Meet the Party: Dark Heresy 2nd Edition

A soldier of the Imperial Guard, Hammer of the Emperor, wielding faith and firepower. A Tech-priest of the Machine Cult, mistress of machine spirits and ever hungry for knowledge. A psyker born of the void, wielding psychic powers that may one day destroy him. A silver-tongued adept who asked too many questions. Each 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 travel to the grim darkness of the 41st millennium and Meet the Party, a band of acolytes of the Inquisition, from Dark Heresy Second Edition by Fantasy Flight Games!

Magdala “Mini” Araleen, Warrior

Only the insane have the strength enough to prosper . . .

Homeworld: Shrine World

Background: Imperial Guard

Weapon Skill: 39   Ballistic Skill: 40

Strength: 33   Toughness: 27   Agility: 38

Intelligence: 23   Perception: 31   Willpower: 35

Fellowship: 35    Influence: 36

Aptitudes: Willpower, Leadership, Ballistic Skill, Defense, Offence, Strength, Weapon Skill

Skills: Athletics, Common Lore (Imperial Guard), Operate (Surface), Navigate (Surface), Dodge, Parry, Command

Talents, Traits, and Advances: Weapon Training (Las, Low-Tech, Chain), Rapid Reload, Weapon Skill Simple, Ballistic Skill Simple

Bonuses: Faith in the Creed, Hammer of the Emperor, Expert at Violence

Fate Threshold: 3

Wounds: 11

Equipment: Lasgun, Combat Vest, Imperial Guard Flak Armour, Grapnel and Line, 12 Lho Sticks, Magnoculars, Chainsword, Backpack, Respirator

Magdala can’t take as much of a hit as some Warriors, but she can certainly deal them out better than any of her fellow acolytes thanks to her high attack characteristics. Hammer of the Emperor and Expert at Violence further add to her damage dealing arsenal, and Faith in the Creed gives her a chance to keep her Fate Points ready for when she needs them. She is also the best at avoiding hits in the first place, with both Dodge and Parry and good supporting characteristics for those skills. Her ability as a driver is an added bonus, and Command makes her the most authoritative member of the group.

Aennisse Urania, Sage

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

Homeworld: Forge World

Background: Adeptus Mechanicus

Weapon Skill: 33   Ballistic Skill: 29

Strength: 36   Toughness: 35   Agility: 32

Intelligence: 44   Perception: 28   Willpower: 33

Fellowship: 34   Influence: 31

Aptitudes: Intelligence, Tech, Weapon Skill, Knowledge, Perception, Strength, Willpower

Skills: Operate (Aeronautica), Common Lore (Adeptus Mechanicus), Logic +10, Security +10, Tech-Use +10

Talents, Traits, and Advances: Technical Knock, Mechadendrite Use (Utility), Weapon Training (Solid Projectile, Chain), Mechanicus Implants, Clues from the Crowds, Intelligence Simple,

Bonuses: Replace the Weak Flesh, Quest for Knowledge

Fate Threshold: 4

Wounds: 12

Equipment: Autogun, Optical Mechadendrite, Imperial Robes, 2 Vials of Sacred Unguents, Chainaxe, Vox-caster, Auspex/Scanner

Aennisse, being a Tech-priest by Background, is the group’s premier expert on all things technological and the smartest acolyte in general besides. In addition to Logic and Tech-Use her ability to serve as the group’s pilot and her skill at Security provides welcome utility. Being oddly social for a Tech-priest she is able to use Clues from the Crowds to ferret out information, and Quest for Knowledge can provide crucial data when the team needs it most. She is also no slouch with her chainaxe.

Ragaa Horst, Mystic

Suffering is an unrelenting instructor . . .

Homeworld: Voidborn

Background: Adeptus Astra Telepathica

Weapon Skill: 26   Ballistic Skill: 36

Strength: 26   Toughness: 30   Agility: 30

Intelligence: 35   Perception: 30   Willpower: 41

Fellowship: 32   Influence: 26

Aptitudes: Intelligence, Psyker, Defence, Ballistic Skill, Knowledge, Perception, Willpower

Skills: Awareness, Common Lore (Adeptus Astra Telepathica), Interrogation, Forbidden Lore (The Warp) +10, Psyniscience +10

Talents, Traits and Advances: Strong Minded, Sanctioned, Psyker, Psy Rating 2, Weapon Training (Las, Low-Tech), Warp Sense, Willpower Simple

Bonuses: Child of the Dark, The Constant Threat, Tested on Terra, Stare into the Warp

Psychic Powers: Telekinetic Control, Assail, Telekine Shield

Fate Threshold: 4

Wounds: 13

Equipment: Laspistol, Staff, Flak Vest, Psy Focus, Hallucinogen Grenade, Void Suit, Regicide Set

Ragaa is a Psyker, the most dangerous weapon at the team’s disposal. His background thankfully makes him more likely to be dangerous to their foes than the team themselves. His current selection of telekinetic abilities give him a ranged attack, improved defenses, and creative utility while his skills make him the team’s expert on the Warp and its energies. He is also actually the second best shot on the team, giving him options that hold zero risk of exploding into demons or being sucked into the Warp. When an actual interrogation needs to be done, Ragaa is the best at it. Being capable of crushing a man’s skull with your mind can be very persuasive.

Castess Icharus, Seeker

Heresy begets Retribution . . .

Homeworld: Highborn

Background: Adeptus Administratum

Weapon Skill: 28   Ballistic Skill: 24

Strength: 34   Toughness: 27   Agility: 29

Intelligence: 37   Perception: 37   Willpower: 25

Fellowship: 42   Influence: 35

Aptitudes: Fellowship, Social, Willpower, Intelligence, Perception, Agility, Tech

Skills: Commerce, Common Lore (Adeptus Administratum), Linguistics (High Gothic), Logic, Scholastic Lore (Cryptology), Scrutiny, Inquiry, Trade (Cryptographer), Deceive, Dodge

Talents, Traits, and Advances: Weapon Training (Solid Projectile, Flame), Keen Intuition, Fellowship Simple

Bonuses: Breeding Counts, Master of Paperwork, Nothing Escapes My Sight

Fate Threshold: 4

Wounds: 14

Equipment: Stub Automatic, Imperial Robes, Autoquill, Chrono, Dataslate, Medi-Kit, Flamer, Enforcer Light Carapace, Chameleoline Cloak

Castess is the best talker in the group and it shows. He’s social, smart, and sharp-eyed while being able to ask questions or avoid giving himself away. Breeding Counts mean that he’ll be more able than the others to keep his Influence climbing, and Nothing Escapes My Sight can be a lifesaver while watching the group’s back or asking the right questions. His Scholastic Lore and Trade means he’s the group’s code breaker, as well as their personal encryption expert. While not much of a fighter the fact that he is a Master of Paperwork means that he has equipment to compensate for that lack, and he will likely be supplying everyone going forward.

Unlike other systems that Meet the Party has featured so far the equivalent of Dark Heresy Second Edition’s point-buy system has been passed over in favor of rolling for Characteristics, all in the spirit of knowing that some times the Emperor Protects and sometimes the thirsting dice gods will be fickle and cruel.

Each character also rolled for a Twist of Destiny, represented by the quote below their name and incorporated into their stats. Some of these have ongoing effects. Magdala’s divination raised her Willpower, making her less likely to succumb to insanity in the first place, but when she does break she will actually go crazy faster. Ragaa’s divination actually provides him with a substantial bonus to the next test he makes after being hurt.

Who They Are

Sergeant Magdala “Mini” Araleen was born on a pilgrimage, and in some ways her pilgrimage has never stopped. Her parents met, wed, and conceived her as they traveled across the stars as pilgrims to the shrine world of Ossuar, home to a great mausoleum that houses the remains of the Askellon Sector’s founding saints. Magdala had the good fortune to be born shortly after they arrived. As the pilgrimage continued and she came of age the Imperial Guard came to Ossuar looking for recruits. Empowered by the faith she’d been surrounded by her entire life Magdala was quick to enlist. She caught the eye of her Inquisitor several years later having gained the rank of Sergeant, the nickname “Mini” for her small stature, and a fierce reputation as a front line combatant of the Ossuaran 4th Sentinels. Her entire platoon was wiped out in a fierce battle with Traitor Guard, but Magdala refused to abandon her post and fought on until her future master’s acolytes reached her. The chance to further serve the God-Emperor and His Imperium was irresistible once offered, and Mini has never looked back since.

Aennisse Urania was happy in her service to the Adeptus Mehanicus and her worship of the Omnissiah  on the forge world of Rhodin IV. Ever more information was available to her, her sacred knowledge growing even as more of her weak flesh was replaced with augmetics. Alas, it was not meant to continue. Some fell artifact or scrap of prohibited knowledge came to Rhodin IV and let loose its poison, and Aennisse was forced to grab her now-trusty chainaxe and hack her way through hereteks and their metal monstrosities to safety, preserving every bit of information she could. Inquisitorial forces met her as they were headed in to purge the problem themselves. Now she continues her quest to become a living repository of data in the name of the Inquisition, pleased with her new organization’s abilities to dig deeper and quest farther than any Mechanicus inquiry for knowledge.

Unlike the other members of his Inquisitor’s war band the voidborn man called Ragaa Horst did not come to the Inquisition by random chance or questionable fortune. It could be said with some strength that he was in fact born to it. As a child who was able to move things with his mind he was quickly identified as a psyker and plucked from the voidstations of Port Aquila by the Black Ships of the Adeptus Astra Telepathica. From there he was brought to Holy Terra itself, judged to be of sufficient strength to serve in life, and sanctioned. He takes pride in using the powers of the Warp against its own foul denizens, but is a cautious man who never forgets the dangers that all psykers face.

Castess Icharus was a man who couldn’t help but ask questions. So much data passed through the halls of the Adeptus Administratum, and yet so little of it was interesting. Icharus felt compelled by his curiosity to find the facts hidden between the lines, the things concealed by others, not out of any malign plan but simply to know. Unfortunately for him he asked the right question of the wrong person one day, and was only rescued from the heretical altar where he was to be sacrificed when his future Inquisitor burst in to purge the cultists with bolter shells and burning promethium. Now he is a man who is supposed to ask questions and learn secrets, and he revels in it. A shame about what seems like everything in the galaxy trying to kill him for it.

How They Interact

Magdala doesn’t care for any of them. The coggirl is as strange and esoteric as any other Tech-priest, the psyker is a potential walking blasphemy waiting to happen any minute and shouldn’t the Inquisiton be burning him at the stake, and the adept is smarmy and reminds her far too much of blue-blooded officers that got good guardsmen killed without sufficient profit for the Imperium. It’s safe to say that her fellow acolytes are the only thing yet to bother her about joining the Inquisition. But any good guardswoman worth her lasgun has learned to work with what’s available, so Magdala focuses on the positive. Aennisse is at least as helpful as every other Tech-priest in keeping Mini’s weapons functional, which means more dead heretics. The psyker is at least a good opponent at the regicide board, something to wear away the days of warp travel between missions. Castess has some arcane ability to make better weapons and equipment appear out of the tangle of paperwork, and no guardswoman at all would complain about that unless there was obvious heresy. She’ll let them all live. For now.

The trooper Araleen is a brute, that much is clear to Aennisse. Yet brutes can be useful in their own way, for protection if nothing else, and at the very least the Ossuaran makes an able sparring partner as the Tech-priest better learns to handle her chainaxe. Horst is a fascinating source of new information. Most of it cannot be detected by Aennisse’s own sensors, but the psyker has the trust of the Inquisitor, which means that what Horst tells her about the Warp energies he senses on their missions are worth recording in her logs. She also fears him less than the others; Tech-priests are resistant to possession, so Horst exploding into demons is only slightly more awful than all the other ways she could die in service to the Inquisition. Castess Icharus is a fellow intellectual, albeit of a more frivolous and less logical sort, and the two often discuss their findings. She does not disclose the true secrets of the Omnissiah to him, but a steady trade in data continues apace all the same.

Ragaa carries a regicide board for fellow acolytes just like Magdala, both as a team-building exercise and as an acclimatization plan; he moves his pieces with his powers, helping to normalize them for her so that she will not react poorly when he is forced to cut loose. She’s not the first to mutter about him, and he weathers it ably. Ragaa greatly respects Aennisse, as even his vague memories of childhood press upon him the importance of maintaining the machinery of a voidstation lest the entire populace perish. Having been to Holy Terra, though, means he has less respect for the interpretation of the God-Emperor as Omnissiah than he should. He keeps that quiet. Castess can be distracting with all his chatter, and the way he sometime shadows Ragaa can be concerning. The psyker has promised the Inquisitor to keep an eye on the highborn adept, just in case he starts asking the wrong questions.

It is a shame that Magdala seems to care so little for anything beyond her duty; Castess finds her quite attractive, and makes advances from time to time, but all have been rebuffed quite handily. He is considering making his next few manipulations of paperwork result in gifts for the soldier, which has the added bonus of helping her keep them all alive. Aennisse is a living treasure trove of information that Castess would love to tap in to, but he’s aware that she conceals the truly juicy secrets, so he keeps an eye out for some bit of information or technology that he might use to barter with or bribe her. And Ragaa, the psyker, practically everything Castess every wondered about! The Astra Telepathica, the Black Ships, the very knowledge of the Warp itself, so many facts that Castess was banned from knowing as a mere adept on Juno! Now if only Castess could figure out what he needs to get the psyker talking . . .

The Far Future

The Askellon Sector, where the acoyltes find themselves assigned, is quite possibly a doomed place. The numbers of unsanctioned psykers and mutants swell across multiple worlds, Chaos cults worm their way through society wherever they can, xenos filth pick away at the edges, and the warp storm known as the Pandaemonium is rumored to be a living thing that may very well consume the entire Sector.

In a time where there is no peace among the stars, only carnage and slaughter and the laughter of thirsting gods, can these acolytes of the Holy Order of the Emperor’s Inquisition do anything to stem the tide? Or will they fall to death, madness, and corruption? That’s for you (and your dice) to determine!

Originally Posted 3/26/15 on the Mad Adventurers Society!

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