Author Topic: The Red Prince  (Read 1929 times)

Offline Alyster Wick

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The Red Prince
« on: March 06, 2010, 05:40:34 AM »
Here is the rules/background thread to go along with this happy fellow:

Unfortunately (or fortunately) I got rather caught up in his story.  I originally envisioned a small number of supporting characters in it who were rather bland but it turns out that they took on a life of their own (Cill is certainly getting his own model after this!).

The other unfortunate thing is that by the time I was done with all this I ran out of juice to make rules.  There are two things that should prove interesting for the Red Prince rules wise, the first is his psychic power (which is somewhat detailed in the story) and the other is how I'll handle his Will Power and Initiative stats.  He will be rather insanely powerful, but hey, he's an NPC monster and is supposed to be that way.  I know this is ridiculously long but I hope someone manages to make it to the end!  If you do I promise to read all of your long posts!

The Red Prince

   “He’s gone mad, you do know that?”
   “That is enough!”
   Interrogator Cill slammed his fist down on the console to punctuate his statement.
   “I am eager for the emperor’s return as well Cill, but Ghent’s actions…”
   “Inquisitor Ghent. Do not forget your tongue again Nym, or you will lose it.”
   “Fine, Inquisitor Ghent’s actions border on heresy.  We have been hold up in this facility for a Lourvian year with that…thing.  And how long has it been since the Inquisitor came out the exatorium? Does he even have food in there?”
   Cill sighed.  He looked down in his mechanical palm and idly turned Ghent’s Inquisitorial seal over in his hands.  As green as he was, Nym was right. 
   Upon returning from the excavation Ghent had gone straight into the exatorium, leaving his seal with Cill with the orders to stop anyone from entering under order of the Inquisition.  It had been cycles since that time, cycles since he had come back with the object. In that time he had spoken to no one, appearing only briefly on a comm vid.  The large screen had come to life without warning.  The two acolytes had stared at their master on the screen as he looked briefly into the camera, his mouth open as is to say something.  Ghent then looked back at his work, turned again to the screen, and said nothing.  But what Nym and Cill had seen in the background…
   The Inquisitor was locked behind two sets of heavy double blast doors with two heavily armed praetorians in the intervening hallway which he had conscribed from less than happy tech priest who he kept by his side in the exatorium.  Since then Nym and Cill were left to stare at the first set of doors, waiting for a message to come, any message.  All they had seen in the last lunar cycle was that cryptic comm vid.
   “I’ve had enough Cill, this is done.”
   Nym got up to leave the chamber.
   “You are not going anywhere.”
   Nym turned from the door and saw Cill sitting in front of the large vid screen, his stubber leveled for a headshot. 
   “So this is it?  You side with heresy.”
   “I side with the Inquisition.”
   Cill took his eyes off Nym to look at Ghent’s seal on the console.
   “You won’t do it.”
   “Yes, I will.  I will do it for the Inquisition”
   “I believe that Cill, but you wouldn’t be killing me for the Inquisition, you’d be killing me in the name of heresy, and you know that.”
   Nym stared at his onetime mentor.  He pointed behind them both to the blast doors. 
   “That is perversion in the emperor’s name, and I am leaving.  Come or stay, your choice.”
   He turned away to leave.
   The exit door opened and there was a staccato crack as Nym’s head burst apart and his body slumped to the ground.  Cill jumped to his feet and leveled his pistol at the entryway. He had not fired.  From the darkness of the opening, a static voice boomed.
   “Put your gun down now or face death.”
   Cill raised high Ghent’s seal.
   “On whose authority?”
   “The Omnissiah.”
   The voice was followed into the room by five figured.  The first was a towering figure, well over six feet tall.  The warrior was covered in sleek black armor with advanced wiring and cybernetics lacing the obsidian-weave plates.  He carried a crackling staff that spit blue energy from its tip in spurts that left ash on the floor.  Even a commoner on that planet could tell it was one of the Skitarus Elite. 
   Behind him lurked two tech-priests.  One was nearly as tall as the Skitarus and appeared to have no arms save for an ever-churning mass of silver tentacles that roiled forth from every opening of his red robes.  Out of the priests back extended a steely limb topped with a bellowing speaker.  Cill recognized the second priest though.  He was shorter and had pale flesh visible between patches of blackened cybernetics.  Despite this the glowing plasma pistol in his right hand told Cill he was far from a low-ranking adept. 
   The trio was rounded out by two massive praetorians.  Each creature hulked above even the Skitarus, carried on the legs of giant metal birds.  Wires lead out of their dead jawless faces into a maze of tubing and steel.  Red glass bulged out of bruised flesh where their eyes should have been, guiding the unmistakable muzzles of their heavy bolters towards Cill’s chest.
   He knew that he was outnumbered and badly outgunned.
   “On order of the Inquisition, in the name of the God Emperor who sits yet on Terra’s golden surface, lower your arms or face the Emperor’s wrath.”
   “Cill, you know who I am,” the second tech-priest spoke, his voice airy but with a metallic ring, as if it were run through a hollow pipe. “That hand that you clasp your master’s seal in, I gave it to you.  I do not wish harm to come to my work, especially when it is on such a worthy host.  But you see, we have urgent business with your master.”
   Cill hesitated.  He looked at the seal, then back the priests, their robes adorned in the cog of the mechanicus.  It was a potent symbol indeed…
   “Enough,” the first priest boomed, “within these walls lies abomination.  The Inquisitor Ghent has interned one of our order to assist in heresy.  Look at my crest fleshling and know that I am Leviaten, a Lord Dragon of the machine god.  Place your impotent steel on the floor or I will vaporize you brain and your body will live out its usefulness scrapping waste from the menials’ quarters.”
   Cill put his weapon down.
   “Quintus, come with me.”
   Leviaten and the Skitarus walked over to the blast doors.  The Lord Dragon’s mechandrites made quick work of the blast doors and as the two disappeared into the long corridor leading to the exatorium Cill could hear the priest speaking rites of engineering to the praetorians within.
   He looked down at the Ghent’s seal, gripping it hard in his mechanical hand.
   “Do not worry Cill,” said the remaining priest, “your master is beyond redemption, but you are a rare specimen.  I could tell when I first met you, did you think that gift of an arm was out of kindness?”
   “What is there for me after this?”
   “Surely a man of the Inquisition is not so uneducated about the Omnissiah?  Why, with a body and mind such as yours, there are many roles to be played.” 
   The techpriest’s eyes were a deep black.  It was hard to tell whether they were glass or vat-grown, but Cill could feel them creeping over him like he was a fresh corpse on the examination table. 
   “Leviaten will find a role for you, every cog has its place…”
   The pale light of the facility cut off and were replaced by the glowing red of the backups.  From the hallway there was an awful grinding, like a screeching loudspeaker thrown into a meat grinder.  Both praetorians sprang to life as the techpriest spoke the rites of incantation and moved towards the blast doors. 
   Cill grabbed his pistol from off the floor and turned to level his pistol.  Keeping his eyes on the three mechanicus he slowly backed towards the exit, but before any of them could leave the room there was a harsh slam as the doors shut and they were plunged into complete darkness.
   “Cill, what blasphemy is this?”
   Even with all the lights off the techpriest’s plasma pistol offered a dull orb of visibility in the black.  Cill raised his pistol.
   “You whelp of a human, do you dare to assume that we are limited the pitiful spectrum in which you view the world?  After I rip the eyes from your fleshy head maybe you will understand.”
   Cill rolled across the floor behind a high stack of steel containers.  He could feel the static singe of fresh plasma on his right side and his nose burned with the scent of cauterized steel.  The floor where he had stool was a shallow pool of liquid metal.
   “Do you think you can escape?  My praetorians will tear this facility down so that I may harvest your organs.  Maybe I’ll even keep one of them for myself.”
   Cill could already feel the skin on his cheek beginning to reknit itself. 
   “Just be careful priest,” Cill called, “you have no idea what Ghent has stored in here.”
   “Do you think I care for this heresy?”
   “Heresy, no,” Cill edged towards the side of one of the crates, his eyes slowly adjusting, “But within these containers are all of Ghent’s artifacts from the excavation.  I know you are curious.”
   Cill drew his hand back into cover as bolter-fire lit up the ground around him. 
   “Clever deduction.  But I remember our encounter as well.  You might want to be careful, not all of you grows back, and even in the dark my praetorians are excellent shots.”
   Cill drew in a deep breath.  He had felt the sting of bolt shrapnel in his lungs before.  It was no pleasant.
   “Aren’t you even worried about your master?”
   The priest laughed.
   “Master? I thought for a second you understood me Cill. There can only be one Lord Dragon on this planet, and some cogs to have ambition…”
   The lights in the room began to flash in manic order.  There was a blinding flash of yellow followed by a harsh red as the vid screen hummed with static.  The techpriest yelped in pain and Cill popped up to see the loathsome creature covering his lidless eyes.  Before the praetorians could draw a bead he snapped a shot off into the techpriests leg and disappeared into the storage crates.  A moment later the lights settled on an overexposed shade of red and the and Cill thanked the Emperor at the familiar sound of the exit door opening. 
   “It isn’t a very elegant weapon,” yelled Cill, “but it hurts like hell, doesn’t it?”
   “Even if you get out of here you have forfeited mercy,” cried the techpriest.  “I will see you hunted, the adjudicators will burn you publicly for your mutation.  You could have had a life of meaning in the machine, but I will see you flayed alive as many times as your body can take it.”
   Cill backed up against the crates, ready to make a dash for the exit, when he heard a shrill mechanical scream.
   “What is this heresy?”
   Cill glanced out from his hiding place and could not look away from what he saw. 
   The techpriest stood between his two praetorians facing the doorway, guns raised.
   “In the name of the Omnissiah, put down your…”
   Without warning the legs of the praetorians burst in a rain of shrapnel and wires.  The wiring lashed out, binding the techpriest and digging under his skin like savage black vines.  His plasma pistol dropped to the floor and he let out a muffled scream as the wires snaked into his mouth.  Then Cill saw it.  Could it be the thing from the comm vid?
   The creature was towering, even against the blast doors.  Knoted muscle and sinew stood out as if its skin would burst with inhuman strength.  A protruding scar on its chest showed the foul mark of chaos.  But most curious of all, bolted to the creature’s neck, was the object.
   As the techpriest lay in the throws of the death the creature lifted its right arm.  Cill could not tell whether the monstrosity was holding something or whether the blade had grown from its flesh, but when it impacted the techpriest Cill heard a sickening grind of flesh and bone on steel.  It was like no chain weapon he had ever seen.  In all his battles Cill had become familiar with the sound of metal teeth whirring into a body, but this thing was different.  There was that characteristic humming of the engine, but there was also a sick wet scrapping, as if the thing were feeding.
   Cill took his feet and aimed at the creature, letting loose a hail of bullets.  The first two bounced off his head (if you could call it that) without the thing noticing.  The next three made a line down his shoulder toward the blade.  It paused for a minute and in the silence Cill could hear the techpriest’s sickly gasps.  He fired one more round, blowing out the back of the wretch’s pale head.
   Instantly the creature lost interest and turned to Cill.  The thing had no eyes, and yet the feeling returned to Cill of being a corpse on the examination table.  Cill swallowed hard and gripped Ghent’s Inquisitorial seal in his metallic hand.
   “Emperor help me.”
   The creature then pointed to the vid screen and Cill followed its finger.  Large red letters began to appear.
   Your flesh is a puzzle, it said, and I am going to enjoy solving it.
   Cill raised the Inquisitorial seal high and bellowed at the creature, “In the name of the emperor I condemn you to the warp.”
   As he strode forward Cill felt a distinct tightening in his mechanical hand.  It was a strange sensation, he had felt nothing like it since he had lost his arm.  Look up at it he watched in horror as the metal plates buckled in on themselves and wires burst forth, latching onto the flesh of his stub and digging in like taught barbed wire.  He screamed as his steel fingers folded back on the joints and crushed the seal into a shower of pulverized marble.  Cill looked up at the creature once more before fleeing, but no matter how far he ran, he knew that the creature still saw him.

*      *      *

   The Red Prince is a warp entity known as Lord of the Puzzle.  In the unknowable past he was the most beloved of Tzeentch’s servants.  The Lord of Change was constantly surprised and amused by the brilliance of the Red Prince’s riddles and machines.  He was capable of the most wondrous creations the universe had ever known.  For ages untold the Red Prince sat at Tzeentch’s side as his favored son.
   But upon the fall of the elder, that all changed.
   Upon the birth of Slannesh Tzeentch knew that his favorite servant was lost to him.  The Lord of Change knew even before the Red Prince himself did.
   There was something new and fresh in this decadence given form.  The Red Prince’s puzzles changed, his trinkets took on new shape.  His creations became lost to him as he saw the universe around him turning into its own puzzle.  Rather than operate just on the things he created the Red Prince began to indulge in the enigma of the flesh, in the open ended possibilities that these living play things offered.  Slannesh rejoiced in her new disciple, watching from afar as the Red Prince grew further and further from Tzeentch. 
   One day Tzeentch requested that the Red Prince build him a new trinket.  It had been millennia since he had asked for anything and the Prince was excited to show his master the new tricks he had learned, the new constructs he could build combining the old materials with flesh and pain.  But he was disappointed when Tzeentch requested a creation from using only the primitive materials.  What’s more, his master wanted it manifested to a fledgling species, primitive compared to the old races.  They sat in a nearly uninhabited corner of the galaxy and their nerves were nowhere near as receptive as the delightful eldar, sires of She Who Thirsts.
   Despite this, the Red Prince indulged his master, knowing it to be the last puzzle he would ever create.  With the help of his new love the Red Prince would ascend and become even greater than his old master.  The Red Prince had seen a mighty power could be created, and he knew he could be the next prime of the warp.
   To his surprise Tzeentch took a greater interest in this puzzle than he had before.  Normally his old master was content to watch him work, but now he would get close as the Red Prince labored, giving him counsel or suggesting a switch, asking how it worked and what it would do.  He laughed inside at his pitiful former master. 
   Had Tzeentch really become so petty as this?  Was he trying to prove that he could build a better puzzle than the Red Prince?  Clearly Tzeentch could see his potential, and he was frightened by it. 
   As the weeks grew into years and the years grew into generations the Red Prince worked through eras of the primitive race he was guiding through his creations instruction.  It began to take shape and new life.  The Red Prince realized the means to his greatness was in this puzzle: he could trap Tzeentch in it.  Not only that, but Tzeentch was watching over his shoulder the whole time and couldn’t realize it.
   After millennia of toil, finally the puzzle was complete.  The Red Prince presented it to his master and Tzeentch took it up in his great hands.  The Red Prince smiled in anticipation, waiting for the moment when Tzeentch would trigger it.  But wait as he might, the moment did not come.  Complex as its inner working were, the puzzle itself was quite simple to work from the outside, and yet Tzeentch could not trigger it.
   “The puzzle is pretty,” he said, “but how does it work?”
   “Oh, it is quite simple master, you will see.”
   Days began to pass as Tzeentch fumbled with the device, often coming so close but never able to open it.  Finally, after months the Red Prince saw his master’s fingers making the correct combination of moves.  It began to rotate and come to life as the sequences locked in.  The final key button popped to life and Tzeentch’s fingers hovered over it, but then he stopped.
   “Amusing,” he said, then went to discard the puzzle.
   “No, wait master,” said the Prince, “there is one more configuration.”
   Tzeentch looked over at him, puzzled, his finger almost touching the button that would seal his fate.
   “Let me show you.”
   The Red Prince reached out to put pressure on Tzeentch’s hand but as he did the Lord of Change let go and his servant’s finger pressed down on the button. 
   Before he knew what was happened, the Red Prince looked around to find himself in a dark chamber.  As he adjusted to his surroundings he began to recognize his own handiwork.  Laughing to himself, the Red Prince began spinning the cogs and pulling the levers inside his own creation.  Could Tzeentch be such a fool as to think the Red Prince could be trapped by his own device?
   He continued his labor inside the device until all that remained to push was the final button, but as he did, rather than opening, the puzzle reset itself and throughout the chamber there was a resounding voice.
   “So caught up were you in your pursuits that you failed to see what was in front of you.  Did you really think you could fool the Lord of Change?  Is it possible that you failed to see my machinations within your own?  So now are you condemned to your fate.”
   And the Red Prince screamed. 

Offline Brother_Brimstone

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Re: The Red Prince
« Reply #1 on: March 06, 2010, 02:40:18 PM »
Very nice - I really like it. Having seen the model, the obvious influence is clearly Pyramid Head, but if i'm not mistaken I also see more than a touch of Clive Barker's Hellraiser (Or The Hellbound Heart). The puzzle sounds very much like the Lament Configuration, and the Red Prince reminds me of the Cenobytes themselves - searching the mysteries of pleasure and pain.

Whether or not this influence was intentional, the story was an enjoyable read, and I look forward to seeing the model progress.

Offline Alyster Wick

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Re: The Red Prince
« Reply #2 on: March 06, 2010, 04:45:10 PM »
Having seen the model, the obvious influence is clearly Pyramid Head, but if i'm not mistaken I also see more than a touch of Clive Barker's Hellraiser (Or The Hellbound Heart).

Spot on (if it wasn't already obvious, having a character in the background named Leviaten should have been a helpful hint  ;)).  I'm a huge Barker fan.  His vision of hell in his books has an almost Blanchian quality to it that I love and I think fits in perfectly with the 40K universe.  If you look at the Slannesh Magos I've posted in the model section (under the dental surgery thread I believe) you will see that he is holding a puzzle box, and my daemonhost with chains erupting from his body is clearly inspired by the Hellraiser films.

All that aside, here are some rules to sink your teeth into.  I know that stats make him a monster, he's strictly for GM use only.  The special rules were designed to give him a lot of flexibility in terms of play.  As a character he's not a berserker, preferring to take a more measured approach to enjoy his work.


    WS   BS     S     T        I        WP      SG   NV   LD
46 (86)   52   112    93    (185)  (185)   76   NA   NA

Equipment:  Subject 389X1, The Red Mantle2
Abilities: Ambidextrous, Terrifying, Daemonic: Invulnerable, Lord of the Puzzle3, Arcane Connection4, The Greed of Daemons5
Psychic Powers: The Torturer’s Touch, Ghost in the Machine6

1Subject 389X: The Red Prince carries a corrupted chainsword possessed of his own essence.  The weapon shares its true name with its wielder and it is a cursed moniker never spoken since the day of his incarceration. 
   Subject 389X counts as a chainsword with the Daemonbane and Gnawing abilities.
2The Red Mantle: The Red Mantle is the prison which has trapped the Red Prince for countless ages.  While he may appear liberated the daemon still remains trapped in the box, living vicariously through his host body. 
   The Red Mantle confers 15 armor to its wearer’s head and offers no penalties for awareness.
3Lord of the Puzzle: The Red Prince gains +50% on any Sg test deemed “puzzle like” by the GM.  In addition to this, for every round of combat the Red Prince spends against an enemy he gains +10% to his WS when fighting that enemy should he pass a Sg test at the turn’s end (up to a maximum of 86).  This bonus is permanent across games.
4Arcane Connection: The Red Prince has only a tenuous grasp on the physical world.  He perceives time differently relative to his warp origins.  As such his Initiative and WP stats are linked together.  Before each round any player using the Red Prince gets to allocate 185 points between these two stats.
5The Greed of Daemons: The Red Prince knows that his fate is beyond torment.  However, so brilliant is his creation that some warp entities perceive him as creating the ultimate daemonic vessel.  They will fight tooth and nail for a chance to inherit the Red Mantle, never knowing the fate that would befall them if successful. 
   The Red Prince suffers double damage from Psychic Overloads.
6Ghost in the Machine, difficulty 20: The Red Prince has built machines of wonder since before time existed.  His knowledge and ability to speak to such inventions is unparalleled in all the universe and beyond.  He can manipulate the tools of his trade with a mere thought, bringing wires and cables to life to trap the unsuspecting.
   If a player is within 4 inches of a machine the GM deems suitable for manipulation then the Red Prince may use his Ghost in the Machine psychic power.  If the player does not pass an Initiative test (with a negative penalty equal to the amount the Red Prince passed his psychic test) then he is affected as though he were hit with a webber but will suffer 2d6 at the end of every round they are bound.  If the machine used by the Red Prince is a mechanical limb then the target is automatically hit and suffers one level of damage to the affected location for every full 10% that the Red Prince passes his psychic test by.