You have been drawn to the Penitence System by the threat of heresy spreading in the hives of the world Ptolemy. A black market smuggling operation of alien artefacts known as the Cold Trade has brought forbidden xenos items from the Antonine Cluster to the spires of Hive Mercy. Who brought them to the system? Who took receipt of them? What are the items being used for? These are the questions that must be asked!
Player Characters Edit
This campaign is suitable for two or more groups of player characters. The campaign is not limited to groups of any particular archetype. The player characters could be Ordo Hereticus Inquisitors searching for heresy amongst the noble families, Ordo Xenos radicals searching for forbidden items for their own use, Rogue Traders looking to make money or the followers of Chaos who may require the items for some esoteric ritual. Some imagination may be required on the part of the Games Master to come up with a suitable reason for involving a group of characters, but the scenarios that follow are written to be ambiguous to allow characters from the breadth of the 41st millennium to get stuck in!
Below are four scenarios that will let the players investigate the Cold Trade and track down the forbidden items. The first three scenarios can be played in any order, and each of the scenarios can be modified by applying one or more of the Complications from the appendix section. The Complications can also be applied to the fourth scenario, but as this game is the showdown, it should be played at the end to decide once and for all what happens to the forbidden artefacts!
Picking Up The Scent Edit
Rumour has it that the Chartist vessel Joyous Salutations has travelled from the Antonine Cluster to Ptolemy repeatedly over recent months. Its captain, Jerred Morgam, may be the man that brought the items to Hive Mercy. If he can be captured and made to talk, you might learn everything. As you set your ambush, you become aware that there are others in the area as well-armed as you are... It seems there is competition for Captain Morgam's capture! Requirements - one marker/NPC model forCaptain Morgam. If more models are available, then a bodyguard for the captain can also be placed on the table.
Set Up - place Captain Morgam and his entourage, if any, in the centre of the table. Deploy the player war bands on opposite table edges.
Objectives - each player aims to get Captain Morgam back to the table edge they entered by. The Captain is cowardly, and will come quietly if threatened with a weapon of any player character he is within seeing or hearing distance of. He will stay within two yards of the threatening player character and move at the same pace as them towards the table edge. If at any point the accompanying player character is incapacitated in any way, the Captain will flee for the nearest table edge. He will stop if threatened once again.
Aftermath - the player that managed to capture Captain Morgam will learn that he took money from Tomas Hereus in Hive Mercy to ferry a number of sealed cases from the Antonine Cluster for him. He does not know what was contained within them.
The Expert Edit
A learned individual has arrived in the system. He knows a great many secrets about the Cold Trade, and could be convinced to part with some of them. For a price. One group has pledged themselves as bodyguards in exchange for information, the other is here with money, or a threatening gun. Requirements - no special requirements.
Set Up - one side begins play within twelve yards of the centre of the table. This point is considered the access to the Expert's lair. The other player characters may set up on any table edge. The defenders must prevent the attacking characters from reaching the centre of the table. Only one character needs to make it to the centre for the attackers to win.
Aftermath - The Expert divulges that the xenos artefacts from the Antonine Cluster are warp-tainted and exceptionally dangerous to the defenders if no attackers made it to the centre of the board, or to the attackers if one of their number made it through.
Money Talks Edit
You have come to believe that Chief Trabak of the Hive Mercy Enforcer Corps is taking bribes to allow contraband into the Spire. If you can catch him accepting money, you will be able to strong arm him into supporting your investigation. Requirements - four markers (or if available, four NPC models) to represent Trabak's man and three civilians.
Set Up - the four NPC markers/models are placed randomly on the table. The GM should secretly note which marker/model represents Trabak's man. Each side starts on a random table edge. Each side is in possession of a bribe for Chief Trabak. The bribe must be delivered to his man by getting the character carrying the bribe into base-to-base contact with Chief Trabak's man. The correct marker/model must be identified by a character moving to within five yards of the man and passing a sagacity test.
Aftermath - the side that manages to bribe Trabak's man learn that the Enforcer Corps have turned a blind eye to the Hereus family's imports.
High Noon at House Hereus Edit
The dark alleyways of House Hereus are daubed with incomprehensible runes that confuse the eyes and speak of the noble family's heresy. After battling through heavy resistance, you reach the throne room where a central dais is ringed in light. The fight for possession of the Antonine Amulet has begun.
Requirements - if no NPC models are available, then the scenario can be played just with the player warbands. However, if spare models are available set up a number of NPC House Herseus inner circle members may be placed on the table too. It is suggested that one NPC model per two player characters on the table is a suitable ratio. The NPCs will fight to the death to stop the Antonine Amulet being removed from the table.
Set Up - the warband that successfully completed the most objectives of the first three scenarios begins in the centre of the table in possession of the Antonine Amulet. The Amulet is small enough to fit in a player character's pocket, and must be assigned to one model. It may be passed to/stolen by any character in base to base contact as a free action. The other warbands set up on a random table edge. If two or more warbands won an equal number of the previous scenarios then they start on different table edges. Further warbands enter play after five turns on a random table edge. The game's objective is to get the Antonine Amulet off any table edge.
Aftermath - one side will escape with the Antonine Amulet and will be able to plunder its secrets, or destroy it depending on their motivation. They will also have an insight into the Cold Trade and may begin to either end it or master it. As for what the Antonine Amulets are... Let's just say the galaxy is a big place, and anything is possible.
The following Complications may be applied to any scenario to add depth to the games. For novice GMs and players it is advised that the scenarios are played through without any of these options.
The scenarios are played in half-light. Range of vision is reduced to half a character's Initiative value.
The scenario is played out against a deafening backdrop of industrial or unnatural noise. All hearing distances are reduced to one tenth.
Noxious Atmosphere Edit
There is a lower than ideal oxygen concentration in the air. Any character that runs or sprints must pass a Toughness test or miss a turn as they catch their breath.
Whether hive quakes or orbital bombardment, the ground shakes violently underfoot. There is a ten percent chance each turn that a tremor will strike. Each character must pass an initiative test or be knocked prone. Characters within one yard of the edge of a rooftop or walkway will fall to the ground!
An endless swarm of vermin carpets the ground, scratching and biting all around them. Each character must pass a Leadership test at the start of the turn or waste an action fighting off the rats.
Thinning Veil Edit
The currents of the warp are strong, and psykers are saturated with its energies. Psykers receive a +20% bonus on attempts to use psychic powers. Failed psychic tests result in double the value of Willpower lost however.
Captain Morgam Edit
WS: 34 BS: 42 S: 56 T: 57 I: 53 WP: 58 SG: 56 NV: 21 LD: 23
Armour: Heavy robes (AV2) on all locations except head.
Equipment: Naval Pistol, Short Sword
Special: Captain Morgam is a complete coward. He will not act in a violent fashion unless his life is truly in danger.
Captain Morgam's Bodyguards Edit
WS: 56 BS: 52 S: 56 T: 57 I: 58 WP: 42 SG: 31 NV: 51 LD: 48
Armour: Flak armour (AV3) on all locations except head.
Equipment: Naval Pistol, Short Sword
House Herseus Inner Circle Edit
WS: 60 BS: 63 S: 58 T: 61 I: 58 WP: 45 SG: 52 NV: 55 LD: 56
Armour: Flak Armour (AV3) on all locations except head.
Equipment: Pump Action Shotgun with 16 shells, Sword