Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Dark Heresy Sessions, Part Two

I've continued my Dark Heresy sessions, picking up right from where I left off.  I brought in two new characters who I think would be called in to deal with the particular threat being addressed.  I did an interlude session as suggested in the GME Variants book.  It was  good idea that produced some surprises.

Speaking of surprises, as I look over these sessions I noticed that game mechanics were not as widely used as in previous sessions.  It's more like fan fiction generated via GME than a game.  I'm not sure I like that.  But without a lot of combat or skill checks, I guess all RPGs become like this.  It's just when you are doing it solo, it becomes more of a writing exercise.  Still, I enjoyed discovering the story.  At this point, I don't know where the story will go.  So that's a step up from just writing.  This could go anywhere.  The session reports are after the jump, and include the interlude and the first two scenes of the next part of the story.

Interlude  Chaos Factor 5
Havelock accompanies Mallia's body back to Hive Sibellus after their failure to eliminate Cain.  On-board the transport, Havelock reports into Jezail with his results.
Does the downtime proceed as expected?  (50/50) 09 = Exceptional No!
Focus = PC Positive, Triumph of a Project

Expecting nothing but trouble for his failures, Jezail is unexpectedly quiet at the end of Havelock's report.  The shuttle pilot receives new instructions apparently on a private channel.  He nods and Havelock swallows hard.  Jezail ends her communication with Havelock by stating.  "I'm bringing you in for a debrief and interrogation.  That's all."
Havelock knows exposure to the warp would end up with his superiors wanting a review.  As the shuttle returns to Sibellus, it take a hard turn north.  The shuttle lands at the dark and austere towers of the Inquistoral Palace, the Tricorn.  

He is met by several guardsmen and many servitors to handle the shuttle.  He's taken inside, relieved of his weapons, placed in a room where he is served a glass of chilled amasec.  A servitor removes the box uncovered from Cain's lander.  After what feels like hours, Jezail appears.

In short, she applauds the work he has done.  In fact, given the nature of the threat he faced, Jezail considers Havelock a major success.  Nothing is mentioned about Mallia's death, other than she will be buried with honors and posthumously awarded the title of Acolyte.  In fact, the success is so great that Jezail has special news for Havelock.
"Lady Rathbone's resources are stretched thin at the moment," Jezail says.  "Demonic threats are best addressed by the Ordo Malleus.  Therefore, you will be transferred to that Ordos and given the honor of continuing the pursuit of this threat."

Havelock is stunned, having expected to be stripped of rank for his failure.  He fumbles words of thanks, which Jezail either ignores or doesn't hear.  She continues to tell him that Lady Rathbone agrees with this condition. 
Will Jezail still remain part of the team?  (Unlikely) Yes
Does Havelock receive any special rewards for his work (Unlikely) No

Jezail informs Havelock she will still remain in charge of the operation, though Havelock officially will report into an Ordo Malleus Inquistor.  Since there are only two in the Callixis sector, one will be assigned soon. After Cain is neutralized, Havelock will be under the full control of his new Ordos.  He is then dismissed to his interrogation session. 

Part Two: Chasing Demons
Havelock is assigned to Inquistor Felroth Gelt, though this is only "on paper" and no physical meeting is made.  Instead, he is assigned to an existing cell specially equipped for battling Chaos.  There are two others who he will work directly with in the field.  Jezail will continue to provide logistical support and coordinate with Inquisitor Gelt.

Battle Sister Flavia is on loan to the Inquisition from the Adeptus Sororitas.  She is the oldest member of the cell being in her early forties.  Dressed in her shield robes at their first meeting, she is a stern and imposing sight.  She is athletically built, in excellent shape, dark eyed and olive skinned.  The Battle Sisters symbol is tattooed as a beauty mark on her face.   She radiates a palpable aura of holy power.   Sister Flavia has few words for Havelock, only to note that he is still quite young.

Brother Kaltos, a Ministorium Cleric, is about the same age as Havelock: early twenties.  He is strong both in body and force of personality.  But he speak smoothly and convincingly of his skills with both autopistol and with people.  His role, he declares, is to be this team's interface with the rest of the world.  "In other words, let me do the talking when talking is required."

Is the secret of Cain's box revealed to the cell?  (50/50) No
Does the box contents have any bearing on the upcoming missions?  (Unlikely) No

Scene One  Chaos Factor 5, 10 = proceed with scene
Set up:  The newly assembled team is to continue pursuing Cain and purge him before he can reestablish himself or contact other cults.  Preliminary research suggests Cain is still on planet, but it is possible Cain is working with a wider group of off-planet cultists. In this scene, the group must pick up Cain's trail

Game Mechanics:  Kaltos will use Inquiry skills to investigate rumors and leads on Cain's network and activities.  Flavia will assist, lowering the test difficulty.  It still takes three weeks of dedicated research and effort to get a lead on Cain's likely whereabouts.
Additionally, Havelock takes Forbidden Knowledge (Daemonology) test to see if he can determine what the team is facing.  Unfortunately, Havelock's knowledge is limited to the shadowy legends of his home world of Dusk.  He does not recognize the specific nature of the demon possessing Cain.

What did Kaltos & Flavia learn from their investigation?   Trick/Opulence
It appears that Cain may have remade himself in another disguise.  Brother Kaltos, with his smooth talking and brooding Battle Sister at his side, managed to access Inquisition databases that hold pheromone scans of high profile individuals in the Calixis Sector.  After bargaining with the adept in charge of the database, they researched scans of new entries.  They found pheromone profiles that closely match Cain's known pattern.
Is it an exact match?  (V. Unlikely) No.  The patterns don't match, but the resemblance is uncanny.

With this information, Kaltos attempts to research the identity of the individual.  (Game mechanics: Easy Inquiry test).  He finds the identity of the person after several more hours of research. 
Is this person Noble/Upper Class? (Near Sure Thing?)Yes
What is the new identity? Bestow/Power  The name of the person suspected is Regis Serpentius.  He is a newly appointed "ambassador" for the Cestelle Alliance to Sector Governor Hax's administration.  This ambassadorial position is pivotal for the Cestelle Alliance's interfacing with the Adminstratum's  governance of the agri-worlds under the Alliance's control.

The team sees the sense in it now.  Cain worked with the Cestelle Alliance as the executive of an agri world import company.  This type of cover would work well for him.  But the greater question is what is Cain's true intentions with this position?  And is Regis Serpentius really Cain's cover or is he just an unfortunate coincidence?  The team must be sure before they act.
End Scene one

Scene Two  Chaos Factor 4, 7 = proceed with scene

Set up: The team's investigations have lead them to the newly appointed Cestelle Alliance ambassador, Regis Serpentis.  The team must now confirm that Regis is in fact, Cain's alias.  If it is, he must be destroyed.  This scene focuses on confirming that Regis is their target.

The team is currently quartered in the Tricorn, using the considerable resources available to them.  Jezail is pleased at the progress, and assures the team Inquisitor Gelt is equally pleased.  Due to the power of the Cestelle Alliance, care must be taken to ensure that Cain is acting on his own and there is not deeper treachery. Jezail will meet the team to discuss.

Does Jezail have further information?  Likely = 11 Critical Yes! AND Random Event, Focus = Ambiguous Event, Refuse/ Expectations.

Jezail has consulted further with Inquistor Gelt, and due to the nature of the threat he has called in other resources to speed the confirmation.

Is Regis Serpentis Cain's new cover?  (Near Sure Thing) = 8 Critical Yes!

Gathered within the dark and baroque rooms of the Tricorn, the team meets Jezail in a debriefing room.  Jezail has set up various holo pict screens and has laid out several data slates.  As the team files in she is busily pressing various colored runes on the slates.  As the team enters, she quickly taps out a code that makes a projected memo disappear from the screens.  They just barely made out the words "Mandatory" and "In good conscience unable...." within the document.  (Ambiguous event)  Jezail instructs the team to take their seats.

Kaltos is in high spirits, while Flavia has become surly with what she perceives as a lack of activity.  Havelock is his usual self, quiet and watchful.  Kaltos picks up a data slate and admires it, being a new model he has not yet seen.  Jezail focuses the team on her information.

She reveals that undoubtedly Regis is Cain's newly assumed identity.  "Regis appears within days of Cain's escape.  These pheromone profiles are not only uncanny matches for Cain, but even the name of Serpentis is suggestive of Slaanesh."

Flavia hisses at the mention of the Ruinous Power's name and Havelock cringes.  Brother Kaltos is unaffected.  "The Emperor protects.  Let us not fear."  Jezail continues, unfazed.  

Is Cain working as part of a greater conspiracy in the Cestelle Alliance?  (50/50) 25 = yes

"Given these obvious clues, it's as if Cain is inviting us to find him.  And he may be doing just that."  Jezail informs the team that Cain was able to find a new position within the Cestelle Alliance because there is something much greater afoot with other members of the noble house.  

Does Jezail know how far the conspiracy goes?  (Very Unlikely) 14 = yes!

What is the conspiracy? Activity/Home   Jezail reveals that a Slaanesh cult has taken hold among the higher ranking members of the Cestelle Alliance.  The base of the cult is on the Alliance's homeworld of Regulus.  Cain's frequent interactions with these cultists as part of his job in AgriCorp led him to his fall.  "Now Cain has become a particularly worrisome daemonhost, and must be purged without fail.  He is bringing the influence of this cult into Scintilla.  It must be cut at the root, meaning the matter of Regulus must be dealt with in time.  But first, we must take Cain's bait and exterminate him before he regains any power.  In fact, he was only just beginning his work when the Inquisition intercepted him.  Given any more time, his threat will multiply."
Flavia is mollified by this news.  "Then we will purge the demon where we find him.  No more sneaking around."

Jezail smiles and nods.  "We have need of your cleansing fire, Honored Sister.  Inquisitor Gelt has made the necessary arrangements to take immediate action.  Emperor preserve!"
End Scene Two


  1. Very cool. Can't wait to read the next scene. I really need to look into this system...

  2. Thanks! Dark Heresy is a very cool game, and doubly so if you are a Warhammer 40,000 fan. Of course, that is not necessary to enjoy the game. I'm eager to try out Deathwatch and Rouge Trader as well. This month should also bring Black Crusade, which will let us play as the bad guys!

  3. Regarding your opening comments, I noticed that with my GME solo games as well. To flip the coin, isn't any gaming session just fan fic for that story universe? It's just more obvious with solo games because you have a written record instead of a half remembered improv session. I'd say don't sweat it, you spin a good yarn. Hopefully you're enjoying the story as it unfolds as much as we are.

  4. Zircher, Thanks for the encouragement and I agree with you. I am enjoying the story and have been quite surprised I've come this far with the simple premise of "assassinate this man and then prove his heresy."

    I've got so many other ideas that I'm itching to get to. But there's really only so much time to play games.