Good work on the rest of the thread too. you've been a busy boy and I like what you've got planned for the aftermath. My plans for the latter stage of the adventure are still very nebulous for now.
Thank you, I do enjoy coming up with ideas. I'm just hoping for more community involvement on the thread before I continue to Church of the Damned.
I only see in infrared
I can't dream anymore
Ahh, Apologies- I would love to contribute, but I don't even own the modules.
Though, with your work on them, I might actually consider getting and running them- Great work so far, keep it up.
I am sure someone out there is making use of it- if only to take sideline ideas.
"Even the defeated pretend to elevate their wisdom and words"
I'll have some stuff ready for you tomorrow when I go through the first book with what you have done and then to see if something more could be upgraded.
Surprise is an insubstantial blade, a sword worthless in war.
It breaks when troops rally. It snaps when commanders hold the line.
But fear never fades.
Fear is a blade that sharpens with use.
So let the enemy know we come. Let their fears defeat them as everything falls dark.
As the world's sun sets....
As the city is wreathed in its final night....
Let ten thousand howls promise ten thousand claws.
The Night Lords are coming.
And no soul that stands against us shall see another dawn
@Saldre: No problem man. Though I will say, even with the work I've put into it, I probably wouldn't buy physical copies of the Apostasy Gambit. I would stick to the PDF versions, easier to copy-paste into wordpad for modifying.
@DrgnScorpion: That'd be great to hear how it turns out for you, post it as soon as you can. Just curious though, is it the same group of players you ran through the gambit with before?
Anyway, without going into too much detail yet, here are my changes to book II of the trilogy:
Church of the Damned
-Patron Inquisitor is unable to investigate personally: if he does, his cover will be blown
-Clergymembers are all very strange, something is not right. Upon close inspection their eyes seem dead. Except for Xavieticus, they are all Favoured of the Menagerie(DotDG)
-Ignato has been dead for many years, his skeletal remains are buried in the forging wing.
-Vraine is a powerful telepath and Revelator of the Menagerie. He has the ability to change forms, and he uses it to morph himself into the visage of Arch-Cardinal Ignato.
-Evidence that Venomskin belongs to an organization the Acolytes have faced in the past should spur them to investigate him(Serated Query is my choice)
-When the Acolytes find Venomskin's workshop, Vraine transforms himself into one of the other clergymembers to ensure that the news is passed on that Ignato is indisposed.
-No proposed changes, just added scenes
-Doomsayer spouting out messages from The Menagerie entries in DotDG
-Add details based around what organization Venomskin belongs to
-Ignore the entire "burn the church down" scene
-After the Acolytes discover Venomskin's evidence, Vraine commands the Favoured to attack the Acolytes on sight. Vraine flees before the Acolytes can arrive.
-As the Favoured Clergymembers are killed, they gain 1d5 mutations, and turn into gibbering, mindless shells of what they once were.
-One of the hostile clergymembers appears to be Ignato(it is actually Xavieticus transformed into Ignato's visage) with a stab wound in his chest(it was a sacrificial dagger of Tzeentch, as seen with Skrivus in the False Chapel from the Black Sepulchre)
-Autopsy reveals that the organs have undergone recent mutations, and still seem to be mutating rapidly. The body mutates into a Spawn of Chaos(DotDG) as the autopsy is being performed. Xavieticus cannot be found.
-The clues lead to Stonegarden, if not by investigating Ignato's quarters, then by word of distress call
-In Stonegarden, the Acolytes face Warp Spectres, Cultists of the Menagerie, and ultimately Vraine in the final battle, with the combined abilities of "The True Ignato" and/or "The False Ignato" and/or the Revelator stats from DotDG.
I only see in infrared
I can't dream anymore
Church of the Damned - Chapter 1
The Inquisitor has more important matters to attend to than investigating the Arch-Cardinal's heresy?!
That just seems silly. Instead, the reason your inquisitor cannot be involved is because he knows members of the Cathedral and will be recognized immediately - or so he thinks. The truth is the clergy members are too far gone to recognize him.
Favoured of the Menagerie
With the exception of Xavieticus, every member of the clergy has had their soul carved out. They have been twisted by the Menagerie, and turned into "Favoured" ones. They have no memory of the transformation, and are unknowingly agents of the Menagerie. Some subtle changes have happened to them, however. Each clergy member should have a different trait applied to them.
-Appears to be listening to some unheard noise
-Mutters the same prayer or scripture over and over.
-Speaks through a terrible wheeze, as if gasping for air
-Picks absently at a large scab
-Nose trickles blood constantly
-Always looks just past the person he's speaking to, never making eye contact
-Milky substance occasionally oozes from one eye
Vraine is in the House
Vraine is a Revelator of the Menagerie, a powerful sorcerer of this cult of madness and warped reality. He killed Ignato and has disguised himself as the Arch-Cardinal with his abilities to change forms. Keeping with the morphing theme of Tzeentch, it is not an illusion, Vraine really is transformed into Ignato. Ignato's corpse is buried in the forging wing, though it has been so many years, his body has decayed into skeletal remains.
Vraine is trying to keep everything seem as normal as possible, trying to buy his time to bring even more under the spell of the menagerie. The longer he is here undiscovered, the more Favoured he can create. Vraine has also been twisting attendees of the Cathedral into Favoured ones, creating a very bad situation in Hive Tarsus when he hits the switch. The Acolytes posing as appraisers are perfect specimens for Vraine to turn into Favoured of the Menagerie. If the acolytes blow their cover, Vraine does not waste time, he moves onto his next course of action - escape.
Ignato has left the building
Once the players have discovered Venomskin's Hideout. Vraine, realizing that his plans are about to be uncovered but uninterested in risking it all with himself here, disguises himself as another member of the clergy. If questioned, Vraine tells the acolytes that Ignato is indisposed. It's also important to note to observant PCs that the strange trait from before seems absent. (For example, when encountered previously, soandso's nose trickled blood constantly, but does not this time.) Vraine hopes that the Acolytes will leave, so he can make his escape. Once they do leave, Vraine will telepathically activate the Favoured clergy(and nearby populace) to attack any acolytes that return to the Cathedral, kill Xavieticus with a ritual dagger of Tzeentch(transforming Xavieticus into the image of Ignato), and make his escape to Stonegarden. He would have stayed in the church longer, but those meddling kids….
I only see in infrared
I can't dream anymore
I'm getting ready to run the AG modified for Ascended PC's and really like the reworkings presented here for TBS. I was wondering how the remaining books played out or Noctiv and Funk (the main contributors in this post)?
Very nice, hope you use some of the ideas here. And I too am wondering how it turned out for Funkwit.
As for myself, I haven't been able to run any of the Apostasy Gambit yet. My group had a TPK during my preliminary missions(modified Illumination), and now I am running intro missions for their new characters to be brought into the AG story-line seamlessly.
Haven't had the chance to work on the remaining books since my group won't be getting to them any time soon. However, if there is interest in it, I can try to dedicate some time to it. I'm just second-guessing my plans for the Church of the Damned, and my usage of the Menagerie instead of Maledictor's Hand.
I only see in infrared
I can't dream anymore
Cool, good luck with that fella. I'll post how things pan out for us. I agree most of the criticism around AG but like you think the over arching story is a pretty good. Best of luck :)
Great job on all the additions you created. After reading The Black Sepulchre, I have to agree that it is missing a lot of connection material between the various chapters. The additions you posted are really good and I plan on using most of them when I run my group through TBS. The bit about doing "Research" was weak at best in the module, but the stuff you created is excellent.
I like your thread, it interesting and it's given me quite a lot of inspiration! Once question though, do you think a warp vision will go down well with your players? I guess it depends on how you see the warp, but it struck med that unless my players go for radicals, they'd never trust anything that has to do with the warp. Especialy not when "the great conspirator" seems to be involved in the plot. They'd be more likely to say "hey, that Ignatio fellow must be a real good guy if a demon tries to make us belive he has something to do with chaos". Guess that could be interesting too, though =)
There aren't enough pictures of hamsters on this forum!
I thought this series of modules was actually a very compelling plot, but as others have noted, has some serious gaps in its coverage and events - likewise, some of the connecting parts are real stretches if you're a GM that has a suspicious or circumspect party (and if you're playing Dark Heresy, why wouldn't you be?). While I was running this with my group I invented some occurrences to plump out the campaign and work in smoother transitions.
Oh yes, speaking of players, if any of you happen to be following me on here, feel free to stop reading now - I'll know.
Bulagor Thrungge was previously known, albeit distantly and through a false name, as being someone who'd been in contact with Logicians that the players had a run-in with while in the low hives of Sibellus. Rather than being brought along as extra muscle, the acolytes' job with the Scintillan PDF troops is explicitly to make sure none of them happen to dick around with any proscribed artifacts or heretical texts that Thrungge might be in possession of. After coming through the roof of the church and dealing with the forces there, there's a hidden sub-chapel below the main one that can be accessed through solving a puzzle embedded on the bas relief of the Emperor at the back of the church (this will be a recurring theme later on); the sub-chapel contains a variety of Bad Things that conclusively prove Thrungge's guilt while also being very tempting swag for any acolyte who's not on the straight and narrow. The sub-chapel also contains some evidence of Thrungge's trip to Baraspine, so it's concievable the players might not even need to fight him in the menagerie - if the PDF takes care of him, they'll find the arm nonetheless and get a good grip on the severity of the situation.
The arm of such a powerful daemon is something the Ordo Malleus should handle, so my acolytes (Ordo Hereticus) go to Baraspine specifically to figure out where he got it from and if there's some kind of hotbed in the trading of proscribed artifacts and other nastiness on that world. While keeping a low profile, they're obliged to do meat-and-potatoes investigation in Kephistron Altis, which eventually turns up that Thrungge obtained the arm from an antiquities auction in one of the comparatively small hives. Getting in requires subterfuge and disguises - in my case, I had them obtain forged cognomens from the "bad parts" of town, which is also where they were attacked by black feathered cultists - then some intuition that this place wouldn't be casually mixing in very illegal items with stuff that prying eyes or ears might see. The auction house doesn't actually have any knowledge of where most of the stuff they sell comes from, but the players could determine that the guy who runs the place has been mysteriously absent for a period of time that strangely matches up more or less from when Thrungge would have been there obtaining it.
Locating the owner's residence could be done through investigation from local authorities, plying registrations, etc, but they could also obtain that directly from the auction house if they handle that situation smoothly. When they arrive, they find the man's been murdered and stuck full of black feathers - the cultists previously encountered obviously were either here, or there's an unhealthy amount of cult activity on this planet. Either way, Haematite enters into the equation here when the acolytes find a journal left by the owner along with threatening letters from the Kephistron Selchis port authority demanding to know when they're going to be paid for the hydrofoil he rented some time ago. Now armed with the knowledge that they found the arm there, the players will have a destination set.
Here I began to change things from the published material, primarily because I began to see some of the same structural problems that have been identified previously in this thread.
1. Jurutas being in the employ of the Hand, but this never actually being an element to the game itself, seems pointless. Why even bother? To wit I simply made him be a supportive character who's actually on the level, making the Gilded Cathedral a safe spot that's basically free of intrigue. This, however, requires me to do something with the titular Black Sepulchre itself.
2. If you're an inquisitive acolyte (and you damn well better be), the fact that this church has an impenetrable casket locked in a stasis field could well derange the efforts on Baraspine immediately. It seems unnecessary to even have this thing in the first place when you have a Titan buried out in the desert which surely has staggeringly powerful cogitators and logis engines that could safely record the offending information. So, delete the actual item itself entirely with the reveal that the Arch-Cardinal is actually A Bad Person(tm) being done in the Titan itself, which takes us to overhauling that location.
3. Jurutas believes that Haematite is an Angevin-era fort (see the exposed guns of the Titan's upper carapace), but the central keep made a fine location for a church. The Ministorum on Baraspine later abandoned it because the place is supposedly haunted, a source of much embarassment among the planetary diocese that they'd rather just forget about. What transpired with the Hekates will be processed through as the acolytes track down the cog-key necessary to get into the lower areas.
4. The Hekate situation doesn't really make a great deal of sense as it seems to have some conflicting information presented in the book, specifically regarding the whens and wheres of these various occurrences. I'm a man who likes my linear progression of facts, so I attempted to straighten that out and fill in some blanks. My timeline of events goes something like this:
Some Time Ago (cr. ~100 years depending on how old you'd figure Ignato is): DeVayne witnesses the Hand being formed, takes a record of it and flees with the Deiphage in pursuit. Barabus Zanatov comes into possession of this information from DeVayne, who is presumably killed in an effort to distract the Hand's pursuit. Zanatov is tracked down before he can do anything useful with the incriminating evidence, but is able to hatch a plan involving a wrecked Titan on Baraspine (you just know this sort of thing when you're a Rogue Trader). The data gets recorded into the Titan's main systems, and when the Deiphage shows up to kill Zanatov, the latter hatches a trap to imprison the daemon within the Titan itself. Hopefully someone will find the information later…
Not Quite As Long Ago (cr.40-60 years): Some of Zanatov's descendants track their old man's last location to Baraspine thinking he's hidden some kind of treasure there. They take up the Hekate mantle soas to have a good cover for why they're renovating and then establishing an estate in this old fort, unknowning that it's both a Titan as well as the location of an imprisoned daemon. The Deiphage begins corrupting the "Hekates" over time as the power of the binding on it weakens.
Significantly Less Long Ago (cr.10-20 years): Years of being exposed to the Deiphage's corrupting influence dooms the Hekates. Vorkas loses his mind and is incarcerated by Koronath while the latter begins retreating into his studies of planetary alignment and eventually becomes so engrossed that he dies of starvation at his telescope. Gustavus' biological research leads him to thinking he could live forever by conquering death itself while Nikea starts fully believing they're a Baraspine noble clan rather than the vestigates of a once-prosperous Rogue Trader dynasty. Eventually his messy work provokes her to murder him with Vorkas' big game rifle (hence the giant gunshot wound in his apparition), after which she poisons herself and all the attendants to carry out a scene from a drama. Poor Vorkas is still alive thanks to the malignant power of the Deiphage while the other members of the Hekates still exist, unknowing of their death, as warp ghosts.
Not That Long Ago At All (cr.5-10 years): Baraspine's arm of the Ministorum takes advantage of this abandoned property and sets up a church there. It only lasts for a few years due to the supposed hauntings (which are very real) which resist exorcisms and the remote location of the place to begin with. Rather than expend further expense on trying to fix the place the planetary ecclesiarchs decide to just pretend it never happened and strike it from the records; Jurutas will be happy to point it out to the acolytes if they ask as he considers the fact that they gave up on the place to be a very humiliating and undigifed smirch on the good name of the Emperor's church. To date, nobody has actually figured out that the place is a Titan since Barabus Zanatov.
Just The Other Day Really (cr. the last year or so): The binding imprisoning the Deiphage has severely weakened and it is able to extrude a part of itself with the hopes that someone will find it and spread its corrupting influence. While moving through the area the auction house's owner happens to discover the arm and foolishly takes it back to Kephistron Altis figuring it's probably worth quite a bit to the right buyer. It is (see above).
5. Once the acolytes have exorcised the Hekates and put that problem to rest for good they can finally use the cog-key to figure out what's going on here. Determining that Haematite is actually a Titan could happen at any point while they're wiggling around the huge machinery or navigating giant cog doors, but it's probably immensely obvious when they find the control room (the head) and see the deceased crew still at their stations. The reason why the Titan was wrecked here is anyone's guess but I suggested it was likely lost when purging the planet of Orks during Angevin's time and forgotten, otherwise I imagine Legio Venator would have puttered over there to dig the thing up some time ago. They don't just make Imperator-class Titans every day, y'know. Anyway, the Titan's logis stacks (more likely its Machine Spirit) is trying to display DeVayne's recording but without power this is not possible, so the acolytes will need to re-ignite the reactor as normal. This, of course, has the side effect of giving the final impetus to release the Deiphage.
6. While summoning Furies and beginning its attempt to possess the Titan from without, the players will have to navigate back up to kill it. The campaign book suggests using the Imperator's rusted-over Quake Cannon for the job, though I came with a more fun idea of arming the players with a laser-targeter that was vox-linked to the Titan's Plasma Annihilator, which fires through the cliffside and very nearly kills the daemon, leaving the players to finish it off. When they destroy the Deiphage's physical body it explodes into a cloud of feathers that fly in every direction; the release of raw psychic energy knocks them unconscious. If you're a dick of a GM you might force Tests to avoid gaining Insanity or Corruption at your choice.
7. When the players return to their senses they'll realize the Titan's moving, which giving its condition shouldn't be possible. The horrific visual imagery of faces pressing at the walls and debased sculptures weeping blood might suggest that the Deiphage has successfully taken control of the Titan, and moreover has marched towards Kephistron Altis during their incapacitation. The Librarium Nox incident transpires while the players are going *back* down to the control deck to figure out WTF is transpiring - by the time they get there, they'll find that the princeps' corpse has been conflagrated with a fiery effigy of the Deiphage, and moreover, the Titan is preparing to fire all its weapons at the spaceport in Kephistron Altis, which at very least would trap them on Baraspine. However, it is more likely that attempting to fire all of the Titan's badly corroded weapons at once will cause the reactor to cook off, in which case the players (and most of Kephistron Altis on the whole) are about to be reduced to their constituent atoms. This can be averted by manually jettisoning the reactor's fuel rods and shutting the Titan down again, but there is a very limited amount of time to accomplish this before <giant solar fusion detonation>.
8. With no physical body again the Deiphage is now trapped in the immobile Titan once more, which proceeds to faceplant into the roof of the Gilded Cathedral, reuniting the players with Jurutas in a rather spectacular way. Before it runs out of juice, however, it is able to play DeVayne's video log, giving the players their impetus to continue.
Depending on how thorough and "big picture" your players are, they might want to stay on Baraspine for a while to help with cleaning up the mess caused by the Titan marching into Kephistron Altis, contacting the Tricorn in Sibellus or perhaps Legio Venator's base on Lycosidae to try and deal with the imprisoned daemon as well as the fact that there's now a Titan stuck in the middle of a city (kind of a big deal). The first response that arrives, however, is an Ecclesastical mission headed by Cardinal Valcarna of the Adrantean Diocese who just happened to be nearby. This will be relevant later on, however, since the Deiphage will be making a return appearance under the Hand's direction, and Valcarna is Ignato's loyal toadie…
Anyway, I enjoy the investigation aspects of the game more than anything else, so that's why I fattened that part up heavily. Your mileage may vary, especially if your players prefer the more militant approach.
I wrote the Macharian Handbook.