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A Hunt in the Underhive

Started by Alyster Wick, September 16, 2014, 06:09:48 AM

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Alyster Wick

A Hunt in the Underhive

A living weapon is running rampant throughout the underhive. As the body count rises there are a number of parties interested in locating the killer, all for their own reasons.

The Hunter/Prey:

Premise and Rules:

An experimental Skitari Warrior is loose and players must navigate a board set up with ten "bio markers" (objects which scan like a human sized mass) to try and find the Skitari and complete their objectives.

This is a scenario for beginners that can be played without a GM (and makes for a good intro game as it doesn't require a ton of background on the 40K universe). One player controls an AdMech warband and the other controls an Inquisitorial Warband. Players start on opposing board edges and draw their set of victory conditions from a set of three, which are:

1 – Deprogram and Deactivate
Each mini on the team starts armed with a Haywire Wand (yay Van Helser!). They must locate the Skitari (1 point), then reprogram the character (successfully pass a SG test on two successive turns once he is out of commission, +1 point) and escort the Skitari off their board edge (once reprogrammed it will move no faster than a walk and will key in on the character who reprogrammed them, like a familiar, +1 point). The wands to deactivate the Skitari once he is struck successfully in close combat (I cannot emphasize how lame this rule ended up being, I would change it in future games).

2 – Kill and Burn
Each mini starts the game with a melta charge. They must locate the Skitari (1 point), disable or kill it (1 point) and then successfully destroy the body with a melta charge (1 point).

3 – Disable and Download
Each mini starts with a Haywire Wand. Goal is to locate the Skitari (1 point), retrieve information from it (4 successful SG tests once he is disabled, 1 point once completed) and delete the information from the Skitari's memory banks (4 successful SG tests, 1 point once completed)

Ten markers representing biomasses that could be the Skitari are scattered around the board. Lighting is bad and characters can see a maximum of 20 inches. Every time a marker is revealed, roll on the following table to see what is revealed:

1-45: Rats! (they disburse immediately)
46-65: Mutants! (they attack the character closest to them)
66-80: PDFs (controlled by the Inquisitor Warband)
81-95: Mechanicus Guards (controlled by AdMech warband)
96-100: Skitari

So the rats have no practical effect (other than creep factor) and the mark just dissipates. The other result in one of the following NPCs showing up (with three of any one type being the max):

Take a guess who is who!

Every time a token is revealed, add +10 to the die roll (this should have been +5, if that, as you'll see in the actual report).

The Setup:

I played this scenario (after throwing it together rather hastily) with a friend who has never played any 40K (but is an avid board game, table top, and pen and paper enthusiast). I controlled the AdMech Warband and he controlled the Inquisitorial Warband. We drew victory conditions (keeping them secret from one another) and dove right in...

Magos Narcis's experimental Skitari has been possessed by a malign intelligence and is running rampant in the underhive! He must locate his creation and destroy it before anyone finds out what he has done. There are already rumors of the governor's men searching for it, but there are Mechanicus troops as well and they should be easy enough to control.

Inquisitor Dryden has been investigating the cowardly Narcis for some time now. The news of a mechanical warrior rampaging through the underhive has his name written all over it. He has assembled a crack team to subdue the subject, reprogram it, and bring it home for study.

Dryden and his compatriots stood at the edge of the underhive. The Inquisitor looked to his Interrogator.

"Pace," he said, "check the readout for signs of life."


Meanwhile, on the other side of the maze of cooridors, Magos Narcis surveyed his bioscanner. The were multiple blips on the screen indicating biological matter.

"Slave," he snapped, "scout ahead and shoot anything that moves."

Nomad grunted and moved forward. He didn't like his new employer much, but the money was good. Behind them the Bioligus named Ganymede snickered at his compatriot. Narcis was likely to get himself killed one of these days by his own help. Slowly, the Bioligus set out on his own path.


"Multiple readings," said Pace. "Proceed carefully."

Operative Cixe was already well ahead of the party, scouting locations. He had nearly shot a member of the governor's Planetary Defense Force that was lounging about, smoking a Iho stick when he was supposed to be on duty. Cixe had now pressed the man into their service and the two were advancing when they heard a familiar buzzing up ahead..."


"Did you hear that?" hissed Narcis, but the mercenary's eyes were already tracing a path through the darkness ahead, trying to divine the best route to the noise. The Magos looked down at his scanner and traced the patterns of movements. There was a convergence ahead in the direction of the mechanical buzzing. Together the two set off, unaware of eyes in the dark which had locked onto their location.


Down another hall Ganymede heard the sound as well. He took cover against a corner and peeked his head around to see three men, armed and armored, surrounding Narcis's creation. They were far away, but carefully he took aim at the PDF trooper off to the side of the tussle and let loose a volley of poisoned needle rounds.


The creature had nearly taken Cixe's head off with his first swipe but he had deftly moved away. The thing was quick, given its bulk, and it had managed to blocked every swipe of his Haywire Wand. Pace had just as much luck as he came in to try and draw the creature's attention. Just when it seemed the beast would never go down Inquisitor Dryden charged into the fray and landed a solid blow to the thing's left flank and it went down hard.

"That was easier than I thought it would be," said Pace. No sooner had the word left his mouth when the distinct whine of a needler's flechette rounds cut through the air.

"Company," said Cixe.

"Hold off the rabble," said Dryden, "I have work to do," and the Inquisitor set about reprogramming the beast's systems.


Narcis had nearly jumped out of his skin when he turned a corner to find the mechanical bulk of a Defense Servitor. The thing was large and stupid, but intimidating none the less.

"Command Zeta Protocol," called the Magos.

"Yours to command," rumbled the automaton.

"Advance towards the sound of battle," grinned the Tech Priest beneath his metal faceplate. As the conscribed machine lumbered forward into a clearing the sounds of gunfire erupted behind them. Narcis turned to see a PDF trooper opening fire in their direction. Nomad was struck in the leg but the maniac just grinned and drew his chainblade. A shiver ran down the Tech Priest's spine and he set off after the Servitor.


"They're coming at us from all sides," said Cixe as he took cover behind a barrel. "We have to hurry..." his voice was cut short as the Servitor lumbering forward popped off shot after shot. Cixe caught a bullet in the leg and one in the groin. He doubled over in pain.

Never enough padding, he thought.

Down the other hall the needle rounds continued to fly as the PDF trooper responded. Pace saw a spindling robbed figure in the garb of the mechanicus dash between the opening where the needle fire was coming from.

"Almost done," said Dryden, still hunched over the machine thing. "Hold them off just a bit longer..."


Ganymede cursed to himself. The chamber on his needle pistol was half empty and he hadn't hit the interlopers once. Suddenly there was a bark of gunfire from behind him. Bullets ricocheted harmlessly off his armored figure and the Bioligus turned to see a PDF trooper coming up from behind. Infuriated, Ganymede charged at the trooper with his mechanical gauntlet raised.

The two figures exchanged blows until the frightened trooper took a step back and pulled down a barrel that fell between the two of them, giving him enough space to pop off a volley of gunfire. This time the bullets hit home and Ganymede felt the bit of steel against his atrophied flesh. His cherubic face grimaced.

Enough of this...

Leveling his pistol Ganymede sent a volley of poisoned needle rounds straight into the PDF troopers face. The unfortunate solider fell backwards, blood streaming from his nose and ears as his veins caught fire. The last thing he saw before losing consciousness was the cackling Bioligus priest stalking away.


Across the complex, Nomad was in a fight of his own. He was vaguely aware of the increased sound of gunfire nearby but he was beginning to get distracted by the pain in his chest and legs. He had sent the PDF trooper flying backwards with a solid strike from his chain-knife, but the dogged trooper had stood right up and kept his composure long enough to shoot the mercenary again. Now Nomad lay on the ground cracking of las-rounds at the trooper praying one would hit home...


"Die cowards!" screamed Narcis. He ran into the center of the room, taking cover behind the hulking figure of the Servitor. One of the warriors had fallen down, struck by the Servitor's true volley of fire, but there were two others shooting back now and it looked like a third was leaving the scene with his creation in tow.

Angered beyond reason, the tech priest let off a wild shot of his plasma pistol. The super-heated charge flew high just as the Servitor was overwhelmed by gunfire. Suddenly alone and outgunned, the tech priest rushed for cover as he attempted to flush out his plasma pistol. Moving too quick for his own good, Narcis burned his hand on the gun and dropped the flask...

Pace could see the tide was turning. Cixe was back on his feet and Dryden was making his way (slowly, so painfully slowly) toward their transport vehicle on the edge of the complex.

"Keep moving," said Pace as his fellow scrambled back toward a rusted out water tower. Along with their conscribed PDF trooper, the three men sent round after round into the Servitor, reducing the thing to a smoldering heat. The Tech Priest that had accompanied the thing rolled and took cover in the wreckage, letting off another round of super-heated plasma.

"We got what we came for," yelled Cixe, "let's get the hell out of here."

Together the three men lead a hasty retreat behind their leader.

"Coward," muttered Nomad to himself. After landing a few shots too close to home the PDF trooper had beaten a hasty retreat. He limped toward the maddened screechings of his benefactor. Ganymede had already found Narcis, who was busy kicking the burnt out remains of an unlucky servitor.

"Where the hell were you dog?" yelled the tech priest as Nomad slouched toward him. The mercenary shrugged and Ganymede laughed to himself.

"Well, get ready to earn your keep," said Narcis, "it looks like the good Inquisitor has taken my pet. We can't let him find what secrets are stored in his memory banks..."


Full Shot of the Board at the End of the game (truthfully, all shots were of the end of the game, I wasn't able to take pics during):

So the game was great fun! It's my first in probably two or three years, and my first ever with (most) everything painted. If I had to do it again, I'd just be luckier. More PDF troopers showed up than rats for goodness sake! Plus it was a bit of luck that my opponent ran into the Skitari after only the third marker was revealed (and right outside his depoloyment zone, no less).

The rules were definitely clunky and my first order of business will be to add my own tastes to the NPC rules. It was a little disappointing that (all around) the NPCs got a disproportionate amount of the action. Frankly they're just not that fun to play (nor were they meant to be, they're meant to be a GM's tool to liven up a scenario). To be fair, it was an anomaly that one side got to use so darn many of them, but that really changed the dynamic of the game.

Either way, there were some great moments. My friend really got into the spirit of the game by trying to shoot at a barrel to see if it would explode (he missed, saving me from trying to come up with an exploding barrel table off the top of my head), and also by having a frightened PDF trooper pull a barrel down between him and the rampaging tech priest during their melee.

It was a great experience, and one I'm keen to replicate. Now back to painting some minis so I can add more variety next time...

Van Helser

Excellent read. Really was good to see your table set up for action.

When it comes to NPCs, as a GM I tend to play very fast and loose with them. If it looks like they're interfering too much, I abandon dice rolls and use them off the cuff. If one side is in the ascendancy, then the NPCs might go harder against them, or abandon their allies at the worst possible time. "Hand Wavium" goes a long way!

Permission to link to the thread on Facebook and Twitter?


Alyster Wick

Quote from: Van Helser on September 16, 2014, 09:02:16 AM
When it comes to NPCs, as a GM I tend to play very fast and loose with them. If it looks like they're interfering too much, I abandon dice rolls and use them off the cuff. If one side is in the ascendancy, then the NPCs might go harder against them, or abandon their allies at the worst possible time. "Hand Wavium" goes a long way!

I'm totally on board with that. However, since this was only a two player game and it was my friend's first time playing I felt a little odd pulling the GM card too much, especially when it would benefit me. For example, the fact that 3 out of 6 rolls we did resulted in PDF troopers appearing (only a 15% chance each roll) was incredible luck for him because they joined his team. I didn't want to turn him off to the game by just conveniently ignoring those rules. As it was we both got really into it and it was still a lot of fun.

And I'd be honored if you linked to the article!