Experimental session of the Deathwatch game I''ll be playing in once I''ve wound up Season One of our Rogue Trader game.
It was obvious from the start that this was not going to be a serious campaign. One of the custom chapters for the proposed Deathwatch game is a chapter of astoundingly ill luck, and faulty genetic engineering.
Me: They really were scraped from the bottom of the geneseed fridge, weren''t they►
GM: The Lamentors chapter psychic ability was good - they spread waves of despair, just like I''ve been accused of doing
GM: The Space Wolf Dreadnought Bjorn the Fell-handed is so old he actually met the Emperor.
Gilroy''s player : "Back in my day, Orks were twice as big. And three times as ugly!"
Me: "Get off my lawn!… I wore an Ork head on my belt, it was the fashion of the time…
In this session, we were sent to clean up after another mission, at a crash site where some of the earlier team were thought to have been killed on arrival. The missing Drop-Pod went down on Graf Magna, inside Ork-occupied territory, but only now has the pod''s beacon started broadcasting. For some reason the Watch-Commander wants nobody to know that the Deathwatch were there, and we are given orders to eliminate anybody, even Imperial authorities, that try to obstruct or delve too deeply into the clean-up mission. The team selected for the mission contains an unusual number of specialists…
Characters include - Tactical Marine Telemachus of the Millennial Wardens - Sneaky bastard.
Apothecary Corben of the Emperor''s Ghosts - Also sneaky bastard, here to recover the gene-seed of his fallen battle-brothers.
Apothecary Hippocrates of the Dark Angels - Secretive bastard. Somewhat distrusted by the rest of the team, thanks to the Dark Angel''s reputation for secrecy.
Devastator Gunhildr of the Iron Hands - Cranky bastard.
Assault Marine Gilroy MacIan of the Storm Wardens - Mad bastard.
Tech-marine Tawhaki of the Scions of Fuschal - Probably a bastard.
Despite some misgivings, the already notorious Gilroy MacIan is elected squad leader for the mission, due to his previous experience at winding up Orks. He''s notorious for some of the following - he''s Gilroy MacIan because that''s Anglo-Gaelic for Leroy Jenkins ( at least we eventually decided against Brother Larcus, Crispin and Malleus, and their battle cry of WoopWoopWoopWoopWoop! ). And when he''s not charging Orks mobs, ripping off their arms, and beating them to death with the soggy end, he has other things to occupy his time.
Gilroy''s Player : His hobbies are either baking muffins or knitting. Both encourage temperance and dexterity - and I''ll do both in power armour
Me : So what does he do with the stuff he knits►
Gilroy''s Player : Strangles his enemies. ''This scarf is just your colour!'' ''BLAARGHHH! *choking noises*''
Brother Gilroy : GIIIIILROY MacIAAAAAN!!!!!!!!! *charges*
Brother Telemachus: I foresee myself recquisitioning the Astartes Grapnel Launcher a lot. *SHUUNT - reels Gilroy back in*
Me: I foresee myself spending most of the session transcribing quotes.
Assault Marine Gilroy MacIan : What, nobody wants to charge the enemy with me► Ah well, I''ll just do it myself. GILROY MacIAAAAAAANNNNNN!!!!
Apothecary Hippocrates : Don''t worry, I''ll come with you…. I''ll harvest your gene-seed one of these days…
Assault Marine Gilroy MacIan : *sings* I like to fillet big monsters, I cannot lie; you battle-brothers can''t deny…
Assault Marine Gilroy MacIan : So, has anybody else named their power armour yet► I''ve named mine ''Thunderchild''… no► Your loss.
Assault Marine Gilroy MacIan : I''ve got a name for the squad, too - ''A Murder of Space Marines''
Assault Marine Gilroy MacIan : *sings* Bolters and chainswords and claymores for fightin'', thunder hammers all a''cracklin'' with lightnin'', jump packs and armour and Iron Halo rings, these are a few of my wargear-y things…
We eventually decide that an insertion inside Ork territory, then moving back towards the human lines on Scout Bikes, with a teleport homer beacon to remove all the wreckage and remains once we''ve found them, will be the way to go.
GM : *chants* D''oh… D''oh… D''oh… D''oh… D''oh…
All : ►
GM : Teleport Homer
Devastator Gunhildr OOC : Teleport homers are for sissies
Tech-Marine Tawhaki OOC : Real Space Marines WALK home.
Assault Marine Gilroy MacIan : I''m liking this squad already
Apothecary Corben : How far from the crash site do we want to drop►
Devastator Gunhildr OOC : I suggest three days out, taking this lovely route via the tropical beaches. I''ll requisition the Margaritas now.
Apothecary Hippocrates OOC : We''ll have to hold pinkies while we walk down the beach.
Assault Marine Gilroy MacIan : I could use use two Suzuki Swifts as nunchuks if I have to
Tactical Marine Telemachus : We this many mission bonuses, we could land, take off again, and we''re we''re done.
GM : Not quite, you still need 120 mission points
Tech-Marine Tawhaki : We''ll just have to kill some Orks while we''re there
Assault Marine Gilroy MacIan : And what a turrible shame that''ll be *grinning horribly*
Tactical Marine Telemachus : Fun► Fun is for the after-party.
Assault Marine Gilroy MacIan : I''ll bring the Disco Grenades.
Devastator Gunhildr : Do you install cybernetics► I''ve had this cough lately and I''ve been thinking about having my lungs replaced.
Tech-Marine Tawhaki : Now if we had an Ultramarine in the squad we could ask him was the Codex Astartes says to do in this situation.
Assault Marine Gilroy MacIan : And then say "That''s nice, now shut up"
Apothecary Corben : Are we all Codex chapters►
Assault Marine Gilroy MacIan : There''s a Codex►
Gilroy relaxes during the drop.
GM : You''re knitting►
Tech-Marine Tawhaki : Of course he is, it''s not like he''s going to be cooking muffins on the dropship… no oven….
Assault Marine Gilroy MacIan : I''m sorry, boys, I''d have brought muffins to the meeting, but wouldn''t you know it, I burnt the lot.
Unfortunately, it appears that several hundred Orks got to the crash site first. Unfortunate for the Orks, that is.
Tactical Marine Telemachus : Let''s Ride! … oh no, I''m having flashbacks to ''Biker Mice From Mars''
GM : The Ork Nob and his retinue of Shoota Boyz are coming down the ravine towards you.
Assault Marine Gilroy MacIan : Gentlemen! He''s coming right for us… exactly where I want ''im!
Tech-Marine Tawhaki : You wiped out the entire mob.
Peanut Gallery : Now they can de-mob
GM : There''s still some people moving through the brush on the far side of the ravine
Tech-Marine Tawhaki : Not people - xenos scum
GM : Well, there might have been some people in there.. that would take some explanation
Tactical Marine Telemachus OOC : One of them stands up and takes off his Ork mask, and yells ''Foam Weapons Only! Foam Weapons Only!"
Mortally wounded Ork Nob : My squishy bitz! I need dem!
The Orks attempt to regroup here the crash site, behind some boulders.
GM : One of the mobs fires a missile at you.
Tech-Marine Tawhaki : Aw, how sweet, they noticed.
Assault Marine Gilroy MacIan : They do care!
Tech-Marine Tawhaki : I believe that''s your cue
Assault Marine Gilroy MacIan : GILROOOOOOOY MacIAAAAAAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! *charges*
GM : Yes, you''re all on the squad leaders initiative, but you''re just behind
Assault Marine Gilroy MacIan : He''s saying you''re a little slow
Assault Marine Gilroy MacIan : *grabs Ork in a chokehold* Gentlemen! Atomic Astartes Noogie!
Tech-Marine Tawhaki : It''s what the Deathwatch rejects that makes the Deathwatch the best.
GM : You should kill them this round - what are you using►
Assault Marine Gilroy MacIan : Irony
The lone surviving Ork legs it for the horizon
Tech-Marine Tawhaki : Well, if you still want hand-to-hand combat against them
Assault Marine Gilroy MacIan : Eh… just the one► What''s the point► Hose him down, boys.
All : *draw and fire*
Four dead Space Marines are recovered from the wreckage - but the way the beacon was moved to the top of the ridge, and the black-box records from the pod, suggest that one of them managed to bail out in time, and probably landed behind the human lines. Which makes his failure to report in very odd. Not only that, it appears the drop-pod had been sabotaged. And who set up the beacon, in that case► To be continued…
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On the warworld Magna Ganf, the Deathwatch team are trying to recover all evidence of Emperor's Ghosts Space Marine presence on the planet - difficult, since one of the marines survived the crash, came back to set up a radio beacon, then left again.
Techmarine Tawhaki: At least we assume it was him. If somebody else has been interfering with Astartes technology, we will want a word with them. And that word will be 'bolter-round'.
Battlebrothers Gunhildr, Hippocrates, and the NPCs are left at the crash site, to guard the pile and teleport out if any Orks show up before we get back. Squad Leader MacIan is fine with leaving the Iron Hands Gunhildr behind.
Assault Marine Gilroy MacIan: I don't know if any of you guys have noticed, but he's bit of an arsehole.
Assault Marine Gilroy MacIan: We'll simply ask if they've seen someone eight feet tall.
Techmarine Tawhaki: Ah, well clearly he's disguised himself by cutting off his own legs.
Apothecary Corbis: Brother…
Assault Marine Gilroy MacIan: It's Brother Gilroy
Apothecary Corbis:I said Brother
Assault Marine Gilroy MacIan: You're so stiff
Techmarine Tawhaki: I can fix that *gets out the oil*
Trying to find the missing Emperor's Ghost marine will be easier if he's used chapter-sign to mark landmarks
Techmarine Tawhaki: The Emperor's Ghosts woz 'ere in bright fluoro orange across the fortifications
Apothecary Corbis: The ghost who walks
Techmarine Tawhaki: So we should be looking for people with a skull mark punched into their jaw?
Word is relayed to us of an Imperial unit pinned down by fire some miles to the north - we're inclined to ignore it, given the orders to keep knowledge of our presence to a minimum, but they are under the flightpath of the crashed pod, so may have seen something. Unfortunately, it turns out that both attackers and defenders are human, which makes identifying who we're supposed to kill, or at least, question first, then kill to maintain mission secrecy, difficult.
Techmarine Tawhaki: I think we failed to requisition binoculars because we knew, with MacIan in charge, that whatever we ran into out here, we'd be in close combat thirty seconds later.
Telemachus scouts ahead to check which side are the Gaurdsmen, and which the bandits.
Techmarine Tawhaki: Good idea - Charlie Foxtrot is not our friend
Telemachus strolls unnoticed through the battleline, and scares the hell out of the Gaurdsmen - part of an Iocanthos scout regiment, who confirm that they did see a wounded marine, set up the beacon as per his instructions, and then had the bulk of their unit, all the officers, and the marine rounded up by the Calixis Commisariat, the Sector Governor's private military police force, and a group despised and feared even more than the usual Commissars.
Techmarine Tawhaki: They're recruiting from Iocanthos now?!
Tac-marine Telemachus: Why wouldn't they - it has a population of five billion and they've been killing each other since the age of three. They'll make great infantry.
Assault Marine Gilroy MacIan: *strokes his motorbike* Sing for me, Baby. VROOM, VROOM
Techmarine Tawhaki: Look at it this way, Brother Telemachus - he makes your attempts at stealth more successful
Assault Marine Gilroy MacIan of the Storm Warden Chapter makes his attack run on the bandits - driving his motorbike with one hand and swinging a claymore with the other, laughing with joy, and playing bagpipe music at 240 decibels.
Techmarine Tawhaki: You know, it's just occurred to me that 'MacIan' and 'Maniac' are almost the same word.
Tac-marine Telemachus: You only realised this now?
Tac-marine Telemachus: That music is a bit much - I'm pretty sure it's listed under 'cruel and unusual punishment'
Techmarine Tawhaki: MacIan may be more enthusiastic about the slaughter, but I'm more methodical. She loves me, she loves me not. She loves me, she loves me not. She loves me!
Tac-marine Telemachus: My apologies, Brother MacIan - I neglected to inform you that I had already located our missing brother, and that there was no need to take prisoners. Please, finish this traitor with my pistol.
The traitors are local Planetary Defence, turned rogue due to the abuse they've suffered at the hands of their supposed allies, the Iocanthos regiment included. Rather than be handed over to the authorities, he attempts to enrage us enough to kill him on the spot. This doesn't work, but certainly raises our choler.
Techmarine Tawhaki: You don't deserve an Astartes bullet. We will not soil our armour with your blood. Instead, I think, we should leave you in the company of the Iocanthos regiment. I'm sure you'll have a lot to talk about.
Techmarine Tawhaki: And as we leave we can hear the screams - even over the roar of the engines.
Tac-marine Telemachus: They fought well. I shall recommend to my chapter that we descend on Iocanthos and invoke our Right of Decimatory Recruitment.
Off to the country hotel long since commandeered by the Calixis Commissariat. They order us to halt and identify ourselves.
Assault Marine Gilroy MacIan: Throw up gang signs, brothers. *all pose*
Assault Marine Gilroy MacIan: We're looking for a Space Marine.
Techmarine Tawhaki: About this tall.
Apothecary Corbis: And this wide.
Tac-marine Telemachus: Remember, we must park close enough together that when the comic relief shows up, he can knock all the bikes over in one go.
Assault Marine Gilroy MacIan: I'm going to requisition a top hat! If I can't wear a helmet then I'll be the Dapper Marine.
They're a bit alarmed to see us. This might be because they have a badly wounded space marine captive, and have been torturing him because he refuses to identify himself ( the Emperor's Ghosts were chosen for the original mission because of the need for total secrecy, after all ).
Tac-marine Telemachus: If your commander isn't out here in sixty seconds I'm going to go looking by myself.
Apothecary Corbis: 60…59…
Chalice Commissar: I refuse to release the prisoner unless you have proper Inquisitorial identification!
All: *gaze at him with some astonishment that a mere human can be so suicidal, and simultaneously point to the Deathwatch insignia occupying our left pauldrons.
I suspect the only reason that none of us swatted his head off his shoulders was because of a clinical interest in how far this text-book case of delusions of grandeur would go. As it was, it was Telemachus who reached his limit first.
Tac-marine Telemachus: *seizes Commissar by throat and yanks him up to face level* We are the Emperor's Angels of Death! We are DEATHWATCH! We serve the will of the High Lords of Terra! You are obstructing that will! DO! YOU! UNSTANDSTAND?!
Wounded battle-brother patched up, we call in for evac, and recommend that the surviving Iocanthos troops be requisitioned into Deathwatch control. After all, they've proved much more trustworthy than the Calixis Commissariat.
Techmarine Tawhaki: Yay, who wants a scout as a minion?
Tac-marine Telemachus: Chianti and human flesh? Really?
Assault Marine Gilroy MacIan: I'm sure the Codex Astartes has directions for what wine goes best with Long Pig, but…
Techmarine Tawhaki: It's in one of the appendices.
And back off to the Watchstation, confident in the knowledge that that commissar, and probably the entire base, are going to be wiped out by the local High Command for so embarrassing them before the Space Marines…
The Deathwatch GM wanted the team leader to write up closing reports on the mission ( or as I suggested calling them, based on lederhosen's lead the "Dear Princess Celestia" letters ). We got these two pieces of brilliance
Deathwatch Stronghold, Calxis sector, MacIan's kitchen, 1854 hours.
Scribe Duncan, barely past his 17th year, was new to the watch. A son of a well-regarded line of Scribes, he'd been given a sacred duty as the personal scribe to the legendary Space Marine warrior - Brother MacIan. Peerless among his brothers for his battle prowess, it is said that he has never lost a duel on or off of the field of battle.
He should have gotten suspicious when he learnt that Brother MacIan's old scribe, Duncan's grandfather, had retired due to 'Stress-related' illnesses.
A Storm Warden, Duncan expected a severe but fair task master. Always demanding his all, nothing less would suffice. In his dreams the young Scribe saw himself penning down epic battles, tales of fiery daemons held in a sword lock whilst the Deathwatch brought death to the Emperor's enemies. Yet here he was as he clutched a roll of parchment, mousily following the tell-tale smell of cider and baked sweet bread.
Around the corner, wearing only his power-armour gloves, a pair of briefs and a pink-frilly apron embroidered with 'Fight the Chef' was the legendary assault marine himself. The name that Orks fear and cause lesser men to quail in his presence. There, crouched down before an oven, was MacIan, his height and girth making it akin to watching a bodybuilder peering down at an easy-bake oven.
At least he had underwear under the apron this time.
"Uh-uh… H-Hail! B-brother MacIan, I h-have come because I need to-."
The reaction was immediate.
"AH YOUNG DUNCAN ME' LAD. HOWS IT FINDING YAE?" MacIan bellowed, his frilly apron dancing in the wind and he stomped over to the scribe. He engulfed the Scribe's hand in his own, giving him a bone-jarring shake that wrenched his entire body up and down.
"B-Brother I-I, the watch command has requested…"
"Wot? Ach, speak up there, lad!"
"YOUR REPORT!! Your report on your last battle!"
Duncan found himself yelling, his face flushed red with both embarrassment and at the insanity of it all.
The broad grin from the space marine's face immediately vanished. The oven timer behind him sounded off with a loud 'DING'.
"Oh yeah, that's right, fook'n hell. I knew I was forgetting something like that. Okay, it's a good thing you're here. Take a note, I need to ice these muffins."
He turned back around, giving the scribe a rather undesired view of his skull-print undershorts.
"Okay, now, write down EXACTLY what I say…"
Away Mission Report: Ganf Magna
Squad Commander: Assault Marine Gilroy MacIan of the Storm Wardens
Right, so here's how it went. First up we needed to recover the gene-seed of squad of space marine brothers on the surface while making sure no-one know that's what we were doing. Easy stuff.
First things first, Orks on the surface, we reckon they landed in a canyon. Drop-pod failures or something. Anyway, we need to get down there so we did a standard delta drop on storm bikes. Nice load out on those, my complements to the tech- ph'waohh! Duncan, sniff that! Like manna from the God-Emperor.
Yeah, so we jump down into the thick of things and spread out to attack the Orks who'd hold up around the pod. We used the storm bikes for an assault. No causalities. Err… for us that is, the Orks are all dead. Nothing was left standing higher than a squig's testicle. I think there was a Nob down there, or it might have been two Orks standing on each other's shoulders. Yeah he died too. Shame, I wanted to hit him with my sword.
So yeah, we checked out the drop pod and four of the battle brothers were killed. Bloody shame. We didn't find a body for the fifth so we had to start searching. Turns out the beacon set up was ramshackle, wasn't likely the fifth marine did it. Our reports from the Inquisitors told us that he punched out behind friendly lines. We found out later that it was some fellow guardsman, those Iocanthos troopers who we've requested for transfer, are the ones who did it under his orders. Good lot that, don't tell the tech-priest they did it though - aye?
Now, put your pen down and help me pick out these designs for the icing. I said put it down!
Right, good, you see? A floral pattern always attracts the eater, and an eater tastes with his eyes before his mouth. Now, where were we? Oh right!
Anyway, Iron Hands are holding up to their reputation; Gunhildr was highly efficient with his heavy bolter but also kind of a knob-head. Glad we didn't take him with us later. That Dark Angel apothecary was being creepy as usual, so they could stay behind too. Corbis was pretty cool, though, so he could stay. Tawhaki is a neutral element, a good marine, if a little bland. He needs more salt. Telemachus is headstrong, bossy and way too eager to solve problems with violence. Now that's a man after my own heart. Wot? Oh right! The mission report.
Right, we learned that Imperial lines was over to the west but there was a closer regiment to the north. Also there was a prison to the south where we might find him (spoilers, we found 'em there). So I said we go north and chat to the lads up there, mostly because they were being attack. Honestly I wanted to save them, but I also wanted to have another go at the Orks.
Well, we rode up on the bikes and it was the darnedest thing. The signal that the regiment had set up was a distress signal, right now there was two forces. One has las weapons and the other had autoguns. The boys up on a hill had guns and the boy attack'n 'em had las. It couldn't be Orks defending. Orks don't defend, ever. It also couldn't be them attacking since Orks don't use las. Telemachus said he wanted a look so I said yeah and he took Corbis with him. Apparently they're good at that or something.
So away, Tawhaki and I are up there holding our d- wait, you think it's time to ice them? Nah, still have to wait it's cool. Yeah, so we're our defensive position when I decided I was sick of that and circled around. Telemachus told me what I suspected, traitor PDF, so I decided to strike the fear of the God-Emperor into their hearts with some bagpipes, engine-revs and a claymore. That did good apparently. We charged the enemy lines and killed them to the next-ta-last man. The Iocanthos troops got the last blood, they earnt it.
Turns out this regiment had been left for dead by the local command for harbouring an 'unknown' space marine. I've already filed away my request for trial by combat for the Chalice Commissar's commander. Knowing that he's probably holed up in the prison we go down that way.
Fook'n hell what a kerfuffle that was.
So we rolled up to the prison and the idiots train guns on us immediately. Like we'd fook'n notice if they shot at us. We roll up inside, try to be as polite as possible. Turns out the Calixis Commissariat’s been torturing our battle brother. I'm bloody impressed all of my brothers held our fury. Hell, I'm impressed that *I* didn't kill him. We'll leave something like proper punishment to the friendly folks with the right amount of red-hot steak knives and fishhooks.
Well, other than one commissar the rest of the forces paid every due respect. Only following orders and all that. Still, if they need an executioner then I'd volunteer but only if Telemachus doesn't want to do it. I think that about wraps it up. Right now lad, I know you've been eye'n it. Go on, lick the bowl, I know you want to!
- End report
Deathwatch Stronghold, Calixis sector, Watchtower Librarium, 2036 hours.
With a sigh of exertion, Scribe Guillaume of Boscherholm made his way to the outer reading tables, his aging frame beginning to show signs of wear. He was seeking the Space Marine, Brother Telemachus of the Millennial Wardens, who had requested an addendum be attached to his squad leader's report before it was presented to the Watch Captain and then properly interred into the Watchtowers archives. Young Duncan had just finished scribing the report and had seemed somewhat harried by the experience, so he had offered to take on this task. Besides, he found that he liked this Space Marine's studious manner; although he understood that his manner was quite different on the battlefield. And by all accounts, the Millennial Wardens always afforded great respect for the learned scholars and adepts that tend the libraria of the Imperium, and his own experience with this Marine did nothing to dispel this notion.
He found Telemachus pouring over various scrolls and tomes at one of the reading tables, the single lumin-orb above it making the table seem like an island oasis amidst a sea of murky shadow, the giant's frame like some foreboding mountainside. Shaking the image from his mind, Guillaume approached Telemachus, noting the titles of the Warden's reading material. They were mission reports and historical accounts of Ganf Magna, the planet the Marine's Kill-Team had last been deployed to. Ones that specifically dealt with Ork infestation, if Guillaume read the markers correctly. Just as he was about to announce his presence with a polite cough, the massive form turned to face him. "Ah, Scribe. I take it that Brother MacIan has finally made his report. How is the young scribe that was assigned to him? Duncan, wasn't it?"
Startled slightly, Guillaume stammered out a reply, "Y-yes. Duncan is doing well enough, Brother Telemachus, although he was in need of a little rest." That, Guillaume thought, he could do without. The Warden tendency to always be aware of things just a moment ahead of when you would expect them to. He understoond that with "normal" Marines, such as Telemachus, it was merely an accute awareness and attention to their surroundings, coupled with studious observation of patterns, but it was still a little unnerving. "You wished to add your own addendum to his report?" Telemachus chuckled slightly, also an unnerving sight given the size that is typical of the Emperor's Angels of Death. "Do not worry yourself, Guillaume. I merely seek to append the report with my own observations of the Ork situation on Ganf Magna. Brother MacIan performed more than adequately in his role as squad leader and I look forward to serving under his leadership again." Guillaume nodded and shuffled up to the table proper, Telemachus picking up a few heavy tomes, as easily as one might pluck up dataslate, and clearing a little space for the scribe. Guillame noted the silvery cards of the Emperor's Tarot that are never far from a Warden, laid out in classic Aquilan Augury, and began to wonder just what the Marine might have divined with them.
Away Mission Report: Magna Gnaf
Squad Commander: Assault Marine Gilroy MacIan of the Storm Wardens
Addendum 1: Tactical Marine Telemachus of the Millenial Wardens.
Scribe's Note: The reader is reminded that it is the tradition of the Millennial Wardens to strip the familial name from a member who joins the Deathwatch. While the details are unknown outside that chapter, it is understood that they are "reborn" somehow through service to the Holy Ordo. Thus, serving in the Deathwatch is either an honour or penance. Or both, as the case may be.
In securing the site of our Brother Marine's drop pod's final landing point, Ork looters were discovered at its location and eliminated with all due prejudice. Special mention goes to Brother Gunhildr, who laid down fire with both diligence and zeal. One of the larger specimens of Ork was present, of the type commonly referred to as "Nob". Via use of Omophagea, I was able to determine that though this particular uprising has only recently entered into use of their blasphemous technologies, the local Warboss had already subjugated the local orkoid farmsteads and had even gained the allegiance of a "Tekshaman". I can only surmise that this Ork is a twisted mockery of the Imperium's blessed Tech Priests, and as such represent a clear a present danger to the forces currently fighting in the Emperor's Name on Ganf Magna.
Further information was unobtainable due to the fractured nature of the source, but consultation of the Emperor's Tarot confirms my suspicion that this Warboss, one Gazbag, is expanding his influence ahead of usual projections of Orkish development. This would indicate the potential for the local Ork shared psychic field to reach its eruptive threshold, or "Waaagh". I recommend that either Gazbag or this Tekshaman be singled out for extermination in order to prevent this.
Thought for the Day: Knowledge is Power. To be Unknown, is to be Unconquerable.
- End Addendum
Deathwatch, and the further missions of Team Psi Tau Digamma. In this one, dispatched to investigate reports of Eldar activity. There's also reports that humans are trading with them - illegal, unless you're a Rogue Trader, and doubly so when within Imperial borders. Thus, off to the frontier world of Faldon Kise.
Tac-marine Telemachus: All together now *sings* Faldon Kise, Faldon Kise…
Tac-marine Telemachus: Actually, Iocanthos is relatively pleasant - it's mostly grasslands.
Techmarine Tawhaki: Apart from the skeleton-strewn battlefields all over the place.
Tac-marine Telemachus: Oh, I don't know - the skulls add a certain aesthetic appeal.
Assault Marine Gilroy MacIan: Everybody is so damned serious - you'd think it was only grim darkness and war out there.
Assault Marine Gilroy MacIan: We know Gunhildr still has a stomach - it was his sense of humour he had surgically removed.
Techmarine Tawhaki: *sighs* Are you two assault marines really having headbutting contests?
Assault Marine Gilroy MacIan: Of course we are - how else are we supposed to assert dominance? Whoever falls over first has to roll over. *rubs Regulus's belly* Who's a good puppy. Who's a good puppy.
Brother Telemachus : A Dark Angel in the Deathwatch? That's unusual - you're usually too secretive to volunteer.
Apothecary Hippocrates : *glares* I think i see the flaw in your gene-seed, Brother - you can't keep your mouth shut. Would you like me to sew it up for you?
Assault Marine Regulus: We've got 40 requisition points left over.
Assault Marine Gilroy MacIan: Assault Marines - getting shit done for less money.
Tac-marine Telemachus: I've still got 60 - Tactical Marines - getting shit done with our basic gear.
There is indeed a human vessel in orbit around the pesthole when we get there - a trading ship belonging to the relatively youthful Rogue Trader Lucia Marr-Aborus. She, wisely, co-operates fully when we land a Thunderhawk dropship in her landing bay and roll out a pair of tanks. Apparently she is here to transport agents of another, rather more influential Rogue Trader - Maximilian dePledge - to the planet below. This complicates matters - Rogue Traders after all have leave to trade with xenos, albeit outside the borders of the Imperium … and dePledge is a friend of the Sector Governor Lord Hax. It would appear this mission is accumulating political aspects. nonetheless, Marr-Aborus is perfectly willing to tell us what she knows, and shut down communications with the surface - she isn't nearly as influential as her peer, after all, and pissing off the Inquisition is never wise. We depart for the surface, to locate dePledge's agent and drag them in for questioning.
All: For the Emperor!
Devestator Marine Gunhildr: Normally we do it for muffins.
All: For the Emperor and muffins!
Tac-marine Telemachus: *Makes the sign of the Aquila and salutes.*
Assault Marine Gilroy MacIan: *does the same* Cross the turkey, see the emu.
Tac-marine Telemachus: ?_?
Faldon Kise enjoys a barely habitable climate, a two-kilometre high Beacon advertising that this system marks the edge of Imperial Dominion to anybody that cares, and a fair population of mutants and other undesirables imported to build the beacon, then abandoned because it was cheaper than carting them back to the factories and sweatshops back home. One of the shantytowns encircles the beacon, and the landing ground has been neatly laid out with giant letters "Traders Welcome! Please Land Here"
Techmarine Tawhaki: Let me guess - right next to the barbecue pits?
The mutants, as it happens, are still loyal to the God-Emperor, despite their subhuman status and abandonment. Nonetheless, the crowd does starts to haemorrhage members when we announce we're here under the auspices of His Most Holy Inquisition.
Techmarine Tawhaki: These mutants are lucky the Gunhildr isn't leading this mission, or we'd be setting up the stakes and firewood already.
dePledge's agent's pilot and crew are swiftly rounded up, and their transport grounded. The suspect, however, has already set off in a rhino tank with some armsmen and a chirurgeon, and we head off in pursuit. Delays arise after the discovery of some mutilated mutants, and the incredibly unwise attempt by some Eldar rangers to slow us down by opening fire on the team. Naturally, MacIan's retribution is terrible, and makes Telemachus' order to take the Xenos alive problematic.
Tac-marine Telemachus: I can't believe I'm telling you this… but go save that Xeno.
Too late. At least we can still eat their brains and learn what they're doing here. Apparently, as well as meeting dePledge's delegate, they're looking for evidence that their Dark Kin are around. The mission is now even more difficult, because not only are these Eldar from the Kaelor craftworld, which for some reason is allowed to pass strictly unmolested across the Calixis Sector, but we have to distinguish between them and the Dark Eldar, instead of just killing everybody and letting their foul xenos gods sort them out.
Tac-marine Telemachus: I want their stones
Assault Marine Regulus: *splutters*
Techmarine Tawhaki: You might want to rephrase that, Brother.
Tac-marine Telemachus: Oh, right, colloquialisms. I want their spirit stones.
At least dePledge agent turns up. He seems pretty arrogant about his chances, and unfortunately it appears his knowledge of loopholes in the Rogue Trader charter and Imperial Law means he might actually be in the right. This is annoying, but Telemachus feels that simply blowing him and his men away and nuking the Eldar site from orbit might not be the best way to go.
Tac-marine Telemachus: I'm practising politics.
Devestator Marine Gunhildr: Pardon?
Tac-marine Telemachus: Politics.
Devestator Marine Gunhildr: Pollywaffle?
Tac-marine Telemachus: Politics!
Devestator Marine Gunhildr: Never heard of it.
dePledge's man and his entourage are escorted back to the landing site, to be kept under armed guard. We press on, to find these Eldar, find out what the dePledge chirurgeon is up to, and destroy whatever Webway portal the Eldar are using to trespass on an Imperial world.
Tac-marine Telemachus: Thank you SO much for putting me, still wearing chapter marks from a chapter the Eldar despise and revile, in charge of a mission where we may have to negotiate with them.
It's like "Monty Python does Deathwatch"
Ha. You don't know the half of it. These players are always like this. And sometimes I GM for them. *gibbers*
That said, finally played the second session of the Faldon Kise mission. Will hopefully get it written up this week. Amongst other achievements, managed to horribly, horribly surprise some Craftworld Eldar, and had a mutant township nuked in order to save them from Dark Eldar.
dePledge's man and his entourage are escorted back to the landing site, to be kept under armed guard by Brother Gunhildr - his desire to exterminate anything that doesn’t live up to his own high standards makes him a poor choice for possible diplomacy. His reluctance to speak to anybody won’t help, either, although that may have something to do with the ball bearing in his larynx.
Techmarine Tawhaki: When you hold the magnet up high his voice goes up, and when you lower it it goes down. It's like helium without the helium.
Apothecary Hippocrates: Or testicles without the testicles.
We press on to find these Eldar, find out what the dePledge chirurgeon is up to, and destroy whatever Webway portal the Eldar are using to trespass on an Imperial world.
Tac-marine Telemachus: Thank you SO much for putting me, still wearing chapter marks from a chapter the Eldar despise and revile, in charge of a mission where we may have to negotiate with them.
Assault Marine Gilroy MacIan: Clearly the Watch-captain was in fine form today. 'We've got Orks? Send the Orky guy. We've got Eldar? Send the Eldar guy.' 'But sir, we've got orders not to kill-' 'SEND THE ELDAR GUY. *sits back* I am the best Captain.'
At least the debriefing report will be short.
GM: Who can summarise?
Apothecary Hippocrates: Landed tanks found mutants followed got shot by Elder shot them found truck.
Techmarine Tawhaki: Bear in mind that there's Dark Eldar on planet too. Them, we can kill with impunity. So if they're spiky, shoot 'em. If they're not spiky, check first.
Assault Marine Gilroy MacIan: What do you mean, two kinds of Eldar?
Tac-marine Telemachus: There's Xenos, and there's Xenos plus Chaos.
Techmarine Tawhaki: It's double heresy.
Tac-marine Telemachus: The Heresy Has Been Doubled!
Assault Marine Gilroy MacIan: We need them to send down six titans - then we can combine them and fight as one giant robot.
Techmarine Tawhaki: I'll get right on that.
GM: Feel free to insert an ad here.
Assault Marine Gilroy MacIan: *sings* Heresy Flakes! They stay crunchy - Even. In. Blood!
The trip up into what the locals call the Mountains of Madness – a charming kind of nomenclature – is brought to a sudden halt by our two Razorback tanks coming under fire. Or at least, receiving a warning shot, from a weapon soon identified as an Eldar Vibrocannon, a sonic device of shocking destructive power. Naturally, most of us disembark at spreed, since the tanks make very good targets. Interestingly, the Eldar don’t follow up their advantage, and we can’t detect any other Eldar watching us. Telemachus gestures his desire to parley – after all, if we can force the Eldar to leave with no further shots fired, then we achieve the mission objectives and don’t risk warfare with their Craftworld. The vile Xenos have set up a communication station halfway up the slope. Apparently their psykers had predicted our arrival, and that this warning shot and parley was the best way to avoid a blood bath. Luckily for them, they were right.
GM: *attempts Vulcan salute*
Tac-marine Telemachus: *salutes back, actually managing the salute* Nanoo, Nanoo!
All: *also all manages salute, and variants*
GM: Ok, so my players have all demonstrated they have better manual dexterity than the GM. That just means you're all clever Mon-Keigh.
Tac-marine Telemachus: Shazbot!
Eldar leader Kaumangla: Greetings. How may we help you? Do you even know yet?
Tac-marine Telemachus: >:( We seek information on your Dark Kin.
Eldar leader Kaumangla: Clearly your augmentation has increased your intelligence.
Despite that insult, our orders (and recipe advice for MacIan) mean we don’t simply open fire.
GM: His words are coming over your vox channel - or perhaps inside your heads.
Assault Marine Gilroy MacIan: Oh, hello voice in my head, I’ll introduce you to the others. That's Barry, he's a real nutter but great fun at parties.
Eldar leader Kuamangla: By the way, when you're making blueberries tarts you should use more accurate chronometers. Twenty minutes and 15 nanoseconds at 200 degrees will give you better results, especially if you use a little cinnamon on top.
Assault Marine Gilroy MacIan: That's genius! I like you, Xeno, I'll purge you last.
Kaumangla volunteers some interesting news – dePledge’s agent was not only there to trade with Xenos while inside Imperial borders, he was insane enough to attempt trade negotiations with Eldar and Dark Eldar at the same time. This will probably ensure we execute him when we resolve the case, regardless of the legal intricacies.
GM: Possession is nine-tenths of the law, and right now you possess all the boltguns.
Naturally, the opportunity to obliterate some Eldar without unwanted political ramifications is not to be missed, so we head back to the mutant township in a nearby caldera, and wait to ambush the raiders. This ambush goes very well indeed, and the Dark Eldar are extremely surprised when we expertly blow half of them out of the sky, before they decide that discretion is the better part of getting the fuck out alive, and retreat. They may have been alarmed by the way MacIan seized two by the ankles and used them as bladed weapons.
Techmarine Tawhaki: Obviously these aren’t the Dark Eldar, they’re the Derp Eldar
Apothecary Hippocrates: A-herp-a-derp-a-derp.
Slightly more alarming is MacIan's choice of bedtime relaxation.
MacIan’s player: ‘Once a character is on fire he takes one point of damage and one point of fatigue each round’ So…
Regulus’s player: Yup. You can put something to sleep.
MacIan’s player: MacIan can soak one point of damage a round easy! So when he really wants to go to sleep he just sets himself on fire :D
Assault Marine Gilroy MacIan: BANG! I hit jack shit.
GM: Jack Shit dies.
Techmarine Tawhaki: Poor bastard.
Apothecary Hippocrates: Only untainted human on the planet and catches a stray round :D
Regulus drives the point of a breeching auger through the chest of one of the raiders.
Assault Marine Gilroy MacIan: Screw you!
Assault Marine Regulus: Here’s their stones.
Techmarine Tawhaki: Dark Eldar don’t use spirit stones.
Assault Marine Regulus: Not those stones.
Techmarine Tawhaki: At least whatever we do to them can’t be worse than what they would have suffered in the hands of the Dark Eldar.
Techmarine Tawhaki: If you want to give the Dark Eldar a chance, Brother MacIan, perhaps you should tie both your hands behind your back?
Pausing only to secure a few surviving Dark Eldar as gifts to the not-so-dark Eldar, and for Hippocrates to practise his enhanced interrogation techniques on, we head back towards the Eldar meeting point to get some of the raider’s records deciphered. That, and order the mutant township burned to the ground, on the grounds that some of the Xenos may be hiding there. With the Thunderhawk drop ship, orbital cruiser, and deciphered Dark Eldar data, we swiftly determine the position of the main Dark Eldar force, and move in to attack – especially interested in capturing the Dark Eldar leader and the Webway portal generator he is presumably carrying. The Dark Eldar don’t try to retreat – after all, they came here looking for victims to torture, and we’re coming to them.
Techmarine Tawhaki: Silly, silly, Dark Eldar.
That’s because we arrive with a regiment of Iocanthos Infantry, a thunderhawk dropship, a handful of tanks, and several thousand white phosphorus grenades. The entire forest and most of the Dark Eldar go up in flame. Even their leader catches a lucky round, and is dead by the time we get to him.
And with THAT, it’s all too easy to really surprise the Craftworld xenos, by using the Dark Eldar device to break into the Webway, and emerge from the Eldar portal right behind them. And then proceed to set up demo charges on the portal, happily confident that if they open fire on us it’ll start a war we both want to avoid. Kaumangla agrees to a token duel to first blood, in order to save face after ordering his forces to fall back into the Webway, and after we secure the dePledge chirurgeon. MacIan is delighted for the chance at some one-on-one action, and both duellists manage to wound each other on the first swing. Kaumangla does get in the last word as he leaves.
Kaumangla: I retreat in defeat and disgust, and hope we meet again someday.
Assault Marine Gilroy MacIan: I hope we meet again too, byebye!
Kaumangla: I hate you and your recipe for blueberry tarts still sucks.
Assault Marine Gilroy MacIan: You’re a monster! *bursts into tears*
The Marines that did so well on Magna Ganf and Faldon Kise are sent into the Koronus Expanse, where the recently annexed and highly civilised moon Temis Minora is having a slightly peculiar Ork problem. The greenskins infecting the depths of the Temis capital are moving deeper into the hive, rather than out into the inhabited layers. It's possible they're trying to reach the pre-Crusade era colonyships around which each of the arcologies was built. Either way, Temis has an abundance of archeotech well worth claiming for the Imperium. Thus, off to Temis to stop the Orks doing whatever they're doing, ‘requisition’ any archeotech that isn't nailed down, find out whom if anybody is responsible for this odd Ork behaviour, and assassinate the Ork leader Mekboss Hedburna. The team will be short a few members however, but we remain confident.
Techmarine Tawhaki: I'm sure that Brother MacIan will smash his way through a wall when we need him. And say something like 'these Orks are mine, get your own'.
Techmarine Tawhaki: Apothecary Hippocrates must be down with the flu. Space Flu.
Techmarine Tawhaki: And here's Brother Gilroy MacIan of the Storm Wardens, although they deny all responsibility.
Assault Marine Gilroy MacIan: So, do you want me or Gunhildr in charge?
Assault Marine Regulus: I believe that either one of you is fit to give me an order which I may ignore at will
Assault Marine Gilroy MacIan: Alright, who wants me in command?
Assault Marine Gilroy MacIan: Who doesn't want me in command?
Assault Marine Gilroy MacIan: Voted in by apathy, I'm sure this mission will be a rousing success!
Assault Marine Gilroy MacIan: Can I requisition a Ratling sniper? I’ll keep him in a bag and feed him bits of cheese.
GM: No, you can’t. They’re not in the rules, and I know you only want him along so you can swap recipes.
All : For the Emperor and Muffins!
During the orbital drop, extreme turbulence means Brother MacIan drops a few stitches in his knitting.
Assault Marine Gilroy MacIan: *looks down. Rage face. Snaps both needles in his hands* Well, sorry Tawhaki, but I'm going to have to try again for your new hat.
Techmarine Tawhaki: Damn, I was looking forward to that. Marching out to greet the local ruler…
Assault Marine Gilroy MacIan: ‘Greeting, High-king Hekkr of Temis, we are the Marines of the Deathwatch…. you’re looking at the hat, aren’t you.’
Techmarine Tawhaki: 'The woolly bobble is traditional.'
The meeting with Adept Tharis, and two knights of the local High King (in Mk. II power armour, no less!) goes well enough. Tharis is a local, but is eager to show off the compliance of Temis Minora to Imperial precepts, and the efficiency of their hive's technology and organization. He also possesses cybernetic implants and dataports of non-standard design, something apparently not unusual on Temis. The scouts and intelligence sources we sent ahead confirm that the Orks are methodically scouting for some way into the walled-off heart of the arcology, and, intriguingly, something with las-weaponry is holding them off.
When going down the main cargo lifts, the marines feel the spontaneous need to get their groove on. Dancing commences, to ‘Girl from Imponema.’
Devastator Gunhildr: Stop this immediately! This is unbecoming of a space marine!
Assault Marine Gilroy MacIan: Well, actually, I'm in charge of the squad. So I can permit whatever I damn well please. *Starts singing 'My Little Deathwatch'*
GM: Ah, abuse of authority…
Assault Marine Gilroy MacIan: And somewhere the Adepts watching the security cameras are saying ‘You’re seeing this too, aren’t you?
The manufactora levels intrigue the Techmarines too - the locals have busy assembling some non-standard Land Raider tank designs, scaled down for human use. These have apparently been approved by the Tech-priests of Mars, but there are an awful lot of the Tech-priests equivalents of the Inquisition hanging around… Nonetheless, the team are given a truck and driver to speed descent into the hive. Interrupting the long ride, the team is ambushed by Orks who rappel down on ropes, and provoke another musical number.
Assault Marine Gilroy MacIan: It's raining Orks! Hallelujah!
Dealing with them turns out to be more difficult than expected, with MacIan seriously injured. And worse, we strongly suspect that's because somebody warned the Orks we were coming…
Casually drop the fact that 'Gunhild' is a scandinavian girls name. I'm sure they'll be mature about it. ;)
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