Thursday, 17 November 2011

Rogue Trader One-on-One: Part Three: Trade Harder

So, we left our PC with a dilemma on her hands - an amnesiac mutineer. Her first instinct was to think of that little fluctuation in the Gellar field they experienced a few days before, and called for any available psykers (she got the Chief Astropath, Blind Mag, who happened to be passing by).

Mag saw that there had been some... presence within the crewman, not too long ago, though it had fled when confronted by the Captain. working with Allesaunder, they worked to track it down, to no avail. The crewman was taken by the Ecclesiarchy contingent on board, for "ritual exorcism and purification", most like at the end of a Flame Pistol.

Shaken by this turn of events (the Captain had had some small dealings with Creatures of the Warp in her past, and knew the trouble they could cause), Claudia set up squads of crewmen (consisting of a Psyker, a Priest, Chaplain or other Ecclesiarchial member, and a squad of armed guards, in case the Psyker got possessed or otherwise incapacitated) to scour the ship, hunting for any trace of the thing before they made planetfall. Sadly, this was not to be - they arrived at their destination, and all the Psykers could come up with were false leads and contradicting trails.

As they exited the Warp, the first thing they saw was a recently-hulked trade ship - fires still flaring from rapidly depressurising compartments. The Lord-Captain ordered as many of those on board saved as could be managed (around 100 extra souls), and scanners showed another ship in distress - this time, an Imperial Cruiser, bristling with weaponry and gauche ornamentation. It was seemingly under attack, but the ship's auspex couldn't pick up from what.

As seen from the ship, the world was an overgrown jungle - it might take months to search it fully. A nifty bit of work from Allesaunder narrowed their search area down to around a square mile - and apparently, they weren't the only ones who got that kind of estimate.

As they landed, the sensors reported activity elsewhere - a small army (around 300, with plenty of vehicles and footsloggers) about half an hour away and closing, a much smaller group (50 or so) just entering their square mile, and another group a fair bit away.

Visual confirmation showed a collection of spires within the overgrown jungle - many metres in height, and composed of a pure, pearly white substance. The Lord-Captain, having quite a few of her mother's Eldar relics in stasis on board the ship, believed the towers to be Wraithbone. Of the three spires, one stood fully, while the other two were ruined and battle-scarred. Some tiny psychic ping told Claudia the one still standing was the ticket. As they arrived (in their Land Raider, the team comprising of the Lord-Captain, Jayne, Mag the Astorpath, a Tech-Priest, and a small contingent of armed guards, followed by several squads of armsmen in buggies), they were informed that the smaller group was closing to one of the other towers, with surprising speed. One of the guards (Argun Corbec, a PC who dropped in for the session, and maybe a few more later) suggested taking his band (ten men, all in an attack buggy) to intercept. With the Lord-Captain's approval, they shot off into the forest to secure an ambush.

Corbec and his men found a well-hidden spot, directly in front of the group. At their head, the familiar crimson power armour of Captain Krawkin, leading his 50 men (each lightly armoured and heavily armed - lascannons, heavy stubbers, the works). They were making slow progress now they had hit some dense foliage - apparently, Krawkin hadn't expected heavy stubbers to be so restricting.

With a sniper in the trees, each man with a lasgun, and a heavy lascannon all set (along with a few explosive charges), even the 50 men didn't stand a chance. The ambush, combined with the charges, took out nearly half the men in one fell swoop - only a reflector shield managed to save Krawkin from being shot in the head (it's what he gets for not wearing a helmet...) by the treeline sniper. A second barrage reduced them to 10, plus Krawkin himself - though he also suffered the loss of his hand after being felled by a direct lascannon strike. After they turned tail and ran, without letting off a shot, the Black dynasty guards collected the spoils of war (a few of Krawkin's fingers, still encased in armour, and as many heavy weapons as they could) and returned to find the Captain sprinting out.

While this had been going on, the Lord Captain had made her way into the structure, and found an old Eldar engraving - dotted with incredibly durable stones, surrounded by runes, which caused her an odd "static-y" feeling when she looked at it. Blind Mag fiddled around with the stones and runes for a few minutes, until some byzantine condition had been met, and the device activate. With a crackle of soulfire and an eerie glow, the central section rose up as a pillar - with a small stone inside. Shining with its own light, the blue stone called out to the Captain, and she knew that this was her objective. Grabbing it (and almost blacking out from the sensory overload), she decided to leave a marker of her success for her rivals, in indelible marker-spray, on the walls of the ancient structure.

Trust a Trader of the Black Dynasty to inscribe "EAT PUSSY" in 5-foot letters on an ancient Xeno artifact.


As they left, the larger force came into view - a veritable horde of heavily armoured vehicles (Land Raiders, a few tanks, and a few Landspeeders too), with a recognisable figure atop the leading vehicle - one of the well-presented Kroot, a retainer of Madame Charlabelle, surveying the landscape with a pair of magnoculars. With a swift vulgar gesture, the Lord Captain and her retinue were swept from the planet's surface by the ship's Teleportarium, and commanded the ship dropped into the Empyrean as soon as they were on board.

Another session with Allesaunder gave up more information - a vision, more like a memory, stored within the stone. A memory of walking on beaches that glittered with the light of a thousand types of precious stone, seeing great mountains and beautiful plants, a feeling of great reverence and peace... but also foreboding, dread, some powerful force, new, yet ancient, waiting under those mountains... and of a stone tablet, much like the one the stone was retrieved from - an ancient Eldar starmap. As she watched it, the feeling of foreboding grew, until, with a great crack, it was split into three, and cast far and wide into the Warp...

As she returned to reality, the Lord Captain knew what had to be done - the Witches received a masked signal, and the true location of the Pearl rested within that star map. If the Eldar were so afraid, why hadn't they destroyed it? She wouldn't know for some time, but she set Allesaunder to find the pieces any way he could - but sadly, it would take a few days to piece together the residues and fight the Eldar's psychic static.

With her job done for the day, Claudia called dinner, to celebrate her retrieval of the stone and to commend the heroic actions of her new Guard Captain, Argun. As well as his promotion, he received Krawkin's power sword as a gift (the Lord-Captain far preferred her trusty chainsword, styled to resemble a rapier more than the standard pattern).

Stories were shared, especially those of Claudia's late mother (who claimed to have out-played an Eldar at mah-jong, and apparently once slept with a Space Marine of the Salamanders Chapter), drinks were had, and the celebrations seemed to go off without a hitch. Until Corbec returned to his barracks (refusing new quarters as part of his promotion, preferring to stay with his men), a few cheekily-appropriated bottles of wine in tow. After but a few sips, one of his men began looking a little ill, then zoned out from the conversation. Corbec, a paranoid man, called for one of the psyker squads and the Lord-Captain herself.

... and I'll leave this one hanging till next time!

So, our intrepid Captain's flatmate was about, and fancied trying the game out - he seemed to really enjoy it (he's pretty big on 40k literature and lore, which helps). The idea to split the real objective did come from the book, but really, I didn't like the way the rest of the adventure panned out. So, I'm now freeballing my way through the Expanse. Woohoo!

1 comment:

  1. Enjoying these write ups dude. Hope to see you soon,