Author Topic: The Battle for Hadron Begins!  (Read 3164 times)

Offline Alyster Wick

  • Grand Lord Inquisitor
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The Battle for Hadron Begins!
« on: December 31, 2015, 10:59:56 PM »
This first battle report follows a scenario very similar to my last Raiding the Datatomb (in fact it has the same name) though it is quite different. It will also hopefully be the first in a series following the first campaign set in the Hadron Sector, aptly name Hex, Lies, and Data-slates. Here is the campaign intro for players followed by the report and my closing thoughts. Enjoy! Also, pictures!!!

Lord Inquisitor Bolivar, one of the Seconds in the Conclave of Hadron, has been murdered. This assassination has thrown the power structure of the Conclave in upheaval. Bolivar’s top acolytes see this as an opportunity to seize power for themselves and a frantic battle has begun within the halls of Ascension to become the next Second.

While the elite fight over the grand prize, however, the dead Inquisitor’s lesser servants are left to make a quick throne in whatever manner they can. The result has been a huge boon in the black data market. The collection and trade of this data, however, is not without peril. Bolivar’s expansive data-stores and espionage network were rumored to be a key piece of Presidor Ustitian’s intelligence infrastructure.   

But a golden opportunity has presented itself. Rumors of Data Tomb, hidden in the wastes surrounding Crown Spire, have found their way to you. Arcada is a long way from Ascension but it would be a fool’s error to mistake distance for safety. Still, if you move quickly you may be able to get valuable information from its vast data-stores before anyone is the wiser.

Mission: You have gotten coordinates from one of Bolivar’s old informants that allegedly point to a secret Data Tomb on the outskirts of Arcada’s Crown Spire. Move quickly to download whatever intelligence you can before someone else beats you to it!

Main Objective: Gather as many points of information as you can.

Gaining Data Points: Your team has 4 data slates. In order to retrieve data a character must spend one action interfacing with a data terminal and take an SG test. A character who passes their SG test immediately gains 2d6 points of data at the satellite terminals or 4d6 points of data at the terminal hub, plus an additional point for every full 10 points they passed their SG test by. A character who fails their SG test must take one additional action to retrieve the data for every part of 10% which they failed the test. Data slates may be used multiple times, however each time a data slate is used the data points accumulated on any previous rolls is considered to be replaced by the new data. You may only count data points from an individual terminal once, meaning you cannot fill multiple slates from a single terminal. 

Winning and Reward: The player who has control of the most points of data when the scenario ends gains 3 Victory Points. Data points are calculated by adding up the combined points of data recorded on data slates you control when the scenario ends.

Game Ending: The game will end when only one team has active, non-captured models on the board or at the GM’s discretion.

Additional Objective – No Trace: Remove any evidence that you tampered with the Data Tomb (plot reward)

Additional Objective – Origins (Zal's Warband): Search Bolivar’s Data Stores for any trace of your history. This may only be done at the terminal hub (+1 Victory Points, plot reward)

Additional Objective – Scent of Corruption (Mago's Warband): Imbed false data on your enemies in the Data Tomb. This may only be done at the terminal hub (+1 Victory Points, plot reward)

Battle Report:

As Zal stepped into the darkness of the dead Inquisitor’s datatomb, he spied the faint glow of an active terminal in the distance. “Cover me Nadette. Doctor Iagos, examine the door ahead. Woltyr, you cover the hallway.”

With that, the team spread out. The Rogue Trader trained her bolt pistol on the door next to Zal while he searched the data archives for useful information and the Ratling trained his stubber on the dark expanse to their left.

“Critical failure,” chirped the elaborate servitor. “Door will not open.”

“Emperor save us,” muttered the ratling. “What’s that tin can good for if it can’t even open a door?” He tried to ignore the incessant clicks from the great machine and aimed off into the darkness at a distant chittering in the blackness. Cogitators spun and locked as Iagos’s logic engine seized up yet again and Woltyr shook his head in disbelief…

Across the tomb, the leering cult leader grinned widely. It looked like they were the first to arrive. With any luck they could steal away some information from the servants of the emperor and plant their false data to throw the fools onto the scent of their rivals.

“Follow me Lobo,” ordered the Magos, “and you two search for the main terminal.”

Gunner and Knives slunk forward towards the door. The scarborous mutant slammed his fist against the sophisticated machinery of the door and, as if by miracle, the thing opened. Suddenly lights flooded the entire complex, and the mutant looked in upon the cavernous room housing the main terminal. A gantry way spanned the dark pit to the data tower.

“Cover me,” hissed the mutant as he slunk towards the terminal. The brute Gunner hefted his heavy stubber and followed.

Along side of the room the lights revealed to the Magos a pack of feral rats hissing at each other. As the things scattered for darkness, he reached into the minds of the largest rodent and forced it to follow its brethren. Through a maze of wires and tubes the thing emerged and fell onto the floor, seeing a man in a coat working a computer terminal and a woman with a gun covering him. The ears of the feral creature were overly sensitive and could not decipher what the humans said to one another, but it was enough to know they were not alone…

“Lord Emperor!” exclaimed Woltyr as he nearly shot at the rats who scattered in the lights.

“Looks like we aren’t alone,” said Zal as he finished his data download. “Nadette, why don’t you help Iagos?”

The Rogue Trader nodded and reached the automaton in time to see him finally open the blast door. While the Doctor skittered across the gantry its off-putting, clockwork gait, Nadette leveled her pistol at the other side of the terminal. She could make out another form in the vast room…

“Be ready,” the Magos commanded his lobotomized charge. The Servitor-beast lopped behind its master, feeling the effects of psychon beginning to work through its veins. The cult leader’s fingers raced of the keypad of the data station he had found. He knew they would have to be quick as they were no longer alone in the facility.

In the main terminal room, Knives hugged the terminal as he worked. The sound of a door crashing open had been followed by the heavy footfall of…something. He plugged his data-slate into the terminal and the download began. It was slow, but seemed to be working. The mutant smiled to himself as Gunner slowly crept by him. Whoever just came into the room would be getting a fully automatic surprise soon…

Nadette recoiled for a moment as she saw the blood-crusted face of brute-freak peak out from beside the terminal. Before he could utter a word she put a bolt dead-center into the leering cultist…

Gunner couldn’t tell you what had happened, but he would later count himself lucky that the bolt had detonated on the surface of his chest rather than after it had entered. His mind had functioned on some basic level, and as his heavy stubber stumbled down the gullet of the chamber into darkness his hands grasped the edge of the gantry. He could feel shrapnel working its way through the muscle of his chest, but he had come through worse injuries in the past.

Outside of the room, Lobo heard the sounds of gunfire. The words of his master echoed in his head, “attack!” and the thing rushed towards the sound of conflict as his plasma cutter jumped to electric-blue life…

With the Rogue Trader covering him, Zal jumped into the room to back up Iagos. The Doctor was large, but he was a machine built for cogitation rather than conflict. To his surprise, Zal found Iagos staring blankly at the computer terminal. “We’ll have to examine his wiring when we get back to base.”

No sooner had the rebel finished this thought when a frothing servitor burst through the door yards to his right. The thing flew across the blackness and landed heavily next to Iagos. The thing’s chain blade cut into the Doctor’s arm as its plasma cutter cleaved Iagos’s gut armor like it was parchment.

Zal saw his servitor drop and the freakish thing turned its eyes to him. “Iagos, get up,” cried Zal as he swung his shock maul into the thing’s leg, “push this thing off the gantry.”

As the rebel fought the frothing servitor Iagos, miraculously, stood. In slow motion the ornate machine swung a great fist, sending the bloody creature flying into space. Even if the thing had fingers there was nowhere to grasp, and Lobo’s body fell into the blackness.

“Thank the Emperor,” said Zal, “Now get back to the download old friend.”

Knives saw Gunner’s body flop onto the gantry-way. The tough son of a grox wasn’t done yet. Looking back at the terminal screen he saw the download finish, then took the slate and turned to the bloody berserker. “Take these,” hissed Knives as he handed his best throwing blades to Gunner. “I’ll take care of business on the other side.”

The surprisingly agile mutant stalked across the cat walk and leapt over the rail, jamming a blade into the servitor-thing hooked into the terminal. His blow was true, but the machine didn’t seem to be paying attention, instead focusing on the numbers flying by on the terminal screen. Before he could make another move the machine had turned and started back up the gantry, with a trench-coated figure taking its place.

“Not on my watch, mutant,” said the figure.

The Magos slunk into the doorway where Lobo had crashed through. He grinned to himself as he saw the man in the trench coat get ready to take on Knives. He opened his mind to the ether-realm and reached into the other man’s head. To his surprise, the Magos ran into a steel wall of resolve from the man and he punched back at the cult leader. It was a stronger presence than the Magos had ever felt, and suddenly a flood of insanity rushed into his own undefended mind, rending it asunder. Streams of crimson ran from his eyes and ears and the Magos began to weep tears of blood as he doubled over…

Zal smirked as he saw the robed figure on the other side of the chasm collapse. His smile was short lived though, as the mutant rushed him like a bladed dervish. As they battled back across the gantry he realized that this creature was a more formidable fighter than he had guessed. Zal felt the sting of the blade as it opened wounds across his body before plunging into his gut…

Gunner peeked his head out, knives ready to throw. He managed to see Knives standing over the trench coated man with his blade raised before a bolt exploded right over his head. The ganger jumped back into cover. Looking at the meager armaments in his hands the brute thought better of his plan and he stood at the terminal, readying the malicious data for upload into the system…

The Magos’s head rang and his vision was blurred. He was unsure of his own name and would have begun doubting his sanity if he still had the faculties to do so. If nothing else though, he felt the need for blood. Leaning over the chasm, the Magos let out a burst of las fire from the digi-weapon on his finger at the hulking machine walking across the catwalk. Had he tried aiming it’s doubtful the Magos would have hit anything, but the forces of Chaos were with him, and three of his four shots landed. Two scoured the back of Doctor Iagos and a third hit Knives, doubling the creature over. Had the Magos’s mind been intact, he would have acknowledged that the blood god cares not from where the blood flows…

Nadette stared in disbelief as Iagos fell and the mutant attacking Zal collapsed on top of him. She turned her bolter on the hooded figure across the gantry and focused. After two breathes she let loose a bolt that ripped through the plascrete of the wall and sent a hail of shrapnel into the robed man’s gut. He doubled over, she prayed for the last time.

Zal and the mutant both rose, exchanging body blows up and down the gantry, when suddenly the intercom popped to life.

Automated doors clanged shut across the complex. Nadette and Woltyr looked at each other and prepared for battle. Next to the data hub Gunner worked the terminal, but heard the pneumatic hiss of a door opening far behind him and the uneven stomping of feral troops.

Zal took a tentative step back and looked at his opponent. “Another day?” he asked, eyeing the psychotic mutant. The thing glared at him and spit blood on the floor, but he backed away slowly. They both exited the main hub, and across the chasm from them the Magos rose, barely aware of what was happening, but present enough to know he needed to leave. As the MFC warriors spread out across the facility he turned to find an exit.

Gunner tapped nervously as the download completed and he turned to leave the room. A lipless mutant hurtled across the gap behind him and landed next to him on the gantryway. From the opening a razor-mouthed thing with a shotgun wailed, “YOU WILL ALL DIE SCUM!” and let out a terrifying shriek. Gunner passed the threshold of the room just as its doors clanged shut.

Woltyr let off a gas grenade in the direction of the mutant troops and saw a hideous thing cough its way through the cloud. He followed Nadette, Iagos, and Zal as they all beat a hasty retreat from the complex.

Color Commentary:

It was a great first game! Biggest plus was that there were two actual players (plus me as the GM) so we were playing the game properly. There were some amusing moments, such as when the SG 95 cogitating-Servitor failed 3 of his first 4 unmodified SG tests, and when four players in a 6 inch radius were all prone due to gut shots. Probably my favorite moment was when the Magos (who just had his WP reduced to 16 due to a spectacularly failed and nullified psychic power) popped off 4 shots needing a roll in the high teens to hit and connected with two shots! One spectacular miss resulted in Knives getting gut shot due to the fact that the melee was so close to Iagos.

The game did highlight some warband disparities which I was a little nervous about heading into the game (I just ran out of time to ensure some semblance of balance between the warbands) but due to the random nature of the game everything actually turned out all right. At the end of the day both warbands achieved their secondary objectives, neither warband achieved the "Without a Trace" objective, and it was an incredibly close 26 data points to 25 data points victory by Zal's warband on the primary objective.

We'll be heading back to the editing board on a couple of these characters, though by and large they're pretty set. The Chaos cult warband learned the truth in my suggestion that "it's totally reasonable to carry a backup weapon" when their single gun (baring the digi-las pistol carried by the BS-impaired leader) went sailing into the abyss after the very first shot of the game was fired. Doctor Iagos is also a bit of a mess stats-wise and will be getting some balance applied to him (he doesn't have much in the way of WS, but other than that he's an absolute monster, with his armored gauntlet attacks capable of crushing skulls and collapsing chests. Plus he's way too spry for such a heavily armored character).

I didn't get the game board in total working order, as you can tell by the white foamcore doors, and two characters (Woltyr and Iagos) are missing arms, but that didn't take away from the fun!

Broadly though, it was a fun and competitive game until the very end. In retrospect I could have let the final melee play out between Zal and Knives (with both players carrying a data-slate, the winner of the duel could have determined the winner of the game) but it also prevented any more characters from dying (seriously, what was I thinking placing an essentially bottomless chasm in game one of the campaign?). Either way, great game, looking forward to more. Look for battle reports coming out every month or two :)

Offline Alyster Wick

  • Grand Lord Inquisitor
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Re: The Battle for Hadron Begins!
« Reply #1 on: January 15, 2016, 02:03:26 PM »
I'm hoping to get in at LEAST one game in the coming 10 days. In preparation for that, here's the campaign backgrounder (not to be confused with the much longer Sector Background document for Hadron) that all the players go (well, all two of them):

Hex, Lies, and Data Slates:
The Battle for Arcada

Planetary Governor of Arcada and Chair of Hadron’s Council of Worlds Jason Tenebris has worked to unify the political forces across the sector to achieve a peace none have seen since before the Verrat Schism. But while the sector unites, the Capitol planet of Arcada is in upheaval.

Attacks from the Fifth Whisper have increased in frequency and reached into the highest levels of the planet’s Hive Cities. While the terrorist threat grows the planet’s populace has lost faith in the Imperium’s ability to protect them from the forces of Chaos. This has caused a swelling in the ranks of the Mutant Freedom Coalition whose enforcers openly patrol Arcada’s lower-hive levels with an air of legitimacy. In the Upper Hive private mercenaries private armies have been contracted by the richest families, and across the planet regional gangs are seeking to consolidate power at all levels of the Hive, from running guns and organizing manufactorum workers in the depths to corporate espionage and assassination among the High Houses. To make things worse there has been a sudden influx of heavy arms that all sides of the conflict seem to be taking advantage of.

This is an untenable position to Commander Lucius Brand of Hadron’s combined Planetary Defense Forces. While his move a decade ago to absorb the Adeptus Arbites precincts of Arcada’s Hives into the PDF was sanctioned by the Inquisition there are those on Ascension that hoped to see his little experiment fail, and the recent fighting is providing them ample proof.

In the face of terrorism and rebellion Brand has locked down the main off-world transport hub of Miller’s Run and put out a general call for troops from the PDFs of Arcada’s five moons and for weapons from the manufactorums of Rhadamanthus. Along with arms, the priests of the Omnisiah have also sent a full legion of Skitarii to support the planet. To show his faith in the Commander, Tenebris has even seconded Brand half of the Governor’s personal guard: the Imperators.

While Commander Brand waged open war on the heretics, Lord Inquisitor Bolivar was to appear as an envoy of Hadron’s Inquisitorial Conclave, publicly bringing their support to the sector while also running a secret campaign to cripple the rebels from the inside. But, with the eyes of the sector locked on its capitol planet of Arcada, the Lord Inquisitor and Second of Hadron’s Conclave was assassinated.

Now more than ever Hadron’s fate is tied to Arcada. The citizens and institutions of the Imperium wait to see if their Governor can save his own burning planet, while whispers spread that Lord Inquisitor Ustitian’s long reign as Presidor of Hadron’s Conclave are coming to a close. On Arcada the splintered remnants of Bolivar’s operation fight battles over their masters legacy or seek to sell their secrets for a quick throne. Priests of the Adeptus Mechanicus use their show of support for the Governor as a ruse to follow rumors of ancient tech and a rare ores in the wastes of Arcada. In the midst of all this Rogue Traders, rebels, and politicians all seek to turn the war to their advantage.

This is the battle for Arcada’s soul. Will you seek peace, ruin, or riches? Choose your side wisely.