Sins of Askellon
A Designer Diary for Dark Heresy Second Edition
“Gather tears for the sins of ye fathers, O children of Askellon.” –Saint Valerius, Introit to the Apocrypha Askellios
Recently, we released Dark Heresy Second Edition, a new roleplaying game that casts players as Acolytes in the service of an Inquisitor amidst the grim darkness of the far future. In every game, you face the horrors of the Warp-stained Askellon sector, striving to buy humanity more time.
The darkness of the Askellon sector has never been explored before Dark Heresy Second Edition. Today, Andy Hoare, a leading author at Black Library and one of the major authors in Dark Heresy Second Edition, discusses the game’s new setting: the dark and ancient Askellon sector.
Andy Hoare on the Askellon Sector in Dark Heresy Second Edtion
The Askellon sector is an entirely new sector of the Imperium, departing from the Calixis Sector of Dark Heresy, the Koronus Expanse of Rogue Trader, the Jericho Reach of Deathwatch, the Screaming Vortex of Black Crusade and the Spinward Front of Only War. Although this sector is new, it is still subtly linked to the regions of the Imperium that you may have experienced before. Players steeped in the lore of the Calixis Sector and its connected regions may recall scattered mentions of some other locations – the Scelus and Ixaniad Sectors, the “Dread” Mandragora Sector, and an unnamed region bluntly labelled “Access Denied.” This once-forbidden sector is the region in which Dark Heresy Second Edition is set, and the reason for its ominous designation quickly becomes clear to Game Masters and players that dare to enter.
The Askellon sector has been marked “off limits” even by the great Navigator Houses. Ravenous data-phages slowly work their way through Imperial archives, redacting the region from stellar maps. The reason for this is simple—a seemingly endless Warp Storm, called the Pandaemonium, roars through the Askellon sector. This tempest exists on a huge scale that may one day even rival the Maelstrom and the Eye of Terror.
Because of this, the Askellon sector is doomed, but not to a swift, glorious, or merciful death. The region and its people have courted damnation since the very earliest days of human settlement in this sector. Countless legends describe the earliest days of Askellon, but few can be trusted. Some stories claim that the colonists of the first worlds were damned before they arrived; others say the settlers were helplessly fleeing some great calamity or betrayal. These first core worlds clung together through the terrors of the Age of Strife, so that when the Great Crusade finally cast out the shadows of Old Night, Askellon stood as one. Tales from those days exist only as mythical legend and consecrated texts, describing the arrival of the Emperor and the galactic war of rebellion in sacred verses. There are manifold tales of glorious conflict and celebration from those dark times, though apocryphal whispers dare to question these events and Askellon’s role in them. Of course, such accusations are not uttered openly, for the Lords of Askellon are all-powerful within their domains, and a formidable history is not a matter for open discussion.
Askellon is steeped in damnation, forming a microcosm of the larger Imperium’s fate. The institutions of the Askellon sector are crumbling, its ruling classes are beyond corrupt, its worlds are riven with endless war, and all the while, the enemies of Mankind plot its downfall. Uncounted border systems have been lost to the Pandaemonium and other threats over the millennia, and the Imperium may perhaps turn its back on Askellon once and for all. Many of Mankind’s great pillars regard the sector as lost already, so when a high adept of the Adeptus Terra passes away, none replace him. Worst of all, the League of Black Ships has been erratic at best when scouring the sector for psykers. All of Askellon seethes with Warp energies that threaten to draw the questing coils of the Pandaemonium onwards.
Upon these cursed stars falls the inscrutable eye of the Inquisition. Few Inquisitors operate openly in Askellon: to do so would be to court a repeat of the internecine conflict known as the Vaxi Atrocity that burned an entire sub-sector and saw dozens of Inquisitors and their indentured armies clash for no benefit, save that of the dark gods. An uneasy truce holds rival Inquisitors at a distance, but their wars grind on, fought by proxy through their Acolytes, even as they struggle to uncover a fraction of the crimes attributed to the Lords of Askellon. Those sworn to an Inquisitor’s service have their duties to perform, even as the sector crumbles around them.
There are those who would abandon Askellon and its masters to their fate, allowing them to be consumed by the ravening Warp. But others fear that this course of action would allow a daemonic incursion of unprecedented scale. If this invasion occurred, the worlds of an entire sector would be transformed into the domains of Daemons, and the fall of the Imperium brought even closer. Only the bold servants of the Inquisition are willing to lay down their lives to avert this dire fate, even as the Lords of Askellon invent new sins in a sector seething with the darkest heresies known to Mankind.
Enter the Askellon Sector
The doom of the Askellon sector may be certain, but there are still those of the Inquisition who will fight to the death before they see more of the Imperium slip into eternal night. Take your place among that heroic number as you make your investigations and battle for the fate of the Askellon sector!
Dark Heresy Second Edition is now available online through our webstore and at your local retailer.