Sunday, October 7, 2012

The Order of The Infinite Way, pt. 1: Welcome to Valis

The Order of the Infinite Way was the last Dark Heresy adventure I'll be running, at least for a while. We'll be switching over to Dungeon Crawl Classics. I imagine we'll have another chance to play Dark Heresy, but it may be a while, and when we return it may be to a world that's not quite as it used to be.

My goal for this adventure was to create an environment where the PCs' actions would actually matter to how the game unfolded. To this end, I created a variety of factions with allied and competing interests, with different long-range goals and resources, and so forth. My thought was to bring in an element of sandbox play to the adventure, and to allow the PCs to interact with NPCs and the environment in ways that would end up being consequential.


The acolytes begin the game on Trotsky V, amid the ruins of Magyaru. They are approximately four days from their shuttle, and about two days from where they suspect that the von Furstenburg party's ship landed.

Once they are back to civilization, they are apprised of an emerging situation. Inquistrix Senjak has received information through her contacts indicating the existence of a conspiracy among the nobility of Ursula II.

Recently, there was an incident in one of the hive cities on that planet, one that resulted in a rampaging daemonhost, tens of thousands of dead, a giant smoking crater, and total devastation for a 100 square km area. Members of the Ordos Malleus, supported by Deathwatch troops were able to bring the daemonhost to bay in a habstack, but were unable to breach its defenses. However, in a stunning display of devotion to the Empire, they were able to destroy the creature by keeping it pinned down and calling in a kinetic strike from an orbital satellite. While the strike had the unfortunate effect of killing all of them, and reducing about 100 square kilometers of the hive (including the spires of two minor noble families) to burnt rubble, the daemonhost was destroyed utterly, and the foul spirit that animated it was banished to the Warp.

The acolytes are given this information, and told to make their way with all due haste to Ursula II, and to make further contact once they have arrived.

Ursula II is the only habitable planet in the Ursula System, and is called "Valis" by its inhabitants. Valis is a medium sized planet in a system with three small to large gas giants, and their accompanying moons. There is also a large and rich asteroid belt inside of the orbits of the gas giants, but relatively distant from Valis. Most likely, these are the remains of at least three planets. It is an imperial world, and is the seat of a largish, and tense, congregation of Imperial interests.

These interests include the Imperial Navy, the Ministorum, the Adeptus Arbites, and, of course, the Emperor's Most Holy Inquisition. There is also an entrenched nobility, mostly in the two major hive cities, and tensions tend to run high among them. There is, in addition, a small but influential criminal underground, led by two crime lords whose interests run in different directions (for now).

Among other things, the Ursula system contains an important refueling station for the Imperial Fleet, a lot of asteroid mining, some manufacturing, and a limited amount of agriculture. The planet Valis (aka Ursula II) is host to a large Adeptus Arbites training base. For this reason, the planet is considered to be among the most orderly planets in the Empire. This is true among the commoners, who are relentlessly surveilled by the Adepus Arbites trainees, and, as a result, the criminal underground of Valis is secretive and incredibly paranoid. Its members tend to either stay out of the spotlight entirely, or to take on "protective coloring" as businessmen and philanthropists.

The nobility of Valis, on the other hand, fight and feud among themselves like unto the fabled Stunties with their Book of Grudges. Many of the families have lineages which have "always been at war" with other families. Their dwellings usually are castle-like hive towers, and each family seeks to outdo the others in its own particular ways. Assassinations are common, and dueling is both common and accepted. The nobility, male and female alike, are expected to carry dueling pistols and/or swords, and to be able to use them.

Dueling Las (Valis variant)
Accurate, Reliable
V Rare

These las pistols are works of art, each tailored to the individual. Usually, a noble is buried with his/her dueling las.

Swords are of primitive types, but with the mono upgrade. Depending on the school of swordsmanship, some will fight with one or two weapons. Generally, rapiers and daggers are considered "standard" weapons.

Next time, the defection of Ferrus D'Angelus, and what it means to the PCs and the campaign.

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