Saturday, February 12, 2011

Dark Heresy Campaign: An Introduction

Around here we occasionally do a bit of role-playing. Perhaps once every few of months, when we have enough people together to play, we tend to have a brutal, 10 hour or longer gaming session. So far it's mostly been Dungeons and Dragons 2 and 3.5, and so far I've only been a player, not a games master. This Christmas, however, things changed. My friend Jack Sandwich picked me up a copy of the Dark Heresy rulebook. Taking the hint, I dove in and started cooking up a campaign to run.

Edit: Podcast episodes are being released every Monday. Subscribe via RSS or iTunes

While writing up notes for the campaign, I began listening to the Penny Arcade/PVP D&D podcast. It's a great laugh, highly recommended. And inspiring... I bought a cheap conference microphone (designed for recording a room of people), and we set the date for the campaign to start.

And so now we have an eight hour recording of our playing session. It just needs chopping into half-hour chunks and it will be released as a weekly podcast on this very blog. Hopefully the first one should be live in the next few days. It's pretty raw, and this is our first time playing Dark Heresy (not to mention my first time GM-ing), so be gentle...

To kick things off, here's a brief introduction to the campaign, it's location and the players. I'll let them say a little more about their characters themselves in a future post.

The Players
  • Jack Sandwich as Corporal Conrad Wensleydale, a Cadian imperial guardsman.
  • Simon as Dirk Campell, arbite. He's "too old for this shit".
  • Tom as the callous psyker, Intios Atellus.
  • Myself as the GM/God-Emperor.

Hive World Tarserus
Settled some 2000 years ago, the world of Tarserus has expanded into a bustling hive world, home to billions. Towering enclosed cities, piercing the cloud layer, dot it's polluted acid-waste surface. As a centre of industry, particularly ammunition production, it is an important world in the sector. Many of it's exports go to feed the grinding imperial war machine in the form of guns, bullets, shells and las power packs.

Recently, a large heretical rebellion occurred in Hive Maximus. Imperial forces rushed to it's aid, and the city is now in a constant state of war, both within and without. The imperial guard and local PDF regiments have dug in and laid siege to Maximus for the last several months. Heresy, corruption and dissension among imperial troops is at higher levels than normally expected.

The war around Maximus has put extra pressure on Hive Secundus as it tries to simultaneously meet imperial tithes and provide supplies for the ongoing war. Production quotas have been ramped up and men and resources are becoming increasingly strained, resulting in grumbling unrest in the citizens of Hive Secundus. Rioting, discord and several outright uprisings have had to be put down by local arbite forces.

Inquisitor Orland
Inquisitor Thrass Orland has been assigned the job of investigating the increased levels of corruption among imperial forces in the war on Tarserus. He has his hands full dealing with situations both at the front lines, and inside Hive Secundus. His resources too, are stretched.

Increased violence in the hive's lower levels has drawn the inquisitor's attention. The revolts are becoming too well armed and too well organised, and he believes there is more to it than just citizen unrest. Hive Secundus cannot be allowed to rebel as Maximus did, or the war will be lost - a great blow to the imperium. With resources tight, he has been forced to gather together the untried team of Wensleydale, Campbell and Atellus to investigate a particular situation in Manufactorum District 6-80.

The Mission
6-80 is a huge manufactorum dome, some kilometres in diameter, in the lower levels of Hive Secundus - the grim domain of the common hive citizen. Being towards the bottom of the habitable hive, it is fairly lawless at the best of times. Gang violence and crime has always been a companion here.

A month ago, a particularly violent rebellion broke out in the dome's manufactorum precinct. With the arbites lacking the resources to crush the revolt, a stalemate has ensued. The rebels are dug in and holding a large chunk of the district - nearly a full quarter of it - with the arbites surrounding them. The situation has now lasted for almost a month.

Inquisitor Orland sends the team to attempt to discover the source of the uprising in 6-80. They are to liaise with his contact - Milo Drex, a native of the 6-80 backstreets - whom the inquisitor used as a guide some years before. The team must investigate the identities of the organisers of this particular uprising and report back to the inquisitor, so that forces may be brought to bear to destroy whatever group is behind it all.