Monday, January 9, 2017

Deathwatch RPG - Getting The Band Back Together

So much has happened since I last wrote about the Deathwatch RPG group over 6 months ago. We had a few games together in which the party progressed through the sewers and into the Imperial Mansion. There they found the Lord-Governor, Thornsholt, who was acting like a big baby. He was decked out in golden Power Armor, that was more for form than function, and shooting at stand up target with a practice Bolter.

They then ransacked the Inquisitor's quarters and got another piece of the Xenocult clues, a ring and a  fancy sword.

Returning to the main hall, they were ambushed by Genestealers. This combat ran long and my players needed to get to bed. I had to truncate it considerably but this was a good lesson in not over-building combats. KISS!

The Lord-Governor's armor was ruined but other than that, it was just a few ticks of ammunition. I still don't think that I was doing Genestealers correctly. At least I remember to give them their Armor and Toughness reductions in damage and additional attacks. I know that the Lordsholm Genestealers don't get additional attacks but I needed to make it interesting. Basically, I would only take a max of 2 hits or one if they penetrated the Armor. Regardless, the Deathwatch chewed them up.

The Kill Team met Epirus Pyrrhus (a reversal of the historic Pyrrhus of Epirus) in the Lord-Governor's chambers. I will admit that this entire character was totally improvised from conception to execution. I didn't even know that I was going to have a character like this before I was role-playing him. The Lord-Governor ran to him sobbing like a child whilst Pyrrhus consoles him like a parent.

Afterwards the Kill Team moved out of the Palace and towards the House of Echos in a small convoy. The Lord-Governor truculently refused to open the tower unless the Kill Team gave him the sword they found.

I wanted to incorporate a Relic weapon since I heard the kids at Grimdark Podcast talk about them. They are Deamon Weapons but the Daemon is gone for whatever reason. Regardless, they are still exceptional weapons with just a hint of taint.

Now, the Kill Team had no reason to know this but the also didn't take any time to appraise or inspect the item. I can't fault them for that but the consequences are the same. Waving the Relic Blade like a toy sword, the Lord-Governor led the way into the tower of Echos.

I did an awesome job describing this building. The layout made no kind of sense though but who cares! It is 40k. I made everything suitably over-scaled, old and arcane. There was a spiral staircase surrounding an archaic elevator that the kill team was too scares to use. At the top was a platform with four exits at the cardinal directions. Those exits led to a balcony that you had to walk at least a quarter turn around to get to steps that led up to the Astropath's chamber.

This part makes no kind of sense. Why would someone build a tower where you needed to go outside in order to reach the top level which is the primary functional room of the building. No other building exists like this! Imagine if, on your way to the top of the Empire State Building if the elevators went 2/3rds of the way up, then you had to walk out to balcony and climb stairs on the outside to get to the top. But it held a function as I needed the Kill Team to go outside in order for them to see that the tower was under siege by cultists. I also needed a structural reason to separate the PDF guard and Epirus from the Kill Team and looking out of a window would not cut it.

The Kill Team encountered Elsharna, a young female Astropath, at the top of the tower and sent their messages. Astropaths are supposed to communicate in riddles and metaphor than I am just not capable of on the fly. It is a really tall order for any player or GM to do this. Even with dialogue boxes, this would have been hard to pull off.

Elsharna's role was thankfully brief. All the Kill Team had to do was to send a message off planet that they were under siege by Xenos and to get some veiled messages about the "Lord of Blood and Darkness." This was so imperative because, with a Genestealer infestation, after the cult reaches a critical mass, it can draw the Shadow in The Warp over a planet and cut off all communication.

On the way out of the Astropath chamber, they get frantic vox communication from Rufus, the Space Wolf Scout who had remained outside as a guard. The Astropath chamber was shielded from terrestrial transmissions. Pyrrhus had opened fire on the PDF troopers and Rufus and fled the building. At the same time, cult troops surrounded and besieged the building.

Surrounded, betrayed and out-numbered, the Kill team needed to find a way to get out of the tower. I had really painted them into a corner and totally forgotten to leave them a way out! Fortunately, the team game me some good ideas on the fly. They started looking for a way to get under the elevator and into the inner working of the tower. They made some rolls and they were back in the sewers.

A few navigation rolls later and they emerge from the bowls of the city. They make their way to a PDF station and drop off the Lord-Governor, who has been getting less childish since being removed from Pyrrhus. I don't know that the players picked up on it but I Meryl Streeped the fuck out of that.

The Kill Team then gathered up some PDF troopers and set off to attack the cultist-held Imperial Storehouses. They needed to do this to give the PDF forces the weapons, armor and equipment they need to turn the tide of the battle for the city and retake the Spaceport.

That is where we left the last game and that was 6 months ago. The group kind of fell apart with school starting then the holidays. I made efforts to reform it closer to my house and with a regular schedule. I have two more players as well so we are going to add a Carcharodons Assault Marine and a Dark Angel Tactical Marine.

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