Happy Thursday folks –I’m a bit late getting this out, (life has been on overdrive lately!), but last Wednesday I had a cracking little game of Rogue Trader with my Lead-Brother Ross. The game pitted elements of his growing Inquisitorial warband against my new Rogue Trader, who had brought along some hired thugs. The mission was a ‘simple’ archeotech retrieval job, but it all got messy when a nest of Frumious Bandersnatch got disturbed in the hunt… Here’s a short attempt to relay the tale in a narrative stylee, followed by a couple of pics. (Yes… I said stylee… deal with it 😉
Hope you enjoy!
Arturo carefully scanned the area ahead. He could see the shaft entrance, and knew that this was the spot where the xenotech was allegedly hidden. He had been hired to retrieve an alien artifact, and paid a very generous retaining fee by a collector that he had met on an outer-rim archaeological site. Trouble was that he knew that he was not the only interested party… He had heard rumours of an Inquisitor poking around for information about the treasure, and he doubted that he had been able to buy the silence of the hive gang who had provided him with his own information. Arturo didn’t really know what the protocol was when dealing with the other Imperial agencies, but as far as he was concerned, his Rogue Trader warrant gave him complete authority out here in the galactic fringe world of Jarman’s Folly… No doubt, the Inquisitor felt the same, and it always paid to be cautious. With that thought in mind, he ordered a small group of gangers forward towards the shaft. They were a rabble that he had been able to hire as guides for a few credits, and the three of them were eminently disposable. Arturo had also hired a more seasoned fighter – a bounty hunter who went under the name ‘8-Ball’… He wore a ridiculous environmental suit, but he did come highly recommended as a guy who ‘got shit done’… Arturo used the comm link to instruct him to climb to a gantry and get a better view of the shaft entrance.
The comm clicked as soon as the bounty hunter reached his position “boss, multiple parties closing in from the east… they’re tooled up, unfriendly lookin’, and they’re heading for the shaft… I have a shot boss, what’s your call?” Arturo didn’t hesitate. “Take the shot 8-Ball” he replied, and the hum of gravetic drives became audible as the mercenary fired up his shuriken catapult. At the same time, Arturo stepped from behind a rusted storage tank, servos whining as his ancient power armour responded to his movements. He threw a blind grenade towards an ancient plascrete column that stood opposite the shaft entrance, and watched as the three gangers gratefully took cover within the cloud. A burst of fire rang out from the east, and he turned in time to see 8-Ball drop to the ground, his power field flashing as it overloaded under the weight of fire. “Shit…” Arturo muttered to himself – he had lost the element of surprise, and with 8-Ball out of action, he was effectively blind. He could hear the unmistakable sound of hand to hand fighting coming from the shaft entrance, but couldn’t see much through the smoke screen that his blind grenade had created. The fighting didn’t sound pleasant – a high pitched chittering merged discordantly with a deep, animalistic bellow… The young Rogue Trader had a hunch that this situation was likely to get close and personal – he sent a mental instruction to his armour, and a small servo arm rotated at the back of the suit, presenting his power sword’s grip over his right shoulder. Reaching back, he grasped the weapon, and thumbed the activation rune as he swung the blade through a few practice arcs. The power sword was a beautiful piece of technology – perfectly balanced and keen, it was a relic that had been handed down through the family for generations. More importantly, it was the last gift his father had given him before he left his homeworld for a life among the stars, and the historical weight of the heirloom immediately strengthened his resolve. Arturo began to stride forward, his armoured tread crunching through the detritus of the underhive as he marched purposefully towards the shaft entrance.
Ahead, the smoke screen began to disperse, and he saw a clutch of insectoid creatures burst from the shaft entrance to leap at the gangers who were cowering in the thinning cloud surrounding the column. One of the thugs was torn apart in a spray of blood as two of the creatures ripped into him. Arturo didn’t even break his stride as he stepped over the corps and butchered the pair with powerful sweeps of his blade. Shots rang out again as the smoke continued to clear, and he realised that he had a group of enemy gunmen ahead, and another pair on a gantry to his right. He swung his shuriken catapult around and fired left-handed on the group to the on the gantry, watching with satisfaction as a malformed gunman crumpled to the ground. Arturo stepped back and tried to put the column between himself and the group to the east, while he swung his blade at the remaining creatures. Another one fell to his sword, but a second ganger had also fallen. Shots hammered into the melee as the remaining gunmen fired indiscriminately into the whirling combat, and one shot managed to find a weak point in his armour. He felt a sharp burning pain in his thigh before the suit’s automatic analgesic dispensers could kick in. The last ganger fell, but the creature that was tearing into him was distracted enough to allow Arturo to dispatch it with a clean decapitating sweep of his sword.
A brief lull allowed the young Rogue Trader to take stock of his situation. He still had a pair of gunmen to contend with to the east, and a lone assailant on the gantry to the south. He also saw a giant brute of a mutant engaged in melee with a pair of the insectoid creatures near to the shaft entrance – the mutant was bleeding from a dozen minor wounds, while the crumpled bodies of several other insectoids littered the ground, giving evidence of the brutality of the struggle. Amidst all of the chaos, Arturo’s attention was drawn to a figure emerging from the shaft entrance itself. Clad in archaic power armour and carrying a well maintained Bolter, the figure exuded confidence and authority. The armour was unadorned and portrayed an understated efficiency, while the open helmet reviled a gaunt and haughty face – a single bionic eye glowing balefully in the gloom. This must be the Inquisitor that Arturo had heard about, and in his left hand he held a glowing cube that could only be the xenotech that the Rogue Trader sought.
Arturo’s attention was drawn back to the east as further shots rang out – razor-sharp flakes of plascrete flew off the column as munitions hammered all around his position. He snapped his shuriken catapult to the mag strip on his left thigh, and gritted his teeth as he drew his archaic plasma pistol. “Time to even the odds” he growled to himself as he stepped into the open. The pistol kicked and howled in fury as balls of white-hot plasma spewed out and incinerated the gunmen to his front. A bolt round glanced off his left shoulder as the Inquisitor snapped off a shot, while laser fire stabbed down from the gantry to his right. Arturo didn’t hesitate – he turned and charged at the Inquisitor, sword held low. The Inquisitor was hopelessly outmatched – he was surprisingly agile in his armour and avoided many of Arturo’s blows, but he was poorly equipped for hand to hand combat. He fended Arturo off as best he could with knife and fist, but the reach of his sword was telling and Arturo slowly drove the Inquisitor back. Eventually the Rogue Trader forced an opening, and sliced his blade across the chest plate of the unknown Inquisitor. The field harmonics of the blade allowed it to slice through ceramite plate, cut deep into the cabling and hydraulics beneath, and on into flesh. The Inquisitor fell, blood and oil seeping from his torn armour, his suit whining in protest as it lost power. Arturo was about to make sure the man was dead, when a huge weight barrelled into him. The giant mutant had managed to kill the last of the insectoid creatures that had been swarming it, and was now determinedly trying to crush Arturo in a bear hug. Arturo sighed inwardly, and drove an elbow into the beast’s abdomen, breaking its grip and creating enough space for Arturo to swing his blade. He launched a flurry of blows, driving the mutant back further before calmly snapping off a shot with his plasma pistol and dropping the creature in its tracks. Arturo turned back towards where the Inquisitor had fallen, and saw the lone gunman from the gantry had left his perch, and was stooped over the prone form of the Inquisitor as he attempted to prise the gem from his grip. The gunman barely had time to glance up before Arturo had closed the gap and dispatched him a crushing kick to the head.
Silence fell over the area, and Arturo gazed around at the devastation. Piles of bodies were scattered around the small clearing, some contorted in death, some twitching and moaning where they lay, and others still burning where they had been hit with plasma. He glanced up to where 8-Ball had fallen and was unsurprised to see that the body was no longer there – Arturo didn’t know whether the bounty hunter had survived and escaped, or whether he had simply crawled off somewhere quiet to die… He didn’t much care either way, but he saw that the gangers that he had hired were clearly very dead indeed. He turned to look down at the Inquisitor at his feet. The old man was still alive – locked motionless in his now deactivated suit, but he was glaring at Arturo – his one organic eye blazing with rage. “Oh, you’re for it now… you’re so fragged, and you don’t even know it. Do you know who I am? What I am? I’m Inquisitor Emeric… I’m on the Emperor’s holy business! Throne’s sake, you just messed with the wrong guy…” he gasped, blood bubbling from his lips. Arturo gazed down… “Tell me, honoured Inquisitor… What is it that you want with this?” Arturo asked as he stowed his pistol and bent down to remove xenotech cube from the Inquisitor’s frozen grip. “I’ll tell you nothing, you whoreson whelp!” the Inquisitor spat. Arturo straightened, and looked at the gem closely. The cube appeared to be made of a gently glowing green crystal, the faces etched with unfamiliar symbols. There was something hypnotic about the lambent green glow, and Arturo had to forcibly drag his attention back to the present. He deactivated his power sword, and placed the tip of the now inert blade below the Inquisitors good eye… “Listen old boy, I came a long way for this gem – I have a sanctioned Imperial warrant to trade in this sector, and it is mine by right… You don’t have any jurisdiction over me, and the way I see it? Well… I can do whatever I wish with you… Now, be a good gent, and tell me why the gem is important to you before I do something you’ll regret.” The glossy black faceplate of the Rogue Trader’s helmet gazed impassively down, reflecting the contorted features of the Inquisitor. The two figures remained frozen for a moment before the distant wail of sirens cut through the underhive gloom.
Arturo straightened – he didn’t want to get involved with the local Arbites if he could help it – despite his assertions, he still wasn’t entirely sure where he stood… true, his Trader warrant granted him complete autonomy and the authority to do as he wished out here in the fringes of Imperial space, but then the Inquisition could probably boast a similar claim. Ultimately, questions of who was right and who was wrong may end up in a bureaucratic quagmire, and he had no intention of hanging around to wait for that kind of process to play out. Arturo briefly considered killing this ‘Emeric’ where he lay, but came to the conclusion that murdering an Inquisitor in cold blood might be a singularly bad idea. He looked down at the Inquisitor, “Well, old chap… I’d love to stop and chat, but that sounds like my cue to leave. I guess it’s your lucky day!” With a quick flick of his blade he left a shallow cut below the Inquisitors eye as he turned and began tramping back towards the space port. He slung his sword over his shoulder, and the suit’s retaining arm gripped the hilt before stowing the blade at the small of Arturo’s back. The Inquisitor screamed out in rage “You should’ve killed me boy! You should’ve finished it! I’ll find you… I’ll find you! You’ll beg me to kill you before the end! You hear me? You’re a dead man!”
Arturo paid him no mind as he strode into the gloom of the underhive, clutching his prize, and wondering what the Inquisition might want with the gem… The Inquisition didn’t generally waste their time on trivial things, so the cube was clearly more than a mere bauble. Arturo suspected that it was far more valuable than the retaining fee he had been paid, and he wasn’t at all certain that he wanted to hand it over to the collector who had hired him. Instead, Arturo was beginning to consider where he might find a xenotech expert who would be able to interpret the symbols for him – maybe if he could learn more about the cube then he could negotiate a better price for it… He had plenty to think about, but the important thing right now was to get to his ship and put some distance between himself and Jarman’s Folly… and Inquisitor Emeric of course.
I hope you enjoyed that read folks – Ross and I certainly had good fun playing the game! It definitely sets the scene for future encounters between these two adversaries:-)
Anyhow, here are some photos: