00-00 Disaster Strikes the Hymn

Image Credit: Page 187 Core Rule Book
PF: 50
DATE: 255.815 M41
LOCATION: Uncatalogued System: WAV-314
OBJECTIVE: Survey the system and report back
REASON: Tasked by the Imperial Navy
PC’s: Anna, Hob, Janus, Thurman, Lazarus
SYNOPSIS: Ambushed by 5 ork vessels. Killed two before fleeing. Ship crippled by a Xenos ‘Plasma Scythe’ mine. Lost half the crew to the warp.

The session begins in the middle of a starship combat with The Emperor’s Hymn shuddering under the heavy gunz of Big Toof, an Ork Savage Gunship. Meanwhile, the smaller Brute Ram Ship Hull Kraka was closing the distance, while three additional Ork vessels emerge from a distant asteroid field to join the fray. While fighting one or two smaller Ork ships is feasible, facing five Ork vessels is cause for retreat.

Octavius Shilwulf gives the order to translate into the Warp, so the ship slows to a crawl. As the armored Warp shutters are in the process of closing, a particularly lucky Ork shot knocks out the Geller Field. Belay translate!

GM Note:

How did we get to this point? The Shilwulf Dynasty’s Warrant of Trade has some stipulations attached to it allowing the Imperial Navy to give the Dynasty minor tasks and call on them for defending systems. The Hymn was tasked with exploring this remote system in the Calixis Sector because, for some reason, the Administratum no longer has a record of its contents.

Upon arriving in the system, the Hymn’s augurs detect several asteroid fields on the outer edges of the system. Although there are no planets, there is a massive minefield surrounding the pale blue star which extends to a radius of a normal planet’s orbit. The explorers decided to investigate the asteroids first and, while surveying, came under fire from an Ork ambush. Back to the present…

The Brute Ram ship Hull Kraka charges toward the Hymn . Instead of running, the explorers turn to face it head on, bringing the Hymn’s lance to bear. The Sunsear Laser Batteries and Titanforge Lance unleash their fury into the armored prow of the smaller ship and the weapons inflict a massive amount of damage. The explorers score a total of 3 crits in just one volley of fire that knocks out out the Kraka’s thrusters, sensors, and sets it on fire. The flaming hulk passes harmlessly by the Hymn, blindly shooting its guns.

This maneuver accelerates the Hymn past the Big Toof and its arc of fire, but also brings the Hymn closer to the ork reinforcements (now identified as Grok, Shootier, and More Shootier Ha Ha).

With no other option, the Captain orders the Hymn into the Xenos minefield in the hopes of giving Enginseer Ethan Libram more time to reawaken the machine spirit of the Geller field. The Big Toof comes about to give chase while as the Hymn approaches the minefield it receives a transmission from an automated beacon:

++ Warning. A xenos mine field has been determined to exist within 12,700 void units of this system's star. They are of an unfamiliar design and have been designated as Plasma Scythe mines. You are ordered to turn away. ++

- Ordo Xenos

Ignoring the beacon’s warning, the explorers charge in and the Orks follow. At first, the mines yield a path, but then move into a spherical formation around the ship. One of the mines breaks formation but fails to ignite, smashing into one of the main Sunsear Turrets but doing little else.

The orks aren’t so lucky. The mine headed for the Big Toof blazes to life with brilliant plasma and punches a hole through the length of their ship. Orks, supplies, and precious atmosphere vomit out both the entry and exit holes as the ship becomes inert and rapidly begins to cool.

The Engineseers make contact that they are ready. The Hymn attempts to close its Warp shutters once again, but it proves to be too late. Another mine activates and starts flickering on and off as it closes toward the Shilwulf vessel. This time, the plasma fires ignite before impact. The mine cuts a huge gouge along the top side of the ship, narrowly missing the dorsal spine.

The mine extinguishes before completing its slice, skipping out of the newly cut channel and ricocheting off the bridge. Thousands of crewmen are sucked into the Void, but the Geller Field is still functioning… So those same crewmen suffer an even worse fate than explosive decompression – they are sucked into the Warp itself.

Lazarus watches the horrible scene unfold and steers the Hymn away. He tries to block the memories, but is certain he will suffer occasional nightmares about it. A few days pass as he navigates the ship a safe distance through the Immaterium, the ship emerges into real space where damage control teams start surveying the damage.

Being in the Deep Void outside the bounds of any system is a bad omen, but having your ship disintegrate while in the Warp would be a worse one. The explorers dine with Octavius Shilwulf in the Captain’s Mess with the intention of helping assess the damage and decide how best to proceed.

GM Note:

This was a get to know everyone/introduction scene. Most of the crew served together for a while, so this was more of an introduction of the characters to the other players. I gave the players a chance to be creative by asking them to narrate some of the interesting things found in the room.

  • A lightning claw from the Chaos Admiral of the ship Octavius rammed.
  • A complete set of stained glass panels depicting the four founding sisters of the Adeptus Sororitas
  • A huge ork skull serving as the mounting of a projector for a holo-pict of the captain shaking hands with Commisar Yarrick
  • A smooth stone with three distinct sets of xenos runes inscribed on it.
  • Cutlets of a creature from a deathworld that Hob was devouring.

Damage Report:

Hull Rupture – along the starboard(right) side of the dorsal spine(top). (Forge World) – Some survivors may be present in these sealed off rooms. If there were any windows looking out into the Warp, they might be insane or mutated monstrosities. They’ve also spent several days without food.

Sunseer Laser Turrets – One turret is smashed and the main crewed areas are depressurized. If the explorers can manage to crew these turrets, they would be unable to fire to starboard because of the hull rupture. (Forge World)

Warpsbane Hull – With the huge gash cut into the top of the hull, the hexagramic wards are definitely going to need replacing. (Shrine World)

Many rooms and sections are inaccessible except through a trip into the void. An unknown number of crewmen are trapped within these cutoff sections. Some may have been lucky enough to be on the right side of the emergency bulkheads when they slammed shut.

Starboard, Dorsal Rail Line is destroyed and exposed to vacuum.

Many more minor systems, rooms, etc, are damaged. They are slowly being prioritized and repaired by the available Cult of Mechanicus members. Luckily, this portion of the crew didn’t suffer significant losses.

Now that the Hymn is back in real space, the explorers can use the Teleportarium if desired. If they choose to attempt to rescue crew members with this device, party members will need to be present to deal with any chaos tainted survivors that might be teleported in. Definitely the Missionary (Annatolla Marastraza) and optionally anyone else who wants to come. Damaging the Teleportarium with stray weapons fire or heavy weapon splash damage would be bad and probably unrepairable, so this isn’t necessarily a good idea.

Crew & Morale – Page 224

Crew (50):
Increase all travel times by 1d5 days.
All Tests involving Boarding Actions, Fighting Fires, and Making Emergency Repairs suffer a -5 penalty
Ship suffers a -5 to Maneuverability

Morale (45):
All Command Tests suffer a -5
All Ballistics Tests suffer a -5
All Command Tests suffer an additional -10 (-15 total)

If the morale drops to 40, the captain makes a command test. If he fails, you have to put down a mutiny. He also had to make one at 70 and passed.

Present Location:
Deep Void – Southern parts of the Drusus Marches subsector of the Calixis Sector

Nearest known Star System:
Tanstar 88 – Frontier world with a Navy Depot
http://wh40k.lexicanum.com/mediawiki/images/d/dc/Calixis-map.jpg (red dot, south west)
Tanstar 88 – also has a stable warp route to Tranch (hive world) which is near Omnicron 71-DX, a Forge World that your dynasty has dealings with.

The explorers must decide between cleaning out the corruption manually (and rescuing potential survivors) or just voiding the cut off sections (and losing potential survivors and a little more morale). Since the crew’s morale is already so low, they decide to attempt rescue operations.

Immediate plans:

  1. Find where survivors might be using: small craft, skull servitors, and possibly astropaths.
  2. Use the teleportarium to teleport into chambers and purge it of the taint of Chaos, then teleport yourself and any survivors back. (And if it doesn’t make sense for your character to go, feel free to take control of an NPC you guys bring with the party during the combat. Or you can just sit that battle out.)

Get the ship repaired plans:

  1. Clear the ship of mutants and the insane
  2. Affect emergency repairs so the ship doesn’t come apart during transit
  3. Warp over to Tanstar 88 (Frontier world with a navy base)
  4. The under-developed “normal” world can also be used for increasing morale
  5. Do whatever minor refits and resupplies we can at Tanstar 88
  6. Warp up to Tranch through the stable warp route and then head to Omnicron 71-DX to get the hull and turrets repaired
  7. Head to The Palm of Anais (Shrine World) to have the Hexagramic Wards on the new hull replaced and get a Shrine to the Emperor installed
  8. Re-crew the ship somewhere (Several choices) Could achieve this in one stop at a Hive world, other places may take a little longer
  9. Reevaluate what to do next, but likely will head to Omnicron 71-DX

Post Mortem:

The purpose of this session was to expose the players to the rules but, more importantly, to expose them to the flavor of the 40k universe. Before playing this session, most of my players were ignorant of the setting, so things like space orks, machine spirits, the Warp, strange Xenos technology, were completely new to them.

I also wanted to cripple the Hymn for a couple of reasons. First, I wanted to keep the players in one spot while they got used to the 40k universe and wrapped their mind around the scale of Rogue Trader. Second, I thought if they worked at repairing the Hymn for a few sessions they would become more attached to it.

Overall, the session went very well and it seemed like everyone had lots of fun. At this point, the game was a play-by-post on Google Wave (I sure do miss Wave) that took about a month to complete (which is pretty good for Play by Post).

Next Session: 00-01 Look What the Warp Dragged In

00-00 Disaster Strikes the Hymn

The Shilwulf Dynasty Eck Eck