I've been GMing my Black Crusade game for a while, and I realised that some of my players are starting to get bored with fighting the Imperium. They're currently destabilizing a hive world, and I'm thinking of having them flee into the Vortex to escape the Inquisition. However, I want some interesting competition for them there, and I'm not that great at creating NPCs. So therefore, I ask for your help, Servants of the Dark Gods. Help me create some good rivals. Also, first post here, so yay that.
"Of course you should fight fire with fire. You should fight everything with fire!" - Vetranio Hessman (Dark heresy)
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Well, a good resource for NPCs is always any of the published modules, or the free adventures you can download off this website itself. I myself am intending to use the pregenerated characters from Broken Chains (with the additional two provided in the expansion PDF) to form a rival warband for my PC's to encounter, and ally/fight/coerce.
Well evil vs evil is always as interesting as good vs evil. Making the players feel a sense that their is a greater evil than they are can have an eye opening experience. On one side there is the element of corrupting power absolutely corrupting. Struggles of power and bloodshed and a lot of combat. In a game that Im running Im trying to do exactly this. Using horde rules, expanded mass combat rules and individual encounters. Also make group and individual compacts is cool, this gives you something that the players are looking forward to role playing. In any event, be sure to buy the released material. They have plenty of options and the plots and stories can be unlimited.
Many possible ways to go here.
As Hydratus said, simply picking existing characters from some adventure would be an easy way to go. They tend to be fairly well fleshed out and interestingly written, so you'd only have to choose, and possibly find a way to connect them. Either that, or pick one character as the boss and generate new NPCs around him to be his entourage.
In a similar vein, you could expand your search to characters from other sources throught the entire 40k franchise, looking at units and special characters from GW's books (though obviously not Abbadon himself), other games, or novels. My own knowledge concerning Chaos characters is very limited, but being a Sororitas fan, someone who did catch my eye was Miriael Sabathiel, the Fallen Battle Sister and Champion of Slaanesh. In the material published by Sabertooth as they had the license, she was a major power in the struggle for the Pyrus Reach, having her own warband complete with an Inferno-class battlecruiser for a flagship and surrounding herself with a bunch of Daemonettes and a bodyguard of Emperors Children CSM Terminators, as well as a bunch of other Chaos Marines and Cultists as foot troops. Dan Abnett once wrote a short story about her origin.
In the end, I would recommend to look at what players you have in your group, and then think about what they might feel makes a cool opponent. Consider their favourite characters, movies, books and games from outside of 40k. There's bound to be something in Warhammer that swings on a similar frequency, so to speak. :)
Yet another option would be to create a sort of "mirror group" to the PCs. Not just copying them exactly, but enough so that there is a sort of distant resemblance. A "what if" that, in another lifetime, could have been them. Take their classes. Mix genders and the leadership position around. Twist the relationships between them. Change colours. That sort of stuff. This is a less serious attempt at creating a group of opponents, but your players might appreciate the humour.
current 40k RPG character: Captain Elias, Celestial Lions Tactical Marine
Two characters I made with the purpose of being rivals are these:
Nakara - a horrifically powerful witch with a fanatical devotion to Chaos and desire for domination, she used the Flesh Puppets (posted in the DH forums) as her kind of personal guard along with daemonhosts etc.
? - a daemon prince spawned from a xenos which sacrificed its entire race for the glory of Chaos and is now ruling a daemon world from which several warbands, owning fealty to it, operates
Motto to life: Let the galaxy burn!
Number of Chapters I'm working on: ~60
Finished Chapters: Smoking Fists
Other projects: Feras (Xenos race)
Touched by the Alien (Dark Heresy Campaign)
Another idea could be to pit them against pirates.
Classic hanging on the wall scenario (PCs are taken captive - because pirates are sneaky fellows!)
I can think of a ton of ways that could develop. :p
I do have a few ideas I made up for a previous game I did in the Screaming Vortex that I will briefly detail at the end. Also consider before abandoning the Calyxis Sector some of the other options as the Screaming Vortex wont be easy to get out of. A few adventures in the Spinward Front or the Koronus Expanse have their own advantages too as well as local Chaos Factions for the players to compete against in each of these. If you have access to some of the Deathwatch books consider the Jericho Reach as this has Tyranids and Tau as well as the Imperium to struggle against, as well as of course various Chaos factions being present (the Stigmartus, Word Bearers and the Pyre are all significant players in the region). Getting them there would be tricky but perhaps with a bit of a nod and a wink to the players out of character they end up boarding a transport vessel bound for the Margin Crusade (a front for providing forces to the Achilus Crusade in the Jericho Reach) either to flee an enemy such as an Inquisitor (or the fall out to one of their own schemes) or perhaps they feel that the reports of this Margin Crusade are either being too successful and needs to be derailed or is suspiciously successful! A host of new foes to entertain your players especially the Tyranids and Tau who they are unlikely to have faced before!
-A former Commisar who was left for dead in a triage centre on some distant battlefield with his troops, slowly driven mad by his own suffering to the point where even his iron resolve began to waiver. Eventually the whispers of Nurgle brought him strength and renewed vigor before he led his men under malefic influence to slay those who had denied them aid despite their previous loyalty. A commissar turned villain could be fun to play around with!
-A renegade Ultramarine champion of Khorne. Not a berserker but incredibly proud of his his martial honour to a fault. A dark parody of the Emperor's Astrates as any legionaire is but made all the more blatant by the fact he is from the biggest poster boys chapter for Imperials.
-A band of Chaos Champions more akin to a DND party who wish to take the fight to the Corpse God and his Eagle Warriors who attacked their world under the banner of his servant (a Rogue Trader?). They know little of the Imperium but but worship the Chaos Gods as animalistic deities imbued with different traits. The Crow God (Nurgle), The Raven God (Tzeentch), The Hound God (Khorne) and The Serpent God (Slaanesh). This one was more an idea for a campaign I had with the players being the Champions of the Gods who must save their world from the Eagle Warriors (because the Imperium plaster the Aquila all over everything) who serve their dark God Emperor who sits decaying a upon a golden throne, a god so jealous he does not tollerate worship of any other within his realm.
-An Astropath in service to Tzeentch who seeks to collect lore on esoteric subjects and does not seem to be trying to amass military forces. He gathers and collects information on Warp Engines and real space/warp intersections. Rumour has it he seeks to conduct a ritual to drag worlds into the warp using sorcery and technology.
-An Adminitratum Official who has recently disappeared while on vacation, at exactly the same time as a serious of errors regarding tithes and supplies have been noted, flinging disarray into several nearby areas. A new cunning mastermind champion of chaos arises taking advantage of these weaknesses in certain key areas, the small band of pirates swelling as he has an unnearing accuracy at helping them avoid Imperial Navy patrols as well as potentially over run a world or two who have been left poorly defended due to others in the sector having being prioritised.
-Rogue Trader Roberto LeGrange of the Saynay Clan. A self stylised swashbuckler this cannibalistic pirate serves his Mistress on Dusk much like the rest of his Clan however uses his own cunning and guile to masquerade as the latest descendant and owner of the LeGrange Dynasty thought lost in the Koronus Expanse… certainly he has the warrant of trade and the Vessel that his ancestors departed into the Expanse with even if he does seem a little odd to his peers, well Rogue Traders are often eccentric aren't they?
-Cardinal Luccio Ferez. Tales speak of the days when the Calyxis Sector was yet young and newly forged, dark rumours abound surrounding one of the Cardinals from those legendary times. It is said his diocese was one of those on the edge of the sector, far from the eye of his peers. It is said that he came accross tomes left unscathed by the Angevin Crusade, in these he learned secrets and before he knew it was enraptured by the secrets of the Dark Prince of Chaos. He set up a cult around him, using his skills no longer to bring those into the fold of the God Emperor. Eventually members of his cult were uncovered and he wisely made his exit, disappearing from the Imperium. He is particularly skilled at converting members of the Imperial Creed to his masters service. Indeed it is said he will pay a bounty for any missionary brought alive to him, taking it as a personal challenge to bring them onto the Path of Glory… though he has not always been successful it is said some have been turned, sent out by Cardinal Ferez as missionaries for Slaanesh.
So you need more variety in your imperial opponents?
Heres a quick list. I might come back and add more.
- Witch Hunters, Van Helsing wannabes with anti witch weapons and psyker restraining items.
- Radical Warp Dabblers, various adepts with warp weaponry paired with imperial zealotry.
- Deathwatch Space Marines, marines with access to additional training and possibly xenos weaponry.
- Grey Knights, enchanced space marines with horrendous anti-warp combat powers.
Rogue Trader Dynasties
- Priviteers, highly financed agents allied with noble houses which can operate outside of imperial law at times. May have access to xenos technology, bio engineering, frontier-world witchcraft.
- Xenos Mercenaries, sometimes outlandish breeds having been imported from across the galaxy. May become invisible through chameleonic abilities or be hideous enough to frighten even the most cold hearted heretics.
- Zealots of the True Faith, clerics of unswavering devotion, able to use faith powers (see Dark Heresy: Blood of Martyrs) to perform miracles that cannot be countered by psychic resistance. Even when critically injured, they may enter a "martyr's rage" to avoid the effects of injuries or even some forms of death for a set ammount of time.
- Banishers, priests trained in the banishment of daemons and chaos sorcery.
- Crusaders, monastic warriors with blessed armor wared from psychic attacks.
- Penitents, former heretics fitted with all manner of bionics and treated with psycho-surgery to enslave them to the will of the imperium.
- Electro-Priests, omnisiad fanatics that display glowing electric tattoos across their body, some seeming to move of their own accord. While crying out liturgies of the machine cult they channel great arcs of lightning from emiters in the palms of their hands.
- Skitarii, hulking men riddled with monsterous combat bionics.
- Ordinati, omnisiads in charge of the great machines, some have even been converted into monsterous weapons themselves, looking more like great metal beasts than men.
Just a note: the Imperium, although they are the "good guys" of the setting, are no pushovers. En mass they are probably the most difficult opponent a group of heretics could face. Read the Word Bearers omnibus if you get the chance. You'll see that even though one chaos space marine can easily dispatch a dozens of guardsmen, the sheer numbers that the imperium can commit sometimes even gives them pause.
Also, instead of moving them into the vortex to fight chaotic opponents, why not have them right next door? Maybe there could be an underhive hang financed by a sector-wide criminal orginization. They are tougher and better equipped than normal hive dregs, having access to potent unsanctioned psykers, xenos mercenaries, and high grade weapons.
They try to keep the peace for no other reason than to secure their orginization's financial future.
The back of the Dark Heresy sourcebook Disciples of the Dark Gods has profiles of some of the Calixis Sector's 'most wanted' heretics. No stats included, but just descriptions/ history. I think they are available as a pdf in the DH Support section. Good source of iinsperation for potential 'rival' heretics…
My 'fan-created content':
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