00-01 Look What the Warp Dragged In

Image Credit: Page 3 Into the Storm
PF: 50
DATE: 262.815 M41
OBJECTIVE: Cleanse and repair the ship, then head to Tanstar 88
REASON: So it doesn’t come apart in the Warp
PC’s: Anna, Hob, Janus, Thurman, Lazarus
SYNOPSIS: The pc’s kill a Warp-twisted monstrosity, complete emergency repairs, and limp to Tanstar 88.

Previous Session’s Recap:

While fleeing a battle with orks, the top of the Emperor’s Hymn was sliced open by a Plasma Scythe xenos mine right before entering the Warp. This resulted in thousands of crewmen being sucked into the Immaterium. Now the ship is back in real space and the explorers must reclaim sections of the ship that have been cut off and possibly exposed to Warp energies.

After the recap, the players review the current information and find that nearly half the 22,000 crew is unaccounted for. Many supplies have been lost to the void, reducing their stocks to only two weeks worth of provisions. However, since they’re down to half their crew, this should last around a month. The explorers decide to gather more information about the cut off sections.

A few small craft are launched for an external survey of the damage while Ethan Libram, the Engineseer, sends out several servo skulls for an internal survey. Janus has the idea to use his short-range telepathy to sense for survivors in nearby compartments. Unfortunately, this means he has to suit up in a void suit for a walk down the kilometer long hull rupture.

Ethan compiles the findings into several dataslates.

Damage Survey:

External Survey

Two shuttles were sent out, with surveillance equipment affixed to them. The results of their excursion are compiled onto data slates as grainy, monochrome video clips. Each shuttle slowly flies up and down the length of the ship, peering into the windows and closely inspecting the extensive damage to the ship.

The surveillance video begins with an external view of the Emperor’s Hymn, and the damage looks even worse from out here. Occasionally, exposed wires flare up with a spark, and every so often puffs of gas, flame, or liquid can be seen escaping into the void. Through the camera’s eye, the explorers can see into the sections of the ship that have been cut-off from the rest.

Many of the rooms just appear to be empty, some have void-frozen corpses or the chaos-twisted remains of what once were men. Others have their windows blocked or a piece of cloth tied up into the portal signifying potential survivors. Trained crewmen know better than to stand in the view of an open window because a translation into warp space could happen at any time. However, that knowledge isn’t enough to stop one green crew member from standing in full view waving frantically at the shuttle as it passes by his window.

Internal Survey

Libram returns with data slates of his own investigations as well as a large roll of parchment. He smooths the parchment down revealing rough sketches of the two decks that the sweep is being performed on and explains his findings. He has taken the time to color-code several of the rooms in green, yellow, and red. The lower part of his face and throat has been replaced with standard Adeptus Mechanicus implants, and the Engineseer speaks in a monotone, mechanical way.

“The green rooms here,” he begins as he gestures a hand over the map, “Have survivors or decent chances for survivors. The yellow rooms I could not determine either way. The red rooms are confirmed to have the taint of chaos.”

There appear to be only three red rooms on the map, while many others are yellow and green.

“This chamber here,” Ethan points to a small red area on the map, “Nobody survived except for one poor soul who seems crazed. His legs appear to have been fused into a long snake like appendage.” He slides a data slate over to Captain Shilwulf. “We can just open it to the void and be done with it.”

“In this room next to the brig there is some monstrosity,” Ethan continues as he points to a large chamber. “The servo skull did not get a good look at it before being destroyed.” He points to a second data slate, “However, it was big and fast. Back in this section is a brig, so there are likely some survivors, but they are just prisoners. I recommend we void that as well.”

“This section,” Ethan continues, “I cannot be certain. It is possible some survivors have hidden away in various chambers, but there is a skinless mass of muscle raging up and down the halls.”

After reviewing the data, Janus puts on a void suit and takes a stroll down the newly cut channel. Lucky for him he’s void born, so zero-G operations come as second nature. Since this rupture was created by flaming hot plasma, there aren’t many jagged pieces of metal for suit punctures. Too bad really.

He slowly makes his way down the damaged section walking on floor, walls, or ceiling as appropriate. Janus remains at the fettered power level as he cautiously reaches out telepathically to sense the minds of lost crewmen. When he finds pockets of survivors, he makes use of his Inspire power to bolster their morale and tells them that help is on the way.

The telepath is especially cautious when he approaches the dangerous rooms marked in Ethan‘s reports but manages to confirm the Engineseer’s findings. In the smaller room there are no survivors, except for a singular deranged mind. While in the brig, there is a powerful presence of mindless rage from something combined with intense fear from the minds of the prisoners.

After safely returning back to the ship, Janus shares his findings and the explorers resolve to take out the brig beast and free the prisoners. Since the room is pressurized, they decide to go with armor instead of void suits. The main reasoning being that a void suit wouldn’t be much use after a few claw swipes.

GM Note:

They choose to fire up the Teleportarium which is thankfully undamaged. Now 40k teleportariums aren’t like your nicey-nice Star Trek teleporters. Instead of beaming your matter stream down to a planet, teleportariums connect the two points through the Warp, and swap the two points out. It feels like being drunk. And if you don’t see a problem with being drunk, ask a glass of water what it feels like (Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy). Not to mention something from the Warp might tag along for the ride…

Anna, Hob, Thurman, Lazarus pile on to the teleportarium pad along with three of Anna’s “brothers”, specifically Michael, Gabriel, and Uriel.

With a jarring shock, the explorers are snapped across reality and find themselves in the corner of a completely different room. The sound of thunder echos throughout the dark chamber and a thin layer of frost coats the area where they’ve teleported to. Their ribs are slightly sore and their heads feel as though they’ve recently been punched.

The unseen beast roars in response to the thunderous intrusion. It slowly stomps toward the explorers, sending vibrations through the deck-plating. With an enormous claw, the monstrosity heaves its jumbled mass of flesh and guard flak armor onto one of the machines. It’s about 7 meters tall and seems to be made up of several people mashed together.

Thanks to the low-G, it leaps toward the group in an impossibly high arc. The explorers pour fire into it, most of the shots hitting the center of mass. A vertical seam opens up from crotch to chin, revealing a needle toothed maw so large it could easily engulf one of the nearby combat servitors. The servitors, unphased by this fact, launch automatic fire into the gaping mouth of the monster, killing it in mid flight.

Well, killing the center of mass that is. The thing crashes to the deck-plating and breaks apart. The limbs separate from the “torso” of the beast and sprout limbs of their own, quickly advancing to engage the explorers in melee. A bloody fight with the mutant Chaos spawn ensues, resulting in some people becoming heavily wounded, but suffering no permanent damage.

Exploring the room, the servitor’s shoulder-mounted illuminators reveal a huge gear that runs the length of the room. Prisoners are usually chained to this and forced to walk along it in order to power the room’s machinery.

Walking the cog - Image Credit: page 109 Battlefleet Gothic

(I love that picture. So 40k.)

The explorers move into the brig where they hear the muffled cries of those still trapped inside their cells. The brig is actually just a converted crew housing module, with hundreds of rectangular doors in the wall, .6 meters across by .5 meters tall. Prisoners will climb in head or feet first and sleep perpendicular to the the wall. The only difference between this and a normal crew module is the controls to open the door are removed from the inside of their chamber. A few of the doors have been ripped off their hinges, the remains of some of the beast’s victims lying in bloody heaps close by.

The explorers release the prisoners one section at a time. One prisoner was enterprising enough to figure out how to kill himself rather than be devoured by the beast. Another was stark raving mad and attacked as soon as the doors opened, but the servitors cut him down before he could inflict any harm. A few others are catatonic, another has a strange purple mark, and another is sporting a tentacle from her neck.

Most missionaries would incinerate all of these stragglers on the spot, but Anna is kind and merciful. Instead, she spares the crewmen, nursing the catatonic people back to health, discovering the purple mark to be nothing more than a hydraulic fluid stain, and amputating the tentacle on the girl (with some excellent surgery rolls).

Once the ship is cleansed, emergency repairs continue for another week. Huge iron beams are welded along the open gouge acting like stitches for the ship’s skin. Once the tech priest bestows the final blessing on the work, the Hymn continues on to Tanstar 88.

Post Mortem:

The purpose of this session was to expose the players to the personal combat rules and even more elements of 40k: walking the cog, Warp stuff, mutants, servitors, teleportariums, etc. I probably should have done some insanity and corruption point rolls for the fleshy Voltron encounter, but interest was already waning from the nature of slow Play by Post games… Plus, rescuing the prisoners was a nice thing to do and I didn’t want to slap their hands for that.

I awarded xp for the sessions at this point. Play by post games are notoriously slow, so I even doubled the xp rewards. Even then, my players and I felt it still wasn’t enough for MONTHS of real-life effort. At this rate, they’d hit rank 2 in a year. We continued with the play-by-post for the next session, but I knew we’d be switching over to table top soon. Besides, Google Wave was going to be shutdown anyway. :(

Next Session: 01-00 While the Kat’s Away…

00-01 Look What the Warp Dragged In

The Shilwulf Dynasty Eck Eck