Wednesday, January 29, 2014
Deathwatch 40K rpg - Final Sanction
So after our 'evil' Pathfinder game came to a messy bleeding end at the hands of a Paladin and Mystic Theurge, it was high time I sat back in the GM chair after taking a long break - thank you Womble.
So what did the boys want to play? We had burned out on Pathfinder/D&D which was fair enough after not really progressing that well through the last couple of campaign attempts. After looking over the rpg book laden shelves, Deathwatch was suggested and quickly agreed upon.
We were already familiar with the system as we have played Rogue Trader a bit so I only had the Horde and Solo/Squad modes rules to go over. That weekend we got together and made the Battle Brothers up in preparation for the following regular Tuesday night game time.
Stu made Rafen, a Blood Angel Librarian. Cody had Varin an Ultramarine Tactical specialist and Womble had Angus, yes Angus! the Stormwarden Assault Marine. Now in regards to the Stormwarden's name, Womble and I read up on the Stormwardens and they seem to have a Celtic theme. After the other two had selected their names from the samples found on their chapter lists, Womble asked if their was any name similar to Angus, low and behold yes there was in the middle of the samples, Angus in fact... so that is why we have Battle Brother Angus complete with an accent to rival that of Fat Bastards.
By the time we were ready to play I had nabbed the sample adventure from Fantasy Flight found here. I always find it helpful to run a pregenerated adventure to start with. The Fantasy Flight ones in particular ease the GM and players into the extra rules of the game and provide a great example to structure original missions on. The adventure Final Sanction is set in the sprawling canal choked industrial city of Lordsholm on the Agri-world of Avalos which I am transplanting from the original locale to the Quintas Maelstrom so I can connect the future narrative to the 40k campaign.
The Deathwatch killteam are searching for Inquisitor Kalistradi with whom the Ordo Xenos has lost contact with. The players enjoyed a very cool introduction which was provided where their transport frigate was assaulted by Tyranid vanguard bio-ships, the Killteam launching their drop pod at the city below. The drop pod crashed through the roof of a large Imperial chapel and on egress discovered a PDF platoon under siege by rebel forces.
Straight away the players got to experience dealing with Hordes in the game where damage the players cause reduce the magnitude of the enemy horde until they cause the enemy to break from combat or disband. This is where explosive weapons and flamers excel as they reduce the Hordes effectiveness rapidly.
So striding out of the chapel into the midst of awe struck guardsmen the Killteam engaged the enemy. With rain pounding down on their ceramite Varin took position alongside the humans sheltering behind fallen statuary with his bolt gun, Rafen drew forth psychic energy and gathered lightning in his gauntlets while Brother Angus primed his jump pack and launched into the dark sky to enter the killing ground about the defenders. The rebel forces engaged in waves with numerous crazed wretches surging about Angus and making for the chapel. Varin unleashed fully automatic bolter fire, the mass reactive shells detonating in the soft tissue of his targets. Rafen released his psychic power, the lightning dancing amongst the rain soaked attackers. Angus burst upwards from the surrounding horde dropping a frag grenade which exploded in a fiery ball throwing corpses about like rag dolls, all the while PDF las shots peppered the oncoming forces while stub rifles barked back.
A bellow sounded from a gene enhanced goliath, some labourer nearing the height of the Astartes. A cheer roared from the rebel forces and the brute triggered a stolen chainsword and charged at Angus. Brother Angus met the weapon with his own chainblade and made short and bloody work of his opponent to the dismay of the rebels who broke and scattered back to their fellows in the ruined buildings about the chapel.
As the next horde surged forwards heavy stubber fire raked the PDF soldiers. Brother Varin called the defenders to hold their position and surveyed the dark structures for the weapon teams. Angus plowed into the new wave breaking rebels with combat blade and whirring chain teeth. Librarian Rafan vaulted over the defenses and ran to join Angus, summoning psychic flame. As Angus lobbed another frag grenade into the ravenous horde and Rafan ignited them with sheets of psychic flame, Varin spotted the enemy stubber teams atop a ruined tower 80 metres across the corpse strewn grounds from the chapel. Voxing his squad mates Varin fired suppressing shots at the stubbers. Angus acknowledged the enemy location and burst skywards again descending with crushing force into the enemies about the base of the tower while Rafan held back the rebel advance with Avenging fire.
Varin felled rebels with expert bolt fire allowing Angus to prime a krak grenade at the towers base and as he jump packed to safety the explosion compromised the already unstable structure. Debris crashed down on the remaining rebels, burying them under tons of wood and steel. The few surviving rebels fled the chapel grounds disappearing into the ruined Lordsholm streets.
The Battle brothers rejoined at the chapel and were addressed by the PDF officer Captain Ascote who urged them to join him in the chapels interior. Once inside with rain falling through the hole made by the drop pods entry, the Captain's form shifted and morphed before the marines eyes into a slender female form, that of a Callidus Assasin. Syndalla introduced herself as an ally of Inquisitor Kalistradi and told the marines she had not seen the Inquisitor since fighting broke out weeks ago. The Inquisitor's agents had been here in Lordsholm investigating a Genestealer cult when the uprising erupted in violent fury. Kalistradi had gone off in search of the terrible xenos Broodlord who was exerting it's alien will over the corrupted rebel forces. Syndalla urged the marines seek out and exterminate the Broodlord, send an Astropathic message from the Tower of Echoes before the greater Hive forces arrived in system and ascertain the location and well being of the Planetary Governor Perian Thorsholt.
That was all the first night and the three players really seemed to enjoy it - you could tell as Cody hardly played with his phone ;) I must say for a game system, it is one I really enjoyed running and should continue to do so. The abstract horde mode works really well if you convey the setting and enemy well. I found myself imagining rebel bodies being flung about as torrential rain poured down, fires burning in ruined buildings providing a backdrop. The fact that we all play 40k and most of us have read multiple Horus Heresy books didn't hurt either as the boys took to their Astartes roles extremely well. A lot of reference to the Space Marine video game was made too. Talking to Cody a couple days after the first game, I said that I had pictured Lordsholm looking like Dunwall from the Dishonoured video game and he said that's what he had imagined as well. nice the description I gave worked out then.
The system lets the players play the marines as they should be, warriors able to plow through normal human forces like the juggernauts they should be. They did find out in our next session what a real enemy can do if it gets it's claws on them though.