01-03 Picking up the Pieces

Page 285 Rogue Trader Core Rulebook
PF: 51
DATE: 309.815 M41
LOCATION: Omnicron 71-DX
OBJECTIVE: Repair the Hymn
REASON: She’s still busted.
PC’s: Anna, Erata, Hob, Janus, Lazarus, Thurman
SYNOPSIS: While repairing the Emperor’s Hymn, the dynasty is invited to take part in a high-stakes race in two months. They scramble to put together a small ship worthy of the race.

Previous Session's Recap:

The explorers shut down a Cold Trade operation but decide to leave the corrupt governor Tolvos in power. They recruit several of the conspirators including a new pc Erata and major npc Peskin. They make an opposing ship captain take the fall and snag the legit trade route he was responsible for.

New Character Integration

After the recap, we work in zeffan’s new character Erata Exussum a pyromancer. She was an arcane enforcer for the captain of the recently captured freighter and since her employer was brutally murdered, she’s out of work…

I picture him calling Erata to the bridge when he was being hailed by the explorers. She makes it to the closed entrance of the bridge and reaches for the door’s control panel. Then she hears chain weaponry, machine pistols, and hell gun fire along with the screams of her former employers. She pauses at the doorway for a moment and returns to her quarters.

A sanctioned psyker could prove useful, so they recruit her, but Janus remains suspicious…

The Emperor’s Hymn patiently waits for word from Commodore Katherine Menakos for just over a week. The fleet returns victorious if somewhat battered, and relieves Captain Shilwulf of his duty to defend the system.

The explorers decide to give credit to Menakos for stopping the Cold Trade here. Partly due to paranoia from an Inquisitorial investigation, and partly to make an ally of a Commodore. On to Omnicron 71-DX for additional repairs!

The trip is uneventful, but takes much longer than expected. Lazarus estimated the journey would only take 3-5 days, but the explorers were in the Warp for nearly a month. During this time Thurman reviews various reports regarding the ship’s goings on. He notices that the Hymn’s casualty rates are disproportionately high when compared with the greatly reduced crew population. Most of the casualties are centered in the underdecks. Specifically deck 5, which is rumored by the crew to be very haunted.

Once arriving at Omnicron 71-DX and syncing the chronometers, it turns out only three days have passed in real space and Lazarus felt vindicated. After making contact with the forge world, the long process of getting the ship repairs underway begins. A tech-priest lackey is sent over to inspect the damage and appears, at first, to be quite bored with the entire ordeal. Then he laid eyes on the Hymn’s teleportarium and begins bubbling with excitement. From this point on he is in a good mood, even rearranging a few things to expedite the Hymn’s place in the repair queue.

Shortly after his departure, a higher ranking tech-magos of the Adeptus Mechanicus contacts the ship, seemingly less than convinced that the explorers possessed actual functioning archeotech. However, when he and Enginseer Libram begin talking (in a language that sounded more like modems screeching at each other than conventional speech) he too becomes very excited. The tech-magos offers to move the Hymn even further up the repair queue if the explorers allow them to study the teleportarium (there is also the implied threat of being moved to the back of the repair line if the explorers chose not to). The explorers agreed to the terms, much to the delight of all involved.

A few rogue traders are in orbit, so they get together for some socialization. They meet at a high-class bar complete with several airlocks to keep the foul smog out of the establishment. Conrad Livingston, one of the rogue traders, is hosting a high stakes race in a few months time and invites Octavius to participate. He says he’ll consider it, and asks Libram to begin putting together a shopping list of stuff so Team Shilwulf will have a decent chance of winning.

The list compiled, Thurman is tasked with acquiring the best-quality engine since only a limited supply of them is available. As a matter of fact, the “limited supply” turns out to be one. The explorers head out to the site of an industrial accident (and thus no one else around) to meet with a tech priest willing to make an under-the-table deal. Other rogue traders had tried to make a deal and failed, so the explorers cut to the chase and asked the tech priest what he wanted in exchange. He indicates that what he is really interested in is technology and, after conferring with the Hymn’s tech priest, it turns out the explorers happened to have some xenos tech to trade (apparently some of the cog boys squirreled some away while docked at Tanstar 88).

Thurman requests that some of the tech be teleported down, but the Tech Magos is still examining the teleportarium. Tecnically Xenos artifacts are heretical and possessing them can get you burned at the stake, but Rogue Traders are tasked with going out to claim wealth for the Imperium so it’s kind of a fuzzy area. They choose not to risk it since this is a shady deal anyway. The explorers realize the deal may very well fall through until Peskin starts kicking the dirt, finally admitting that he might have some xenos artifacts on him to trade.

The trade complete, the explorers drive through the abandoned wreckage of the town, when they are stopped by 35 armed troopers, 3 servo skulls, and 2 snipers.

GM Note:

To my horror, the players were actually contemplating fighting the encounter outnumbered about 10 to 1. Even when just two sessions prior, they put some NPC’s in the exact same situation and called it “unwinnable” for those poor NPCs. Luckily, common sense prevailed and they decided to play ball.

The orchestrator of the ambush is an overly polite female speaking through a servo skull with a vox caster (later identified as Victoria Pierce of the Ocaturian Dynasty. Disgruntled, the explorers leave the hover-truck and the sniper’s line of fire while their engine is politely stolen from them. Over a mind-link provided by Janus, the explorers discuss their options. They can’t use the teleporter to snatch the hot-engine since, again, the visiting Tech Magos may not like that one of their Best Quality engines went missing. So they have an aquila lander come pick them up and fly super-fast to get back to the Hymn. They also inform Enginseer Libram to prepare the teleportarium for a demonstration.

Running toward the teleportarium, the explorers arm themselves and take a squad of troopers and a few pilots for a shuttle assault. The Tech Magos is thrilled at the live demonstration and the explorers wave goodbye before it throws them across reality.

They teleport over just minutes before the shuttle reaches the safety of its hangar. Erata steps forward and blinds 6 of the 10 troopers for the rest of their lives, while everyone else moves up and finishes off the remaining troops. With the enemy’s small craft secured, the explorers turn the shuttle around and make it safely back to the Hymn.

A few hours later they receive an anonymous transmission that simply states, “Nice.”

GM Note:

They teleported over with a botched roll, so one of the players spends a fate point and the second roll was an 01 (low is good). Rolling poorly here would have been especially bad since they were trying to hit a small moving target in the vacuum of space. A couple meters in any direction and they’d be in the void’s cold embrace.

I actually hadn’t planned for the players to get the engine back, and didn’t know how they would do it (if at all). I also hadn’t planned on Erata shining so much here, but she sure did :)

The explorers decide to keep the enemy pilot alive but not return him since, after all, he turns out to be a pretty good pilot. They reason he might have been the Ocaturian’s pilot for the upcoming race. This matter also prompts the Lord Captain to ground the two Shilwulf pilots involved in the shuttle ordeal for fear of retaliation.

At this point, the explorers figure it will be best to travel in groups for the rest of their stay at Omnicron. Noticing immediately that all of them are under the constant surveillance of some tech priest servo skulls now. The explorers are out, minding their own business, when automatic gunfire erupts along with one of the attackers calling Hob,a traitorous bastard!

The fire pins everyone to the middle of the street, but Janus manages to keep his cool. His first action is to unpin everyone with his Inspire ability. Hob gets the t-total shit shot out of him as the leader of the attackers unloads full-auto into his chest. Everyone is forced into cover, but Erata starts slinging fire bolts into the enemies. Hob taunts them from the alleyway despite being just shy of death. More gun fire peppers the building and a frag grenade forces them deeper into the alley.

On the opposite side of the street however, Erata proceeds to set all of the ambushers on fire. She even chases down a straggler when he dares to open up on her with a heavy stubber (he missed horribly). Narrowing her eyes at the sheer audacity of someone shooting at her, she slings four firebolts his way quickly ending his life. The explorers hear several explosive charges go off, including in the direction of the attacker who fled.

Several colorful phrases were screamed out at Hob during the firefight, including “We should have killed you back on Bantash!” and “You frakking cannibal!”. Hob was bleeding pretty badly at this point, and decided to sneak back to the Hymn before the authorities showed up.

The explorers investigate the bodies, finding their attackers were outfitted in fairly decent gear, especially by mercenary standards. Finding manstopper rounds for every gun and even a xenos grenade, they deduce that this is far too elaborate to be retaliation for re-stealing their own engine. The explosions they heard were from one of the clips on each of the men detonating. The explorers give their statements to the authorities and are released since the the local surveillance is enough to prove that the Shilwulfs weren’t the cause of the ordeal.

Later, a completely healed up Hob had some explaining to do. Apparently he’s a mutant with regeneration. Octavius already knew, but it surprised Thurman who is especially pious. But after bringing it to Missionary Annatolla’s attention, he lets the matter drop.

Post Mortem:

This was zeffan’s first 40k game and I think he had fun setting people on fire with his mind. I had to make up my own rules for Pyromancy since it isn’t an official “career” for Rogue Trader, and this first play-test of those rules went well. The multi-bolt aspect of Firebolt ultimately seemed too powerful and I was forced to nerf it, but zeffan was a good sport about it.

I wound up giving bonus xp to the players as an extra reward for getting the engine back. I didn’t expect them to, but they came up with a risky plan that paid off.

I had fun describing the forge world, some of the cool fluff I included was:

  • The gas giant in the system had been harvested down to a gas-dwarf from centuries of gas harvesting.
  • There was a junkyard of abandoned ships
  • The planet was so hazy from smog it was brown, and you couldn’t make out the lights of the cities from orbit nor could you make out the sun when you were planetside.
  • When their shuttle landed, several kids ran up and vacuumed up some clean air from the explorer’s shuttle.
  • Several street vendors were hawking filtration masks, clean air, and blessings for the machines.
  • Shops had airlocks to prevent the loss of clean air, and higher end shops had multi-stage airlocks.
  • Huge air filters were sucking in atmosphere on one end, and spewing less polluted air out the other while dripping some thick black liquid into containers.

Next Session: 01-04 Hob Gone Wild

01-03 Picking up the Pieces

The Shilwulf Dynasty Eck Eck