Saturday, 31 December 2016

Deathwatch RPG - Kill Team Theta - Session Two

The mission logs of Kill Team 'Theta' of the Deathwatch.

This sessions attendees are...
Matt - Black Templars Assault Marine Klaus
Tristan - White Scars Assault Marine Hakim
Matt - Space Wolves Wolf Scout Bjorn
Gareth - Imperial Fist Devastator Marine Arno Tyr
Garreth - Iron Hands Techmarine Marcus
Designated Leader - Assault Marine Klaus
Kill-Team Oath - Oath of Glory
Mission Requisition - 250 (To last two missions)

Unfortunately it looks like Paul is a cursed name this week as our Ultramarines player couldn't make this session so will be a GM controlled NPC and the other of the Paul's wont be able to commit to regular sessions so his Raven Guard Tactical Marine 'Yiraka' has been moved to the guest appearance section of the character page just in case. Scouting duties have therefore being taken over last minute by the Wolf Scout listed above. As Martin is GMing this session his Ordo Xenos Inquisitor Nolan will be staying at the Watch Station.

The characters current stats can be found on this page here together with a few explanations about liberties that were taken with the character creation process. Other missions from this and other campaigns can be found here.

Note - As Martin was GMing and obviously had notes and intro bits written down I've just pasted them into this article directly so they'll be in a 'reading to the group' style. This'll save me a lot of time writing out everything again and hopefully wont effect your reading enjoyment too much bouncing between the two styles of writing. Out of character notes that shed light on certain events will be in red...

Mission Two - A Trail of Breadcrumbs
The Team is to be deployed in the initial drop site of the Tyranid organism that was ascertained by the Deathwatch and to draw it in using the pheromone censer, then from there draw it to the Tau garrison fifty miles away. They will also need to intercept all the Tau patrols across this distance as well as stopping them from reporting back to the garrison before the Tyranids can draw the hive fleet. The Tyranids must not be engaged as they can’t be aware of the Imperiums presence in sector. Scout forces have deployed a servo skull network for real time Intel of enemy movements. Data can be relayed across the squad Auspex via the teams Techmarine.

Team to pick equipment and deploy by rapid Thunderhawk deployment and place an amount of field equipment in a cache aside for the next mission phase.

Fio'la is a jungle planet in the Sept of Bork’An. The garrison is in the equatorial region and is surrounded by deep jungle. Stealth suits are at fixed points in the terrain but will move if scouts call for aid. Kroot and pathfinder patrols move in an east west cross sweep with a supervising Shaper near the garrison.

Special Issue Wargear
Pheromone Censer: Draws Tyranid organisms, team must stay within its three to five mile range for a maximum of 10 combat turns or the effect is lost.
Night Shroud: Blocks all communications not tuned to Deathwatch frequencies within 200m, continuous effect unless deactivated, can be found via higher level Auspex sweeps.

The team requisitioned a Cartograph to help with navigation of the planet, an Elucidator for translating any samples of Tau transmissions or files they intercepted as well as a large stockpile of additional ammunition and explosives as well as some back-up weaponry. As the Raven Guard scout Yiraka had failed to return from his reconnaissance mission the team was allocated the services of a Space Wolves Wolf Scout named Bjorn whose unique skills had caused him to be allocated to kill-teams as necessary rather that to one specific team.

Part One - Hide and Seek
The Thunderhawk transport dropped the team at the designated landing site and they quickly deployed so the vehicle could make a quick escape. Techmarine Marcus activated the jamming system and began to scan the immediate area with both his portable and in-built Auspex systems. The unidentified but significant Tyranid bioform they were to lure towards the Tau facility was several kilometres to the South of them at the extreme of the Pheromone censers devices effective range so it was decided to activate it immediately in order to start the creature or creatures moving in their direction as soon as possible. While waiting to see if the device was going to work the team buried their cache of extra ammunition and equipment and covered it with a Cameleoline Tarpaulin they'd bought for exactly that purpose. Just as they were completing their task Marcus informed them that the Biomass was now moving towards them and that additionally the servo-skull sensor net had detected other movement about half a kilometre ahead of them. Without waiting for any prompting from the teams leader the scout Bjorn pulled his camo-cloak around himself and disappeared into the jungle ahead.

Bjorn moved stealthily through the jungle leaving no trace of his passing until his enhanced senses detected a number of unusual scents ahead consisting of a mix of artificial and natural traces. He scanned the area ahead through the telescopic sight of his Astartes 'Ultra Pattern' Sniper Rifle and discovered several Tau figures he identified as the advanced scouting units designated by the Tau as Pathfinders.

Using the advanced Vox system in his armour he transmitted back to his team their location and awaited instructions. The Black Templar leading the team informed him that if he thought he could take them out without too much noise then to go right ahead and take the shot and that he and the rest of the team would move up to meet them. Having plenty of time to take aim and with the enemy firmly in his sights he put a needle round right into it's head killing it instantly before switching his aim to a second Pathfinder and granting it a similar fate.

Editors Note - The Wolf Scouts player was unfamiliar with the system so we had to have a brief break while I explained the basics of the shooting rules to him and the specifics of his weapons special you can tell from the above he got the hang of them rather too quickly for our GM's liking...

While Bjorn was eliminating the enemy Pathfinders the Iron Hands Techmarine detected another group moving towards their position though this consisted of far less mechanical readings and was mainly biological. The team immediately leapt to the conclusion that these were likely Xenos allies of the Tau known as Kroot though the Wolf Scout was of the opinion that they were probably accompanied by at least one figure in armour as he claimed to recognise the scents from earlier. As these were dangerously close to discovering the Pathfinders corpses it was decided to eliminate them and the kill-team moved up to intercept while Bjorn moved around the outskirts of the area to get to a better sniping position.

Bjorn once again demonstrated his uncanny skills with a rifle as one of the armoured figures accompanying the Kroot dropped dead a moment after the Wolf Scout informed his colleagues that several of the Kroot were travelling via the dense tree tops which inspired the Black Templar Klaus with an unusual strategy. The tree that was at that moment occupied by a pair of Kroot promptly exploded into splinters as it was struck by the Templars Power Maul but the occupants of the tree simply bounded into an adjacent one. 

The White Scar Hakim powered up his Jump Pack and landed nimbly on the newly occupied tree branch but was unfortunately unable to hit the closest of the Kroot. Lacking the speed of the rest of his team their Techmarine was continuing to take Auspex readings as he followed and was disturbed to note that he was getting very strange readings from the East that seemed to be fading in and out of existence. Unfortunately his team was currently too busy to be distracted with such information so he kept it to himself for the moment until the current encounter was resolved. As the equipment he was carrying was vital to the missions success the Ultramarine had stayed back to ensure that nothing untoward happened to him though this seemed to annoy the Iron Hand significantly.

Editors Note - My Techmarine can move quickly if he needs too as one of his bionics grants him the 'Sprint' Talent, Unfortunately this has the possibility of leaving him fatigued so he only uses it if he's reasonably sure he hasn't got important stuff to do straight pass Auspex tests...

Now in position the teams sniper took out one of the armoured enemies a moment before another caught the Templar in a burst of carbine shots some of which penetrated his Power Armour. This impact seemed to put him off his stride as he then missed both his subsequent attempts to hit a Kroot that charged into him a moment later. Another shot seemingly from nowhere decapitated another Kroot as Hakim gutted the creature that had escaped his wrath earlier with his sword. Klaus's luck failed to improve as yet again he failed to hit the elusive Kroot engaged with him. 

As it became apparent at this point that the forward elements of the team had abandoned any attempt at subtlety the newly arrived Claudius, Marcus and Tyr opened fire with their Bolter, Storm Bolter and Heavy Bolter respectively and tore apart the remaining adversaries with the exception of an unfortunate retreating Kroot who found himself impaled on a powerful impact drill made of super-dense adamantine alloys and fitted with a matter-wave generator that cause the augur to vibrate millions of times per second. The results were messy but definitive...

More Auspex scans cross-referenced with the servo-skull network revealed at least one more group of Kroot some distance away and at least two lots of the indistinct readings that Marcus had detected earlier. The biomass that they were leading towards the Tau encampment had also stopped it's advance so Techmarine Marcus decided to use another dose of the pheromone in the censer device in case the first batch had lost it's potency some how. The Templar leading the team decided that the best course of action to ensure they remained undiscovered was to eliminate the two or three nearest groups of Tau while the creature following them was delayed in it's approach and then lead it through a smaller group on the way to the camp which would hopefully result in it also being blamed for the lack of communication with those they'd already destroyed.

If the primary part of the mission was a success and they could indeed lead the Tyranids into the enemies heart then they would be far to busy combating this new threat to spend time searching the jungle for a few missing Kroot and a handful of Pathfinders not reporting in. With a plan of action agreed upon the team moved towards the closest of the two sources of indistinct readings.

Part Two - Seek and Destroy
The team formed a fairly loose semi-circular formation designed to approach the source of the strange readings from a variety of angles and as they drew closer the Techmarine began to get more precise readings on the enemies location. Transmitting this more precise information to the rest of the team they began to train their weapons on that general area and this combined with the sensors on his Optical Mechadendrite gave a very good idea of where to direct their fire.

Marcus's Storm Bolters and Tyr's Heavy Bolter raked the area with suppressing fire and many of their shots found their marks. Several drones fell to the ground and other bolt shells could clearly be seen to have struck otherwise invisible targets. Now having something at which to aim the Wolf Scout put a needle round through a gap in the armour of one of the Stealth Suits and the poisonous toxins within quickly bought down the pilot within before he switched to his Shotgun having emptied the rifles ammunition clip. Now reduced in number the remaining armoured enemies returned fire wounding several of the kill-team before attempting to retreat. Unfortunately for them their own weapons had given away their positions and an overwhelming torrent of fire from the Marines tore them to pieces.

Having no access to an Apothecary the wounded team members were forced to rely on the Iron Hands medicae knowledge which was unfortunately for them more inclined to the repair of servitors than Marines so was somewhat rough and ready though none the less effective for that. As Marcus pointed out if they couldn't withstand a few staples and some glue then they were too reliant on their weak flesh...which he'd be happy to help them resolve once he had access to the fortresses workshop facilities.

While the Marines patched up their armour with the Repair Cement carried as standard equipment by them all the Techmarine began to investigate the wreckage of their opponents armour. Amongst the damage parts he found several intact burst weapons, some systems that he believed may have been those that generated their camouflaging energy fields and most important of all a completely intact comms system which he immediately started work on adapting to his own systems in the hope that he could tap into the enemies communications network.

Before he could complete work on this though his scanning systems picked up the approach of the earlier detected Kroot patrol which was now headed in their direction and the other indistinct readings had also turned their attentions on the teams location. Either the recently vanquished Stealth team had somehow managed to send a distress signal despite their own jamming system, the Kroots own senses had been alerted to the threat or possibly both. Marcus suggested that every-one reload their weapons even if their magazines were not yet exhausted as the number of enemies was difficult to ascertain.

As the most resistant to damage of the kill-team Marcus volunteered to intercept what was no doubt another Stealth team and hold them up as long as possible while his comrades dealt with the Kroot. As he was the bearer of several essential pieces of mission equipment and the most experienced in their use the others were unwilling to allow him to sacrifice himself despite his insistence that he was more than capable of doing the job. After some discussion it was decided to divide into two teams. Marcus, Tyr and Claudius would intercept the Stealth Suits while Klaus, Hakim and Bjorn dealt with the Kroot.

Editors Note - I still say my Techmarine could totally have taken them on his own...

Bjorn ranged ahead of his two comrades in arms and took to the tree tops as the Kroot he'd encountered earlier had done and concealed himself at a point he calculated would be most likely to have the Kroot and their leader pass beneath him. The selected location was based on his own analysis of the terrain and his observations of the enemy from his previous encounters and he was gratified when the Kroot emerged from the jungle directly below him. He had already prepared several Frag Grenades and had his Assault Shotgun to hand and dropped the grenades into their midst as soon as they passed beneath him before opening fire with a full-auto burst of shotgun rounds at point-blank range. The pair of Assault Marines then charged into the confused mass though the Templar was seemingly still the worse for wear after his earlier wounding as he repeated his earlier lacklustre performance and missed with every swing of his Maul. However his inspiring rhetoric as he engaged the enemy seemed to have the desired effect on the White Scar at his side as his Jump Pack assisted charge accounted for an enemy with each sword blow and crushed the skull of a third with a vicious backhanded strike from his Combat Shield. Bjorn meanwhile had decided to test himself against the remaining Kroot in melee and was currently engaged in a wrestling match which he ended by tearing the unfortunate creatures throat out...

Editors Note - Space Marines come by default with a number of abilities which means that even when technically unarmed they're still more than a match for most humanoid enemies...

Marcus had managed to interface his communications system with that of the Tau and was using their own transmissions combined with his Auspex and Optical detection systems to gain a bearing on the Stealth teams exact location. Using their linked systems he transmitted targeting information to the Imperial Fist Devastator who despite having no visible target simply aimed where the Techmarine indicated and tore apart several shielding drones and two of the three armoured suits ahead of them. Marcus then fired both his Storm Bolters into the remaining suit which was bought down by an unavoidable rain of Bolt rounds before the Ultramarine even had a chance to join in. However before they had a chance to enjoy their victory the Tyranid they had been luring ever closer made an unexpected appearance...

Editors Note - Yes...we had completely forgotten about the actual point of the mission...

Marcus saw the creature emerge from the clearing and immediately recognised the Tyranid bioform that was categorised by the Imperium as a Lictor. Realising that if they engaged and killed it their mission would be a failure he instead increased power to his Bionic Legs and moved as fast as he could in the direction of the enemy camp hoping it would follow him because as far as he was aware his fellow Marines had yet to gain its attention. As he powered towards the encampment his Auspex detected the now distinct intermittent signals of a third Stealth team and an idea was quickly formed in his head.

As he burst into the clearing currently being traversed by the stealthy enemy suits he opened fire with his paired Storm Bolters and in a stroke of good fortune managed to cripple two of them before deactivating the jamming system they'd been using just long enough for the remaining Stealth Suit to transmit a pic of the charging Lictor to his home base followed by his screams as it ripped him apart. He then engaged the jammer once more as he removed the pheromone censer from his armour and prepared to hurl it into the enemy camp as long as he could find a position from which to do so that he could not be observed. Information from the servo skull network and the cartograph seemed to show a likely spot and from there an epic throw might be all that was needed to bring their mission to a satisfactory climax though the censer would need to be hurled over ninety metres.

Editors Note - A character in Deathwatch can throw an object a number of metres equal to his Strength Bonus on a successful Challenging (+0) Strength test, This distance increases by a factor of one per degree of success on the roll. With my Techmarines very high basic Strength Bonus increased using the Feat of Strength I needed three degrees of success to make the throw successfully...

After summoning all his strength both physical and bionically enhanced the pheromone device sailed over the encampment wall and into centre of the compound before he himself moved back into the jungle. The screams of the camps occupants as their unexpected visitor tore into the Tau ranks was all the signal of success that the team needed...

Back to Reality
Our GM has a lot going on in the real world currently so hasn't had time to write a session overview for me to include. As soon as he has the time I'll add it into this section.

Thoughts and comments are (as usual) most welcome.

Games Workshop Newsletter

New Year, New Army...apparently...

Games Workshop
New Year, New Army
Armoured Assault
White Dwarf
Made to Order
© Copyright Games Workshop Limited 2016. GW, Games Workshop, Citadel, White Dwarf, Space Marine, 40K, Warhammer, Warhammer 40,000, the ‘Aquila’ Double-headed Eagle logo, Warhammer Age of Sigmar, Battletome, Stormcast Eternals, and all associated logos, illustrations, images, names, creatures, races, vehicles, locations, weapons, characters, and the distinctive likenesses thereof, are either ® or ™, and/or © Games Workshop Limited, variably registered around the world. All Rights Reserved.
© Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All rights reserved. THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY, THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG, THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES and the names of the characters, items, events and places therein are trademarks of The Saul Zaentz Company d/b/a Middle-earth Enterprises under license to New Line Productions, Inc.         (s15)
© 2016 New Line Productions, Inc. All rights reserved. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King and the names of the characters, items, events and places therein are trademarks of The Saul Zaentz Company d/b/a Middle-earth Enterprises under license to New Line Productions, Inc.

Gav Thorpe Newsletter

The latest from the author Gav Thorpe...

Sci-Fi Artwork from Gav's Website (with Christmas Tree)
  • Happy Holidays!
  • Azrael
  • Big Stompy Robot News
  • Thinking Outside The (Game) Box
  • Black Library Advent (The Grey Raven & Valerius)
  • Kickstarter - Traveller Card Game
  • Newsletter Q&A - Male & Female Knights?
  • Submission Alert - Copper Pen Press
  • Blog Post Round-Up
  • Upcoming Events
  • Hard Drive Hot List (or, What I'm Currently Writing)
  • Bi-Monthly Competition
Gav drinking a cup of tea

Happy Holidays!

I’ll keep it brief, because I’ll be doing the obligatory year in review / looking forward to 2017 post in January (and because this is a bit of a bumper edition of my newsletter).
This Christmas was a really fun one - the first where Sammy understood what was happening (presents, sweets, and lots of attention from grandparents).  In an effort of restraint that my 12 year-old self would have balked at, I still haven't opened most of my presents.  Having visited family over the last two weeks, we're celebrating another Christmas at home tomorrow, so will open presents then - it's just an excuse to have another turkey dinner with all the trimmings really.  I’ve asked Santa for a few gaming goodies and graphic novels, and it’s always exciting to find out what type of novelty socks my mum has bought me.
So let me thank you all for your readership and support over the last twelve months, and I hope you continue to enjoy my stories and games for many more to come.
Cover of Azrael by Gav Thorpe


The swanky limited edition of my Space Marine Legends novel, Azrael, was released this month (along with the eBook).  In case you haven't seen them, I've published a few blog posts about the book, including:
Here's an extract from my Author's Notes:
"I had a particular challenge facing me when it came to writing Azrael. Frankly, I’ve written a lot of Dark Angels recently, with the Legacy of Caliban trilogy and Horus Heresy, and I was struggling to find an angle. The Hunt for the Fallen? Kinda important, but really the backbone of Legacy of Caliban and thoroughly explored already. Also, there was a whole bunch of stuff involving Azrael and the Dark Angels in the ‘current timeline’ of 40K, with them feuding with the Space Wolves in Warzone Fenris and all kinds of hi-jinks that I didn’t have the time or inclination to do all that reading.
So rather than the present I looked to the past for some inspiration."

Big Stompy Robot News

I've mentioned a few times on my blog, social media, and interviews, that I'm working on some rules for a new game involving big stompy robots. 
Having committed to run a demo table at the new wargaming show ROBIN in February, I've now had to *actually* work on some rules, instead of just having the ideas swirl round in my head.
Big Stompy Robot
I've got vague plans to keep a developer diary, probably as blogs on the website and maybe some videos, and if there's enough interest I'll also send out the odd newsletter specifically about the game.  If you would like to receive (very sporadic) updates on the progress of my new game, click the button below.

Thinking Outside The (Game) Box

I've been very remiss at publishing writing advice posts recently, but have good intentions to do more in 2017.  To get me back in the habit, this month I published a blog about how much you should adhere to the rules and army lists from Warhammer and Warhammer 40K, when writing fiction for Black Library. Here's a bit from the blog:
"Writing for the Black Library comes with a simple, undeniable truth: one is working on a world and stories primarily created so that people can collect, paint and fight miniature battles with toy soldiers. The contents of the rulebooks, supplements and White Dwarf magazine underpin everything else. Players of the games view it as a defining feature of the setting but as an author you must be aware of the game but not beholden to it."
Cover of The Grey Raven by Gav Thorpe
Black Library Advent Stories
This year I had two entries in the Black Library Advent Calendar. Day seven saw the release of my Horus Heresy short story The Grey Raven; which continues the story of Librarian Balsar Kurthuri as he returns to Terra (a follow on from my recent novella Weregeld).
On day sixteen it was my Horus Heresy audio short story, Valerius, Guided by visions from the God-Emperor, can Marcus Valerius lead the Therion Cohort back to victory?

The Grey Raven

"Balsar Kurthuri of the Raven Guard has always followed his primarch’s orders. When the Edict of Nikaea forbade psykers within the Legions, he returned to the line squads without a second thought. When the Warmaster’s treachery became known, he gave freely of his powers. Now, as the war appears to be entering its final, grim stages, at Lord Corax’s command he must return to Terra to face judgement for the apparent crime of unswerving loyalty…"


"Though he knows such beliefs are forbidden, Vice-Caesari Marcus Valerius of the Therion Cohort is willing to lay down his life in service to the immortal God-Emperor, for the good of all mankind. Sent by Corax to the great slaughter at Beta-Garmon, every last one of the Imperial Army soldiers under his command knows that the end is nigh - but can Valerius' holy visions guide them to one final victory over the hordes of the hated Arch-traitor?"

Kickstarter - Traveller Card Game

I'm sure this will be of interest to many of you: "A card game with trade, exploration and combat in Marc Miller's classic RPG setting, The Third Imperium".  The Kickstarter ends on January 9th.
Traveller Card Game Kickstarter Logo

Newsletter Q&A

Maria asked on the blog: Hi! I’m currently reading Angels of Caliban and I noticed something, I wanted to ask you about. Luther thinks of himself as a “son to knights” – does this mean that his male ancestors were knights, or that both of his parents were knights?
Yes, it was my intent that the Order had both male and female knights – which gives rise to the idea that the non-space marine ‘augmented’ Dark Angels like Luther might include women (in fact Angels of Caliban contains the line, ‘On the other side of the Chapter Master the chair was occupied by Saulus Maegon, Mistress of the Angelicasta’).
If you want to ask a question, just reply to the newsletter and I'll get back to you as soon as my schedule allows.  I'll pick a question to go in the next newsletter, and combine them all into a blog post for the website.  Click the button below for the full Q&A round-up for December.

! Submission Alert !

Copper Pen Press and their imprint La Llorna Road are great places to keep an eye on, as they seem to have a continually open submissions window.
At the moment La Llorna Road is looking for novel-length horror, and Copper Pen Press are seeking submissions of novel-length mystery / suspense / crime stories.
Copper Pen Press Logo
There is no advance, but they pay 10% on RRP for hardcover, 8% for paperbacks, and 25% for eBooks.  These sorts of submissions are a risk, as you may earn nothing for your hard-penned work, but Copper Pen Press do not charge for reading, editing, or publication fees (beware of any 'publishers' who expect you to pay for these services as part of their contract with you).
If you need help with your submission, have a look at the writing advice section on my website, which gives lots of top-tips, as well as in-depth blogs on topics such as narrative, action, and pacing.

Blog Post Round-Up

Elsewhere on the blog this month, you can read my reviews of Black Library Live! and Sledge-Lit, my thoughts on the age-appropriateness of Black Library fiction (and fiction in general), and find out if the Lion is loyal or a traitor.
You can also watch my interview with Warhammer TV from Black Library Live, and listen to me discussing the Horus Heresy in this Combat Phase podcast.

Upcoming Events

  • November 2017 (date TBC), Black Library Weekender
Do come and say 'hello' if you are attending these events (and feel free to bring any books you'd like me to sign).
Envelope with "Top Secret" stamped on it
One of the most common questions I get asked is "What are you working on?", so here's my (sorry, sometimes cryptic) list of works in progress, plus future releases.

Hard Drive Hot List


Bi-Monthly Competition Winner

All subscribers to my mailing list are entered into the bi-monthly draw to win a personalised, signed copy of one of my books.  The next winner, to be picked in January, will receive a copy of Asurmen: The Darker Road - my companion audio drama to Asurmen: Hand of Asuryan.
Cover of Azrael by Gav Thorpe, published by Black Library
Cover of The Thirteenth Wolf by Gav Thorpe
Cover of Corax by Gav Thorpe, published by Black Library
Picture of a Shark
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