The story of Captain Vulpes continues. We will meet the missing PCs and make a warp jump into unknown territory.
This a write-up from our Rogue Trader Style Wrath & Glory Campaign. I will talk about story, characters and (a little) about rules. Check out the kickoff session, in case you missed it.
So, last session, Lord Vulpes escaped an ork ambush with the last remaining ship of house Vulpes, the Goolden Goose. Now he seeks to rebuild his fortune and the name of his Rogue Trader house. He was granted the opportunity to lead the exploration into a system, that had been cut off by a warpstorm that was fading. Treasure and horror awaits (probably). But he is not alone. First, he has a trusted crew, and second, he has some self-proclaimed passengers (more are coming!).
One of those is the Tech-Priest Koreljow (sometimes just called Magos), who wants to investigate and decipher a stellar phenomenon, the Koreljow-Line. Named by ‘the man’ (in parts) himself, because he discovered this anomaly. What a machine!
Next, we have Commissar Orlow. Leading by example (and fear, well… mostly fear). He comes fresh from the academy and has the order to recruit as much man as needed to support the Exploration Force. Assigned to him are two Bulklander, huge landing vessels to bring the imperial forces to the enemy.
The Astartes Epimetheus from the Salamanders Chapter. Bound by an old pact to travel with Lord Vulpes. He has a friendly and welcoming attitude towards the mere humans. Unusual and refreshing. So, this group travels from the Hethgart System to the Planet Charybdion Alpha that will be the starting point for the Exploration, once all preparations are finished. But before we investigate what lays behind the warp infused rabbit hole, let’s see what the missing three player characters are doing, and how the join forces on Charybdion Alpha, shall we?
The missing parts
So, we will visit two locations to wrap up the remaining PCs. First Aiden Hive, the main Hive on the planet Charybdion Alpha. Here we will follow the journey of the local scum, Cassidy Gaines and how a ordered recruitment machine can suck an unwilling individual into the training meat-grinder of Commissar Orlow. After that, we check out how an aspiring Inquisitorial Acolyte and a Sister Hospitaller join forces.
The scum psyker
Cassidy Gaines was (is? will ever be?) a lowborn scum, born into the bazzilions of a hive world. Destined to live and die on this planet. Or so he thought. During gang conflicts, an enemy leader leaked knowledge about Cassidy’s latent psychic powers to the authorities and so he was captured and contained so he can collected by the black ships.
But he was freed by a shady (very shady (very, very, VERY shady)) individual: Vega Bolsota. Cassidy received training by the accompanied and unsanctioned Psyker Alfera. They where later joined by an additional apprentice Skoteinos Andras. And Cassidy is tasked to be Skoteinos guide. Just as Alferas was his.
So, to wrap this up. Shady training occurs, and one day, Vega Bolsota announces, that there is an Opportunity to leave the planet, but not on a Black Ship.
“Interesting times are approaching. An, on a wave of such interesting times, interesting people are sailing Keep an open eye and ear and utilize what you have learned to gain the upper hand.”
But before Cassidy can infiltrate the Rogue Trader (The Golden Goose, shocker) Vessel, he is caught by the ruthless recruiting organisation, the Imperial Army. And the recruitment is overseen by whom? Right, the stern Commissar Orlow himself.
So Cassidy becomes one of a million conscripts that board the Imperial Bulklander, and waits for an opportunity to escape.
Acolyte and Sister
Life under this particular Inquisitor from the Ordo Xenos was harsh. The Inquisitor Morosow investigated and fights Xenos, while secretly obtaining respective knowledge and technology. In his cadre is the young, talented Acolyte Josef Markovich who has a latent (hidden) psychic potential and follows his Inquisitor to learn from him and support him.
One day, the Inquisitor announces, that they will travel to the Gilead-System, where a warpstorm is about to fade. They will be accompanied by the Mother Superior Seraphina Irinata and a small contingent of the Sisters of Battle. A long known connection between these two Leaders is hinted, we only can assume the details (but better should not or ###REDACTED###).
One of the Sisters is the (Tier 1) Sister Hospitaller Syrene. A young, devoted and calm Sister, with an unharmed skin, long hair and beautiful eyes. She is eager to save the lives of the unlucky but also occasionally assisted in interrogative torture, if it is deemed necessary.
So, the unexpected allies travel on-board the Cruiser Saint Celestine to the Planet Charybdion Alpha. The Inquisitor contacts the Rogue Trader Alexander Vulpes and invites himself to join his exploration.
Lets wrap it a little together so that we can finally, please make that jump. First, a short view on the Hive World Charybdion Alpha. An Ocean Planet, that produces the World-Fish, a lot of it! The planets output is responsible to support large parts of the system with food. The planet is covered in polluted, blackish water with massive Hive as islands. Overseen by the governor Ganthet Veneratio from Aidon-Hive.
While Orlow harvests the Planet for Conscripts and Vulpes organizes the other essentials (mostly Amasec) like colonists, food, material, the Tech-Priest does what he can do best and occasionally improves the output of several food production centers and also of some underwater promethium refineries.
Anyway, once the warpstorm declines, the Golden Goose, the two bulklander (packed with fresh meat) and the Saint Celestine do the jump.
The Jump through the immaterial curtain
Right through the eye of the storm. The red giant that gave life to the system illuminated all planets in the orange light of an approaching dusk. A scan from the Magos revealed that multiple space ships stood guard to defend the system. Only five planets existed, giants of gas and dwarf planets - but the goal was Charybdion Beta, the gemini of Alpha. The Planet counted nine hives in total, each seem to represent its own state.
Who’s the ‘true’ empire here?
Tthat was the setup. A message from the planet informed Vulpes, that Chancellor Obedia was the elected (did Commissar Orlow just fainted?) Defender of the Planet. And he was not shy with some threats.
Vulpes proclaimed, that he is here to claim this system in the name of the Emperor! Two of the defending ships retreated and decided to stay neutral, but one remained. The fight was short and the Goose, eventually vaporised the enemy with precise lance fire.
Again, the Captain proclaimed his demands. Three of the Hives followed the call, but the remaining 6 allied and Obedia announced them to be the “true” Empire (good luck with that).
Some planning occurred. Then the execution of those plans: The Astartes Scout Epimetheus and the Magos would infiltrate the main Hive and deactivate the remaining planetary defence systems. Once they where disabled, the landing operation would start.
The fight within the hive was brutal, bloody, exhausting and deadly (as Orlow will point out in one of his many reports). During th Raid, Cassidy was split from his squad of guardsman, and started to wander around, having visions of golden throne rooms and Eldar who flighted alongside a leader, clad in golden armour. (man, this guy do has issues…)
In the meantime, Captain Vulpes and his entourage and his allies lead the charge and breached the central building, where the self named governor was expected. But right after the group with a few imperial guardsman entered the central room, all occupants (including the furniture) where teleported away.
The teleportion sickness was not the only problem. The group also found themselves at the receiving end of an ambush. The room was covered in golden colors and they where surrounded by enemy troops. The chancellor and his first officer were clad in precious power armour.
Seconds later, hell broke lose, when Las- and Bolter-fire erupted. The furniture gave at least a little cover. And the Magos was able to manipulate the electronics, so that a platform in the center of the room, where the trapped hold their ground, moved downwards. Some plasmafire and frag-grenades eliminated some of the ambushers. And also the Chancellor officer was slain by a well placed plasma shot from Lord Vulpes Plasmagun (supercharged, indeed).
The wandering and vision having *Cassidy also somehow found himself in the room. Ambushing the ambushers, he was (to his surprise) able to mind control one mob to eradicated one of their allies. He then joins the group in the center platform, and Lord Vulpes, lusting for his (Cassidy’s) potential, enlisted the (apparent) Psyker on the spot.
But the battle was far from over, the Sister Superior was killed by a Bolter salvo. The accompanied Sister Hospitaller was overcome with grief and revenge and took the inferno pistol from her slayed Sister.
Someone ordered the Magos to lift the mechanical platform back up. There, the Chancellor Awaited them, wounded the Inquisitor and was about to finish him. While the Acolyte was ready to sacrifice himself, by jumping over to his Master, the Sister Hospitaller unleashed a burning shot from the inferno Pistol, killing the enemy leader.
While the tides of battle changed in the protagonists favour. Lord Vulpes was notified, that the Warp was about to close again. This was unexpected and would leave the exploration force trapped in this system, not knowing when the warp will allow passage again.
Time was short, Syrene and Josef took the remains of the Sister Superior and the group started the retreat. While Vulpes calculated the odds of reaching one of the bulklanders in time, the Magos announced that the room they currently occupied is not a building but a ship, merged into the hive probably some decades ago.
But this ship (should it still work) would only allow them to evacuate a small part of the Forces, so Vulpes made the bitter choice and ordered the Lady Anastasia to conquer the Hive in his name. He promised to come back, and The Lady promised to remind him of his words. While the Group used some of the escape vessels of the ‘Ship’ to escape to the Golden Goose. The log fragments from this ship revealed, that this was the captains shuttle of the Bringer of Wrath, the lost flagship of a great admiral of the Imperial Navy (we will probably learn more about this in the feature).
Back on the Goose
Back on his Ship. Phew… the survivors prepared to make the Jump. But something was not settled yet. The Inquisitor Morosow declared, that the obviously unsanctioned psyker (scum!) Cassidy has to be executed. Lord Vulpes, seeing the value in the asset; Cassidy, was arguing for his survival.
You see, the Inquisitor has nearly complete authority in the Imperium. But, this was Rogue Trader territory. And their Warrant of Trade granted the additional, nearly exclusive rights, to expand the Empire in the Name of the God Emperor. The ‘Debate’ grow heated and almost escalated, when Lord Vulpes turned to his Logbook memorator and announced:
Please, add to the Log: ‘The Inquisitor did not Survive the expedition.’
Tension on the Bridge was… troubling, when the Astartes himself took the side of the Psyker, mentioning how his appearance has saved the group in the previous ambush. In the end, it looked like the Inquisitor changed his mind. But his plans and ambitions stayed hidden. So the situation was deescalated, for now.
So the Golden Goose is traveling back to Charybdion Alpha, while the warp closes again behind them. The characters will go their ways and we will see how they develop until they are gathered again when the warp reopens some years from now. The Characters will change and grow, some more than the others.
For example, the Sister Hospitaller will (be ordered to) leave her Order behind and join the Order Militant. In the end, all characters will now spend their remaining points, and ascend (if needed) so that when we met again, all will have full grown Tier 3 Characters.
We are two sessions in now. Various (now) NPC’s have deep background and connections to the other characters in the campaign. And when we meet again, the group will already have a dynamic and a small net of trust and conflict. An excellent mixture.