Saturday, 24 April 2010
Rogue Trader Session 10: Death Space Doom
Aphesius Alesaunder, zealous yet charming missionary of the Imperial Cult. (Manoj A)
Mordecai the Cautious, newly-promoted weapons monkey. (David)
Maximillius XVIII, tough-as-nails technician from a death world. (Ben F)
Octavius Sol, seneschal and quartermaster. (An NPC this week, as Stuart F was off trying to solve the Greek debt crisis)
Triptych, mutant navigator and his harem. (Ric R)
Last time, the crew of the Banshee had investigated a strange complex hidden beneath the surface of the rocky methane-rich world of Zeesol Sextus. Finding all manner of weird gribbly stuff down in the tombs, for tombs they seemed to be, the team decided to touch nothing, and return to the ship to plan their next move. Having slept on it, they returned the next morning to continue their investigations.
Triptych's affinity for the Warp, a result of centuries of selective breeding, led to him discovering that the entire complex was shifting and changing at a level beyond normal human perception; reality itself seemed fluid, which explained why they had often found themselves going around in circles the previous day. With a firmer grasp of how to get around the place, the team set about recording and collecting the contents of the tombs. They tested the strange portal a few more times, and considered the potential danger in sending a volunteer through, before deciding on the safer option of sealing a camera inside a spare void suit helmet, and sending that through instead. The helmet returned, encrusted in a thick frost, but otherwise unharmed, and the team sat down to watch the resulting film, a sanity-shaking experience that reminded Triptych of looking into the Warp itself.
Moving on, the team decided to try to claim the strange alien spear they'd discovered and, fearing that the skeleton through which the spear was thrust would jump up and attack them (as if!), they first turned their flamers on the room, immolating everything except the spear itself, which remained not only unharmed, but also at the exact same temperature at which it had been before the flame-happy priest decided to "purify" the chamber. The spear was lodged deep in the ground, and the whole team pitched in to tug it free, before handing it to Triptych. Wielding the spear made him feel fast, agile and powerful, but lacking skill with such weaponry, he passed it to Sol, who took it without comment.
Heading to the wraithbone room, they took a small sample, and returned to the Banshee. There, the wraithbone seemed to have a strange effect on their astropath, Ezekiel, driving him into a paranoid rage in which he threatened them a number of times and more or less turned into a bearded, paraplegic Gollum. Now, Ezekiel is not the friendliest of folks at the best of times, but this was enough to spook them, and the team returned to Zeesol Sextus and put the wraithbone sample straight back where it came from. Dissatisfied with what they had discovered thus far, and convinced that there was something else hidden in the star system, they decided to split up.
Aphesius, Mordecai and Maximillius stayed behind on the planet with a work crew, intent on scavenging the strange alien metal they found throughout the tomb complex, while Triptych took the Banshee on a mission to scout the other worlds in the system. Sol went along without comment.
The scanning mission turned up nothing of interest, but the workers on the planet were quite industrious, pulling down the massive alien structures, clearing the wraithbone from their hollow cores, and getting the metal frames ready for transport. They also ran into something in the tombs, something fast and stealthy. Then a couple of soldiers went missing. Now very spooked indeed, all personnel were pulled out of the underground chambers, and explosives were set off, collapsing the entrance under tonnes of rubble.
Which is when a psychic scream erupted from within the planet, causing headaches and nosebleeds among the crew at the site.
Ten minutes later, the scream hit the Banshee, with similar effects.
It took three days for the ship to return to Zeesol Sextus, by which time the crew camped out on the surface were jumping at every shadow, and were convinced that something was moving about underground. On their return to the ship, it was discovered that something was moving about in one of the storage bays, the one in which they were keeping the alien skeleton they'd found on a previous occasion. Sure enough, upon opening the bay, out came a shambolic monstrosity, a shapeless pile of bones with apparent murderous intent, but after a round of fast shooting, and a bizarre mêlée charge from Sol and his new alien spear, the creature fell back into its component pieces.
(What happened here was that I pulled a fast one on the players, and put them through James Raggi's excellent scenario Death Frost Doom, which is technically for D&D, but has too many good ideas for me to ignore. Now, I did modify it quite a bit, and there's as much of Hamilton's The Reality Dysfunction and Russo's Ship of Fools in there as there is the original adventure, but there's enough that I should give credit where it is due.)
Their Rogue Trader called for a meeting to discuss recent events, while Maximillius busied himself with turning the alien metal into armour plating for their Rhino APC, as well as suits of light but strong armour for the group. It was decided that they would get in contact with Jameson's Hollow before they chose their next move, and their astropath received an ominous message from the void station, claiming that the dead had risen, and that urgent assistance was required.