What: Blades of the Inquisition Tigranya Heresy, Episode 3-5 – Mission for Missionaries
When: 3, 16 and 23 August 2017
Where: Dragon GameZ
Each year, Imperial subjects across Tigranya celebrate the Festival of the Beacon. Great fires are set atop high towers to commemorate the lighting of the Astronomican. Passion plays are performed, depicting the Angels of the Emperor as they take part in the Great Crusade and witness the Emperor’s great feats. The Damera Festival is particularly holy for the Rashamut saint cult, which connects the sacred torch of Rashamut with the light of the Emperor’s Beacon.
Damera culminates in a series of massive processions up hills and mountains all aross the planet. Millions participate in these processions outside of each major city and settlement, some clad only in cheap one-use pressure suits to withstand the howling winds, freezing cold and crushing pressure of the surface. Thousands of supplicants die during these processions each year, many of whom are killed by standing too close to the celebratory detonations of pyrotechnics (often just surplus mining charges) at the hilltops, which represent the shining of the Astronomican upon the people of Rasalula and Tigranya.
Episodes 3-5 – Mission for Missionaries
Our Blades of the Inquisition sessions in August 2017 were all about alliance-building. These missions were typical of what you find in a Blades in the Dark game, except minus the parts about stealing turf from rival groups.
Following the events of the previous missions, the players decided to establish a friendly relationship with Sister Semira. Being a missionary running a shelter for the less fortunate inhabitants of the Deep Tunnels, she would be a useful contact for the Inquisition acolytes as they carried out missions in this area. The acolytes reached out to other local factions, trading for favours and trying to initiate mutually beneficial relationships.
By the end of this series of operations, the Church of the True Emperor (Helius’ front for the acolytes) had become better established amongst Aduwa’s factions, and had begun to uncover the religious strife and deviant conspiracies that lay within Aduwa’s undercity caverns.
- Ruben as Sister Helius Creed, also known as The Stick. An argumentative Cleric and secret dissenter, who believed that the Imperium has failed the dream of the Emperor.
- Ian as Jean, Scum formerly of a Noble House called Ravenmore. An information broker and seeker of forbidden lore.
Episode 3: Damera Festival (free play)
In this session, Helius and Jean joined the massive throngs of pilgrims on a snowy hilltop on the inhospitable surface of Tigranya, where they witnessed the spectacle of Damera Festival. This provided cover for a rendezvous with their supervisor, the masked interrogator known as Brother Silent. Helius got permission from Silent to cultivate Semira as a contact by providing supplies to her shelter.
The festival was suddenly interrupted by a raving fanatic emerging from the crowd. The armed madman attempted to rush a group of House Hali nobles, babbling about conspiracies and threats to the Imperium, and a firefight soon broke out between the Hali guards, the man and our acolytes. The encounter ended abruptly when the madman’s weaponry (which included rockets) set off the main pyrotechnic display on the peak behind him. The ensuing detonation, landslides and screaming stampeding crowd left the festival in chaos. Fortunately, Helius and Jean were able to slip away and re-enter the Aduwa underground. But the death of the fanatic meant that the acolytes missed a chance to find out what his words meant.
Later, Helius and Jean paid a visit to the Aduwa Annex to see their contacts in House Kanaan. They had a surprise audience with the head of the house, Rabin Kanaan, who greeted them kindly. They also met with the Master of Kitchen, Esther, to arrange for supplies of food and medicine.
Next, the Inquisition agents paid a long overdue visit to the public face of the Cult of Ras Mekonnen, the Charitable Templar Order of Aduwa. Under her cover as a missionary of the “Church of the True Emperor,” Helius met a high-ranking administrator named Sister Girda and leveraged on the name of House Ravenmore to borrow a Goliath truck from the Charitable Templars. “Sure, we can get you a meeting with the leaders of House Ravenmore,” said Helius with a straight face while Jean inwardly groaned.
Session 4: A Bloody Toll (Transport operation)
Helius, Jean and their colleague the adept Julius met with the young driver Ziggy the next morning. Ziggy, an easygoing weed-smoker, was eager to serve in the name of “Jah Emprah.” After making their way along the March of the Saints, one of Aduwa’s main underground highways, the acolytes’ truck was stopped at a roadblock in lower Sobat Deeps. Ahead were even more stopped vehicles, and even the idling bikes of an Arbites patrol. The roadblock was operated by an armed party of Reclaimers of Ras Mekonnen, who were collecting an unofficial toll to raise funds.
Ambush in Sobat Deeps
Just as Helius was about to pull out the “we work with the Cult of Ras Mekonnen” card, the quiet street was invaded by a cacophony of gunfire. A military stubber fired from a nearby balcony. A wave of wild cultists – Predeemers of Ras Mekonnen – swarmed the roadblock, attacking the Reclaimers but not caring who else got in the way. Shotguns and autopistols and lasguns blazed away. Ziggy hid and got high. Jean and Julius fought from the bed of their Goliath, as stubber fire ripped apart relief supplies. Jean took a glancing hit but Julius was able to tackle off the top of the truck ahead of a grenade and more incoming fire. A chainsword-wielding Helius rescued the pinned-down Arbitrators and rallied them to her side; Helius’ little group then managed to storm the building with the stubber, capturing it and turning the weapon against the remaining Predeemers, who fled.
In the aftermath of the ambush, the acolytes were thanked by Captain Cornelius of the local Arbites. What’s more, they had left a good impression on the Reclaimers. Eventually they were able to get their bullet-riddled Goliath to Semira’s shelter and deliver (most of) the relief supplies, completing another mission!
Aside from recovering from some of the injuries and stress of the mission, the acolytes also acquired a permanent staff asset in the form of Abed, a local surgeon.
Session 5: Mind-Worms (Infiltration operation)
A delegation of Reclaimer cultists, led by a cleric named Mother Teru, came to Semira’s Shelter to meet with our acolytes of the Church of the True Emperor. The Inquisition operatives were made aware of an ongoing archaeological expedition into the Silica Vaults, some of the oldest tunnels under the city. The expedition, led by a researcher named Kamen, had been attacked by local gang members and had not been heard from since.
Upon infiltrating the Vaults, Helius and Jean came across a group of primitive tunnel dwellers, who appeared to be following the directions of a well-dressed outsider. It was none other than the foppish noble Laertes of House Adamis, whom they had met before in the company of the Deep Knives. Seeing that other Deep Knives have been sent to join Laertes’ party as backup, Helius and Jean were able to bluff their way into this group, pretending to be mercenaries also sent by Samael of the Deep Knives.
The Lair of the Mind-Worms
The ancient tomb entrance was made of alien silicates, encrusted with ice. The tunnel dwellers were reluctant to enter this place, which had been forbidden ground since the early days of colonization. But Laertes spoke with a peculiar tone, exerting his will over dissents. The entire party, with the exception of the nobleman, entered the chilly vault. There they found dead bodies, scattered equipment. Helius soon found a weak and confused Kamen, the last survivor of the Reclaimer mission. Meanwhile, Jean explored the catacombs with some Deep Knives only to fall into a bone pit – and be psychically assaulted by the wriggling xenos worms within!
At the same time, Helius also came under mental assault by Kamen. Laertes, worms, Kamen – was everyone a psyker today? Apparently so. Helius was battered and traumatized by this experience but was able to rally with flamer in hand, blazing through the gangers and into the pit to rescue Jean. As the psychic attacks turned the gang members and tunnel dwellers against each other, Jean and Helius beat a hasty retreat. The worms had been destroyed by fire and the tomb was filled with screaming, shooting gang members. There was no sign of Laertes, who had fled in the confusion as well.
Jean and Helius barely made it out, collapsing from exhaustion (both took a level of Trauma). But the mission was over – for now.
Only in Death does Duty end
Things would change dramatically for our game in the following sessions, with Jean being relegated to NPC and Helius focusing the investigation back onto the Deep Knives. But soon after that, a new team of acolytes would arrive in Aduwa…