stricken
“In the name of the Emperor, I commandeer these grenades… lessee what we got… frag? No, flash and hmm… smoke. They’ll do” – Grimm
“You know, among all these sets of armour I may be able to assemble one complete undamaged suit” – Zarkov
Zarkov is better than his word: he assembles a suit for Jahr, and another spare. Of superb and light crafting, it is even better than the borrowed Arbiter armour I wear, so I change to this new set. I sling the combat shotgun in its scabbard and Jahr shows me how to hang the chain sword.
“We look the part. We may achieve some margin of surprise like this” – Mola
[Zarkov has the crafting skills to refit armour. It is 7 points all over, for those of you who care. This elevates Mola into relatively survivable territory, just as well since she is now up front with Jahr]
The Acolytes arrive at a cunning plan
We retrace our steps, though I have it in mind that the obvious way down is the goods elevator we found earlier. Sure enough, we find no new options.
“I have a plan, as option A. We head down and kill everything” – Mola
“Bit subtle, but I like it” – Sank
“We could pose as guards plus guarded, tell people ‘the boss wants ‘em’ and see how far we get” – Zarkov
“So that’s option B. Votes?” – Mola
So we proceed with my plan. Jahr and I stand to the fore of the elevator cab, so that when the gates open we will appear as security guards, at first glance.
It works reasonably well.
Surprise round: The elevator gates open onto another security station. This has a full detail of five security guards, a sergeant, and a combat sentinel. They don’t immediately react. The station has the same sort of two-desk layout, offering minimal cover.
Jahr and Grimm send Krak grenades at the sentinel, Grimm getting Righteous Fury with his on a reroll. This seriously damages it, and by the time Zarkov hits it in the arm it is out of action. Only Mola does not attempt a shot at the monster: she steps to some cover behind a desk, drops the combat shotgun (which is just for show) and shoots the nearest guard with her Carnodon pistol.
- All Guards
Round 1: Grimm now lifts his bolt pistol and double-taps the wounded guard. Sank, on Mola’s left and Grimm’s right, turns his Hellgun laser on the same man, who falls.
There are four guards and a sergeant: they all raise combat shotguns and spread out, firing, save for one near the back who shoots and fishes out a grenade. Mola Grimm and Jahr are all front targets and Jahr is slightly hurt.
Jahr charges a convenient guard and slams his power-blade home. Unexpectedly, Mola drops her Carnodon on the desk and joins Jahr in combat, waving the chain-sword in dangerous fashion. [With its quality she has a bonus to hit, which does not make up for her incompetence and general lack of WS.]
Zarkov remains at the elevator gates so they can’t close, and shoots the sergeant twice in the leg.
Round 2: Grimm hurls another Krak grenade at the sergeant and with a second RF takes the man’s head off. Sank steps to cover near Grimm and misses his snapshot.
With a shout to withdraw and tell the Magus, the rear guard hurls a smoke grenade. But it is wild and merely masks Mola and Jahr and screens Zarkov’s view. And with their fervent loyalty [Fearless talent] all except the man in melee remain there firing. He pulls back. The two able to fire do so and Sank is hit twice, Grimm once.
Jahr and Mola follow the retreating guard up, but fail to do anything other than prevent him fleeing at pace. [A ‘disengage’ only gets 3m] Zarkov uses IR to scan and shoots an unwounded guard.
Round 3: Grimm and Sank fire with virtually no effect: it seems the tide is beginning to turn.
The guard in melee disengages again, and the nearest, who is now flanking Jahr, wounds him. Grimm and Sank take no damage.
Jahr wheels on the shooter and stabs him three times, killing him outright. The power blade causes the man’s suit to explode, wounding Jahr a little further. Mola, still swinging her blade at great peril to herself, walks after the retreating guard. And with a miss from Zarkov the round ends.
Round 4: Grimm and Sank shoot the next guard along, rocking him [1 Fatigue] but their tactics are mirrored by their two opponents. The desk disintegrates and Sank is knocked down bleeding out!
Jahr decides a change of tactics is called for:
“Mola! Switch with me!” – Jahr
Jahr charges the retreating guard [who is now far enough away for a charge to work] and the guard dodges his swing!
Mola moves swiftly back to the corpse of the guard Jahr just killed and kneels, dropping the chain-sword and fishing for a shotgun. She notices that the sergeant’s headless corpse has a holstered pistol.
Zarkov makes his last shot count and the wounded guard falls.
Round 5: Calling on Sank to ‘stay with me buddy’, Grimm quick-draws another Krak grenade he got from somewhere, and [reroll] injures the remaining unwounded guard. His opponent returns fire to some effect.
The other guard keeps retreating but Jahr stays on him, and takes his leg off with the power blade.
Mola slides through ponding blood, over to the sergeant’s corpse, and draws the pistol: she does not recognize its type. Zarkov quick-reloads and with a snapshot, takes the remaining guard’s leg off. Unbelievably the guard remains standing, but is stunned and a sitting duck.
Aftermath: Words for the fallen and the plan reknitted
The next round or so is spent finishing off stunned or unconscious guards, and looking for more lethal grenades than flash or smoke (without success). Grimm checks on Sank but all life has fled.
“That’s a damn shame, he was someone we could really work with” – Grimm
“I’ll say a few words. He was a fellow guard” – Jahr
“Hey, Mola, I think that’s a plasma pistol!” – Zarkov
After drooling over the pistol for some time, the lads get back to business. Zarkov tends to Grimm and Jahr’s wounds. Mola tallies Stimm and Frenzon doses: she has Stimm and Zarkov can inject two Frenzon shots.
There’s not much talk about the fight. Just enough to let Mola know something.
“So you are saying I was wasting my time trying to help, because your mastery is at the point where it makes no difference how many surround you?” – Mola
“Yeah and those guards had mastery as well so you weren’t really helping. But it was funny. Except for the times you waved that sword up near my face” – Jahr
“Ah well, no harm done. I may try the plasma pistol if I have to get through massive armour again” – Mola
“But you don’t know how to use it” – Grimm
“Step to point blank range, press trigger, how hard can it be?” – Mola
The Acolytes fruitlessly circle their objective
We form up in a loose group around Zarkov: Jahr and I in front once more. The guard station lets out to a circular passage. Initially we test a few doors, but come to where a pair of servitors are guarding a door. Retreating, we try every inner-facing door in an attempt to find a way into the central operating area.
[Zarkov is now the only character with Security, and rolls spectacularly badly. You would think that with about eight doors he would roll under 40% at some stage. But you would be wrong. One roll is 99 and another is 00, and those aren’t outliers.]
“You know I think I have a way of getting in” – Jahr, gesturing with power blade
Eventually we have worked out way right round to the other point where the servitors can be seen, and all we have to show for it is a weird manufactory where hiero-techs loads strange augmeticks unto transport crates. It is too incense-filled to allow me to see if some way lets into the inner areas. [Yes, Mola’s Awareness is still not happening this session]
Then carve their way to the beast within
The only other thing out of place is one particularly cunningly-worked lock on an inner door.
“Jahr, let’s go back to your plan. Power blade here” – Mola
As Jahr’s blade finally caves the door in, we hear a dreadful sound, as of someone getting their throat torn out!
The room we have gained is most definitely the operating chamber we viewed from above: bright and tiled, but smeared now with blood and machine-oil ichor. An immense hunched humanoid looms above a broken operating table, pieces of red-robed Magus around it. Zarkov stabs Jahr with the first Frenzon injection.
The Acolytes are all hardened by Into the Breach talent but still need good clear raises. Zarkov only just makes WP [reroll] and gains 2 insanity points. Grimm [reroll] makes it and Mola also makes it easily. Jahr is auto-immune to fear now that he has Frenzon coursing through him.
As we involuntarily pause to take the dreadful scene in, the Warp-infected creature bellows and charges!
++++++++++data slate paused++++++++++
This was a full-length session, obviously: combat, followed by more combat, in trad dungeon crawl style. It went a few minutes more than described here but I’ll collate the combat into one scene next time. Stay tuned!