|Into the Screaming Vortex
A preview of Black Crusade, the upcoming Warhammer 40,000 Roleplaying Game
|Black Crusade | Published 31 March 2011|
Black Crusade, an upcoming roleplaying game that offers players a new perspective on the conflict between the Imperium of Man and the forces of Chaos, will be corrupting players this summer. Today, we’re pleased to present a preview from Andrew Hoare, one of the writers for Black Crusade. Among other contributions, Andrew wrote about the various regions in which your Black Crusade campaign might take place. Thanks, Andrew!
Black Crusade takes a departure from Dark Heresy, Rogue Trader and Deathwatch, presenting its own unique corner of the Warhammer 40,000 universe – the Screaming Vortex – but wrapping its questing pseudopods about the Calixis Sector, the Koronus Expanse, and the Jericho Reach too. The Screaming Vortex is a warp storm, situated between the Calixis Sector and the Jericho Reach, and within its boiling heart, Chaos rules supreme!
Campaigns of Black Crusade can be set in any of these four locations, or all of them. Each offers a different sort of game, providing a grand arc that can see characters rise from ambitious aspiring champions all the way up to mighty Chaos warlords.
While the Calixis Sector, the Koronus Expanse and the Jericho Reach are all detailed in their own core rule books and supplements, the Black Crusade rule book presents the Screaming Vortex. Players and GMs are free to begin their campaigns wherever they like, drawing on the information presented in any of the Warhammer 40,000 Roleplay books, but the Screaming Vortex is designed as the ideal jumping off point. After all, what would-be champion of Chaos would not seek to gain dominance over his rivals before turning his fell attentions onto the hated Imperium of Man?
Where Chaos Reigns
The Screaming Vortex is the ideal setting for beginning characters to gain skills and experience and, most importantly, garner the dark blessings of the Ruinous Powers. So anarchic is the region within the Screaming Vortex that no coherent system of governance exists, though many warlords have sought to impose their will upon it. Instead, each world stands alone, the savage populations masters, or victims, of cruel fate.
While a region of tempestuous and random energies, the interior of the Screaming Vortex can be divided into three broad categories. No map or star chart can ever describe the true configuration of the vortex, for it exists as a hybrid of the real and the unreal, and is subject to no natural law. The ebb and flow of its tides can be imagined as a vast celestial whirlpool, the tides of the Sea of Souls wild and heaving on the outer edges and becoming increasingly rapid and perilous nearer the centre. The outer edges are host to a myriad of planets known as the Gloaming Worlds. These are accessible via the 13th Station of Passage, a hidden portal located deep within the Koronus Passage, and each is a savage place of anarchy and war. Past the Gloaming Worlds is the so-called Inner Ring, where the interface between the real and the unreal truly breaks down. The worlds of this region are places of insanity and Chaos, nightmarish regions shaped by the will of mad gods and brutal warlords. Beyond the Inner Ring is the Lower Vortex, a region entirely steeped in the raw stuff of the Warp. Here, the only planets to be found are horrific Daemon Worlds, where the servants of the Ruinous Powers make eternal war upon one another. At the heart of the Lower Vortex lies the Frozen Heart, and the Ascendant Spiral, a route by which a mortal strong or insane enough to have looked upon that which lies at the centre of the Screaming Vortex might escape, if the Ruinous Powers will it.
Games set within the anarchic Screaming Vortex are all about power. The player characters seek to gain dominance over their rivals, earning as they do so the dark blessings of the Ruinous Powers. Adventures within the Vortex can encompass a massive range of types, including simple battles for territory to complex and involved conspiracies. The deeper one travels into the Vortex the more power one might amass, for the worlds within the Inner Ring and the Lower Vortex hold secrets millions would, and indeed have, died for. Artefacts of terrible potency await those with the strength to seek them out, and beings of incalculable power dwell on the Daemon Worlds of the Lower Vortex. Of course, the ultimate goal of any truly worthy champion of the Dark Gods is to unite the disparate factions within the Vortex and to lead them in a Black Crusade against the unsuspecting Imperium, smashing through the 13th Station of Passage and descending on the weakling defences of the Calixis Sector.
The Unholy in a Pilgrim’s Land
Those who choose to take their campaigns outside of the Screaming Vortex will find a setting at once familiar and alien. If the Calixis Sector is a threatening environment for an Inquisitorial Acolyte, consider it from the point of view of a Disciple of Chaos! Institutions that appear from within as crumbling and impotent are to the outsider vast, cyclopean edifices of galactic domination. Players of Black Crusade get to see the Imperium afresh, through the eyes of those who hate it and seek to tear it down. But beware, for the agents of the Inquisition are everywhere, and no one can be trusted!
The Koronus Expanse is a region ripe for conquest, and one where those who tread the Path to Glory can carve out entire empires beyond the light of the hated Emperor. With countless worlds and resources just waiting to be discovered and claimed, and numerous secrets predating the rise of man buried beneath the surface of long-dead worlds, the Koronus Expanse offers unlimited possibilities.
Lastly, there’s the Jericho Reach. Here there is only war. The worlds surrounding the stellar phenomenon that is the Hadex Anomaly are completely under the sway of Chaos, and their peoples have rejected the crusading Imperium. Upon the scorched battlefields of a hundred war worlds and more, the servants of Chaos face the greatest champions the corpse-god Emperor can muster, and slay them in the name of the true powers – the Gods of Chaos.
Black Crusade is a roleplaying game set in the Warhammer 40,000 universe, a setting in the grim darkness of the far future. Players take on the roles of Disciples of the Dark Gods, working against the rule of the galaxy-spanning Imperium of Man and in pursuit of personal glory.
Any GM worth the title should be able to adapt the material for such a game. If that's what your group is after, go for it!
I was hoping that a starting player would be on the Imperium slowly corrupting from within until the characters are powerful enough to wrest control of the powers on the Screaming Vortex.
I'm gonna have to wait for the book then on how in a place of chaos there would still be some roleplaying oppurtunities.
It will, don't worry. Unfortunately it will probably be at 13k xp.
I really hope that the game allows players to start as Chaos Space Marines and not measley Chaos Fodder. I'd like to have a mirror image of the Deathwatch rules.
Sounds good. Looking forward to reading this setting.
An interesting way to sidestep the whole moral quandry. Everyones bad, so kill them all.