Saturday, October 2, 2010

Post 250: Deathwatch RPG Campaign Journal 1- Final Sanction


We've made it to 250 posts! I admit my post count has dropped dramatically since putting away all my gaming materials, but I recently built a new workstation so I can at least get my paints out of the attic!

Deathwatch: the 40k RPG is the new craze. Jumping in on the bandwagon, my wife and I had a go at it. To my surprise, she actually enjoys this one (not so much with Dark Heresy and Rogue Trader)!

For the enjoyment of all, I turned our "group's" session into a book format for storytelling purposes. Please enjoy the storybook version of our campaign journal! Please forgive any mistakes in the fluffy parts, as I am not quite as up-to-speed as I used to be.

-Matt



2 Hours before:

"Give me a data report," ordered Captain Galrite Haltreme, commander of the Sword-class frigate Valiant. A brawny man, he sported a closely-trimmed goatee that revealed his age by showing quite a bit of silver hairs. He wrung his hands on the bridge's railing anxiously.


"Sir, we just entered the Avalos system," said a helmsman. "Scans show nothing but dust and silence, Cap'n." The helmsman fidgeted nervously before adding, "I can't even find sign of normal system traffic."


"Aye, Ensign. I sense something is afoot. Make best speed for Avalos, but do so cautiously. Keep the sensors active."

"Aye aye, sir. Making for Avalos."

***

Brother Octavius was putting the finishing touches on an Oath of the Moment, writing the vows in sweeping calligraphy on a roll of parchment. It was not easy to do in the armored gauntlets of his armor, but he was used to it. He had written many before. He recited the last words of the Oath silently to himself, mouthing the words:

"...and Protect thy Battle Brother,
For we are cut of different thread,
Hailing from a chapter of another,
But we are of the same kindred."

With that, he affixed the parchment to his left shoulder with hot wax, displaying it for all to see. He stepped away from the pedestal, and Brother Skold stepped up to the platform to write his own. Octavius tried not to sneer when he saw the sloppy penmanship of the Space Wolf, messily scrawling an Oath on an identical parchment to the one the Ultramarine had just affixed to his armor.

"I didn't know Space Wolves took Oaths of Moment, Brother Skold?" Octavius inquired, genuinely surprised to see the unshaven warrior mouthing words to a familiar Oath.

"Aye, Son of Guilliman, we take oaths much like you do," the gregarious wolf said, smiling slightly. "Though we be nought but barbarians in your eyes, our roots stretch back as far! We were there during the Great Crusades too, ye know..." There was no malice in Skold's voice and a twinkle in his ice-blue eyes, and Octavius was again surprised by the dark-haired Son of Russ.

"I meant no offense, Brother Skold," Octavius began to say, but Skold put up a halting hand and clapped Octavius on the shoulder before saying, "Make no worry of it, Brother. I just prefer to save my fury for the battlefield. It is wasted amongst Astartes." With that, the Space Wolf turned and moved to his storage unit and began to service his Boltgun, leaving Octavius to his thoughts.

Brother Skold would take some getting used to.

After Brother Skold stepped away from the pedestal, the massive Brother Sepheran moved up and began writing on his own roll of parchment. A Blood Angel, the massive Astartes was uncannily artistic with the calligraphy pen, capturing the attention of Brother Octavius. Though Octavius' penmanship was of textbook quality, the Blood Angel marine made the Ultramarine's Oath look like a child's writing. The Son of Sanguinius embellished the Oath with small but intricate illustrations as he wrote and appeared to exert little effort in the miniature masterpieces he sketched alongside the words. Octavius had heard of the legendary artistry of the Blood Angels, but to see one in action was a special treat. He stood enraptured by the large Astartes for a moment before moving off to prepare his gear.

As they attended to their equipment and finished donning their armor in the Armory, Octavius mentally reviewed the information they had been provided for the mission:

Avalos was primarily an agricultural world designated to provide food for many planets across the sub-sector. Not long ago, a drifting space hulk appeared on the edge of the system. Known habitations to genestealer infestations, the hulk presented a unique threat to the system. Then the disappearances began to happen in the major urban centers on the planet. Immediately a request was sent out for the Inquisition to do an investigation, and since it was suspected to be a genestealer infestation, the Ordos Xenos received the call.

Inquisitor Kalistradi had been dispatched to the planet nearly six months ago now. After spending a few months of secret investigation, she uncovered signs that warranted a Deathwatch response. The exact details were unknown, but she suspected that the main urban center of Lordsholm was infiltrated by the genestealer breed. After receiving her encoded Astropathic message, the Watch-Captain had immediately ordered Octavius and his newly-formed Kill-Team to make utmost speed to Avalos.

This was a serious problem. Octavius had heard rumors and speculation, mainly from the Tyrannic War veterans in his own chapter, about the correlation between a genestealer infestation and imminent Tyranid invasion. It was suspected that genestealers would find a suitable planet, and then call nearby Tyranid fleets to them somehow. If the genestealers were on Avalos, they would need to be dealt with quickly.

When they were all properly prepared, the three Astartes made their way to the bridge of the Valiant. The crew stared at them in awe when they passed, obviously unused to seeing not only one but three of the legendary warriors. When the trio reached the bridge the Captain quickly moved to address them.
"My lords, we attempted to raise Avalos on the Vox-caster naught but a few minutes ago, but received no response. Things may be worse on the surface than we initially thought."

Octavius glanced at his companions. Skold shrugged, and the calculating Sepheran looked as if he had expected as much.

"Captain Haltreme, do you know where the Inquisitor Kalistradi was last located on-planet?" he inquired.

The captain strode to a display screen and pulled up a recent surface scan of the planet before replying, "Not precisely, my lord, but we have her general whereabouts. It seems that she was somewhere in the main urban center of Lordsholm last we know of. I'd look there first before..." he trailed off as a helmsman shouted in alarm.

"Captain! Sensor contacts, bearing on us fast! They read oddly, I think they are organic!"

"Where did they come from?" Haltreme bellowed, striding to the main view screen. The helmsmen tapped some controls and peered into his terminal, before finally stating "I think they came from behind Avalos' Moon, Cap'n. Estimate time to contact as... five minutes or less. They appear to be gaining speed! At least frigate size!"

"Bring up a visual!" The Captain snapped. The helmsman complied, displaying a number of void-born creatures that looked like sea monsters of myth.

"Emperor's blood! Look at the size of those... TEETH!" Captain Haltreme exclaimed, the color draining from his face.

"Captain," Octavius began, placing a reassuring hand on the Captain's shoulder, "We need to get to the surface now. Is a Drop Pod prepped for launch?"
The massive hand broke the Captain's shock. He tore his eyes away from the viewscreen, that was rapidly filling with the terrifying images of the bio-terrors.

"Yes, my lord. I had one prepped after we received no word from the planet... but you had better make haste to the launch bay! I'll try to hold them off long enough for the drop..." The captain trailed off, but a calm resolve began to show in his demeanor. He straightened upright, and turned to his crew and began barking orders.

"Let us go, Brothers," Octavius beckoned, and the Astartes turned and pounded off the bridge, running to reach the launch bay.
"May the Emperor protect you!" the captain shouted at their diminishing forms.



Alarm klaxons began to sound, and the ship began to shudder as it discharged weapons fire from its main batteries. The Astartes shouldered crewman out of the way in the narrow confines of the vessel's corridors as they hastened to their waiting Drop Pod.

In the Launch Bay, technicians were finishing their pre-launch checklists as the trio vaulted the loading ramp. Sepheran was last, lugging the huge bulk of his Heavy Bolter. Stowing their weapons, the three Kill-team members sealed their helmets and buckled into the pod, and the technicians sealed up the doors from the outside.

Octavius switched his vox channel to the Valiant's frequency and informed the Captain they were ready for launch. The trio braced themselves as the countdown commenced.

With a loud rumbling, the pod's engine system engaged, sending them screaming towards the planet's surface below. Captain Haltreme began to scream over the vox as the Tyranid Kraken closed its jaws around the ship, tearing the vessel asunder. His screams echoed in their micro-beads as the deafening rumbling jarred all semblance of sense from them while the pod descended on a pillar of heat and flame.

***

Octavius staggered from the Drop Pod, his enhanced physique the sole reason he survived the trip. His armor was dented, but had suffered no major damage to its vital systems. He pulled his bolter free and peered around in the gloom to locate his teammates. His helmet's autosenses quickly detected the armored form of Sepheran, hoisting his support weapon out of the wreckage.

Brother Skold clapped an armored hand onto Octavius' back as he climbed out of the wreckage himself. Pulling his helmet off, he looked up through the hole in the roof with his enhanced vision. It appeared that they were in an Imperial Chapel. The wreckage of pews and altars littered the wreckage around the smoldering Drop Pod. Water poured from the obliterated remains of the roof, dripping onto their armored forms, as a storm raged in the night.

"Listen..." Brother Skold said. They all listened, and the crackle of gunfire and the rumble of explosions could be heard over the rain.

"Sounds like a battle, but who are the combatants?" Brother Sepheran questioned, raising an eyebrow quizzically.

"Perhaps the infestation is at a stage more advanced than we had predicted," Octavius stated, before navigating through the wreckage and debris towards the chapel's massive doors. The rest of the team fell in behind him, no order needed.

Outside the chapel, a frightened contingent of PDF troopers cowered behind makeshift barricades built from the masonry of the building, burnt out vehicles, and other detritus. They formed a makeshift battleline around the chapel. Beyond the line, a killing ground extended a couple dozen meters, before ending at another line of makshift barriers. Beyond these piles of rubble, a howling mass of humanity seethed. Furious citizens, armed with whatever weapons they could scrounge, scurried in a murderous rage. Shouting obscenities and vulgarities, they would periodically mount an assault on the PDF lines across the killing fields.

Brother Octavius saw an opportunity to instill courage into the frightened PDF troopers. Slapping a fresh magazine into his bolter and readying the mechanism with a loud crack, he strode up behind the demoralized conscripts.

"Do not be fearful, loyal warriors. The Deathwatch has come to aid you!" he bellowed through his helmet's loudspeakers, startling several troopers nearby.

Either too far gone, or perhaps shocked even more greatly by the sudden appearance of a legendary Astartes, the troopers cowered even lower, as if they were trying to disappear into the mud. Fury at their cowardice bubbled up in Octavius, and both he and Brother Skold jumped forward as a group of rebellious citizens began a new assault. Sepheran cut to the side behind them, dashing for a position where his fire support weapon would have a wide field of fire.

Rushing citizens fired simple projectile weapons as they charged, and the rounds bounced harmlessly off the Astartes armor as they met the charge. Planting their feet, both Octavius and Skold flipped their fire selectors to "Full-Auto" and raked the oncoming crowd with explosive projectiles. The rain turned red as the bolt shells ripped through the front ranks of the oncoming horde.

Sepheran braced himself, setting up his heavy bolter on a prefabricated barricade. A scared PDF conscript scrambled to make room for the massive Blood Angel. Sepheran shot him a disdainful look that was obscured by his armor's helmet before cutting loose a roaring fusillade of bolt shells on the remaining survivors of the charge. Amputated limbs and ruined bodies were all that remained when the red mist cleared, and rivulets of blood joined the rainwater in the mud.

Skold let out an approving laugh at the carnage, and cycled another magazine into his bolter.

A second wave was approaching. Octavius and Skold readied themselves, but before they opened fire on the fresh wave, the mass of rebels parted to reveal a solitary figure.

Around seven feet tall and rippling with muscle, the leader of the assault was an exceptional specimen... for a human. He revved a chainsword and stepped forward, staring down the Ultramarine leader of the killteam while the rebel horde jeered their encouragement.

"At least one of them has honor..." Octavius mentioned, stowing his bolter and pulling out his razor-sharp combat knife. Easily the size of a short sword to a non-Astartes, he hoped the formidable blade would be a match for the chainsword the rebel leader wielded.

The two combatants strode towards each other, as the agitated horde looked on with enthusiasm. Skold stowed his bolter as well, wiping water from his face with a smirk. Hopefully the Son of Guilliman wouldn't foul this one up.

Octavius stood in a ready stance, and beckoned the rebel with a single hand gesture. Infuriated, the rebel leader let out a growl and charged, the whirring blades of the chainsword flinging rainwater from the blade. Octavius easily parried the sloppy swing, knocking away the chainsword with a flick of his blade. He countered with a quick jab of the knife, but the rebel was astonishly quick, twisting away nimbly from the strike. The rebel's second swing was more successful, biting into the think shoulder armor on Octavius' right side. Shreds of wet parchment from his Oath of Moment fell to the mud as he again knocked the blade away.

"Enough playing," Brother Skold scoffed, leaping into the fray. Pushing back the Ultramarine, the Son of Russ buried the point of his own combat knife up to the hilt in the chest of the startled rebel. With a blood-choked hiss, the muscular rebel slid to the ground at the feet of the Space Wolf warrior. Octavius shot the Space Wolf an annoyed look that was only just barely concealed by his helmet.

Sepheran broke the stunned silence with a thunderous barrage from his weapon, sending the rebels scattering. The PDF then regained their nerve, firing their las-weapons at the retreating forms of the rebels. As the rebels faded away into the night, their will broken, a PDF infantry Captain approached the trio. Octavius decided to suppress his annoyance as the Captain addressed them.

"Lords, my name is Captain Ascote. Please follow me to the chapel where we may converse privately." With that, he abruptly turned and marched up the chapel steps, expecting the trio to follow.

"A bit insolent, isn't he?" Skold commented.

"I suppose you would know about that, wouldn't you, Son of Russ?" Octavius couldn't help but quip while ascending the stairs after the captain.

The Captain led them inside the chapel and shut the doors behind them. Once out of sight of the rest of the troopers, a ripple ran down the length of his body. His form distorted and shimmered, taking the form of a lithe female, clearly a member of the Callidus Assassin Temple. Both Octavius and Sepheran were lucky in that their helmets hid their shock, but Skold merely raised an eyebrow and said, "I thought he smelled a bit unusual..."

"My lords, blessed be the Emperor you are not too late, it seems my mistress's faith in the Deathwatch was well placed," the assassin began, "Would that she were here to greet you herself, but I fear the xenos have her somewhere in the city, and for several days I have wore the guise of a PDF commander simply to hold these men together so that there might be a place for you to land. My name is Syndalla, at least that is what Kalistradi called me, other than this I will not waste words with pleasantries or formalities, for this city is about to fall..."


END PART 1

1 comment:

  1. Nice! Sounds like you have a good group there.

    ReplyDelete

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