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[DW] The Desolation of Innocence (RPG IC Thread)


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Posted (edited)

++ SPACE HULK: DEATHWATCH RPG ++

++ THE DESOLATION OF INNOCENCE ++

 

"A space hulk is a danger like no other, a myriad of twisted passageways and tanged buttresses.

It is a conglomerate of smashed and hapless ship carcasses, where the silent screams of dead men echo in halls without light.

To look upon such a thing is to defy understanding, to board one searching for treasure is to defy sanity.

And yet the treasure is real, guarded by the glowing eyes of fiends, and the chittering of claws scraping in the dark."

- Lord Juliard Langstrom, Master of the Patrol Vessel Acheron.

 

+ Welcome to the Hulk! +

Space Hulk: RPG is a blend of the board game of Space Hulk, Space Crusade and a few other games to give a tactical, action-heavy roleplaying game which allows for short, intense scenarios players can pick up and put down.  It is designed to try and capture the essence of stalking down corridors which have been airless and lightless for centuries, and the darkness is watching - filled with abominations by the score.

Campaign Premise:

Each player starts out with a Deathwatch RPG Character at Rank 4, wielding some of the most powerful arms and armour the Imperium can provide, with full access to a suite of Skills, Abilities and Talents which will make them better, stronger, faster and harder to kill.

They'll need it.

Arrayed against them is almost every enemy of the Imperium you can imagine.  Genestealers, Cults, soulless Automatons, the forces of Chaos and more - for all is to be found in the depths of the Hulk.  There is no grace or mercy, there is only the Desolation of Innocence.

Structure:

This is flexible.  DoI is designed as a setting to facilitate a series of one-shot scenarios which follow a narrative, cohesive overview.  The scenarios can include simple, or multiple objectives, depending on the forces committed.  For this purpose, the Character Thread containing all the background and histories for the PC's will be known as the Mission Roster.  Each PC can choose to enter the mission being played.  It is modular and adaptable in scale, even to supporting a single player.

This means that GM's can hopefully get some games finished!

A Threat Cannot Be Ignored:

The Deathwatch are Mankind's elite, premier combat troops against the Xenos, but everyone is in their sights.  The local Watch Fortress Commander has marked the Near-Space Anomaly designated Object XB-203991 (Coderef: Desolation of Innocence) as a Primary Grade Threat, and so the hulk must be investigated, and purged with righteous courage...

+++++++++++++++++++

A Contrivance of Fate:

Watch Commander Cordovan ignored the hushed gasps of relief as the Strike Cruiser Hecate's Bane escaped the grip of warp translation.  Whatever horrors lurked behind them in the immaterium were dealt with, but here, the terror of something every sane commander feared: A space hulk.  He lifted the dataslate to consult it.  Whatever Mechanicus or Ordo references screed up the glazed holographic projector were irrelevant.  This was  Primary Threat - Absolutio Extremis - to the security of this sector, and the lives of the Imperial citizens on the planets in its shadow.

He peered through metres of armoured window pane, out across the bow, glowing as the doors opened ready to hurl the Thunderhawks forth as a close-space security picket.  The warriors in the cells and sacred halls below were girding themselves for the most intense combat a veteran of the Astartes would ever see.  The boarding of a space hulk was a mix between dreadful battle in the tight confines of the most dilapidated hive city, and void war.

Opening a door on such a hulk could reveal an enemy, hard vacuum, a dead end - or all three.  With limited resources, he would have to rotate his men, but the fate of this sector could well rest upon the broad shoulders of the Astartes.

The galaxy had done so since the Emperor bent the heavens to his will.

"How will you proceed?"

The words cut across his thoughts, the bow of an unwelcome vessel prowling a wake in his mind.  He half turned, clad only in robes, where the figure who demanded his attention was harnessed in fine, human scale power armour, a red robe cascading over the silver filigreed plating.

"Carefully," Cordovan rumbled in bass timbre.  "Very carefully."

He let the Inquisitor decide what that entailed.

 

++ KILL TEAM REGENT ++

++ STAND BY FOR INCOMING PRIORITY TASKING ++

"Serve the Emperor today, for tomorrow is written with your Sacrifice."

You have been hurriedly assembled, along with other hand-picked brethren of your Veteran Company.  As the newest Initiates to this austere formation, you have proved yourself numerous times within the sight of such peerless warriors, and yet more tests remain, for trial is to a Space Marine as breathing.

It seems those trials have arrived.  The alert notices to take your wargear into the belly of Hecate's Bane see you fresh from the training cages, and now you are here - materialising at a place and time of the Watch Commander's choosing.  You will know this is no small thing - there are over two-hundred other Astartes aboard, from Deathwatch Scouts, to members of the Reclusiam.  Word spreads quickly amongst the assembly.

You have tasked with assaulting a Space Hulk - and not just your own Kill Team, but every soul who wears the sable and quicksilver.  The whispers spill from knowing lips about an Inquisitor who has petitioned the Xenos-slayers for aid...

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++

A Contrivance of Spite:

The growl was wet beneath the helm as the object of the visions came into view.  Lord Executioner Tyrox allowed his irritation to show in the slow rap of his fingers across the arms of his command throne.  The headache was undimmed.  A lightning strike of white hot pain behind his eyes.  His ship, the cruiser Carrion King pulled into long augur range.  Signals from the hulk showed it was being boarded by another ship.

+Identify!+

The slave on the augur array, a recent captive from one of the raids Tyrox's warparty undertook, flinched as though lashed across the shoulders.  "Un...unknown, Lord.  It is an Astartes vessel, but their IFF's are scrambled."

Tyrox absorbed this, anger at the incompetence of these worthless subordinates held in abeyance over the urgent need for camouflage. +Engage shadowshields.  Let us see if the Magos' gift was worth the effort..+

The bridge stirred from meagre white light, to arterial red.  An alarm sounded to signal the change.

+When we pass through their augur envelope, launch our Thunderhawks.  We will reap a bounty under their noses!+

The Hulk was a cursed boon.  It would provide supplies and potential slaves or materiel for repairs.  It would provide answers for the...visions.

++ KILL SQUAD KHYROPTERA ++

++ STAND BY FOR INCOMING PRIORITY TASKING ++

"By the strength of your arm it is yours.  The weak surrender to the Strong."

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

This is just to start some RP to get the juices flowing.  How do you feel about the missions ahead, what emotions or thoughts does a space hulk stir in you?  Revulsion, determination, perhaps ambition to win glory in the crucible of battle?

Edited by Mazer Rackham
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Posted (edited)

+ + + MISSION: DESOLATION OF INNOCENCE + + +

 

Flashed through the Noosphere and across Korvaan's augur array / HUD Sensor Suite.

 

Yes! Space Hulk Assault! The Glory and the Hunt! All things of artifice are of the Omnissiah, even those things that have been crafted by Xenos. Those very thoughts would send the Priesthood of Mars into apoplexy!

 

Korvaan - Iron Father of the Brazen Claws and Deathwatch Veteran knew many things.

 

He knew that Xenos tech still held the Omnissiahs breath, they just needed to be seized and cajoled into submission before they could be properly used again. There were many examples of Xenos tech utilised by the Deathwatch.

 

A Space Hulk is a treasure trove, albeit one with many traps and dangers. The teeth, eyes and drums in the dark. But there is the Foe to Hunt, for art we not the Angels of Death!

 

Korvaan eagerly but with the necessary obedience to the proper rituals removed his Artificer Armour and Servo-Harness. He placed them carefully away in his Forge, he donned his red robes and took his Omnissian Power Axe and Combi-Plasma with him as he went to the Watch Armourium. There he returned his Combi-Plasma and requisitioned a Storm Bolter.

 

He sent his last requisition order ahead through the Noosphere to the Watch Magos-Biologis and to the Watch Forge Master. Korvaan entered the Watch Forge reverently and respectfully.

 

"I know that it is still here, as I have worn it before and it speaks to me in sibilant whispers. Yes I know Magos-Biologis that it still needs further study, but only a gene-son of the Primarch can safely wear the artefact for any length of time. The Mission comes first - I volunteer to be a further test subject!"

 

Opening a well guarded vault door, the Watch Forge Master entered and retrieved a black iron box with a dozen locks. He then came back and unlocked the box which he handed to the Magos-Biologis. 

 

"Korvaan you are a fool, but a courageous one!" said the Watch Forge Master, "Bring us back Treasure!"

 

Korvaan secured his belt at his waist and took his robes off so that his arms and chest were bare. He watched the Magos-Biologis donning protective gauntlets as he opened the iron box, he grasped the artefact that was inside and then pulled it out.

 

The Magos-Biologis was grasping what looked like a mechanical spider and as he walked towards Korvaan the artefact seemed to flex and writhe in the Magos-Biologis' hands as if it could sense him. He pressed the artefact over Korvaan's chest and the legs whipped out and grasped hold of both sides of his chest and the body of the artefact appeared to sink into his chest.

 

"Korvaan, I give to you The Heart of Iron!" said the Magos-Biologis.

Edited by Machine God
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Laeknir watched the chaos unfold around him as the Deathwatch prepared to board the hulk. Grey robed mortals in their hundreds scurried around like vermin, proffering up weapons and ammunition or performing final checks for black and silver-clad warriors in massive armour akin to his own. Like squat, square rock pillars rising from a storm-tossed sea. He suddenly wondered how many would return from this Desolation, and how many would fall, would fail. His lip curled.

 

Veikr.

 

The flare of disgust caught at him, rising in the back of his throat. Almost involuntarily, his metallic hand - part of an augmentic limb that was a replacement for his left arm, lost during the fighting against the Eldar on Firestes IX - strayed up to the breastplate of his Indomitus warsuit to stroke a piece of carven stone hung on a leather strap alongside teeth and talons and bones. The wardstone had always brought him peace, strengthened his resolve, ever since he had been commanded to come here and take the Apocryphon Oath. The icon carved upon it was the Halstarrii rune for unity. The Watch was strong. He had seen that fact proven true in the blood of Humanity's foes enough times. His brethren would need his skills, not his hate.

 

The armour encasing his bionic limb was not coloured in the same silver as the heavy shoulder guard above it. Laeknir's vambrace was instead pure white, just like his helm. Both were symbols of his office here, an Apothecary of the Watch. Not just symbols, of course, but also carrying beneath the smooth white ceramite the arcane and powerful tools that might preserve the lives of those around him for another day.

 

A servitor approached him then, carrying an opened case of bolter magazines in its cybernetic loader claw arms. Laeknir reached out and selected several clips that he calmly slammed home into the fire selector of the mighty Stormbolter held in his right hand. Then his bionic hand dropped lower, to caress the hilt of Hvass, the short, straight, powered blade that was scabbarded on his right hip. A simple name for a simple weapon, but it had served him well for more than a century.

 

He stood ready, awaiting the order to board their transports.

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Arcturion always spent the eve of battle secluded in his cell, deep in meditation, focusing his mind upon the task that had been laid before him and his brothers of the Deathwatch Elite. He knelt in his ancient terminator plate, dark as pitch, with eyes closed, both hands grasping the hilt of his terrible and ancient blade held tip down. Both were parting gifts from his brothers before he set out on his long Vigil. A decade later, he still felt tremendous guilt over donning the scarred and artfully inlaid suit of Indomitus plate, but the chapter master had bade it be done. His sword bore the name Doombringer, and dark rumours had swirled around the weapon since its forging that it was somehow cursed, that it would steal the soul of its wielder. He was not the first to bear this hand-and-a-half sized sword into battle, and he hoped against all hope he would not be the last. Though he could not see it, he felt the weapon’s psychically-attuned circuit inlays pulse in resonance with his thoughts.

 

In the decade since he had sworn the Apocryphon Oath, he had come to the realization that the black he wore was not of the holy Deathwatch – it was that of the Death Company. They were, each of them doomed to fight and die in a secret war against the greatest menace to the Emperor’s realm. Madness and horrible bloodshed was all that awaited him before the darkness would finally take him. He opened his eyes briefly to look down at the devotional saltire he had ordered the armourial serf to paint in arterial crimson onto his right vambrace amid the gold and ruby-inlaid blood drops, and reflected once again upon the sacrifice made by the Primarch to help defeat the accursed Warmaster. Duty, sacrifice: these were all that existed to an Astartes, doubly so for the Lamenters. With a heavy sigh he tore his gaze away from the red cross to focus upon the High Gothic letters which ran along Doombringer’s fuller.

 

With a small shake of his head he squeezed his sunken and darkly ringed eyes shut once again, attempting to return to his prayers and mantras. He had not slept well or much in the weeks since being elevated to the rank of Epistolary. Indeed, such was his advanced physiology that he did not require much sleep in order to function, but what little sleep he had allowed himself had not been restorative. Foreboding, disturbing dreams awaited him in that state of unconsciousness: horrific nightmares filled with gnashing teeth and grasping claws, ruined vistas scoured by the light of hateful stars, and a great, impossibly large wreck of a capital ship. He did not feel he deserved to be invested with such responsibility, with such dread authority. The unceasing clawing at his mind had only gotten worse.

 

No. Do not even think of it. Cease this immediately. Don't…

 

He gritted his teeth as a feral scowl creased his scarred and vaguely noble features. His eyes snapped open, and with a frown he set his sword to the side and compulsively fumbled at one of his belt pouches for an old and heavily worn steel case. The iron container popped open with a small click to reveal a deck of tarot cards, each delicately inlaid with psychically-attuned silver filament. He took a deep breath and started drawing and laying the cards in an array on the floor of his cell.

 

The Sword. The Blind Seer. The Lightning Tower, inverted. The Silver Door. The Young Warrior. The Ragged Fool.

 

The Emperor, inverted.

 

He ceased drawing the cards and his eyes widened in horror at the pattern laid out before him. This was an ill omen indeed. His transhuman mind raced and his transcendental senses honed in on the strands of potentiality being woven inexorably at this juncture. The cards seemed to carry an electrical charge, and glowed in his witch-sight. Fell deeds were afoot, and great peril awaited him, far greater than anything he had encountered before. A great, malign Evil awaited him and his brothers.

 

He felt the ship shudder as it lurched back into real-space from the hellish realm of unreality, and he stared down at the cards laid out on the stone floor of his cell. They no longer thrummed with psychic energy, the moment was gone. And the wretched howling had ceased, along with the incessant and maddening sensation of countless taloned fingers clawing at his mind. How he despised the necessity of Warp travel sometimes. He retrieved the cards and started the process of shuffling the deck, nine times for the bygone number of the progenitor legion. Over and over again he shuffled the cards, his fingers working furiously and dexterously as a product of well over a century of muscle memory. His task complete, the clasp of the steel case closed over the tarot deck and he returned it to its home on his belt. He rose to his feet and rammed his sword home in its worn leather scabbard, pausing to raise the golden winged pendant that he wore around his neck to his lips, a final act of supplication to the Primarch and the Emperor.

 

Securing his blunt-nosed, vaguely ursine helm to his hip, he strode from his cell, knowing the summons from Watch Commander Cordovan would come within the next minute. He already knew they had reached their destination, that they had located that which had haunted his dreams 'ere cycles beyond counting.

 

The Desolation of Innocence beckoned to him.

Edited by Necronaut
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"Salve Imperator,

Gloriam aeterna,

In eius nomine,

Purgamus immunda…"

 

The Watch serf coughed nervously, interrupting the quietly uttered catechism. Brother Philemon paused in his recitation, opened his eyes and smiled gently down at the fearful mortal. The man was doing his Emperor-given duty and had no cause for trepidation.

 

"It is time, then?" he rumbled.

 

"Aye, Lord. The Watch-Commander asks that all Terminator Astartes congregate on the Flight Deck."

 

"Do not call me that," Philemon corrected softly. "You have but one Lord. We are brothers in His service. But very well."

 

The Emperor's Blade veteran turned and stumped heavily across the small chamber to the ornate stand where Vindicta Dei waited. As always, Philemon marvelled at its deadly beauty and the undeserved honour he had been given to wield it. An Astartes war-axe of ancient manufacture, with a single, wickedly curving blade balanced by a long spike and surmounted by an identical blade atop the shaft like a spear. All three edges connected to the weapon's mighty power field generator. Purity seals and oath badges studded its length, holding in place long streamers covered in holy script and wrapped around the haft again and again. It was as much a prayer as a weapon.

 

Even as he hefted the axe in his left hand, his armouring sacristans were loading the canisters that would feed his other weapon. Torrens Ignis. Thrice-blessed promethium gurgled as it flowed through the heavy flamer's valves and hoses. Philemon smiled. Soon the smell of burning heretics would rise to the God-Emperor like the sweetest incense.

 

As the serfs worked, the Anointed veteran considered the adjutant's choice of words. Congregate. Few of the Astartes present shared his Chapter's view of the divinity of the Emperor of Man. In fact, some of their number held to beliefs so heathen that they were considered heresy by some among the Ecclesiarchy. An Astartes, of the Deathwatch in particular, had to be more pragmatic. There were many paths to the Emperor's right hand.

 

For a moment Philemon looked back to the small Shrine on the other side of his cell. He offered a short bow towards it - a full genuflection was almost impossible while wearing Tactical Dreadnought Armour - then turned to make his way to the Flight Deck.

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  • 4 weeks later...

He wet his cracked, dry lips with a tongue which barely carried any moisture anymore as he brought the scourge down upon his back. 

CRACK!

“I am the Emperor’s Vessel. I am His will made flesh. My purity is beyond doubt. I WILL SLAY THEM ALL!”

He shivered and contorted his neck as a spasm racked his body. His massive meaty fist clutched the scourge tightly and twitched before he brought the barbed flail down upon his shoulders again. “I will do it, I will KILL KILL KILL SPILL THEIR FILTHY BLOOD! VILE XENOS FILTH!”

CRACK!

Small rivulets of blood ran down his back, coagulating and drying before they reached his rhomboids, such was the nature of the trans-human blood which coursed through his veins. He knelt nude save for a simple loin cloth in his cell, sweating profusely. He hadn’t eaten in three days and had refused any sustenance save for a small cup of water some twelve hours prior. His other hand clutched a sword which had been wrought with the aching beauty of a master-artisan’s loving touch, a relic from a bygone era whose adamantine killing edge was still razor-sharp after many long centuries of bloody service. Punisher it had been named when it was presented to the Black Templars, its sole purpose to mete out the Emperor’s Justice to the Imperium’s foes. He held its hilt in a death-grip, his godlike musculature shaking as he pressed the polished blade to his forehead.

“Emperor help me, guide my blade. Primarch, I pray thee lend me a fraction of your strength. I am your vessel, I am your wrath. KILL THEM KILL THEM KILL THEM!”

Another spasm shook him and he brought the scourge down again.

CRACK!

His serf attendants waited outside of the cell in abject terror, praying to the God-Emperor that their master’s ablutions would be over soon. They had stood watch over Brother Gerhardt’s cell in eight hour shifts, taking turns to meekly offer the towering Astartes water and sustenance, only to be bellowed at to get out and not disturb him. Serf Primus, whose given name was Felix, mopped sweat from his brow and made the sign of the Aquila as he mouthed another prayer to the God-Emperor.

Suddenly the ship shuddered violently, the color of the running lights changed from a dull red to a near-blinding white and a mighty alarm bell reverberated through the cavernous hallway. Inside of his cell, Gerhardt’s head snapped up and his nostrils flared. Their journey through the Immaterium was over. The time for killing was nigh. An insane grin split his scarred and battered features, his eyes were twin pools of fathomless hatred and glee.

He dropped the scourge at his side and rose to his full height, standing erect with Ferrum Irae’s blade held tip down. He turned his head and roared at the heavy steel door behind him, “SERFS! ATTEND ME!”

To the sword he softly spoke, "We return to war, Lord. I shall quench your fury in xenos blood 'ere long."

Felix gulped and nodded at the other two robed figures who stood across the hallway from him. They bore blessed water from the ship’s modest temple with which to anoint their master, and healing unguents to rub into his self-inflicted wounds. He closed his eyes briefly in silent contemplation before issuing a command over the vox to the armorium serfs of Hecate’s Bane who labored many decks below, “Brother Gerhardt stands ready to rejoin the war-host. Prepare his holy plate and armaments. I am exloading his requisition information now.”

His voice quavered as he said, "Ave Imperator, brothers," and turned to follow the other serfs into the bare steel cell.

It was time for war. It was time for their master to put more xenos to the sword, or to at last find peace and solace in oblivion.

Edited by Necronaut
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The hush within the launch bay spreads out, a blanket of silence over the whine of heavy servo-mechanics and banter of the Astartes eagerly anticipating their assignments within the order of battle.  Warriors group together, some fully harnessed in Terminator plate, others either robed or wrapped in power armour.  Regardless - all share the sable of the Deathwatch.

The hush realises into the heavy tread of an Astartes in Indomitus Tactical Dreadnought Armour appearing on a command dias overlooking the assembly area. Even though daubed over black, the filigree of swordsmen sparring, of shields crossed with flanged maces catch the light, his motion making the figurines on his protective plates dance - locked in an eternal duel of cut and thrust, of riposte and parry.  His heraldry on his right shoulder is polished silver and azure blue, the crossed blades of the Astral Knights.  At his hip a monstrous flail of black iron, across his back, a tower shield, hulking in a rampart of inviolable adamantium.

Watch Commander Cordovan wears no helm.  Duelling scars cross his cheeks and brow, his honour plain to see from his Feasts of Blades.  His eyes, as blue as his Chapter iconography are rapier piercing, darting from helm to helm, face to face.

"Brothers, we gather to make war on the enemy of man.  I have been advised..." He breaks off to wave an empty palm.  "That this hulk cannot be destroyed by bombardment.  The segments sheared from the mass will be borne into the gravity wells of the nearby planets, and instead of one menace, we may end up with more."

His deep voice, smooth confidence in his cadence, pauses to let this be absorbed.  In the pause another figure joins him.  Clearly male, but diminutive in stature against the giant warrior, the tramp of power armour precedes the swish of scarlet robes and cloak dropping over the silvered ceramite.  Like Cordovan, this man too favours  close combat weapons, but where the Marine wields brutal force, the hooded mortal next to him enjoys a riot of powered blades.  Runes and script decorate the shiny surfaces, the Inquisitorial =][= burnished in startling sanguinite.

Cordovan continues, ignoring the man at his elbow, waving his hand, stirring techpriests to fervent action.  A brilliant hololith of the hulk appears, hovering over the Marines below.  Over you. A bright red pulse flares into being deep in the conglomeration towards the stern, then resolves into a close-up diagram of engines and power conduits.

Unfortunately, the rest of the hololith is...vague.

"Our main objective is simple in ambition.  We will board this monstrosity and make our way to the warp drives.  Once secure, we will remotely trigger them, and send this beast into the warp once more.  The execution of that end goal...is a little more complicated."

A smile cracks his face, lighting his eyes. "I will refer you all to your mission handlers."

Shuffling and thunderous tread which makes the deck rumble demonstrates the mass of Space Marines, the holy might assembled to crack the unholy carcass still floating in the air. The roll-call finally rotates down to your Kill Team, and an Astartes approaches you, hard-faced, burly, even for a Marine. Eyes the colour of cold iron stare at you with a sneer hovering about his lips as he studies each one of you, two platinum service studs the only decoration on his bald scalp moving almost imperceptibly above his left eye.

"Kill Team Regent? I am Warden Caleb Sophis, Red Scorpions." His eyes maglock onto Arcturion's heraldry.  "Whose back gets the knife this time, Witch?"

Edited by Mazer Rackham
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Arcturion's eyes narrowed at the Red Scorpion's brazen slight. He knew such rudeness was beneath his notice, that the insolent cur only sought to get a rise out of him. The ancient and terrible fury to which he was an inheritor threatened to overtake him and his hearts pumped liquid venom through his veins at such an indignity. Brothers united by the Deathwatch, indeed! 

The fires from the conflagration in the Badab sector still burned brightly in his mind when he closed his eyes. The horrors that the Astral Claws and their deranged Tyrant had wrought, and the scars both physical and psychological that he bore from that wretched betrayal of trust were still fresh, though decades old. He had seen the twisted wrecks of Imperial ships burning in the void, a multi-hued gyre of anti-reality spinning in the far distance laughing at his chapter's foolishness and misfortune. 

He and his brothers had quit the field in shame and surrendered to the loyalist forces following their brutalization by the thrice-damned Minotaurs, a price they had paid for honoring their blood-oaths to the rest of the Maelstrom Warders. His vaguely angelic features darkened, twisting into a scowl, and the faded scar tissue which slashed diagonally across his lips puckered slightly. The fingers of the monstrous silver-plated gauntlet fixed over his left hand twitched, and its chain blade ticked over once. The giant, embossed High Gothic words XENO MORTIS emblazoned upon its surface boldly proclaimed its purpose.

How he longed to mangle the flesh of this ingrate in the sparring cages, to assuage his honor, what remained of it. The Lamenters plied the stars now far off in penance for the crimes levied against them by the High Lords of distant Terra. How he longed to rejoin his brethren, if they yet survived, to die alongside them in glorious combat against the Emperor's foes, pride intact, honor satisfied. 

He sighed inwardly and sucked recycled air in through his nostrils, quelling the rage burning within his soul, knowing that to respond in anger would diminish him and further sully the name of the Lamenters in the eyes of those assembled. Better to project calm, resolute control than to succumb to his base instincts. He smoothed his countenance, adopting a contemptuous smile that never touched his sunken eyes. 

Still, to allow the insult to pass unanswered only invited further abuse.

"Tell me, brother," he began as he casually rested the palm of his chainfist upon Doombringer's pommel, "did you know that the bones of Astartes from different chapters are nigh-impossible to tell apart? Why the remains of a Red Scorpion bear a remarkable resemblance to those of an Astral Claw. Hmm…?"

 

 

Intimidate Test:

S42 + 30 (TDA) = 72

Intimidate: 1d100 6

06: pass, 6 DoS

 

Go ahead, punk, make my day. ;)

 

Edited by Necronaut
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Philemon sighed, momentarily questioning the Watch-Commander's wisdom in placing these warriors from opposing sides during the ungodly debacle that was the Badab incident in the same Kill-Team. But what was done was done. He stepped heavily forward, not far enough to stand between the two, but enough to be seen by both, drawing their attention away from the other. He spoke softly, determined to head this off before it could become a greater issue.

"Look! How good and how pleasant it is, For brothers to dwell together in unity!" he intoned, smiling gravely at the two Astartes veterans. Though his face was hidden beneath Fortis Fideli's snouted Indomitus helm, the tone of his voice was warm.

"The One Hundred and Thirty-third Psalm of the sainted Ecclesiarch Davidicus, verse One. Whether you would have chosen it or not, we are brothers. If we are to succeed, we must be united in thought and purpose. We cannot allow the past to divide us. We must focus on the now."

Philemon added a further comment via private vox for Sophis' ears alone. Chapters like the Emperor's Blade that accepted the divinity of the God-Emperor were few and far between, but he knew that the Red Scorpions were among them.

+++I understand your feelings, Brother. The Lamenters' errors have made the task of all the true 'warders of the Maelstrom' much, much harder, my own brethren among them. But the all wise God-Emperor has seen fit to grant them a chance to prove their repentance… If such is the will of God, surely we must now act in harmony with it?+++

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Sophis' lips writhe, bested a venom stronger than his own, determined to say something, but thinking better of it.  His cowing is enforced, but his steely gaze into Arcturion's helm prove this will not be the last exchange.

His head cants as he gets a private transmission, Philemon nodding as it happens, the vox clicks muted, chirps which tell of a shared secret.

The Scorpionae Rubex Astra half turns holding up his quillboard, the clasp retaining thick sheets of vellum, marked and striated with fresh ink, a run of orders and devotions both.  He points the head of the board at the Lamenter, but says nothing to accompany the subtle poke.  His face loses the suffused anger, returning to it's slab stoicism.  Sophis' eyes twinkle at some realisation. His shoulders shrug, although in dismissal, or a poised stinger, is unclear.

The connotations are not pleasant.

"Brother Philemon speaks well, with the wisdom of the Codex and God-Emperor.  I am told you are to be given the honour of electing your Watch-Sergeant from your number."

His stare leaves no doubt as to who he would eliminate from that list.

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Korvaan listened to the Watch Commanders address.

"I will refer you all to your mission handlers."

Mission Handlers? thought Korvaan.

Shuffling and thunderous tread which makes the deck rumble demonstrates the mass of Space Marines, the holy might assembled to crack the unholy carcass still floating in the air.

The roll-call finally rotates down to your Kill Team, and an Astartes approaches you, hard-faced, burly, even for a Marine. Eyes the colour of cold iron stare at you with a sneer hovering about his lips as he studies each one of you, two platinum service studs the only decoration on his bald scalp moving almost imperceptibly above his left eye.

"Kill Team Regent? I am Warden Caleb Sophis, Red Scorpions." Presumably the Mission Handler.

Korvaan ignored the resultant posturing that this Astartes provoked. He was above such things, he was Of Mars. He noted that one of his squad was Of Ultramar.

"Brother Philemon speaks well, with the wisdom of the Codex and God-Emperor.  I am told you are to be given the honour of electing your Watch-Sergeant from your number." said the mission handler.

Korvaan stepped forwards, the Heart of Iron had bonded with himself successfully once more. It had linked itself via monofilament tendrils to all his major organs causing his body to work at a heightened pace. Increased level of stims heightened his belligerent nature to a point that sometimes was hard to control.

Korvaan was clad in a black suit of Indomitus TDA which was surprisingly swift and nimble, the Terminator Honours of his left pauldron was augmented by a Tilt Shield painted with the Adeptus Mechanicus skull and his right pauldron was painted with a red eagles claw on a blue field. A storm bolter was holstered on his left thigh and in his right hand he held his Omnissian Power Axe vertically.

"So 'Mission Handler' just means that you are going to give a briefing and then de-brief us at the conclusion. If we are to elect a Watch-Sergeant from our own number" said Korvaan. "Does this mean you are not coming with coming with us to glory? Or have you been added to us as a post-Badab political officer?"

Korvaan twisted and with horizontal flourish he pointed out each member of his squad with his Omnissian Power Axe.

"All of us in Kill Team Regent know pertinent facts. We know who our Primarchs are and when our chapters were founded. Do you?" 

Edited by Machine God
Added description of Armour.
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Arcturion fought down a laugh, seeing that his counter-thrust had cut his opponent to the quick. His eyes flicked over at the Emperor's Blade, Philemon, who saw fit to interject himself at just that moment. Reciting mortal scripture, at a time like this! And at the Emperor's Angels of Death! The irony was not lost on the librarian to say the least. 

Maintaining his composure and not allowing his smile to grow, though some genuine mirth now touched the corners of his eyes, mirth which he had not felt in quite some time, he raised his saltire-daubed right gauntlet to scratch an imaginary itch from his cheek. He had better attempt to smooth things over or at least outwardly maintain the peace lest he incur another stern lecture from the good Watch Commander.

He heard the tell-tale click of a closed vox communication issue from Philemon's helm, and saw the terminator's helm cant forward as if speaking to the warden. The Red Scorpion's expression changed suddenly, the fury at Arcturion's barb quickly fading. So that was how it was to be… ?

The chart board held by Caleb was suddenly thrust forward, threateningly at him. For a split second Arcturion thought the warden might actually strike him with it, and rightly so, but alas it was not to be. His smile widened noticeably as the Red Scorpion all but ordered them to elect a squad sergeant from amongst those assembled. 

Arcturion was about to accept the challenge when the Brazen Claw decided to step in and spoil the fun. He closed his eyes, feeling the weight of his years and office at that moment. He had better attempt to defuse the situation entirely, and quickly. 

"Peace, brother, peace! There is no need for such words. The Red Scorpions are exemplars of the Imperium and are beyond reproach. A feat I wish my own benighted chapter could boast," he said with no lack of distaste. He turned to look straight into the lenses of the Brazen Claw's helm; his piercing blue eyes reflected back at him. He hissed at the techmarine, "save your ire for the xenos infesting this hulk!"

Edited by Necronaut
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The order given, now barbs traded as warriors called to battle pulled at the leash of time. Each testing the strength of the other that they would know how their brother might stand beside them when tested true.

Even here every instinct of the Astartes was to contest, to battle, to the eternal war. Comfort to be found in the barbs and reflections of the Primarchs in word and action, each warrior a reflection of one who stood with the Emperor and carried still the weight of that honour, jostling for position as had their predecessors yet as one before the Emperors will.

He did not intervene for command here was not his to claim, he sought honour of the vanguard and had little doubt that a son of the Khan would stand challenger if the whim took him.

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Philemon smiled as the Lamenter did his best to keep the peace between the squad. In that at least, he was worthy of respect. Then the Techmarine Korvaan turned to offer the Emperor's Blade the wisdom of the Mechanicus. He smiled again, reaching up to remove his helm and hang it from his broad belt.

"He is no God, but he is God? That will do well enough for me, my brother. I am aware the views of my Chapter are not those of the majority, and I will not impose them upon any who do not wish it."

His voice rose slightly to carry his words to the entire squad.

"But whatever differing beliefs we each draw strength from, we must now fight as one. We must put our lives in one another's hands. And we can do so, for there are far greater things that tie us together than those that put us apart. That is a lesson we learn from the Watch. We are all Astartes, loyal sons of the Primarchs and of the Emperor Himself, and destroyers of the enemies of Humanity."

"If we must choose our own squad leader, I will offer my experience for consideration. I served as Sergeant in my Chapter's Ninth, Fourth and First Companies before my secondment to the Deathwatch, and as squad Second in several Watch operations since. I am a proud son of Saint Guilliman and am fully familiar with his words as found in the Holy Codex. I would be honoured to prosecute this war."

Calmly he raised Vindicta Dei, holding it up so that light was reflected from the razor-keen edge.

"But regardless of whether or not you would have me serve you in this fashion, I will state that I intend to see our task fulfilled and this heathen monstrosity cast back into the darkness from whence it came. I swear it upon this holy blade."


 

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"Kill-Team Regent is a team of Specialists. A Devastator, an Assault Marine, a Chaplain, a Librarian and an Iron Father. I have no qualms about following a Devastator as Watch-Sergeant" said Korvaan.

"Although we would surely welcome the attentions of an Apothecary on this mission. Where did that Skin-Skald go? No doubt he's been poached by another team."

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Sophis' lips purse as though considering something, then with a shrug, he lets whatever rancour brewed slip away from him.

"To clarify, Mission Handler is a necessary function," he says, gaze moving up to the command dais, but slipping past the massive commander Cordovan and to the figure languishing beside him.  "Unless of course, you want to liaise directly with the Inquisition?"

His face doesn't change, as Sophis once again regards Arcturion, although this time the antagonism is gone.  "They don't care how many bones lie piled and mouldering, Lamenter."

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"To clarify, Mission Handler is a necessary function," said Warden Caleb Sophis. Korvaan noted the Warden turned his gaze up to the command dais.  "Unless of course, you want to liaise directly with the Inquisition?"

"No you are welcome to such burdens Warden." stated Korvaan.

Someone is very quiet.

"Do you have any wise words to add Chaplain Nergui? Or do you perhaps seek to be Watch-Sergeant to lead us all in a glorious swift hunt against the vile Xenos foe?" asked Korvaan.

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Arcturion nodded at the Red Scorpion from under his blackened psychic hood, his careworn face shadowed under its eaves, his sunken eyes regarding Sophis darkly. "Aye, Red Scorpion, vincere es totum," he said with a sneer and slight nod at the silver-armored inquisitor standing upon the dais. "I have tasted their bitter lash and would sooner face down an entire Tyranid swarm than have further dealings with them."

 

He sighed and regarded the axe-wielding Philemon, whose call had gone unanswered by the others. What a fool he was, responding to petty slights with murderous threats, only to have to recant them when faced by the rancor his darkness stoked in others of the freshly minted Kill-Team Regent. No leader was he, nor did he desire or deserve it.

 

“Forgive my,” he sucked in air through his teeth, partially exposing his semi-elongated canines, “unkind words, brothers. It is unseemly for an officer, for an epistolary, to respond with such savagery amongst his fellows, his sworn brothers. I have been in a black humor of late – I... have no desire to lead this war-party, only to spill the blood of our foes until mine is spilled in kind. All of you have no doubt heard dark rumours of my chapter, of the Lamenters. I will tell you that they are all true, and worse besides. I only seek redemption in servitude to the Emperor. My doom is written.”

 

He looked at each of the assembled warriors in turn, his passion returning. “But I wear this heraldry, these colors without shame! For those we cherish, we die in glory are our words. My brothers, my blood-brothers, now crusade to expiate our sins without fear, without respite, as do I with the Deathwatch. I am as much a son of the Emperor, of my Primarch, as any of the rest of you,” he said, looking pointedly at the Warden, fighting down the fury welling in his breast.

 

“Brother Philemon, if you believe yourself fit to wrangle a team of specialists, as the Iron Father says, then I will support you, and I swear upon my blade to see your will done.”

 

He drew Doombringer and saluted the devastator, the flat of the blade pressed against his psychic hood, before lowering the mighty longsword to his side.

 

Turning to look side-long at the as-yet silent chaplain he intoned, “What say you, Soulwarden? Shall we have your blessing?”

Edited by Necronaut
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Posted (edited)

I've left this a little ambiguous as to continuity, to allow Tro to get his replies in.

A female tone, thick with binharic contralto, rings out across the shipwide annuncio vox.  Simultaenoeusly, the troop bay where you are assembled is suffused with a crimson light.  The command dais is fortified by heavy blast shutters as the interior of the ship begins to grind and hum in the painful rejoining of mechanisms, an old crone stretching iron-shod bones and wire-wrought sinews, preparing for war.  A clarion call begins, firing the urge within you as befits your whim, perhaps for glory, for redemption, for honour, for the thrill of war and righteous battle?

All lie within the hearts and minds of Astartes.

++TOTUS REDUNADAMUS PERSONAE VACATUS++

++OPERANDI TERMINUS ASTRA MALIFICA INITIO++

++SALVE IMPERATOR, SALVE OMNISSIAH, MORTIS INIMICUS!++

Low gothic filters through, once the operatic splendour of High Gothic and Machine Cant fades to ringing echoes in the belly and passageways of Hecate's Bane, now choking itself to an airtight vault, somehow separate but still part of the deck beneath your feet.  The riotous tocsin dies suddenly.

++ALL MARINES TO BOARDING CRAFT++

Sophis nods to Philemon. "I will rendezvous with you at launch iris thirteen.  Follow the green line."

He performs codex-regulation obeisance to Nergüi, folding the Aquila over his chest, the angle of his bow correct for the White Wolf's station. "Master of All, God-Emperor bless you, Holy One."

Then he is gone, striding for the airlocks.

Edited by Mazer Rackham
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The Emperor's Blade nodded his thanks to Korvaan and Arcturion for their offers of support.

As the Lamenter had spoken, Philemon found himself listening intently. There was something in his humble penitence that felt honest and true. For a moment, even in one so cursed, the angelic legacy of the Great Martyr shone through.

Perhaps his concerns about Moros were unfounded?

The Storm Warden Luthais and the Soulwarden Nurgui seemed uninterested in arguing for a different squad leader, and three was enough for a majority, so Philemon took the matter as settled. When Sophis gave the order, he responded by making the sign of the Holy Aquila and giving another respectful nod.

"Aye, Brother-Warden."

He lifted his helm and placed it back over his head. The lenses ignited, lit with a blazing yellow-orange glow like a burning flame. A white sword, the badge of his Chapter, bright against the black of the Deathwatch, now sat upon his brow, its point facing down along the snouted helm.

"Kill-Team Regent: To our transport! For the eternal glory of He who sits upon the Golden Throne, we go forth to battle!"

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Posted (edited)

As you march across and down to the secondary launch deck, the prow of Hecate's Bane slews around, no doubt tracing the optimum firing trajectory for the insertion of your craft.  Your own mission lies ahead, but the sable blocks of other Marines in Terminator Armour betray the level of both threat and determination to get a dangerous job done.  Perhaps it fills you with purpose, or a sense of once more being with your comrades far distant, a company of Astartes at war.

Whatever the sense you have, it evaporates when you reach iris 13, some ten minutes later.  Great seals stand open along the deck, circular hatches either side of you swallow the other Marines, closely watched by their Mission Handlers.  Your portal remains firmly closed.

Pressure hoses are being rapidly connected, the techpriests and serf-enginseers applying unguents and powerful synthetic muscles to get the door to open.  Standing beside them is a warrior in black Maximus pattern plate.  Along his vambraces stretch the matched reliefs of scorpions, in stark sanguinite against the mismatched sleeves of sable and electrum-silver.  His helm carries the artifice of mandibles, teeth serrating the faceplate, and his chest bears a broad, split aquila, over the corners of each wing, wrap the stinger-tipped tails of the creature whose name he embodies.

The other hatches begin to close.

+Fix it!+ he barks at the tech-serfs, +these warriors go to deliver the Emperor's Wrath!+

"Your...your pardon lord," a menial who is more man than machine - perhaps some sort of analogue interface for the clade - beseeches the Scorpion in stammering gothic, "but the manifold pressure is insufficient."

The serf indicates the auxiliary hydraulic pump, which sputters and chokes as it tries to pressure the doors open.

The machine spirits of the pump are obviously hard-pressed, and the unit is a poor replacement for whatever mechanism has failed.  All is not lost however.  A bypass  (Difficult (-10) Tech Use Test) could be conducted without too much vexing of the soul of either the mighty warship, or its small cousin.  It must be undertaken quickly - the launch of the boarding torpedoes must not be interrupted.

Edited by Mazer Rackham
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Philemon let out a growl of frustration. An inauspicious start for Kill-Team Regent. Coincidence… or something else?

"The Emperor's Will shall not be so easily diverted! Brother Iron-Father, perhaps you can assist these men to gain the Omnissiah's blessing?"
 

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Sophis nods, bringing up the quillboard and deftly turning the pages to speed the process whilst the machines are appeased. As he turns the pages, you can diagrams and vital statistics, records of actions that carry the names which have engraved scars into your flesh.  It is obvious Sophis knows more about you than perhaps prefer.

"Storm Warden, enter first and take the vanguard cradle, yours will be the first boots aboard the hulk." Flick.

"White Wolf, you shall be his second with your Holy presence." Flick.

"Brother Philemon, station yourself in the command cradle as the Codex demands." Flick. 

"The Lamenter is next." Flick.

"Brazen Claw, your station is last, guarding the stowage with the teleport homers."

He lowers the board, agitation at the interruption of technical failure obviously chafing.

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