This adventure is – possibly – designed to link us to the final arc of the Drusus heresy. Or not. We finished the Drashkon/False Prophet scenario in the first hour, and even after shopping still had half the session left. So the unpleasant Extricator Voss got to strut his stuff as a kind of provocateur (but what was the point?) and we got to start the DH version of Alien.
The Cudgel of Drusus makes rendezvous with Vaarak aboard the Debitar Lost. Vaarak introduces Explicator Voss, a trusted lieutenant, sound man, and all-round exemplar of the Inquisition. Voss puts us through a full debrief, very much like an interrogation.
[Grimm has his suspicions but is distracted by the expected cost of melta ammunition.]
At its hiatus I plead for a chance to re-equip and Vaarak allows us planet-side.
[Time to re-equip! The Acolytes have only another month’s back-pay but are able to sell Augmeticks (just the eyes they were given, the GM disallows the ones they looted) for 425 each. It pretty much all goes on ammo and grenades. For example Jahr’s monthly stipend is 80 Thrones and one Krak grenade costs 100 Thrones.]
Aboard the Debitar Lost, the second law reigns
The small, automated Debitar Lost keeps us in comfort: but it is the blank comfort of the uninformed. Vaarak and Voss sequester themselves, guarded at all times by a pair of Sororitas guards, in the medicae area. We can only imagine that the remains of the ‘Prophet’ are being closely examined. All we really know is that we are headed through the deep void.
Alarms sound! As an Acolyte that at all times meditates on the Throne’s service, I am first out of quarters. Zarkov follows me. We arrive at the source of the alarm – the medicae chamber 1A – to find our path blocked by the pair of sisters. Behind them, the door to 1A has been impelled out into the crew-way somehow.
Something large and strong hints its presence
Grimm and Jahr, armour-clad, join us a few minutes later, and I ask for admittance. They give ground and we hurry in.
“Something has pulled the hatch right off, and thrown it down” – Zarkov
“Not good” – Grimm
Inside, blood runs across the deck and smears the bulkheads. Vaarak seems mortally-wounded, but Zarkov stoops quickly to his aid. Voss’ body seems to have ended up flung into a corner. The centre-piece of the examination-room is ‘Prophet’ Cambyses’ corpse: the head has completely disintegrated and large, naked and bloody prints suggest that a thing has been summoned out of Cambyses’ flesh. A small medicae servitor hovers nearby.
Mola – now with Fear resistance – makes it easily, the others are OK as well.
“Life still flickers! Servitor – assist me! And someone check Explicator Voss!” – Zarkov
Without undue haste I check Voss’ corpse – to find that he is beginning to come round! He struggles to his feet, despite an obviously broken leg.
“You fools – why… Wha…” – Voss
I admire his staunch courage. Then I admire his unassisted nose-dive into the floor as he loses consciousness again. We pick his unconscious form up and stow it on a medicae bench. Shock has set in and Voss will need some attention soon.
Grimm and Jahr set out on the trail of bloody prints, while I return to Zarkov’s side. It seems that most of the blood comes from Vaarak, who has had his gizzard slit open. Zarkov and the servitor work to restore plasma to the esteemed Inquisitor.
Alarms continue to sound around the Debitar, and I head back to our quarters. As I assemble gear and don armour, Zarkov voxes me.
[Zarkov believes there will be something to find, and turns up a cracked data slate. But Mola can inform him that the examination must have been recorded by a pict-stealer and vox-recorder. Zarkov’s fresh search finds it easily.]
The Acolytes confirm the danger and Grimm’s sanity reels
The four of us rendezvous at our quarters. I have confirmed they are clear with the Auspex, and Zarkov plays the contents of what he has found back to us.
Vaarak and Voss indulge in an autoseance on the corpse, trigger a ward spell placed there by Drashkon or the Magos, and suffer the consequences as a Daemon bursts out, cuts Vaarak horribly and hurls Voss to one side: then the recording goes blank.
Mola Zarkov and Jahr are OK but Grimm [even on reroll] fails and picks up 5 insanity and a few corruption.
For reasons best known to the railroad gang, Voss reasserts himself
One of the few ship’s petty officers taps on our hatch and summons us to Voss’ presence immediately.
Explicator Voss is cross. He now condescends to brief us on the facts we have already ascertained. As he delays us reiterating these facts, klaxons sound once more and an emergency message voxes, calling aid to the Enginarium.
The enginarium suffers severe damage and vital crew are lost
We race there, but too late of course. By the time we trace the source of explosions the reactor is powering down and three of the ships’ four engine seers are dead, horribly.
Amid leaking plasma conduits, Zarkov communes with the spirits of the Debitar and assures us we are in no danger.
[Apparently there is a ‘ship’s wright’ skill for knowing what’s wrong with a ship. None of us have ever seen it listed in skills. I’m not making this up. This is DH and par for the course.]
Voss demands that minions become monitors
A fresh hail across the ship’s vox frequencies has myself alone running back to the medicae quarters. The other three are slower and need to protect the Debitar’s vital essences.
Voss has assembled two sisters, including the senior, Sr. Leona; Bosch the captain; the chief chirurgeon; and the last engine seer.
Voss demands a survival plan. It is not my place to wonder why he has not simply summoned this up from his own resources, but my data slate is ever to hand.
[Mola ad-libs without asking for a roll. It seems safer because the alternative is probably being asked to roll on some unheard-of skill.]
Initially my plan is to evacuate and simply wait in void-suits, forcing the daemon to become visible as he clambers out over the hull in search of prey. Voss and Bosch deny this request.
I ask that all four sisters stand guard, and Sr. Leona is willing to agree that all four will guard this medicae chamber, which at least preserves the chirurgeon and Vaarak… and Voss. The remaining officers and crew, other than the engine seer, are to retreat to the bridge and guard themselves. I and the engine seer will advance to the enginarium where repairs can be begun and all four of us can defend the seer. Everyone is to remain on vox.
Cambyses makes a last and human farewell
The pair of us make it back to the other Acolytes without being ambushed by the daemon. The seer – we still don’t know his name – sets about his mystical affairs, and we stand watch.
A short while later, the air shimmers and the shade of Cambyses, though more human in appearance than when we saw him alive, appears to us.
“It is called Aranea, herald of the final change. Magi of House Drashkon implanted the spell in my body. Aranea is a master of guessing its prey’s plans. It is fast, agile, smart and favours ambush over stalking. Though it has strong Psyker weapons, it prefers the Warpfire blades. It is merciless: it will stop at nothing. When it strikes it will strike hard, then flee to regenerate any damage.
“All I ask is that once Aranea is defeated you commit my mortal flesh to the void” – Cambyses
That’s where the session ended. The ship is not as large as the Nostromo but on the other hand the daemon is probably going to be able to disappear at will. Stay tuned as we Acolytes blow our newly-acquired armaments in a fight for survival!
This was a very un-fun intro to an Alien-ripoff scenario. I have a nasty feeling Voss is just there to allow the GM to play an asshat. He is well protected by the Inquisition’s rep and the very real power of the Sororitas. Way to get player engagement, scenario writer!