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wiegieman
Apr 22, 2010

Royalty is a continuous cutting motion




Modern Necrons also want to destroy or wall off the warp and restore proper natural order to things, but they also want to get fleshy again because they've decided that being numb robots kiiiiinda sucks.

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Shart Carbuncle
Aug 4, 2004

Star Trek:
The Motion Picture


Deptfordx posted:

All this is really making me want to have another crack at running Deathwatch. My players did enjoy themselves it was all the clunky rules baggage, especially the original crazy weapons rules that put me off.

Looking at the living errata, it looks better. I mean don't get me wrong, trying to hang post-human supermen with plasma weapons and power armour onto the skeleton of WFRP 2 is still a terrible idea, but it might just be playable.

Yeah, adding to the chorus on this stuff, DH already stretched things to the breaking point, but then Deathwatch is just ridic.

If I really had the urge to do a Warham RPG, I would seriously consider using another system altogether. It's such a popular setting that it's easy to find conversions that other people have already put the work into. This one for Genesys (the genericized version of FFG's Star Wars/WFRP 3 system) seems to be shaping up nicely, for instance: https://community.fantasyflightgames.com/topic/266319-16-update-dark-heresy-warhammer-40000-in-genesys-release-thread/

I think that might actually be a good fit, too.

edit: he's in progress on some space marine stuff too: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1AZRR4LN8y1gN2JVdNYNmss8WTSIYMvTm/view

Shart Carbuncle fucked around with this message at 23:42 on Mar 29, 2018

BinaryDoubts
Jun 6, 2013

Looking at it now, it really is disgusting. The flesh is transparent. From the start, I had no idea if it would even make a clapping sound. So I diligently reproduced everything about human hands, the bones, joints, and muscles, and then made them slap each other pretty hard.


Pretty rough that getting blood eagle'd is considered a coward's death, when it's undoubtedly one of the worst possible ways to die.

Ghost Leviathan
Mar 2, 2017

Exploration is ill-advised




I'm not sure if its' been forgotten or abandoned, but early Tau especially had a lot of interesting implications; their tech is actually already better in some ways than humanity's, and while they don't yet have the Imperium's absurd economy of scale, they do have the scientific method, and their tech is constantly improving, as they learn better ways to do things. They're not afraid to use robots, alien auxillaries and, shockingly, to negotiate. Was implied they might be on the same tech track as the Necrons in some ways (as short-lived pale beings they loosely fit the description of the Necrontyr) before the Newcrons just had them use the Webway for FTL.

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



Inescapable Duck posted:

I'm not sure if its' been forgotten or abandoned, but early Tau especially had a lot of interesting implications; their tech is actually already better in some ways than humanity's, and while they don't yet have the Imperium's absurd economy of scale, they do have the scientific method, and their tech is constantly improving, as they learn better ways to do things. They're not afraid to use robots, alien auxillaries and, shockingly, to negotiate. Was implied they might be on the same tech track as the Necrons in some ways (as short-lived pale beings they loosely fit the description of the Necrontyr) before the Newcrons just had them use the Webway for FTL.

Thing is, humanity's been where the Tau were currently at, too. Humanity was once unafraid of aliens and AI, and Dark Age of Technology stuff seen in the setting is capable of firing black holes, casually rewinding time (these two were used together - a ship's AI saw an Eldar ship avoid the shot with the black hole cannon, so it simply reverted time, put in the correct firing solution, and destroyed the ship), and moving entire star systems across the galaxy.

The thing with the Tau was always that they couldn't last in their current state. Either someone would kick their poo poo in, or they'd reach the same glories as the Necrons and Eldar and humanity before them, and fall just as hard.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


The thing with the Tau is supposed to be that they haven't fallen yet, and every other major power assumes they will because all of them have. It isn't necessarily inevitable, but it's a bunch of dying empires looking at the new kid on the block and going 'Nothing can ever be better, we couldn't have made different choices' and then nodding sagely to themselves.

E: But then, half the reason I like them so is because it is INSANELY EXHAUSTING dealing with a setting where the expected, only interaction with most other factions is 'shoot in face' unless they're human, and it's just goddamn refreshing to have at least one that might talk to your PCs without being secret tricksy evil lunatics.

Night10194 fucked around with this message at 00:40 on Mar 30, 2018

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



Night10194 posted:

The thing with the Tau is supposed to be that they haven't fallen yet, and every other major power assumes they will because all of them have. It isn't necessarily inevitable, but it's a bunch of dying empires looking at the new kid on the block and going 'Nothing can ever be better, we couldn't have made different choices' and then nodding sagely to themselves.

Fair.

I have many of the same criticisms of 40k as you, really, and the Rogue Trader game I ran for three years ended in completely upending the setting. 40k's a very broad setting, but in my experience it's also a very shallow one.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


When I stopped running it I had an entire End of Days thing planned that was going to kill multiple Gods, probably destroy the Imperium as it exists, etc over several campaigns. I just kind of looked at all those notes and how the gameplay felt and said 'nah'.

That, and that was about when the Fantasy End Times happened and suddenly I didn't feel like doing a Warhammer Apocalypse for some reason.

I kind of miss our ridiculous Eldar campaign about a craftworld full of bakers and merchants suddenly having the Farseer go 'Well, okay, guys, I've checked it four times, we gotta save the universe.', though.

Libertad!
Oct 30, 2013

You can have the last word, but I'll have the last laugh!

BinaryDoubts posted:

Pretty rough that getting blood eagle'd is considered a coward's death, when it's undoubtedly one of the worst possible ways to die.

Not to justify it, but I think the idea is similar to the Soviet Army line of thinking in that "if you got captured alive, then you weren't fighting hard enough." Which is weird when it comes with a divine proclamation in spite of the fact that people fall unconscious all the time when fighting. You'd think the gods would know that.

KOGAHAZAN!!
Apr 29, 2013

a miserable failure as a person

an incredible success as a magical murder spider



Night10194 posted:

I kind of miss our ridiculous Eldar campaign about a craftworld full of bakers and merchants suddenly having the Farseer go 'Well, okay, guys, I've checked it four times, we gotta save the universe.', though.

...by baking the galaxy's best cake and shuttling it around so everyone just sort of chills out and stops hating each other?

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


Autonomous Monster posted:

...by baking the galaxy's best cake and shuttling it around so everyone just sort of chills out and stops hating each other?

They had to bumble around and try to help nudge things in Jericho towards a better ending so their Craftworld didn't get eaten by Tyranids, but it was partly enabled by the power of hope and positivity. Also, their Craftworld did have an Exarch of Baking who had become trapped on the path of the pastery chef and after every major adventure she'd bake them a massive panorama cake commemorating their victory and antics, yes. The building sized confection diorama of the heroes defeating a bio-titan is something those players still remember.

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



Night10194 posted:

When I stopped running it I had an entire End of Days thing planned that was going to kill multiple Gods, probably destroy the Imperium as it exists, etc over several campaigns. I just kind of looked at all those notes and how the gameplay felt and said 'nah'.

That, and that was about when the Fantasy End Times happened and suddenly I didn't feel like doing a Warhammer Apocalypse for some reason.

I kind of miss our ridiculous Eldar campaign about a craftworld full of bakers and merchants suddenly having the Farseer go 'Well, okay, guys, I've checked it four times, we gotta save the universe.', though.

Whereas my Rogue Trader campaign ended in getting hold of an intact Standard Template Constructor (thanks to some extremely convoluted deals with a certain Necron overlord named Trazyn the Infinite), making copies of it, and delivering copies to worlds throughout the Imperium.

We briefly tried a new campaign set in the all new Imperium their actions had created but it went nowhere and we dropped it fast.

mcclay
Jul 8, 2013

Oh dear oh gosh oh darn


Soiled Meat

The Jericho Reach sounds like it'd be really for to play in as Only War characters too.

It does help that Only War is my favorite of the 40k RPGs, Guardsman are just too good.

Cooked Auto
Aug 4, 2007

If you will not serve in combat, you will serve on the firing line!




Isn't the default setting for OW in the Jericho Reach or something already? Could've sworn it takes place during that crusade.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


What's happening is that soldiers are being told they're heading to the Spinward Front, so they don't know they're going through a warp gate. They think they're fighting on the periphery of Calixis.

Meanwhile, on the Actual Spinward Front, in Only War, what should have been a relatively easy war against secessionists has ground to a bloody halt because A: The secessionists have allied with murder-elves, the Dark Eldar and B: All the reinforcements bound for the Actual Spinward Front are being diverted to try to avoid losing the war in Jericho Reach, meaning the Actual Spinward Front war is going really badly.

In essence, OW is you playing as the regular infantry stuck in the aftermath of the fuckup that is part of the great drama the Space Marines are fighting in half a galaxy away, which seems fitting. The commanders in the OW Spinward Front are all like 'I don't get it, all of Calixis' excess military is supposed to be heading for us to back us up, where the gently caress are they all going!?'

Night10194 fucked around with this message at 01:32 on Mar 30, 2018

MonsieurChoc
Oct 12, 2013

Every species can smell its own extinction.


If I was really mean I'd just drop the BYDO in the 40K universe, see what happens.

Midjack
Dec 24, 2007





Night10194 posted:

They had to bumble around and try to help nudge things in Jericho towards a better ending so their Craftworld didn't get eaten by Tyranids, but it was partly enabled by the power of hope and positivity. Also, their Craftworld did have an Exarch of Baking who had become trapped on the path of the pastery chef and after every major adventure she'd bake them a massive panorama cake commemorating their victory and antics, yes. The building sized confection diorama of the heroes defeating a bio-titan is something those players still remember.

yes

Feinne
Oct 9, 2007

When you fall, get right back up again.


Night10194 posted:

They had to bumble around and try to help nudge things in Jericho towards a better ending so their Craftworld didn't get eaten by Tyranids, but it was partly enabled by the power of hope and positivity. Also, their Craftworld did have an Exarch of Baking who had become trapped on the path of the pastery chef and after every major adventure she'd bake them a massive panorama cake commemorating their victory and antics, yes. The building sized confection diorama of the heroes defeating a bio-titan is something those players still remember.

This is the most amazing paragraph holy poo poo.

This does remind me, I was going to note that if you start getting shirty with Deathwatch players you could always make them fight a loving Trygon or something.

Nessus
Dec 22, 2003

To witness titanic events is always dangerous, usually painful, and often fatal.





Autonomous Monster posted:

...by baking the galaxy's best cake and shuttling it around so everyone just sort of chills out and stops hating each other?
This is, more or less, the current plot of One Piece.

Zereth
Jul 8, 2003




Mors Rattus posted:

The Tau are such lovable fully automated communist space frogs, and it's a shame that GW couldn't just live with their big, giant flaw being that they had no idea that everywhere in the galaxy except the tiny bit they had already been to was full of murderous assholes who hate fun.
And Orks, who are murderous assholes who are having so much fun.

FishFood
Apr 1, 2012

Now with brine shrimp!


Wikipedia Brown posted:

Yeah, adding to the chorus on this stuff, DH already stretched things to the breaking point, but then Deathwatch is just ridic.

If I really had the urge to do a Warham RPG, I would seriously consider using another system altogether. It's such a popular setting that it's easy to find conversions that other people have already put the work into. This one for Genesys (the genericized version of FFG's Star Wars/WFRP 3 system) seems to be shaping up nicely, for instance: https://community.fantasyflightgames.com/topic/266319-16-update-dark-heresy-warhammer-40000-in-genesys-release-thread/

I think that might actually be a good fit, too.

edit: he's in progress on some space marine stuff too: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1AZRR4LN8y1gN2JVdNYNmss8WTSIYMvTm/view

I've been following this homebrew pretty intently and I think it's been shaping up nicely. Didn't see the space marine stuff, though, and that looks quite playable and maybe even balanced to boot. I love FFG's SWRPG and was hoping they would make the 40k games again with the same ruleset before they lost the license. It has a great melding of crunch and narrative mechanics with some pretty deadly combat that I think would work great with 40k.

Ghost Leviathan
Mar 2, 2017

Exploration is ill-advised




I feel like Warhammer 40k was great in its day, but it's just kind of done all it can do, and now just spinning its wheels in the eternal status quo becoming an even shallower parody of itself because that's the only place left to go. Key point that its latest big project has been a prequel set when everyone still had nice things.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder
2014-2018



Scion: Hero
Butterflies and Hummingbirds of Death

Itzpapalotl is the Obsidian Butterfly. She is of dual nature - both Chihuateto, a woman that died in childbirth, and a Tzitzimime, a star demon. Her Chihuateto side makes her loyalty to women and the sun unquestionable, and her Tzitzimime side grants her a feral savagery that leaves a trail of destroyed titanspawn and unfaithful men wherever she goes. She fell from the sky in a shower of Tzitzimime and toads, and she conceals her appearance with an invisibility cloak. Even in the best of times, her dual natures get the better of her. She alternates between being a protector of women and a night monster that inflicts madness, steals kids and seduces (and then murders) men. After the fall from grace of Xochiquetzal, she was given rule of Tamoanchan, but it hasn't changed her much. She can feel war coming, and while she'd rather not fight her fellow Tzitzimime, she is endlessly loyal to the Teotl. She often appears as a beautiful, seductive noblewoman, using a mix of magical makeup and rubber to remain human-looking. When it falls away, she is revealed as a skeletal warrior with obsidian-edged wings, jaguar claws and talons. Her Incarnations typically have more in common with predatory beasts than humans, leaving destruction where they go, but they can often be fiercely protective of the few people they bond with. Her Scions are usually more able to balance their destructive nature and the protection of the World, at least. Itzpapalotl's Callings are Hunter, Lover and Warrior, and her Purviews are Beasts, Darkness, Death, Fertility, Stars and War.

Mictecacihuatl is the Queen of the Underworld. She is also called Lady of Mictlan, Watcher of the Bones, Lady of Death, La Calavera Catrina and Wife Mictlantecuhtli. She and her husband rule over the Underworld, Mictlan. However, the rise of Christianity in Mexico slowed the flow of souls to Mictlan that she and her husband had to care for, but they were patient. One day, she found a solution - that death should not be feared, but celebrated. She whispered in the ears of the living, and so the Dia de los Muertos was born. She has reveled in her new celebrants and offerings, and now she is the Lady of Death, well eclipsing her husband's power and popularity. The Day of the Dead has spread beyond Mexico, and with it, her power. No one is ever fool enough to challenge her between October 31 and November 2, when the offerings to her make her more potent than any other. She has not, however, abandoned her traditional duties. She embraces all who come to her from the living world, and she is dangerous and cruel to any that defy her, try to steal the bones of the dead, or try to escape the Underworld. Her Scions promote death and darkness, working to expand their mother's domain. They are death squad soldiers, festival organizers, educators, lobbyists for cultural awareness, morticians, revelers and spelunkers. The greatest of them currently is known as Santa Muerte, who has paved the way for her family to tap into the prayers of death year-round. Mictecacihuatl publically praises her child, but some wonder if she fears that Santa Muerte will eclipse her. Mictecacihuatl's Callings are Guardian, Leader and Sage. Her Purviews are Beasts (Bats, Owls, Spiders), Darkness, Death and Passion.

Quetzalcoatl, the Feathered Serpent, is also called the White Tezcatlipoca, the Lord of the West, the Wind Sun, Ehecatl, Kukulkan and Precious Twin. He is the wind, the protector of craftsmen, the teacher of farming, the inventor of the calendar and the patron of order and civilization. He appears either as a great feathered serpent or an aged Mexihcah priest in red mask and black body paint. He is often associated with his more monstrous, dog-like twin, Xolotl, who guides the evening sun through Mictlan to be reborn. Quetzalcoatl's Scions are, like their father, tireless promoters of justice, mercy and learning. They are more compassionate than most Teotl Scions, and are heavily involved in archaeology, sustainable agriculture and energy, and cultural awareness and missionary efforts of the Teotl. The most beloved of all of Quetzalcoatl's children were Topiltzin and Nezahuacoatl, and they are the standard he holds all other Scions to. His Callings are Creator, Liminal and Sage, and his Purviews are Artistry (Writing, Feathers), Beasts, Fertility, Journeys, Order, Sky and Stars.

Tezcatlipoca, the Smoking Mirror, is also called the Black Tezcatlipoca and the Lord of the North. He is the master of darkness and night, who brings change by conflict, corruption and deceit. He is the patron of kings and the bringer of discord, who spreads hurricanes and teaches sorcerers. He raises a man to glory on one day to bring him low the next. He haunts the night, teaching sorcery and inspiring the weak to commit theft, adultery and other acts of depravity. He promises all you desire, if you can defeat him in battle and take his heart. No one has ever managed it. In the rare times when he reveals his form, he is an armed young man, painted fully black but with a yellow face, save for horizontal black stripes. The foot he lost to Cipactli has been replaced by an obsidian mirror that smokes ominously, matching the one he wears around his neck. Looking into either will reveal the future, distant places or the dark desires of the heart. His Scions sow chaos and grant desires, breaking the balance and leaving destruction in their wake. They are not entirely without nobility, however, they just prefer subtle and dangerous means. They are the Jaguar Warriors, assassins, sorcerers or con men. Tezcatlipoca's Callings are Trickster, Hunter and Leader. His Purviews are Beasts (Jaguar, Turkey), Chaos, Darkness, Deception, Earth, Fortune and War.

Tlaloc is the God of Rain, also called the Rain Sun. He is the supreme master of rain and fertility, and his favor brings life and healing, while his anger brings drought, hail or floods. The common folk love him, and only he of all Teotl was honored alongside Huitzilopochtli at the apex of the Templo Mayor in Tenochtitlan. He rules from Tlalocan, the Land of Eternal Spring, and is served by lesser spirits known as Tlaloques. Each Tlaloque lives on a mountaintop and collects water in sacred vessels, to dispense rain or storms. Tlaloc's face and body are black, and he wears a blue goggle mask that has coiled serpents forming a sort of moustache for him. He often wears a headdress of white heron and quetzal feathers, and he wears black paper banners sprinkled with rubber to represent the rain. He is quite an active god, with both a large penthouse temple in Mexico City and his traditional home atop Mt. Tlaloc. His Scions tend to be calm and compassionate, but can turn merciless when enraged by threats to their loved ones. They tend to be healers, farmers, meteorologists or hunters, and often work with the local Tlaloques. Tlaloc's Callings are Guardian, Healer and Hunter, and his Purviews are Death, Earth, Fertility, Frost, Health and Sky.

Xipe Totec, Our Lord the Flayed One, is also called the Red Tezcatlipoca, Lord of the East, Youalahuan or Camaxtli. He is a very old god, and very potent. He was the first of the four Tezcatlipocas, and is the lord of rebirth, new growth and renewal. He wears a flayed skin over his golden body to represent the first growth of plants in spring, and his blessing brings new life, cures disease and inspires goldsmiths. While he's mostly a nice guy towards humans, he does have a dark side. He is also the lord of war and disease, and he prefers sacrifices in the form of flayed human skin. These are mostly gained during the Tlacaxipehualiztli Festival of March, where victims are shot by arrows to nourish seeds with blood, or in reclusive fight clubs in which ritual impersonators fight five foes to the death in honor of Xipe Totec. The fallen in both ceremonies are flayed and worn in his honor, and some say that the skins grant miraculous regeneration and health, or even visions to the most pious Scions. Scions of Xipe Totec are often warriors, farmers, goldsmiths or healers, but they tend to alienate others due to the whole flayed skin thing. As a result, they tend to gather in the Yopica, a temple cave under Mexico City, to commune with their god-parent and each other. Xipe Totec's Callings are Creator, Healer and Hunter, and his Purviews are Fertility, Forge, Health and War.

Xochipilli, the Flower Prince, is also called Chicomexochitl or Macuilxochitl. He is twin to Xochiquetzal, and is the image of youth and energy. He is the god of youth, love, beauty, music and flowers, and he adores the hedonistic lifestyle. He is a patron of writers and painters, granting them inspiration and the tools they need to make whatever they like. He is also the god of botanicas, and his love potions always work. He is the patron god of the gay community and of male prostitutes, for his appreciation of love and beauty is limitless. Chicomexochitl and Macuilxochitl are the names of his online dating and escort sites, which grant safe rendezvous and protection to users and patrons, and the gay bars and clubs he blesses are always safe. He has special vengeance against those who mess with his favorite community. He is also happy to send venereal disease to those who do not observe his fasting days, but quickly cures them if you make amends. His Scions, like him, are always the life of the party. Xochipilli's Callings are Lover, Guardian and Trickster, and his Purviews are Artistry, Beauty, Fortune, Passion and Prosperity.

Xochiquetzal, the Maiden of Blossom and Feather, is also called Ichpochtli. She is a tragic goddess, for she had paradise and lost it. She was the ruler of Tamoanchan, as the lady of feminine beauty and artistry, but she became greedy and hoarded the forbidden fruits of the place. As a result, she was banished to the World by Tonacacihuatl after she took a bite from the fruits. She wept, but made the best of her lot, adapting to her new home. She often appears as a wealthy socialite, a model or a fashion designer, and while she holds court every eight years at Mexico City major fashion events, she is equally at home in New York, Paris and Milan. She is also an amazing weaver. She is the incarnation of lust and sensuality, and none can resist her charms even if they wanted to. Her Scions are many, and always beautiful. She is a fertility goddess as well, protecting young mothers and granting children to the barren. Her fertility clinics are always successful, and mothers that give birth under her protection find a quetzal feather and small spindle in their child's hand when they first awaken. Her Callings are Creator, Guardian and Lover. Her Purviews are Artistry, Beauty, Epic Dexterity, Fertility, Fortune, Passion and Prosperity.

Next time: 13 Heavens, blessed in blood.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

Let your word be "Yes, Yes" or "No, No"; anything more than this comes from the evil one.




Inescapable Duck posted:

I feel like Warhammer 40k was great in its day, but it's just kind of done all it can do, and now just spinning its wheels in the eternal status quo becoming an even shallower parody of itself because that's the only place left to go. Key point that its latest big project has been a prequel set when everyone still had nice things.
In order to stay relevant it would have to change to continue satirizing society as it's changed since Thatcher and Reagan. But it's branched off from its 2000AD inspired origins into basically it's own genre, and doesn't correspond to anything in the real world anymore.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


Warhammer 40,000 Roleplay: Deathwatch and Rites of Battle: Part 13

What do you mean we committed the reserves already!?

The Orpheus Salient was actually going well. The northern salient (I know I should be using spinward or whatever, but it's north on the map, so gently caress it, north it is), it was commanded by a young general named Curas, who had been picked because Lord Tetarchus was fond of him. However, he turned out to be an exceptional officer with a very talented staff, and they made the Orpheus Salient into a well-organized, rapid advance that freed somewhere around sixty worlds. They were aided in this by a few strokes of good fortune, but for a long time Orpheus was where the war seemed to be going exactly as Tetarchus had envisioned it, and he had begun pulling troops from the 'victorious' salient to recommit them to his own bloody, stalled warzone at the center. Then everything went straight to hell.

The leading elements of the Salient were suddenly hit with communication blackouts, reported as some kind of 'shadow across the warp'. People who know 40k know what's coming: When the Tyranids show up, they mess with telepathic communication because of the overwhelming amount of psychic activity necessary to control the Hive Fleets. Worse, the rapid advance and secured planets left behind meant the leading edge of the naval and Guard forces that were now running smack into a surprise Hive Fleet were the bulk of the salient's soldiers; things had gone so well that most worlds behind that armored fist were undermanned since they'd been fully pacified. Curas and sixty percent of the effective combat strength of the entire Orpheus Salient were lost in space. The communications damage hindered reorganizing what was left behind. The once-freed worlds are mustering everything they can as the jaws of a great and terrible space bug close around them, and many of the forces they would've needed to make a stand were already peeled off to help in other warzones. The fast advance made no plan for disaster or a sudden shock, and the entire Salient threatens to buckle and snap, opening a path for Hive Fleet Dagon directly into the rest of the crusade, or worse, the Warp Gate. If a Hive Fleet makes it to an unprepared region like Calixis, it could easily devour dozens of populated worlds, and each devoured world is more ships, more monsters, and more strength for the fleet. Dagon could snowball out into a region that has never faced Tyranids before. This is a potentially existential threat for large portions of the Imperium.

But there are a few places where your Marines might start turning this around. The most prominent is the Hive world of Castobel. Castobel stayed loyal through the entire Age of Shadow. For five thousand years, its people have fought to keep Chaos or alien raiders from taking their planet, maintaining order and a functioning hive society by trade and exploitation of other worlds. When Curas arrived, they rejoiced that their long vigil was gone, and their world finally saved, and quickly became integral to the salient's campaign. A Hive has billions of people and massive manufacturing potential, after all. Now, all it has are a few beleaguered ships that escaped the initial slaughter of Curas' advance, the troops that were aboard, and its planetary defense force. And the Nids are bearing down on it. Castobel's biomass is also focused almost entirely in the Hives; the vast surface outside the cities is unlivable, making it impossible for the nids to consume an ecosystem outside the hives and forcing them to fight bloody battles with the determined defenders if they want food. The locals are not giving up without a hell of a fight, and if your Marines can show up and take out some of the worst of the monsters or find critical weaknesses in the hive splinter, you might be able to save Castobel yet and deal a real blow to Dagon.

Eleusis was once a shrine world, which fell to becoming a Chaos Shrine when the Age of Shadow cut it off from the Imperium. When it was retaken early in the crusade, every inhabitant was killed and the ecclesiarchy claimed the planet, determined to purify and reclaim it. They have made it the seat of cardinals and brought in millions of pilgrims to repopulate it, and yet now, it sits under the shadow of another uncaring, murderous force that enjoys exterminating entire planetary populations: Nids, rather than Imperials. As the darkness closes in, many in the Shrine World begin to wonder if the Emperor really does protect, and some quietly seek the ancient knowledge of the people they murdered to see if other Gods might protect them where Empy does not. Naturally, you'd be fighting nids and also blowing away insane cultists here.

Freya is just a dead world that was eaten by nids. It mostly matters because it is where the Deathwatch confirmed for themselves that the reason Curas' crusade fleet wasn't reporting back was because nids.

Hethgard is the other major campaign world for Orpheus. It is a Fortress World, a world given entirely to military production and fortification. It was also the rear HQ for the whole salient. It is also, unsurprisingly, under attack by horrific bug aliens. EVERYWHERE in Orpheus is under attack by horrific bug aliens. A former mining colony, the mined-out mountains of Hethgard are now massive geological bunkers defended by millions of troops backed up by Storm Wardens and Space Wolves. If the Imperium has a strong-point that can be expected to win a ground-war with the bugs in this region, it's here. Since most of the defenders are trapped in a constant siege situation, your special forces Marines might be called out to do any kind of raiding or science mission they need done, as well as dropping in to prevent breakthroughs or limit enemy gains. If you want a straight bug war, Hethgard is where you'll send your PCs.

Vanir is not a single planet, but a system of inhabitable worlds, formerly ruled by petty monarchs who had minorly gene-enhanced Crowns Guard and a small fleet of warp-capable ships with which to beat the planets into submission, like a mini-Imperium with its own little knock-off Space Marines. They were crushed by the Crusade when it came through, but some of the leaders escaped to plot the overthrow of the Imperials. When the Hive Fleet showed up, the Monarchs didn't care; they saw only an opportunity to rebel. Now surviving Imperial forces that escaped the slaughter of Hive Fleet Dagon are desperately trying to beat the petty monarchs again, to retake the worlds and get their defense systems on line in time to give themselves a chance when the Nids arrive. They can't fire capital weapons or destroy orbital defenses; they're going to need every one of those very soon! Perfect place for your Marines to go on dangerous assassination missions or play the Space Guns of Space Navarone.

As you can already see, compared to Calixis, each world has at least a seed of a plot or sub-campaign for your Marines to get directly involved in.

Next Time: If a frontal assault didn't work, you lacked WILL!

Dawgstar
Jul 15, 2017





Night10194 posted:

What's happening is that soldiers are being told they're heading to the Spinward Front, so they don't know they're going through a warp gate. They think they're fighting on the periphery of Calixis.

Meanwhile, on the Actual Spinward Front, in Only War, what should have been a relatively easy war against secessionists has ground to a bloody halt because A: The secessionists have allied with murder-elves, the Dark Eldar and B: All the reinforcements bound for the Actual Spinward Front are being diverted to try to avoid losing the war in Jericho Reach, meaning the Actual Spinward Front war is going really badly.

Also, I believe, there are Orks. Lots and lots of Orks. Who would be a bigger threat but they are (per usual) just as happy to brawl with the secessionists and Drukhari as they are with the IG. So you have the typical thing of 'if you let the Orks win they're just going to form a giant Waaaagh! that the Calixis Sector is super not ready for.'

Ratoslov
Feb 15, 2012

Now prepare yourselves! You're the guests of honor at the Greatest Kung Fu Cannibal BBQ Ever!



Dawgstar posted:

Also, I believe, there are Orks. Lots and lots of Orks. Who would be a bigger threat but they are (per usual) just as happy to brawl with the secessionists and Drukhari as they are with the IG. So you have the typical thing of 'if you let the Orks win they're just going to form a giant Waaaagh! that the Calixis Sector is super not ready for.'

Orks aren't all that great of a main course but they make one hell of a side dish. They're refreshingly straightforward and fun to fight.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder
2014-2018



Scion: Hero
Mexico: Center of the Universe

That's literal. In Teotl cosmology, the universe is a giant disk with Tenochtitlan, now Mexico City, at the center. If you go up from there, you hit the 13 Overworld realms, and there's nine layers of Underworld beneath on the way to Mictlan. The 13 Heavens are both wonderful and terrible, and are mostly the domain of the sun, moon, stars, gods and Titans. They are largely inaccessible to actual people, though there's a few Axes Mundi in Mexico (and a few more outside it) that can get there. Tonacateuctl ichan, the 13th Heaven, is barely visited by any but the greatest of gods. It is where the Primordial creators, Tonacacihuatl and Tonacatecuhtli, live. Human souls are made here in their great, shining palace. Tamoanchan is the paradise of the gods, forever sunlit and full of fruit and flowers. It's where the gods met Quetzalcoatl when he emerged from Mictlan to make the first modern humans, but humans may never return there. Tlalocan is the personal realm of Tlaloc and Chalchihuitlicue, a rainy paradise of lush fruit and cacao. It is the final home of those that die of water-based disease, drowning or lightning strikes.

Mictlan is much easier to get to: die. Otherwise, there's some routes through deep caves, temples and cemeteries, and you can sometimes reach it via the ofrendas of Dia de los Muertos. Scions going there must face many trials - one on each level. It's wise to gain the aid of Xolotl or his dog-faced spirits, and to bear gifts for the rulers of Mictlan. It's a cold place, home to those souls that neither died in battle nor ascended to Tlalocan. Each year, they are allowed only one day's respite to visit their living families. The rulers of the dead live in a windowless palace at the center of Mictlan, full of grave goods and human bones. Those who do not show proper respect are torn apart by the claws of Mictlantecuhtli.

Coyolxauhqui is one of the primary Titans of the Teotl, a daughter of dead Coatlicue. When she discovered her mother was pregnant, she became enraged, refusing to believe Coatlicue's story of becoming pregnant from a bundle of hummingbird feathers she found while sweeping. She gathered her brothers, the stars of the south, and decided to cleanse the dishonor by killing her mother. It went poorly, and Huitzolopochtli emerged from Coatlicue's belly, armed with Xuihcoatl, which he plunged into Coyolxauhqui. He scattered her brothers and tore her to bits. However, with the unearthing of the Coyolxauhqui Stone in Mexico City in the late 70s, the magic that kept her dead has unraveled, and she began the process of resurrection. Her rage is undimmed, perhaps even heightened by the pain of rebirth, and she now gathers her brothers anew to claim vengeance. Her Purview is Moon, and her Virtues are Dominance and Hunger. Her brothers are the Centzonhuitznana, the 400 Southerners. They are evil by nature and are happy to rejoin the battle against Huitzilopochtli and the Teotl. They are countless in number and all warriors, though only the eldest and most potent are full Titans rather than mere titanspawn.

Then you've got the Tzitzimime, skeletal demons that shine with silver light in the sky. They're stars. It is said that they will descend at the end of the world to consume humanity. Until then, they are only able to come down during eclipses and the five unlucky days of the year known as the Nemontemi on the Mexihcah calendar. They are always repulsed with great effort by Teotl Scions, and each year there are more of them, growing more impatient. Some have even gone so far as to slip into the World when they aren't allowed to. Again, only the mightiest are full Titans. Other enemies of the Teotl include the Giants of the First Sun, the survivors of the destruction of the Jaguar Sun who are trapped in an otherworld of pure darkness, with only the growls of jaguars for company. They are extremely angry and, if they can ever break out of their black cage, they will make the world tremble. There's also the Monkeys of the Second Sun, whose anger is cold and patient. They have found ways out of their prison, cracks that let them slip into the World. Once there, they disguise themselves subtly and work to unmake all that Quetzalcoatl and the Teotl have done.

The Mexihcah are an extremely religious people, steeped in tradition, and their ties to the Teotl color just about all they do. The priesthood of the Teotl guide them, educate the young, care for the temples and do divinations, as well as taking part in daily prayer and sacrifice. Every god has their own temple and rituals, plus a dedicated cadre of priests and priestesses. Mexihcah clergy are easily recognized by their black body paint, bloody hair and elaborate costumes. They mortify their own flesh, often, and are usualy trained to fight, in case of monsters. They have an elaborate hierarchy for both men and women, starting as tlamacatzon ('little giver of things') and eventually hitting the rank of tlamacazqui or cihuatlamacazqui ('giver of things' and 'female giver of things', respectively). The peak of the hierarchy are the high priests of Huitzilopochtli and Tlaloc in Mexico City, called the Quetzalcoatl Totec tlamacazqui and the Quetzalcoatl Tlaloc tlamacazqui. All priests must be immaculate in virtue, and if they fail, they must atone with a major sacrifice. Mexihcah religious ceremonies are quite elaborate, managed both on a solar calendar and a special ritual calendar that only the priests really understand - well, them and the tonalpouhque, trained calendar readers and diviners.

Sacrifice is the core of Mexihcah faith. It can take many forms - fasting and abtinence, offerings of food and wealth...but the Teotl need strength to maintain the universe, and that means blood. Of course, the Teotl have long known that largescale human sacrifice draws too much unwanted attention, so they've adapted by creating new kinds of sacrifice that are equally painful - a Scion might destroy a friend's reputation, destroy cherished belongings or even abandon their love in a time of need. There's also new ways to get blood. The Teotl's faithful organize various blood drives, work as phlebotomists and run blood banks. The old ways are not forgotten, however. Priests and lay worshippers offer up their own blood and pain by piercing their flesh with maguey spines, and soldiers and gang members that wear the hummingbird tattoo fight 'flower wars' with cartels and rival gangs, claiming prisoners to sacrifice. Other priests go to the terminally ill and offer them a release. The only real rule is this: a sacrifice must be willing. You cannot give for another, and it must be given freely. The bond between sacrificial victim and captor is more intimate even than family, and anyone that breaks this rule faces the wrath of the gods.

Common Creature birthrights of the Teotl include the Dogs of Xolotl, red dogs that can guide you to Mictlan, or Nagual, potent spirit guides or animal transformations. Followers often include Eagle Warriors - in the modern day, these are Mexican special forces teams dedicated to Huitzilopochtli that specialize in daylight raids and can be spotted by the eagle symbols on their helmets and their Xuihcoatl assault rifles. They often team up with Scions when off duty, and those that die in battle join Huitzilopochtli's retinue. Then there's Tezcatlipoca's Jaguar Warriors, who are often not the most morally reliable or the most loyal, but easily some of the most lethal stealth assassins in the world. Priests and Mexihcah Shamans are also common followers, with priests focusing on the grand scale of the people and shamans largely handling people one on one and fighting evil sorcery. Guides might include Tonalpouhque, professional calendar readers who interpret omens to tell the future. Relics of the Teotl include Tezcatlipoca's Mirrors, polished obsidian mirrors that can reflect the future, distant places or the desires of humans, Xolotl's Lowrider, a bright red 1964 Impala that can drive directly into Mictlan, or the Xuihcoatl of Huitzilopochtli, a weapon in the form of a flaming serpent made from the fire god Xiuhtecuhtli's essence, which strikes blindingly fast and leaves fire and ruin where it strikes.

The Teotl maintain close ties to various spirits - Xolotl's dogs, the Tlaloques, Xuihcoatl and so on. However, as you might have noticed, they have nothing but apathy for the survivors of the prior suns, abandoning them as symbols of failure. Their main priorities these days are to expand their influence and protect the world from darkness. They base themselves out of Mexico City in the World, and they and their Scions sponsor archaeological digs and historic preservation as well as working to spread Mexihcah culture. Every year, Dia de los Muertos gets more popular, and that strengthens the Teotl. They have only really recently begun to recover from the wounds of the Spanish conquest and reach out to other pantheons. They respect the Manitou for their ideas of there being a place and time for all things and their concepts of duality, and are renewing ancient ties with the Mayan gods, as well as reaching out to the Incan gods over their shared history of being conquered. Their contact with Western pantheons is limited, and they tend not to like them much. They have take an immediate dislike for the Theoi especially, for their treatment of their mortals, and the Deva, for their attempts to conceal their appetites. In fact, the only other pantheon they really like all that much is the Aesir, who share the Teotl martial nature and manner of life. Teotl, the concept, is both the pillar of belief that unites the gods and their great weakness. It gave their believers the strength to embrace blood and pain, but it also caused their fall, as Teotl can mean a sense of mystery. When Cortez and the conquistadors came, it was because Montezuma II could not understand them, so he named them Teotl, mistaking the new for the divine. The Mexihcah knew Cortez was no god, but their confusion and uncertainty disrupted the ties to their gods, who could then not intervene in their people's time of need.

The Virtues of the Teotl are Hunger and Sacrifice. Hunger drives them - the Teotl cannot just sit and wait for victory. They are driven to act, to constantly seek more, more of whatever it is they want. They are raw, even savage, unable to contain their lusts and hungers for victory, for sacrifices, for power. This makes them terrifying to face, but it can consume them. The flip side of this is Sacrifice - the Teotl cannot just do what they please. They must give of themselves, because they have a duty. They must serve their chosen cause and give what they can to help it, even if it pains them. They will give up their own heart and blood to further their cause. They must balance their intense hunger for conquest against the need to sacrifice for victory. Tezcatlipoca gave up his own foot to help make the world, but it is his hungers for glory and power that destroyed several of the suns. Huitzilopochtli led the Mexihcah out of Aztlan to a new land to satisfy his hunger for conquest, but he had to sacrifice his own nephew, Copil, to do it.

The signature Purview of the Teotl is Nextlahualli, a word literally meaning 'debt repayment'. It draws on the cycle of sacrifice, from people to god and from god to people. The Teotl sustain the world for humanity, and so their worshippers offer prayer and good and blood. This cyclical worship allows Scions of the Teotl to draw power from sacrifice and wield it on behalf of their people.

Next time: My Big Fat Greek Pantheon

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


Warhammer 40,000 Roleplay: Deathwatch and Rites of Battle: Part 14

Tetarchus disregarded intelligence reports, claiming they were 'over-cautious and defeatist'

Acheros is the central Salient and it has been hosed since day one. Achilus had decided he was going to focus on one enemy at a time, and intelligence reports about the region that would become the Acheros Salient suggested it was going to take a tremendous amount of force to crack. The center of the sector was still populated, but those worlds had fallen to heresy and empire building of their own, not to mention the presence of xenos slavers and strange technology. Achilus was warned it would be dangerous, and so was Tetarchus. Much of this information had been provided by the Deathwatch at significant cost over their long vigil and the nine prior years of the Crusade. Tetarchus thus declared he would take personal command of this salient, concentrated all his best troops and heaviest assets into it, declared it would be easy, and then split his forces within the salient so as to 'prepare to flush out any serious resistance' and 'progress quicker'. Splitting his armies seems like Tetarchus' main trick.

He certainly flushed out serious resistance. If anything, the intel reports were overly optimistic. Expecting to be fighting a dozen small empires of renegades, the Crusade fleet ran into coordinated, serious resistance in space from actual Chaos battlefleets, including ships with Chaos Space Marine complements from the Traitor Legions. By the time the initial battles were over, more than twelve Imperial ships of the line had been lost, and worse, the majority of those had been captured to be repurposed by the enemy. An actual capital ship is one of the few things in the Imperium that is absolutely not expendable; building serious warp-capable warships takes ages. Even worse, they lost dozens of warp-capable transports and hundreds of thousands of guardsmen, with whole units annihilated in transit. His idiocy also got a Space Marine Battle Barge killed. The Storm Wardens' Battle Barge Warchilde was lost with all hands, denying the Imperium a Battleship class ship and killing more than a company of Marines. Most Chapters only have one or two of those things. If the Storm Wardens hated Calixis before, I can't imagine how pissed they are that a Calixian general's dumbass plan lost them a ship that will take over a millennia to replace and a serious chunk of their Chapter. It took heroic action by the surviving Naval commanders to pull the rest of the fleet back and prevent the entire battlefleet from being annihilated or captured. I can't imagine any naval admiral has much love for Tetarchus after that. It is hard to overstate what a military disaster his 'rolling offensive' turned into. Worse, anyone who reached their objectives was now cut-off, since all war-plans had been made with the assumption of space superiority.

Ever since this, the Imperium has been struggling to make any headway past its initial mustering point. Tetarchus refuses to change strategies, and keeps throwing new men and new ships into the contested areas in Acheros, convinced that with enough elan and will there will be a breakthrough any day now. He has bled the Crusade of its best forces, annoyed its Space Marine allies, and pissed off the Navy, but he's sure he can still win. Somehow. Even though it's been thirty years. If you want your players to fight heretics rather than aliens, Acheros is the place for you.

Karlack was a small, insignificant agri-colony that mostly survived the Age of Shadow by its own insignificance. It is also the very first life-sustaining world encountered outside the Well of Night. When the locals welcomed the crusaders with open arms and proved to still be loyal to the Emperor, it was taken as a blessing on the Crusade's purpose. Karlack was then declared the new field HQ and quickly built from a feudal medieval world into a massive orbital anchorage and military depot, its locals watching in awe as whole mountains were leveled for raw materials and entire asteroids were brought in by orbital mining to be worked. The planet is facing gaian collapse from the massive industrialization effort, its skies and seas poisoned and its climate unstable. The locals who welcomed the Crusade have since been rendered into little more than slaves, becoming an indentured afterthought as the reward for their 'faith' as their world is paved over and their lives upended. Unrest is beginning to spread as people whisper that the Emperor's people returning have damned the world, not saved it, and the Imperium's casual brutality (as well as their poor performance in the war) are beginning to cause a rise in resistance movements and cult activity. As this is literally Crusade HQ, a major cult uprising would be bad, for obvious reasons. Your Marines could be needed if things get ugly, but Karlack is probably better for games about Guard or Acolytes.

Oh, there's also a persistent local legend about a weird city on the bottom of the sea, with strange ziggurats and wraith-like figures that drag those who disturb it to their deaths. Attempts to build defense platforms and things in the region it is supposed to be located have met with all kinds of strange accidents and disasters. The Inquisition has been unable to determine what is going on, only that non-human artifacts do indeed turn up among the islands of that region. The hint is supposed to be that Karlack might be a tomb world if you want to use Necrons, just it hasn't woken up yet. As it is also, again, Crusade HQ that would be very bad. If you don't want to use Necrons (and no-one would blame you) it could be a Chaos mess, something entirely different, or even just a superstition that is rallying the local resistance. Whatever is the case, something is definitely going on in Karlack.

The Cellebos Warzone is the most important part of the Acheros Salient. It consists of about fifty star systems, though only a few are strategically important, and it has been the meat-grinder for billions of Imperial soldiers over the past 25 years. Tetarchus is convinced he can eventually win through by attrition, that the heretics will break any day now, and the Imperium was finally starting to make halting progress when the Orpheus Salient collapsed. Now, their offensives have been halted and they are digging in, fearing the spread of the Nids but also a counter-attack by Chaos forces. Tetarchus, meanwhile, has grown increasingly withdrawn, macabre, and paranoid. He cannot understand why his brilliant strategies have faltered so, and he begins to think it must be the work of 'traitors' all around him. Defeatists. Cowards. This man has unbridled authority, no ability to admit he has made errors, and the excuse of facing Chaos would provide him with endless acceptable external factors to blame other than his own strategic idiocy. This is an obvious problem.

Meanwhile, the actual warzones of Cellebos aren't that interesting; they're all your usual wartorn hellholes full of power metal album covers and millions of men fighting hordes of demons and screaming heretics. If you want, you can drop your PCs into any warzone here and throw them at a Chaos Champion or a dark ritual or something important. The Hadex Anamoly is where things get interesting again. At some point in the Age of Shadow, a planet that was trying to ascend to hyper-god-hood or whatever else Chaos Worshipers get up to accidentally caused an actual, stable warp anamoly rift. Similar to the Eye of Terror, albeit much smaller. This means Chaos forces from within the Warp, like the Traitor Legions, have an actual stable path for their raiding and a place to retreat to. Worse, this was in the heart of the sector, among its formerly most populous and productive worlds. It is whispered that Varrus, the former Sector Capital, may even be a proper Daemon World now. This anamoly is a key strategic point for Chaos and part of the reason they fight so hard for Cellebos; actual stable paths from their hell anamoly world to realspace are unspeakably valuable for them.

Worse is the Dark Forge of Samech. Samech was formerly the foremost Forge World of the region, the places that produce all the actual high-tech stuff that requires Adeptus Mechanicus oversight. They especially specialized in computing equipment. It actually wasn't until late in the Age of Shadow that Samech fell; it used to communicate with Watch Fortress Erioch and as recently as the late 40th millennium, wasn't known to have fallen to the enemy. It became known when a Mechanicus explorer fleet managed to reach and contact Samech, only to be blown to pieces and salvaged. Now swallowed by the Hadex Anamoly and having broken completely with the Imperium, Samech is strategically vital to the enemy. They produce the advanced weapons, warp drives, and material that the Chaos forces need to maintain this warzone. They are also very well defended, both by the people they can afford to pay, and by their needing to be well armed to even get Chaos to barter with them. Worse, they also produce actual AIs, which they try to secret onto other planets and get to take over all administration, then subvert the planet to their benefit. Samech is the heart of the Chaos forces and far from the front, but if your Kill-Team can make raids and do damage to this forge they will actually measurably damage Chaos's ability to make war in the Acheros Salient.

40Khaos is still pretty boring, but I really like the addition of an actual strategic reason for them to be so stubborn in defending this area. Also, Samech brings some pretty nasty unique stuff to the table, as per the Mark of the Xenos monster manual. Having Chaos actually have a reason to have plenty of ammo and equipment rather than just 'lol Chaos has infinite everything' for once is sort of refreshing and gives PCs something to actually strike at. Tetarchus still having a head is basically an indictment of the Commissariate as a whole, though.

Next Time: Mass Graves and Madness.

Ratoslov
Feb 15, 2012

Now prepare yourselves! You're the guests of honor at the Greatest Kung Fu Cannibal BBQ Ever!



Apparently, Tetrarchus's one real talent is avoiding assassinations, coups, and political maneuvering. Dude should have been extremely dead, demoted, or promoted to a position of no real power about 27 years ago.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


Ratoslov posted:

Apparently, Tetrarchus's one real talent is avoiding assassinations, coups, and political maneuvering. Dude should have been extremely dead, demoted, or promoted to a position of no real power about 27 years ago.

In general, one of the secrets of the Imperium is that once you've hit Great Man status it's very hard for them to actually kill you, because you become a symbol of the state.

That, and they mention that literally the moment Achilus' ship and staff were lost, there was Tetarchus, scampering in with his waxed mustache and his big corps of junior officers who all believed like he did, carefully replacing any of Achilus' old staff as he took over. Many of the officers and high up people in the Crusade are his 'disciples' and loyalists. This is why I've always taken it as being hinted that he killed Achilus. But it also means that yes, his talent actually is political maneuvering and keeping himself in power.

E: The other thing, which is actually quite important, is that Achilus was not well liked by the Astartes, especially. They thought he was too cautious and thought he was sort of a coward for plans like 'We should keep focused and not overextend, since we're fighting in an unknown warzone'. It's implied that Tetarchus' original ascension was greeted with 'GOOD, someone with backbone, we'll actually get things done now!' by most of the Imperial forces, because the Empire believes its own dogshit fascist propaganda about will and the brilliance of the attack. It's rather harder to walk that back when you greeted the guy with open arms at first, which is why I say there's an actual distinct theme of 'interstellar war is much harder than the Imperium thinks it is and is not won by epic proclamations and peans to glory'. In normal GW stuff, Tetarchus is the guy who would be the 'genius' of battle for his brilliant strategy of 'attack lots'. Here, he's a massive fuckup whose only real talent is keeping himself in power. It's a good change.

Night10194 fucked around with this message at 15:40 on Mar 30, 2018

By popular demand
Jul 17, 2007

IT *BZZT* WASP ME--
IT WASP ME ALL *BZZT* ALONG!




Forge Samech, where they make Irradial cogitators which I really like.
"Hey there hive world governor, are tired of the endless drudgery of paperwork and the impossible labor of coordinating the millions of petty administration clerks?"
"We have just the machine for you! So efficient that you'll think it has a mind of its own!"
Machine may start demanding sacrifices and worship.

Having your players fight endless hordes of civilians some of which are only misguided can be lots of fun.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


Horrible Lurkbeast posted:

Forge Samech, where they make Irradial cogitators which I really like.
"Hey there hive world governor, are tired of the endless drudgery of paperwork and the impossible labor of coordinating the millions of petty administration clerks?"
"We have just the machine for you! So efficient that you'll think it has a mind of its own!"
Machine may start demanding sacrifices and worship.

You'd be a fool to say no!

Because then they might send the Spire Slayer, which is a serial killer robot designed to feed a demon inside it via its serial killing, until it hits a critical mass and serial kills an entire hive in a rain of hellfire.

Come to think of it that's basically automating the job of several hundred doomed chaos cultists with a single robot.

Night10194 fucked around with this message at 15:47 on Mar 30, 2018

Cythereal
Nov 8, 2009



Night10194 posted:

In general, one of the secrets of the Imperium is that once you've hit Great Man status it's very hard for them to actually kill you, because you become a symbol of the state.

That, and they mention that literally the moment Achilus' ship and staff were lost, there was Tetarchus, scampering in with his waxed mustache and his big corps of junior officers who all believed like he did, carefully replacing any of Achilus' old staff as he took over. Many of the officers and high up people in the Crusade are his 'disciples' and loyalists. This is why I've always taken it as being hinted that he killed Achilus. But it also means that yes, his talent actually is political maneuvering and keeping himself in power.

E: The other thing, which is actually quite important, is that Achilus was not well liked by the Astartes, especially. They thought he was too cautious and thought he was sort of a coward for plans like 'We should keep focused and not overextend, since we're fighting in an unknown warzone'. It's implied that Tetarchus' original ascension was greeted with 'GOOD, someone with backbone, we'll actually get things done now!' by most of the Imperial forces, because the Empire believes its own dogshit fascist propaganda about will and the brilliance of the attack. It's rather harder to walk that back when you greeted the guy with open arms at first, which is why I say there's an actual distinct theme of 'interstellar war is much harder than the Imperium thinks it is and is not won by epic proclamations and peans to glory'. In normal GW stuff, Tetarchus is the guy who would be the 'genius' of battle for his brilliant strategy of 'attack lots'. Here, he's a massive fuckup whose only real talent is keeping himself in power. It's a good change.

Still, he's reaching the point where I'd start worrying about the Officio Assassinorum paying him a visit.


There's a fun plot hook right there: assemble evidence that Tetarchus is a colossal fuckup and make a case to the Inquisition that he needs to be removed, permanently.

Foglet
Jun 17, 2014

Reality is an illusion.
The universe is a hologram.
Buy gold.


Night10194 posted:

You'd be a fool to say no!

Because then they might send the Spire Slayer, which is a serial killer robot designed to feed a demon inside it via its serial killing, until it hits a critical mass and serial kills an entire hive in a rain of hellfire.

Come to think of it that's basically automating the job of several hundred doomed chaos cultists with a single robot.
Now I want to see a cult's regular joes and janes who take up arms against those literally god-damned machines that steal their jobs.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


Foglet posted:

Now I want to see a cult's regular joes and janes who take up arms against those literally god-damned machines that steal their jobs.

"I spent weeks convincing the governor that many of our highly placed agents would be efficient and useful members of his administration, carefully maneuvering us to be in a position to take over, when instead he just says 'Antiochus, look here! I've bought the most wonderous cogitator!' and gods-damnit, I see the eight pointed star everywhere. They don't even bother to hide it! It's shameful. What's happening to the CRAFT of slowly suborning a planet by hand?"

"Aye, and have you SEEN their murder-machines? They do an entire death cult's job with one machine, all of Fearghus' lot are out of work!"

By popular demand
Jul 17, 2007

IT *BZZT* WASP ME--
IT WASP ME ALL *BZZT* ALONG!




I could definitely see Slaaneshi and Tzinchian cultists moaning about the art of it maaaaaan.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


Warhammer 40,000 Roleplay: Deathwatch and Rites of Battle: Part 15

Don't tell me we don't have the manpower! Don't tell me it can't be done! Tell me how many heads are spiked on our battlements! Tell me how deep the mass graves are!

Canis Salient is the original salient against the Tau. It is commanded by a close friend of Tetarchus, Lord Ebongrave, a former cavalry officer (literal cavalry, he was a Rough Rider with power lance and horse) who has gone completely insane in the face of fighting the Tau. He has been horrified by the subversive effectiveness of the Water Caste, the Tau diplomats, and he sees traitors and Tau sympathizers everywhere he looks. He oversees purge squads and constant winnowing of his own officers and troops, and he has consigned entire worlds to blockades that are starving them completely (to the point of growing cults and Chaos armies in desperation) for the hint that they may have spoken to Tau diplomats. His salient is under attack by a Tyranid splinter that has broken off of Dagon's main mass, and while it's being held in place at the moment, he absolutely refuses to shift forces away from the purges or the war with the Tau, muttering that they are a 'moral threat' that goes beyond any monster who merely wants to eat you.

Part of the reason for his growing paranoia comes from a horrific terrorist attack on the planet of Spite, where he has his HQ. A group claiming to be Tau-affliated revolutionaries de-orbited a factory ship onto the planet, causing ecological disaster and millions of deaths in the name of their 'Vengeance Sept'. In the aftermath of this, he has switched more and more troops to 'moral hygiene militias' and purge teams, and encouraged paranoia among each of the city-states of Spite such that each has cut itself off from others. Looming over it all is his miserable interrogation facility at Sepulchre Sigma, where he oversees constant interrogations that are depicted as simply getting people to confess to whatever they're accused of, rather than giving him any useful intelligence, which I appreciate. He is tearing his own HQ world apart even further looking for culprits and traitors as he commits more and more men to repression duties even as a swarm of alien locusts threaten to kill everyone, but The Blasphemy Incident makes it feel a little more human for someone to have gone that insane.

Also, the mystery of who the hell the Vengeance Sept are is never answered in the book. They could be human radicals who went further than their Tau handlers wanted. It could be an evil Tau tactic to deniably ruin the HQ world of the army fighting them while claiming 'oh it was just lunatics'. With the timing on the attack, it could be a genestealer cult (I went with this in one of my games) trying to undermine defenses ahead of their fleet splinter. It's there for PCs to solve, and it's here I'd also note that you could do a lot of good DH games in the whole mess of corruption and incompetence among the Crusade officers in Jericho.

I wasn't kidding about the quarantine worlds, either. Three major planets in the region have been cut off from all Imperial contact or supply, with a naval blockade, on suspicion of having talked to the Tau. The book points out that they are suffering a serious rise in dangerous cult activity, driven by desperation, sickness, and starvation. Marines might be sent in to assess the situation or stop it getting worse. If you're playing Rogue Trader, I bet these people would pay through the nose for any relief from the blockade...

The Velk'Han Sept of the Tau Empire is a cluster of several dozen populated worlds, most of them human worlds ruled by sympathetic human proxies. It was this that originally drove Ebongrave mad. The Tau have their repressive side, controlling all education and outlawing faith in the Emperor, and controlling the local population much as you'd expect from a paternalistic, somewhat more imperial Starfleet. Their secret police are also much more fond of simply disappearing people who are suspected of rebellion, rather than bothering with messy public executions. Human forces in Velk'Han are usually led by humans, ordered and equipped as proxies rather than directly led by the Tau, while the core of experienced Fire and Air Caste troops handle the most dangerous and important missions. The Tau are struggling to keep the Sept supplied and viable in the face of both the war with the Imperium and now the arrival of the Tyranids, and they already had problems with strange, alien ruins that cause madness on some of the planets of the Sept as it was. If you fight on the Greyhell Front against the Tau, you are going to face a variety of troops. Tau, Vespid (bug people with Marine-killing guns), Kroot (Cannibalistic Predator-esque mercenaries the Tau use for close combat), human auxiliaries, and more.

Tsua'Malor is the capital world of the Sept, a heavily built up world populated by a majority of Tau settlers, where they hand down their orders to the human leaders who have bowed before the Sept. It also contains a state university where they send all the best and brightest human minds from their Sept, educating them in the proper ways of the Greater Good and teaching them to use and work with Tau technology. More than that, though, it contains a place where the Tau experiment with human psychology, trying to understand their enemy by studying human political prisoners and working to refine their re-eductation methods, if you believe the rumors. As the HQ for a major enemy faction, if your Marines can reach Tsua'Malor there's all kinds of commando stuff they could get up to, from assassinations to stealing technology to rescuing defectors.

In general, the Tau methods of repression are much more based around a sort of paternalistic re-education rather than extermination. Their portrayal here is showing the signs of the slow slide into 'actually they're just totally evil' that we'll eventually get to with the Tau in 40k, but it says something that they still come off better than the Imperials for not having an actual policy of constant genocide yet.

We also get another little blurb on Ebongrave, and how he again, absolutely refuses to hear of the possibility of truce to fight the Tyranids and would rather see all of Jericho die than allow the 'moral infection' of alien thought to spread. He no longer leaves his bastions and spends all his time accusing people of treason and heresy. He is backed up in this by a whole bunch of elite Death World troopers he has convinced of the necessity of slaughtering anyone who shows weakness, the 14th Mortressa Highlanders, and they are the only force among his troops he genuinely trusts.

There's also Krrk'tikit, a planet where the Tau are trying to communicate with crystal energy beings and convince them to join starfleet the Greater Good. It hasn't been going well. There have been vaporizations. There's also a Watch Station that the Tau are carefully trying to deconstruct, to learn more about the power-armored lunatics the Imperials send at them from time to time. There's also a great and terrible phenomena surrounding the whole Sept space, the Black Reefs, an odd cosmic phenomena that makes it hard to approach the region from most directions. The Tau are still trying to map them, losing a fair number of ships in the process, to discover what and where they need to defend. Tau's weakness is generally that they cannot move fast in space. They have no Navigators nor anything similar and have to make short, computed dips into a Warp they don't understand at all. Anything that limits the strategic mobility of their enemies in space is helpful to them.

We get some more interesting worlds on the Greyhell Front, but the most interesting is probably Bekrin. Bekrin was a Cardinal World, seat of the regional ecclesiarchy, which evacuated in the face of the Hive Fleet splinter. The splinter was turned aside before it could attack Bekrin, but for some reason Ebongrave absolutely refuses to allow anyone onto the planet. Its verdant beauty is beginning to reclaim the once-shining cathedrals while they stand empty and the Ministorum begs for the place to be returned to them, yet the Lord Militant remains firm. Is it more of his paranoia, or did he see something awful there when there was no-one left to hide it from him?

There is also the world of Veren, a minor planet seemingly of no strategic value that the Tau have been defending to the death. As a result, Ebongrave is convinced it is the site of some mighty weapons research facility or treasure he simply doesn't know about, and so he has made it central to his war plans, despite its worthlessness on a strategic scale. Is he being drawn into a trap? Probably, but your Kill Team could be seconded to find the Tau 'doomsday' device that MUST be there, etc.

I admit I dislike the slow grimdarkening of the Tau, but at least it's still at the level of 'imperialists who would like their auxiliaries to die first, and also nice things for the Tau' rather than the later 'ETHEREALS ARE MAGIC MIND WORMS ALL TAU ARE EVIL' stuff. They make a nice contrast with the insane, paranoid Imperial commander, who feels like he's insane and paranoid for reasons that at least seem plausible. There's a lot for players to do and the Tau are really fun enemies to fight, bringing variety, tactics, and the possibility you might commit the grave sin of working with them against the Nids.

Next Time: Who You Kill.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

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The Theoi say that the World was born from the immense chasm, Chaos. From it arose Gaia, who gave birth to her equal, Uranus, to surround her in sky. Uranus and Gaia had many children - the 12 Titans, the Cyclopes and the Hundred-Handed. However, Uranus was fearful of his children's power and hated their appearance, so he bound the Cyclopes and Hundred-Handed in Tartarus, far below Gaia, which caused her great pain. She made a knife of flint and gave it to her son Cronus, who used it to castrate his father, then hurled Uranus' genitals into the sea. He then took his sister Rhea as wife, and she bore him six children - three sons and three daughters. Cronus, not wanting to be overthrown as he overthrew his own father, reimprisoned his siblings the Cyclopes and Hundred-Handed, and swallowed each of his own children as they were born. Rhea, however, sought the aid of her parents to trick Cronus, giving him a stone rather than her youngest son, Zeus, whom she raised in secret. He grew, returned and defeated Cronus, forcing him to vomit up the other five children, and the stone. Zeus freed the Cyclopes and Hundred-Handed, and in return they gave him thunder and lightning, the greatest weapons. It took ten years, but Zeus and his fellow Theoi defeated the Titans in the war called Titanomachy, binding them within Tartarus and setting the Hundred-Handed to guard them. Zeus and his brothers, Hades and Poseidon, drew lots to split the world. Zeus took the sky, Poseidon the sea and Hades the Underworld, with the land itself being left in common to them all. Now, the Theoi rule over all, and Zeus watches his own children, for like Uranus and Cronus, he is destined to be unseated by one of them.

Aphrodite, Goddess of Love, is also called Venus. By tradition, she is said to have been born of the foam when the genitals of Uranus struck the sea. From birth she was beautiful and sought after by all, men or women. She is ruler of both love and lust, and while the prudish may try to separate the two, she does not. She was married to Hephaestus by Zeus, but she and Ares have been having an affair for thousands of years. Several times, it's humiliated all three of them. Aphrodite, eldest of the Theoi, does not begrudge Zeus' rule, for he is so often ruled by the passions of lust. Rome called her Venus, but she changed little with the name, save that she was honored as the mother of the Roman people via Aeneas. Julius Caesar and Augustus claimed her as ancestor, and the modern world still reveres her. Her symbol is everywhere - cosmetics, ads, even as a symbol for all women (which, let me tell you, pisses off other goddesses a lot). Beauty rules the fashion and film industries, and if the standards aren't the same as they once were, Aphrodite is more than able to adapt to them. Her Callings are Lover, Guardian and Creator, and her Purviews are Beauty, Fertility, Passion (Desire, Love) and Prosperity.

Apollo is the God of Music, Prophecy and Healing, also called Phoebus. He is son of Zeus and brother to Artemis, and his youth is his nature. He wields the bow with extreme skill, and where his arrow lands, plague spreads. He is equally skilled with healing and with the lyre, his favorite musical instrument. He is a prophet more than any other god of the Theoi, and he inspires a sort of controlled madness in his seers and priestesses, with many of the World's oracles serving him. He gained no new name in Rome, unlike the other Theoi. He is the god that kills from afar, and he doesn't appreciate mortals taking his schtick. He doesn't like cruise missiles, but he especially hates biological warfare, which is a hubristic intrusion on his domain. The fact that he's more than willing to punish use of it is, perhaps, one of the reasons that biowarfare has never been seen on a large scale. Still, he does like the great diversity of modern music. Apollo's Callings are Healer, Judge and Sage. His Purviews are Artistry, Epic Dexterity, Health and Sun.

Ares is the God of War, also called Mars. He is the son of Zeus and Hera, and he was the least beloved god of the Greeks. He commands the chaos of battle, but he is no wise general or reserved soldier. Rather, he is a terrifying and brilliant warrior. Mortals rarely sacrifice to him, and if they do, it is to beg him to restrain his aid, for a soldier maddened by fury is less likely to survive. The Romans named him Mars, god of the Legions, and made him a stern, unyielding commander. There, he was respected more than any god but Jupiter and is named the ultimate parent of the Roman populace via Romulus and Remus. Here, is the fine machine of war, precise in tactics, yet still unequal to Minerva in grand strategy, which still angers him. He wears both Mantles well, both as the mad warrior cutting and thrusting and the precise, industrial commander of men. He is still no strategist or thinker, though, and he despises unmanned but armed drones. He is the greatest warrior against the Titans among all Theoi. Ares' Callings are Warrior, Lover and Guardian, and his Purviews are Chaos, Fertility, Order, Passion (Rage, Valor), Prosperity and War. I'd probably also give him Epic Strength and/or Stamina, but that's me.

Artemis is the Goddess of the Hunt, also called Diana. She is sister to Apollo, daughter of Zeus and Leto. She stands between the wild lands, which she loves, and the women of humanity, whom she is sworn to defend. She disdains men and has never been married, and never shall be. She is forever surrounded by maidens that serve her, guarding her dogs and bow, and she comes out of the mountains to watch over the growth of girls into women and to bring relief from the pain of childbirth...or to kill them, for Artemis is both healer and plague. In Rome she was Diana, and she was there before the city. Her two Mantles are quite similar, and her temples in Rome were sanctuary to plebes and slaves. She does not appreciate the modern World's insistence on crowding out the sacred wilderness, but she has many, many more women to watch over now. She accepts any who claim to be women, and she works for women's rights across the globe, being one of the most active Theoi. Artemis' Callings are Hunter, Guardian and Healer, and her Purviews are Beasts, Epic Dexterity, Health and Moon.

Athena is the Goddess of Heroes, Wisdom, Strategy and Law. She is also called Minerva. She is the daughter of Zeus and Metis, and one story has her emerge full-grown from her father's forehead, carrying a spear. Others tell of her childhood tutelage by Triton, and of how she took the name of Triton's daughter Pallas after accidentally slaying her. She is a great warrior but a better general, for she is studied in strategy. She does not lead the armies of Olympus, but she makes the plans that Ares implements, for he knows quite well she's the wiser. She often involves herself with the lives of Theoi Scions, or even those of other pantheons. In Rome, she was Minerva, and was patron of trade and commerce as well as strategy. This was where the tradition began of dedicating schools to her, which continues to this day. (Actually, the entire state of California is ritually dedicated to her, too.) Her wisdom has let her adapt well to the modern age. She enjoys modern democracy, descended as it is from the experiment of Athens, but she hates corruption in it, which is all too common. She rarely acts directly, preferring to manipulate the organizations of the world, and she has many plans that may appear to be at cross purposes but always get her what she wants. Athena's Callings are Guardian, Warrior and Sage, and her Purviews are Artistry (Weaving), Beasts (Owl), Epic Dexterity, Order and War.

Demeter is the Goddess of Agriculture, also called Ceres. She is sister to Zeus and mother of Persephone. She grants security to mortals with her bounty, and in her honor, they offer her the best of each harvest. When Zeus gave Persephone to Hades without her consent, she denied the world its harvest and nearly destroyed all of mankind, even after the Theoi begged her to stop. In the end, Zeus relented and gave her Persephone back, but only for half the year...and so, for half the year, she makes the land lie barren, to remind the Theoi never to take from her again. Rome named her Ceres, greatest of the crop gods, and she was popular not only for this, but the Eleusinian Mysteries brought from Greece. Rome claimed her blessing made them prosperous, and her protection was granted to the Tribunes, who were guardians of the plebian class. Today, she is great and powerful as ever thanks to the modern technologies of agriculture. She is also the patron of organized labor, as the withholding of power resonates with her and she likes that mortals could learn that lesson from her. Still, many go hungry despite her work, for even Demeter cannot save everyone. Her Callings are Creator, Guardian and Judge, and her Purviews are Earth, Epic Stamina, Fertility and Order.

Dionysus is the God of Revelry, also called Bacchus. He is the lord of epiphany and wine, youngest of the Olympians. His father is Zeus, his mother the mortal Semele, who was obliterated by the sight of Zeus in his full glory. Zeus sewed her unborn child into his thigh, and Dinoysus was born a second time, then given to Hermes to raise far from Hera. He was widely revered as part of the powerful and sometimes dangerous Dionysian Cult, and has always been the god of foreign wisdom and madness. While the Romans called him Bacchus, it's barely a Mantle - Dionysus didn't change in Rome. He loves the modern World and has become patron of...well, every drug. Every drug. Also conspicuous consumption. He is the double-edged blade, wisdom and excess, and he adores both. Dionysus' Callings are Lover, Liminal and Sage, and his Purviews are Artistry (Theatre), Chaos, Deception, Fertility and Passion (Ecstasy).

Hades is the God of the Underworld, also called Plouton or Pluto. He is son of Cronus, and he is rarely seen, for he rules eternally in the lands of the dead. He is no torturer, but there is little he can do to make death pleasant, for it is death. When he enters the World, which is rare, he wears the Cyclopes' helm of invisibility. The Romans called him Pluto, derived from the Greek Plouton - giver of wealth. Few ever sacrificed to him directly, except as part of his role in the Eleusinian Mysteries as abductor of Persephone. He doesn't like the modern World much - there's too much of it. He's stuck in his realm, unable to experience all the new things out there, and while Persephone will act as his intermediary out there while she's in the half of the year not underground, it's no real substitute. Mortals claw at his realm in search of wealth, and the smarter ones sacrifice to him first as thanks. Hades may not be cruel, after all, but neither is he kind. His Callings are Judge, Leader and Liminal, and his Purviews are Darkness, Death, Earth and Prosperity.

Next time: Hephaestus, Hera, Hermes, Hestia, Persephone, Poseidon, Zeus.

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By popular demand
Jul 17, 2007

IT *BZZT* WASP ME--
IT WASP ME ALL *BZZT* ALONG!




No doubt that the Jericho reach space marines game has so much to offer that it leaves DH in the dust.

I'm gonna return to it but with a much simpler system.

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