Since today's show was about Warhammer 40k and the epic narratives we can get involved in, I thought that instead of a GM 202 I'd share one of my stories with you. Although I've got some pretty great experiences with the wargame too, I'm actually going to relate the story of my very first experience with Dark Heresy, one of the 40k RPGs.
Our story begins, as most Dark Heresy stories do, with us being sent on a mission by a powerful inquisitor. We were to insert ourselves into the middle of a warzone. A planet was being overrun by orks, and was being desperately held by some remaining guardsmen. But the war itself did not concern us. Instead, our mission was to retrieve a crystal preserved at a secure facility that the orks were nearing. Due to the constraints of the war, we had to drop from space to a location nearby and proceed on foot. So I and my companions did.
I was a techpriest. One of the members of the machine cult of mars that worships the Omnissiah and communes with the machine spirits within all technology. My companions were a guardsman and a hive ganger, both of which with very particular skills that aided us in fighting our way towards the location. However, I had rolled a rather unique quirk at character creation. Due to the circumstances of my birth, I had access to uncontrolled psychic power. For those of you who don't know the 40k-verse, psykers are typically sanctioned by the Imperium of Mankind to perform their task, and unsanctioned psykers are usually killed on sight, because without the protections of sanctions, they're much more likely to fall prey to the demons in the warp. But when a radical inquisitor picks you up and keeps you from execution, you just have to deal with the possibility that you might one day have to deal with being possessed or worse.
So we land, and we make our way towards the site. Along the way, we run into a few skirmishes with orks, and finally encounter some guardsmen. They are initially wary, despite our attempts to convince them that we are friendly. We eventually end up forcing them to join us by inquisitorial order, but even then many refuse since their primary concern is their own survival and we're heading into a warzone. A few of their number help us kill their comrades for their treason, and we commandeer an APC to head to the location. As a techpriest, I'm interfacing with the vehicle the whole time, because we unfortunately had to kill the driver for treason.
We barrel through enemy lines, gunning down orks as we pass. We finally come to the facility, only to find it currently being attacked by the orks. I crash our APC through the wall, because at this point the facility's automated systems have started sealing the place off. We make it inside, fighting more orks as we go. I'm hacking into doors and terminals to let us pass, and taking a lot of damage in the process even as my allies are holding off the orks.
This continues for a while, but we finally make it to the containment chamber. Right away, we know that something is wrong here. The crystal floats and shimmers with energy, and the ork warboss is trying to get the big shiny thing we were sent here for, so we know that this isn't looking great. We lay into the warboss. Everything we have. Lasweapons, grenades, our guardsman even busts out a big two-handed eviscerator chainsword because we were pretty much out of options since our basic weapons weren't doing the trick. He nearly dies in the scuffle, and lies bleeding on the ground as the ork charges towards the hive ganger, who would probably be utterly destroyed if that fight actually happened. By this point we had hurt the warboss a fair bit, but the fight would have been a foregone conclusion.
So I use my psychic powers. Everyone is more than a little concerned, because up to this point we were all still alive, though things are looking pretty grim. And especially with being an unsanctioned psyker, using my powers would probably just make everything horrifically worse. But I pass the roll to get the effect off. Not without provoking a negative effect, but I the effect works. I blast the ork warboss with a bolt of potent psychic energy for near max damage. Which is enough to kill it outright. Unfortunately, manifesting the power opened up a rift in the warp. We can see a visible tear in reality and demonic hands trying to claw their way through. It was too small for the moment, but it was getting wider and wider by the second. I grab the crystal and our ganger grabs the guardsman, and we book it out of there and back to the APC. As we're driving off, the guardsman is bleeding out profusely, and only manages to survive with some lucky rolls. We proceed towards the rendezvous point where we're supposed to be picked up, but as we do so, the ganger looks back and sees that the entire facility we were at is quickly being consumed by a localized warpstorm. So all hell is quite literally breaking loose.
We make it to the site and get picked up by the inquisitor himself. I hand over the crystal, and beg for him to get medical attention for my friends. He just cackles madly and shoots the ganger in the head with his pistol, killing her instantly. I'm freaking out, the guardsman is dying, and the inquisitor is just trying to dispose of us for some reason. The guardsman crawls out of ship we're being picked up on and throws himself out of on airlock and tries to ride to safety in the APC (which we had been airlifted in) while mortally wounded, so now I'm stuck here with the inquisitor. Having no other options left, I try to manifest my psychic power again. I fail miserably, but don't provoke any ill effects. The inquisitor is absolutely pissed, and kicks me out of the open airlock and I fall to my death.
And that's it. That's how I was introduced to Dark Heresy. We succeeded despite impossible odds, but also only managed to make things worse, and everyone died. Looking back on it, it seems very appropriate to 40k, and I had a blast with it. But it was a pretty punishing experience that really encapsulated the the grim darkness of the far future wherein there is only war.
I hope you enjoyed this and the rest of the content by Digital & Dice. Until next time…Game on Internets!
- Draconick, Digital and Dice Contributor
I, Nick “Draconick” Johnson, am a writer and roleplaying enthusiast with over ten years of experience in various tabletop roleplaying games both as a player and as a GM. I am also somewhat involved in other forms of tabletop gaming such as wargaming, board games, and card games. It is my hope that by creating and maintaining this website that I can share my unique take on all things within our hobby and to foster a community of like-minded individuals.