MEET THE PARTY: DARK HERESY 2E, THE ENEMY WITHOUT

A skilled negotiator and a true believer in the God-Emperor who is still willing to sail with a Rogue Trader and deal with xenos to make her fortune. A Heretek who has abandoned the strictures of the Machine Cult, seeking knowledge and technology from alien sources. A veteran of the Imperial Navy who has fought His foes at the controls of a mighty ship and throughout its corridors. A death worlder mercenary who thinks that Dark Eldar and Kroot are easy compared to the horrors she grew up with. Every Meet the Party article gives you an entire group of ready-to-play adventurers (maybe even some heroes) for your gaming needs for a variety of systems and settings. It’s time to head back to the grim, dark, far future of Fantasy Flight Games’ Dark Heresy Second Edition, there to join the Ordo Xenos and fight the Enemy Without!

Enemies Without is the latest supplement for Dark Heresy’s Second Edition, focusing on the Ordo Xenos of the Inquisition, its alien foes, and the more Radical equipment and allies it might use. Meet the Party has linked up with a band of Ordo Xenos Acolytes before, but Arbite Quinten Ferris and his fellows were members of their Ordo via backstory without much in the way of mechanical tie-in. Like Enemies Within did for the Ordo Hereticus, Enemies Without provides all sorts of new tools for me to work with in Dark Heresy, including interesting Backgrounds and Homeworlds and a very special Role. So, without further ado, let’s see who the Enemy Without is going to be hunted by.

Zadori Florenza, Hierophant

Trust in your fear . . .

Homeworld: Garden World

Background: Rogue Trader Fleet

Weapon Skill: 28   Ballistic Skill: 28

Strength: 26   Toughness: 29   Agility: 34

Intelligence: 36   Perception:  38  Willpower: 35

Fellowship: 42    Influence: 30

Aptitudes: Social, Finesse, Fellowship, Offence, Ballistic Skill, Toughness, Willpower

Skills: Charm, Commerce, Common Lore (Rogue Traders), Linguistics (Eldar), Operate (Surface), Deceive, Inquiry

Talents, Traits, and Advances: Weapon Training (Las, Shock), Double Team, Fellowship Simple, Ambassador Imperialis, Fellowship Intermediate, Deceive Known, Inquiry Known

Bonuses: Serenity of the Green, Inured to the Xenos, Sway the Masses

Fate Threshold: 3

Wounds: 9

Equipment: Laspistol with two Clips of Ammo and Compact upgrade, Shock Maul, Mesh Cloak, Auspex, Chrono, Concealed Holster, Micro-Bead, Regicide Set

Zadori Florenza is a passable combatant,  but her true strength lies in her ability to engage in discourse that can be honest, deceptive, or prying – and not just with loyal citizens of the Imperium, either. Serenity of the Green lets her recover faster from shock or mental trauma, and lets her recover from madness easier than anyone else. Ambassador Imperialis makes her adept at dealing with xenos and non-Imperial humans; Inured to the Xenos makes her even more capable of dealing with non-humans, in addition to making it harder for them to scare her. Sway the Masses allows her to spend a Fate Point to automatically succeed at Charm, Command, and Intimidate checks. Finally, Double Team means that her mediocre Weapon Skill gets significantly boosted when she can gang up on a target with an ally.

Lothos Harlocke, Sage

The wise learn from the deaths of others . . .

Homeworld: Research Station

Background: Heretek

Weapon Skill: 33   Ballistic Skill: 33

Strength: 40   Toughness: 28   Agility: 32

Intelligence: 42   Perception:  39  Willpower: 37

Fellowship: 27    Influence: 33

Aptitudes: Knowledge, Finesse, Intelligence, Offence, Perception, Tech, Willpower

Skills: Inquiry, Forbidden Lore (Xenos-Craftworld Eldar), Security, Tech-Use, Trade (Archaeologist), Logic, Forbidden Lore (Xenos-Tau), Scholastic Lore (Adeptus Mechanicus), Scrutiny, Linguistics (Eldar, Tau)

Talents, Traits, and Advances: Weapon Training (Solid Projectile), Mechanicus Implants, Clues from the Crowds, Intelligence Simple, Logic Known, Archivator, Forbidden Lore (Xenos-Tau) Known, Scholastic Lore (Adeptus Mechanicus) Known, Scrutiny Known, Linguistics (Eldar, Tau) Known

Bonuses: Pursuit of Data, Master of Hidden Lores, Quest for Knowledge

Fate Threshold: 4

Wounds: 13

Equipment: Stub Revolver with 2 Clips of Ammo and 2 Clips of Man-Stopper Rounds, 1 Web Grenade, Combi-Tool, Flak Cloak, Filtration Plugs, 1 Dose of De-Tox, Dataslate, Stablight, Multi-Key, Auspex, Micro-bead

Lothos Harlocke is the team’s expert on the xenos they hunt, and a prime candidate for leading explications to acquire more information. Master of Hidden Lores grants him a boost to Tech-Use if he has a relevant Forbidden Lore. Quest for Knowledge lets him spend Fate Points to succeed on Logic and Lore checks. Clues from the Crowd makes him better at gathering information from people instead of machines, and his general investigative abilities are helped along by Inquiry and Scrutiny. He is also, between Security and his Multi-Key, the team’s expert as bypassing security systems to get them where they need to go. Finally, Pursuit of Data increases his skill growth by letting him, via increasing his Scholastic Lores, gain relevant Forbidden Lores.

Sesselie Novioanna, Ace

The only true fear is dying without your duty done . . .

Homeworld: Death World

Background: Imperial Navy

Weapon Skill: 39   Ballistic Skill: 34

Strength: 34   Toughness: 35   Agility: 40

Intelligence: 33   Perception:  35  Willpower: 31

Fellowship: 27    Influence: 34

Aptitudes: Fieldcraft, Offence, Agility, Finesse, Perception, Tech, Willpower

Skills: Athletics, Command, Common Lore (Imperial Navy), Navigate (Stellar, Warp), Operate (Aeronautica +10, Voidcraft), Awareness, Dodge

Talents, Traits, and Advances: Weapon Training (Chain, Solid Projectile), Hotshot Pilot, Resistance (Fear), Agility Simple, Operate (Voidcraft) Known, Awareness Known, Navigate (Warp) Known, Dodge Known, Perception Simple, Operate (Aeronautica) Trained

Bonuses: Survivor’s Paranoia, Close Quarters Discipline, Right Stuff

Fate Threshold: 2

Wounds: 14

Equipment: Combat Shotgun with two Clips of Ammo, Chainsword, Flak Coat, Rebreather, Micro-bead, Void Suit, Vox-Caster, Auto-Pistol with two Clips of Ammo

Sesselie Novianna is all but a literal avenging angel in the sky, and the enemies of the Imperium know it. Whether it flies through the sky or between the stars her Operate skills and Agility make her an expert. Right Stuff lets her spend Fate Points to automatically succeed on those Operate tests, while Hotshot Pilot lets her push herself to her limit to make successes spectacular or failures survivable. She doesn’t just fly these machines; she’s also skilled at navigating them, an extremely valuable and unique skillset, Outside of the cockpit she’s no slouch in a fight, the best shot on the team and damn near the best swordswoman. Close Quarters Discipline grants her extra degrees of success if she’s firing at or near point-blank range, something both her Combat Shotgun and Auto-Pistol can take advantage of. Survivor’s Paranoia means that she doesn’t grant bonuses to enemies who surprise her, and Dodge lets her slip away from attacks.

‘Fatal’ Halli, Warrior

If a job is worth doing, it is worth dying for . . .

Homeworld: Death World

Background: Outcast

Weapon Skill: 43   Ballistic Skill: 32

Strength: 32   Toughness: 33   Agility: 36

Intelligence: 35   Perception: 40  Willpower: 34

Fellowship: 24    Influence: 22

Aptitudes: Fieldcraft, Perception, Ballistic Skill, Defence, Offence, Strength, Weapon Skill

Skills: Acrobatics, Common Lore (Underworld), Deceive, Dodge, Stealth, Medicae, Survival, Parry, Awareness

Talents, Traits, and Advances: Weapon Training (Chain, Las), Iron Jaw, Medicae Known, Survival Known, Parry Known, Awareness Known, Athletics Known, Perception Simple, Weapon Skill Simple, Blind Fighting

Bonuses: Survivor’s Paranoia, Never Quit, Expert at Violence

Fate Threshold: 3

Wounds: 11

Equipment: Laspistol with two Clips of Ammo, Chainsword, Armoured Bodyglove, Injector, 2 Doses of Slaught, Micro-bead, Medi-Kit, Chainaxe

‘Fatal’ Halli brings a useful array of skills to the team. She’s stealthy, sharp-eyed, a survival expert, a decent liar, in touch with the underworld, and a surprisingly good medic. All of this would make her invaluable to the Ordo Xenos on its own, but then she picks up her weapons and things get really exciting. She’s the deadliest melee combatant among the Acolytes, and no slouch with her laspistol either. She can Dodge away from attacks and is even better at Parrying them. Survivor’s Paranoia, like Sesselie, inures her to the effects of being surprised, while Blind Fighting makes her an able combatant even when she can’t see her targets very well. Never Quit helps prevent her from being Fatigued, while Expert at Violence lets her spend Fate Points to gain extra degrees of success on her attacks.


 

Once again our poor Acolytes were left to the whims of the thirsting dice gods to determine their characteristics. That being said, and this might just be me, it seemed like this batch were overall quite lucky. Generally speaking they all rolled well, with what deficiencies they had not harming their primary Role, although the fact that three of them rolled 27 for Fellowship was a little odd.

You might be asking: where’s the unique gear from Enemies Without? Sadly, it’s too rare for the characters to acquire at creation, which makes sense as much of it is Xenos in origin and thus . . . not exactly approved of by most of the Imperium. You’ll have to play these characters before they can commit tech-heresy of that kind. All of the chosen Homeworlds, most of the Backgrounds, and Sesselie’s Role are taken from Enemies Within, however, and a number of new Talents from the book have been chosen.

The Divinations got some interesting results this time. Zadori’s Perception was increased, although she picked up the Phobia Mental Disorder in exchange (I decided she’s afraid of the dark, which will be detailed below). Lothos increased his Intelligence slightly in exchange for a dip in Weapons Skill. Sesselie gained the Resistance (Fear) Talent. Fatal’s Fellowship dropped, but in exchange her Toughness was increased in equal measure.

Who They Are

Zadori Florenza grew up on a pristine world technically outside of the Imperium’s control; rather, it was the private hideaway and port for a Rogue Trader, and Zadori was born in the colony he had founded there to support his operations. Raised by parents who firmly believed in the light of the God-Emperor, Zadori was still influenced by the general Rogue Trader culture of the colony, which held that xenos and other outsiders could still be used for the betterment of Man. A skilled speaker, she eventually found a place on the Rogue Trader’s personal vessel as part of his diplomatic corp. She made a good living, negotiating for the Trader and sometimes trying to bring the Emperor’s light to rediscovered humans, but it all went wrong when the ship was boarded by Dark Eldar. The cruel xenos cut the power, leaving the ship in darkness while the fighting raged on for days. It wasn’t until an Inquisitor and their retinue responded to the Trader’s calls for help that the Dark Eldar were repelled from the ship. The Trader did not survive, and Zadori still carries the mental scars of fighting in the dark, but she’s resolved to help her new master.

Lothos Harlocke was probably doomed to heresy from the beginning, through no real fault of his own. Raised up through the Adeptus Mechanicus, Lothos was assigned to a research station tasked with studying xenos technology in the hopes of reverse-engineering some of it to benefit the Tech Priests and the Imperium. He didn’t know that it was tech-heresy according to many factions of the Tech Priesthood, and was quite surprised when his fellow Tech Priests attempted to censure the research station’s controlling faction. He stuck to the beliefs that his supposedly heretical superiors had taught him: that the Quest for Knowledge was limitless, and that much could be learned from the xenos before destroying them. To say that Lothos’ stance, along with that of his fellows, was poorly received would be a massive understatement. The research station was destroyed, with most of its inhabitants slain. Lothos was one of those evacuated before the end, and spent some time wandering the galaxy on his own before an Inquisitor tracked him down. Not with a bolt pistol in hand, no, but an offer to continue his work. Lothos couldn’t resist.

Sesselie Novioanna was born on an airless rock of a world whose only claim to fame was the location of an Imperial Navy supply depot, shipyard, and base. Unsurprisingly her world’s population was Navy to the core, from the commanders of the orbital stations to the lowliest worker in the tunnels beneath the surface. The greatest aspiration was to join the Navy and fight among the stars, and Sesselie devoted herself to that with unmatched fervor. Once she earned her uniform, she spent years defending the Imperium: she flew gunships, manned the helm of massive voidships, and even helped repel boarders. During one stay at her home shipyard for repairs, however, an Ork WAAAGH! swept into the sector. Sesselie fought above her homeworld, and when her ship was broken she rode an escape pod down to the surface and continued her fight in the tunnels until an Inquisition-led relief fleet arrived. She had distinguished herself enough that the Inquisitor in charge requested she fly for the Ordo Xenos. Always seeking to fulfill her duty, and seeing an ideal chance to, Sesselie accepted.

‘Fatal’ Halli comes from the type of death world where everything is trying to kill you, and the only real way to survive is to kill everything first. Fatal turned out to be pretty good at managing that, enough so that she managed to live long enough to get off the damn planet and find work as a mercenary. She’d picked up a variety of skills over the course of managing to survive, and they made for good trade in exchange for money. Plus, it turned out that not every animal and plant in the rest of the galaxy wanted to eat her alive, which was a pretty pleasant surprise. At one point she found herself working for the Faceless Trade as hired muscle. Good pay, decent hours, but not very nice people and they tended to work with worse. One deal went particularly sour and ended in a three-way-fight between the Traders, the Kroot they’d been dealing with, and a team of Inquisition goons who’d kicked in the door. Sick of the Traders and with no love for the creepy xenos she turned her chainaxe on both of them and then asked the Inquisition if they were hiring. Amused, the Inquisitor replied yes, although attempting to leave the service like she’d left the Trade’s wouldn’t end well for her. Fatal has no problem with that; she’s relatively sure that the Inquisitor, unlike the Kroot, won’t try to eat her on a whim. What more could a girl ask for?

How They Interact

Zadori feels like Lothos is something of a kindred spirit, as both believe that the Imperium can benefit from Xenos if they are handled properly. They both go about this in different ways, but Zadori treats Lothos much like she treated the enginseers of her Rogue Trader, with respect and appropriate distance. Ms. Novioanna is practically a venerated figure to Zadori, as the bridge crew of the Trader’s vessel were regarded as second only to the Trader himself. Although almost always formal with the Navy officer, Zadori is pleased that they sometimes enjoy a game of regicide together. The garden worlder finds herself sticking close to Halli during fights. Aside from the fact that Zadori is capable of backing up the death worlder with her shock maul, there are Halli’s stories of fighting off opponents in the dead of night by ‘smelling their fear’. With darkness as her personal nightmare, Zadori has every intention of keeping the warrior near her when the darkness comes again.

Lothos is ambivalent about Zadori. While they both agree that sources from outside the Imperium can be used to benefit it, the heretek can hardly stomach the thought of talking to them. Much better to salvage after they’re safely dead. Still, the negotiator is skilled at acquiring resources, and after the lean years following the research station Lothos dares not turn that down. Sesselie has a proper layman’s respect for the machine spirits, and is an artisan of sorts in her own way, but she has a disappointing tendency to advocate turning potentially valuable xenotech into slag. Halli is a half-crazed savage in Lothos’s view, but she’s well-traveled. Lothos sometimes subjects himself to the rigors of ‘small talk’ in an effort to glean bits of information and potential leads out of the woman’s travels, and at least she doesn’t seem to care about his ‘heresies’.

Sesselie has a proper Navy officer’s dislike of the whole Rogue Trader business, and doesn’t much care for Zadori’s penchant for talking to xenos like they’re people. Still, she’s a good kid that loves the God-Emperor like few others, and so long as she doesn’t actually like the scum then Sesselie can consider her a somewhat quirky friend. If she doesn’t care for some of Zadori’s work, she outright dislikes Lothos’s, and the two have often butted heads over the matter. The Inquisitor told her that if Lothos got involved with “skeletal-looking ‘Iron Men’ who tend to have a green glow about them” she could shoot the heretek and be done with it, but otherwise to restrain her objections to the verbal form. She has grudgingly obeyed; at least the cogboy keeps her craft in good shape. Fatal is a good companion, if wildly undisciplined by Navy standards. The two often try to outdo one another with stories about their homeworlds, with Sesselie bringing up horrible depressurization incidents and the like. The two are more or less partners in keeping the other Acolytes alive.

Fatal is mildly exasperated by Zadori; the girl would have lasted maybe a standard hour or two back on Fatal’s homeworld. The exasperation is accompanied by some affection though; Zadori is somewhat like the hapless younger sister Fatal might have had if mum hadn’t been eaten by that tree when she was five. She’s got the proper attitude with a shock maul, too. Lothos reminds Fatal of a few strange folk she met in her mercenary days, cogboys gone mad who tended to die horrible and mildly entertaining deaths when they pushed the wrong button (Fatal always insisted they paid up front after the first one). Lothos seems pretty sane, though, so he’s all right. Sesselie couldn’t be more different than Fatal, what with the ‘proper’ upbringing and ‘discipline’ and the fancy uniform. The officer is a hot hand with a shotgun, though, and the two have taken up the martyr-like burden of keeping the kid and the cogboy alive. Navy’s stories about losing atmosphere are lame, though; a proper acidic air that melts the lungs, now that makes a good story.

The Far Future

The Xenos are dangerous and arcane, with much about them up to and including their goals beyond the ken of Man. They can be a dangerously corrupting influence, offering supposed wonders while chipping away at the Imperium’s stability and strength. If they’re not corrupting, then they’re outright destroying, slaughtering humans either for the sheer thrill or for reasons only they know. Will Zadori, Lothos, Sesselie, and Fatal be able to serve the Ordo Xenos and protect the Imperium of Man, or will the Enemy Without get the best of them? That’s for you (and your dice) to determine!

Originally posted 12/10/15 on the Mad Adventurers Society!

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