This session was the one I planned to be the last of them for this part of the campaign. I accomplished that, and believe that I did so in a way that made sense, based on the various tensions among the planet's factions, the PCs' actions, and the motivations of the factions as actions unfolded. That said, I was ready to end this campaign, and move on to playing some Dungeon Crawl Classics for a while. It wasn't a railroad as much as it was a forced resolution. I made sure that a precipitating event of some kind, and the PCs' reactions to it, would determine how it ended. But it would end here, and no mistake. I think I was successful, and even left a thread dangling to take us into the next part of the campaign, if we desire to continue with Dark Heresy at a later date.
The event that precipitated the action was the following, from my notes about the Little Picture, Big Picture, and Complications (Last Post):
The Witchfinders go after Alize Mythrux. They feel they have reasonable suspicion to interrogate her.
A lot of the other material in those sections from my last post came home to roost, as well, though not all of it, and not all of it in exactly the way it was written. I tried to select and mold those plot points depending on what I felt the NPCs would do as the situation unfolded.
Here's what happened:
Dalmo Mythrux came forward to talk to the PCs. He was trying to find out info about what they knew of the incident precipitated by Davilia Mythrux. He also reasoned that the Malefic Codex of Miklas Freeny might be in play, and wanted it for himself. He also flashed a sign to the PCs to see if they were members of The Order of the Infinite Way. They had nothing. He quickly excused himself, and went off to talk to a "friend" he'd supposedly spotted. While he was talking to the PCs…
The witchfinders came forward to take down Alize Mythrux. There was Arcadius Kapperman, the witchfinder, Mikki Navappo, the Sororitas member, and two fairly tough (5th Level) Ministorum Guards.
The PCs saw this from across the Central Plaza. First the two groups talked, then they argued, and then Kapperman bade his guards to seize her. They did so. Her own guards opened fire, and It. Was. On. Hearing gunfire, other interested parties pursued their own courses of action.
Sapphon tried to take down Willian Bellhouse, whom he believed was about to try to take him out of the mob game (and he was right). In the end, Bellhouse got critted, and burned a Fate Point simply to survive. He was dragged to safety by his bodyguards. Needless to say, Valis is about to see a gang war.
While this was going on, Miklas Freeny started forward toward the Mythrux/Kapperman confrontation. He was seen by the tech priest to be muttering to himself and rubbing a talisman of some kind. The tech priest, fearing the worst, moved quickly toward him, activating his Power Scythe (the world's most badass weapon, at least in this game). He unceremoniously cut Freeny down with only one cut. Paxxu Gloriana started forward, but was stopped by her own bodyguards.
At this point, I have to make an observation. It was a mistake to allow Ianescu to keep the power scythe. I tragic one. He cannot swing that thing without invoking the Righteous Fury rule:
Normally, when you hit with an attack, the resulting Damage includes rolling one or more d10s. When you roll a 10 on any die (this includes a result of 10 when using a d5—even though the number is halved), it may indicate that the eye of the Emperor is upon you. This calls for a second attack roll, Testing Weapon Skill or Ballistic Skill as if you were making another attack. If this second Test is successful, the spirit of the Emperor is within you, aiding your attack and guiding your aim. You can roll an additional 1d10 and add the result to the Damage total. Should the result of this die also be a 10, the Emperor has indeed smiled upon you. You may immediately roll a third 1d10 and add that to the Damage total as well. This process continues until you roll a number other than 10.
This would be very important later, as we shall see, because Miklas Freeny had decided to gamble. He would intervene in the arrest of Alize Mythrux, because he feared he would be implicated, should she break under interrogation. However, the tech priest's violent intervention took him out, and triggered his own "death curse," which released the wards containing a Daemonhost and summoned it to his current location. It would arrive one round later.
During that round, a variety of things happened. Krysdam Haslinger, the Arbites Chief, still drunk, started forward toward Bellhouse and Sapphon, with only two arbites officers in tow, and opened fire. This would result in the eventual critical wounding of Sapphon, and the death of a bodyguard. John's Psyker character would have a hand in this, by using his Flash Bang power to blind Sapphon and two of his bodyguards. In the end, Bellhouse escaped and Sapphon was taken into custody.
Paxxu Gloriana never got a chance to unleash her powers. She tried, but failed her spell check.
Arcadius Kapperman tried to kill Alize Mythrux with an energy blade, but she twisted aside, avoiding his cut. Her bodyguards tried to shoot the other Ministorum guards, but were not successful in taking them out. However, they managed to get the guards to release her to defend themselves.
Then the Daemonhost arrived, punching down through the dome and arriving virtually on top of Freeny's prostrate form. This is when it got ridiculous. The PCs were absolutely magnificent:
John's Psyker cast a blizzard spell. He took out Paxxu Gloriana and her entire bodyguard. She burned a Fate Point to survive.
Jason's tech priest used Lightning Strike on the Daemonhost, striking it both times, and invoking Righteous Fury on one of the damage rolls. The creature had been damaged slightly, earlier, but he was able to inflict a ridiculous amount of damage with that power scythe, taking it out completely. That was a real bummer for me, because I had fucked up in assuming that a fucking daemonhost was tough enough to face the gods-damned tech priest and his motherfucking power scythe. Holy crap, it was a mistake to give that to him!
When the Daemonhost arrived, Jason asked if it caused Fear on arrival. I reasoned that the arrival had been both spectacular and confusing to many of the spectators, and that they would take a moment to process it and become horrified. So, I said, no, it would happen the next round. Well, as you've seen, the poor creature never got that chance. It was dead long before it had time to do a thing. And this was an unbound Daemonhost, one with the potential to cast Holocaust, and take EVERYONE out. It could have killed them all, but for my stupid sense of even-handedness. Yes, I'm fucking bitter. Okay, not really. More like "chagrinned." I blew my chance for actual gritty darkness, and then the PCs managed to get through everything else that passed without taking any damage. None. At all.
In the melee, three sorcerers were taken down, but not killed. They all burned Fate Points to survive. They may later regret that decision. However, the most powerful mage of the bunch, Dalmo Mythrux, ran away, then successfully cast Shroud of Invisibilty, and made good his escape. There's a good chance they'll see him again. For now, though, he (and the remaining members of The Order of the Infinite Way) will run far and hide well.
The PCs were awarded 500 XP apiece, and the Tech Priest got an extra 200 XP for his awesome takedown of the Daemonhost. I didn't give him another Fate Point, though, because he already has like 4 or them, which is already a serious advantage, and part of the reason he was able to be so effective (two re-rolls using them, paid off).
So that's it for Dark Heresy, at least for the next year or so, as we transition to Dungeon Crawl Classics.