Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Black Crusade - First Session Report

Thanks to the miracle of modern science (well, actually, just a couple mobile phones and a laptop,)  I was able to finally run a session of Black Crusade, the latest 40K RPG from Fantasy Flight Games.  I roped in a couple of former members of the Granite Gamers (our old University wargaming group) to play as the characters, while I ran the game itself.

Serocil might look like this, but significantly more unholy

It was all a bit short notice, so, to save any hassle, I generated a few characters to choose from and adapted an old Dark Heresy adventure to a suitable evil theme.  This was the first rpg session I've participated in a couple years and the first I've GM'ed in even longer, so it took a little while to get back into the swing of things.  After half an hour or so, we were back rolling dice like veterans!

The session began with Taran, a renegade Imperial commander now in the sevice of the Dark Gods, and Serocil, a Dark Mechanicus Heretek, arriving at Tarsus Hive with the vague aim of spreading corruption and death amongst the Hive population.  We'd decided that Taran looked "normal" enough to still fit into Imperial society, but Serocil's many augmentations looked far too unholy for him to walk around freely, so he disguised himself as Taran's sevitor/bodyguard.  To keep the deception authentic, We also decided that Serocil could only communicate with Taran via the voxlink with one word messages.

The duo decided to pose as Inquisition agents and contact the local Adeptus Arbites to get an idea of the political situation in Tarsus Hive and the various criminal groups in operation. This was the first stage of the adventure and relied on Taran making successful charm, inquiry and deceive skill tests while dealing with Imperial personel.  Meanwhile Serocil made lots of scrutiny, tech and logic tests to covertly access various security systems in the hive. Thanks to the Infamy point mechanic, Taran was able to pass a particularly difficult inquiry test to find out the chief arbitor had apparantly been contacted by Inquisitorial agents some months earlier!

After leaving the Arbites headquarters, the pair had a good knowledge of the key installations in the hive, the amount of and location of the security forces as well as a rough knowledge of the various criminal gangs operating in the area.  They then toured some of the hive, focusing on areas they thought vulnerable to attack, namely the water purification plant, the main generators and the hive's ruling court.  At this point, they also failed to notice they were being tailed.
Hive Tarsus

With a little prompting, Taran and Serocil decided to head to the lower levels of Tarsus Hive and find a secure base to operate from.  Whilst moving through an industrial plant area, they were ambushed by a gang of hivescum.  At this point, they could have talked their way out of things and, indeed, used the gang to help them find a base.  Serocil, however, decided he'd had enough of hiding under his extravagant disguise, so threw it off, pulled out has plasma cannon and started glooping people.

Moving further into the Hive, they caught a different gang preparing an ambush and successfully intimidated the leader into taking them to their lair.  A successful security test revealed the lair was indeed a secure place to fortify and, after making a couple violent examples, the loyalty of the remaining gangers was guaranteed for the time being.

At this point, the climax of the session arrived, as did the mercenary squad trailing the duo, who appeared and attempted to take the heretics into custody.  Apparently, something about Taran and Serocil in the Arbites headquarters had made someone suspicious, and they had then used this team to keep track of them.  Fraternising with criminals was all the evidence needed for the mercs to act.

This last action was actually a bit underwhelming, as I overestimated how strong the merc force would be in combat (I used the bounty hunter and guardsmen profiles from the Black Crusade rulebook.)  Serocil was easily cutting down troopers with his plasma weaponry, while Taran charged forward with his power sword and killed the leader.  In the end, I didn't even use the gangers to support the fight.

Taran venturing into the underhive

With that last action, we finished the session and left Taran and Serocil for the time being. The pair were now reasonable secure in the underhive, with a base to operate from and a gang of thugs under their control.  News of the massacre in the industrial plant would surely be all over the hive by now, spreading fear to the law abiding population.  Taran and Serocil were now well placed to work out the next stage of their insurrection.

However, there are still a number of dangers facing our evil heroes!  It's unclear if any of the merc strike team escaped the encounter in the underhive and however useful a gang of hivescum are, they are unlikely to be of much use if superior security or criminal forces attack.  Lastly, there are the unconfirmed reports of Inquisitorial agents working in Tarsus Hive. If the rumours are true, the two groups will almost certainly come into conflict in the future.

So that was our first RPG session in years!  I'm not sure how regular this will be, as it needed a lot of planning just getting the three of us free on one night (even with us just on phones and computers,) however, as a one-off it was an absolute blast!

I really like a lot of the mechanics in Black Crusade and, even though we set the game on an Imperial world, it felt quite different to any of the other 40K RPGs I've played.  We're going to attempt anothr session in the near future, just to see how we fare against some tougher opponents and try out the Ritual and Minions rules!  Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed reading this report.  Please let me know if there's anything you'd like explained or if you've any suggestions for future sessions! 

1 comment:

  1. I'm currently also running a Black Crusade Campaign. But with 7 players and me as Mod (Yeah, Character Creation and Combat is long and difficult :P)

    I love what you've done with your campaign, especially with blending into regular imperial society. My group is roughly 1/2 Chaos Space marines which makes infiltration missions difficult to implement. Also most stuff just turns into combat (My friends are rather bloodthirsty like that) but I'm trying to change that.

    I think what's important in this game (Though it's easier with 7 player as opposed to 2) is to foster some ulterior motives, I've already given opportunities for small betrayals which my group seem to love. Nothing quite like each person pursuing their own goals. One point one of my guys playing a Thousand Son Sorcerer was trying to obtain a spell tome for xp and infamy.
    But the Slaaneshi Renegade in our group that night before had already stolen and burned it and claimed his prize.
    Made for some good laughs.