Hives and Hereteks
Black Crusade game.
- Tone is Serious but not Grimdark.
- Antiheroism and antivillainy is expected; on the Rogue end of the Rogue-Despoiler of Worlds spectrum.
- There is no contractual obligation to fall to the ruinous powers, but that doesn't mean it won't happen.
Chaos Astartes characters are acceptable, though conceptually a (former) member of the Storm Wardens chapter who has recently gone rogue may be equally or even more appropriate. For balance purposes, any Astartes is either a relative novice or suffering some sort of amnesia - specifics TBD for any Astartes.
+ + +Thought of the Day: Put not your trust in words, but in the Emperor+ + +
For more than ten millennia the Imperium of Man has ruled the galaxy by the grace of the God-Emperor. It is 995.M41, and in six years the Imperium will enter its twelfth millennium - so it has been ordained by the High Lords of Terra. The Imperium is beset on all sides but there is a sense of impossible hope among the uncountable subjects of the Emperor of Man; Ork hordes broken, Tyrannic hive-fleets burned and traitorous Black Crusades stymied. The twelfth millennium, it is said, will be a renaissance for the Imperium when Mankind can rebuild so much that has been lost and the dawning of an Age of Resurgence, albeit one that will be hard-earned with blood and strength.
For more than ten millennia the Imperium of Man has laboured under the yoke of the Corpse-Emperor, entombed on the Golden Throne and worshipped as an icon of spiteful unity. It is 995.M41, and in six years the Imperium will enter its twelfth millennium - so it has been ordained by the High Lords of Terra. Eleven millennia since the Republic of Man was cast away, replaced by the harsh and repressive Imperium. With hatred and spite, the Imperium fights with berserker strength and as its millennial anniversary approaches while the Imperium collapses into the Age of Endings, many fear that the purges and atrocities to come will make all that came before just a pale prologue.
995.M41 or even 000.M42 are arbitrary labels, probably not even accurate to the millennial anniversary of the Imperium of Man and instead decreed as such by rulers seeking pleasing round numbers. For others, they are even less meaningful than that; intellects cool and Xenos care not about how Mankind counts time, nor when they hold an anniversary save when its effect impinges on them. Of course, there are yet others who see such an anniversary as a time to attack the Imperium, seeing a dark and distorted mirror in such a time.
In my youth and arrogance I once believed in the first with all my heart. Then, in the pits of despair I gazed upon the second and was terrified when it gazed back upon me. Seeking solace, I pondered the third and finally, groping my way towards wisdom I realized that all of these are correct. We have our own narratives and rarely do they correspond to those of others.
- --Inquisitor Hargreave (Hereticus), location unknown
+ + + Thought of the day: All the stars in the sky are enemies+ + +
In the middle of the 10th century M41, Inquisitor-Lord Mauritan Yawe alongside the Adeptus Mechanicus tech-priest Magos Autovmaq began to construct a machine based on Xenos technology, a machine - a weapon - intended to collapse warp storms and reinstate the boundary between Reality and the Immaterium. Such a device was based on theories and technologies far beyond the ken of Mankind and even considering such an object was seen as a worrying sign of radicalism and a reminder of the nigh-mythological Contagion of Ganymede. Receiving censure, the duo nonetheless carried on in secret and eventually completed the device and moved it to the Calixis Sector to test it on the Screaming Vortex.
The Vortex was well-known among those educated in warp matters, one of the standing and stable warp storms sprinkled across the galaxy. More importantly, it was far smaller and less unpredictable than the Maelstrom and the Eye of Terror itself and, despite (or perhaps due to) its isolation, much more accessible. In other words, the perfect target for a pair of visionary-madmen determined to change the course of history.
Dubbed the Hand of the Empire, the battleship-sized device proved to only function once. Initiated in 985.M41 by a cyclotronic warhead - itself a rare treasure - the device activated and in a self-destructive flash, overloaded. In doing so however it blasted a tunnel a parsec wide and a century long into the Vortex, reimposing the harsh laws of physics on the seemingly perpetual warp storm. Despite the loss of the xenos artifact core, Yawe and Autovmaq were ecstatic. They had shown the warp could be tamed by humanity.
Vindication was to elude both Yawe and Autovmaq though; remonstrance for their wanton acts came hand-in-hand with cautious recognition of their success. The launching of a crusade into the now-exposed Vortex began to silence the former but with terrible inertia the warp storms began to swiftly build once again. Unlike the stunning successes of the Imperial actions against the supine, stunned Gloaming Worlds, multiple proud capital ships were lost in the Warp as the Vortex closed again. The blame was swift, immediately branding both Yawe and Autovmaq as dangerous rogues who cost the Imperium dearly out of a desire to put their glory first. Appeals from both that they had in fact argued against such a precipitous deployment fell on deaf ears or were treated as self-serving excuses. Ultimately, both vanished mere steps ahead of the headsmen.
The purges and blame did not stop there. The Imperial Navy had lost several cruisers and the battleship Optimus Dei required a lengthy and complicated warp-drive overhaul after being marooned a mere four lights from the nominal boundary of the Vortex. The Inquisition was embarrassed - always when the organization was most dangerous to its allies - and sought out scapegoats. Some, like the 4th chapter of the Storm Wardens, were ultimately found innocent of any taint, albeit with the 'suggestion' that they prove their loyalty on some nearby Xenos. Others, like Inquisitor Hargreave, were tried in absentia of conspiring in the so-called 'Gang of Koronus' and judged as heretics. The Rogue Trader Demeterius Marks was questioned, questioned again and eventually broken at the wheel - undoubtedly a travesty of justice for someone who was nothing more than a middleman and transport agent, if one who likely still richly deserved his eventual fate. Similar befell other lower-profile individuals and many of those with the ability departed the Calixis Sector as expeditiously as possible did so. Ironically, many fled to the Gloaming Worlds of the Vortex, for as the tides come in, so do they go out and what became known as Yawe's Scar was once again traversable. To the surprise of many, the cruisers Beatification of Regulus and Ignis Aurum Probat steamed out of the Scar under their own power, having been caught in the warp like flies in amber and released from their time and space stasis as the Warp receded.
A decade later, Yawe's Scar remains passable, though warp bores regularly travel down its lengths and navigation is a matter of luck or extensive skill and familiarity. The Navy has erected a number of watchstations at the terminus of the Scar and enforces - if imperfectly - a travel ban into the Scar proper. This also serves to defend against any incursion from inside the Vortex itself, though this may be as much paranoia as anything else; the abortive Imperial crusade and the two reprisal raids conducted since (both by the Ignis Aurum Probat, grudging having acquired a reputation as a lucky ship) have only heated up the usual intercine warfare in the hundred-odd worlds. Many refugees, wanderers and rogues - not to mention more than one Imperial agent - have managed to travel via the Scar into the Gloaming Worlds and it remains to be seen what this pseudo-accessibility will do over the long term.
+ + + Thought of the day: Your character measures your worth to the Emperor+ + +
The Ruinous Powers have lost of some their sway over the Vortex; for all that the Warp can and regularly does wash over the Scar, it is in the words of one wylding, "sterile". What exactly this means is unknown and for the time being the Inquisition has declared any investigation to be verging on heresy.
More importantly, travel to and from the Gloaming Worlds has become rather more reliable, particularly since some pilots have become adept at surfing the Warp Bores that travel through the Scar and can traverse its length in a ship small enough to be carried inside another, more conventional warp-capable voidcraft. The technology to do this is highly illegal in the Calixis sector and possession of such is grounds for severe punishment, but for a heretek or even a particularly well-read Rogue Trader it is a matter of days to assemble out of relatively commonly available warp drive and Gellar field components. Even an entire fleet of 'Warpriders' could not match the tonnage of a single Sword-class escort, but the smugglers and rogues who travel the Scar seek profit, not battle.
Mahzun Pelle (NPC() - Slightly nerdy former ganger, now follows Hersilia so as to not get lit on fire.