Nokova wants something very badly. She has spent half a century searching for it and now, finally, it is within her grasp. She has interrogated her agents throughout the Sector, scryed the empyrean and deployed all means at her disposal. But Locke has finally found her and his righteous fury is a terrible thing to behold…
In any narrative game the single most important element is the “why”. Why are the characters here and what is the conflict? What drives each group to their objectives? In Nokova’s case her reasons remain largely secret, to be revealed through the campaign. For Locke it is far simpler. He is driven by a terrible and burning shame. He unleashed Nokova on the galaxy and will go to almost any end to see her works undone.
Here is the first of the scenarios we played.
No.1 The Ship
Inquisitor Nokova has found something. On an outlying system, a desolate space hulk orbits a small star. The hulk was declared free of xenos or heretical taint over 100 years earlier by a First Company strike force of the Dark Angels chapter of Adeptus Astartes and has, for almost a century, sat undisturbed. But Nokova has scryed the warp and all signs point to this system, this star, and the amalgamation of vessels and detritus that make up this warp-spawned leviathan. She and her retinue now make full haste to the vessel. Arriving in system and under the cover of a Rogue Trader vessel, she has commandeered a small lander and set-course for the hulk.
But Inquisitor Locke, has found something too. Nokova’s scrying has not gone unnoticed in the warp and the one thousand psykers that Locke had appointed to hunt for her psychic spoor have finally returned a result. His arrival precedes innumerable scans of the system and, discovering the tiny craft on course for a long abandoned and derelict hulk, Locke knows he has found his prey. He assembles his most trusted servants and risks a treacherous teleport assault directly into the loading bay of Nokova’s craft.
Nokova, sensing her former master’s presence, immediately orders her people to their escape pods located at the rear of the ship. Setting the lander’s machine spirit to crash in the hulk, she heads for her own pod.
Set-up: use the starship side of the board from the Kill Team Rogue Trader set. Deploy Nokova’s team throughout the main 3 rooms at the front of the ship.
Deploy Locke’s team in the main hold as close to the centre as possible and all in base contact. Roll a Combat Die for each model. If a Critical is rolled that model suffers a Wound from the warp translation effects of the teleport.
Deploy a single door dividing the bridge from the loading bay. The door can be opened by any in Nokova’s team. Locke’s team cannot open it but can destroy it. It can take 3 Wounds and rolls no defence dice.
If Locke himself (and only Locke) can move within 1” of the central control panel on the bridge and perform an Interact action he can disable the autopilot.
Game Length: the game lasts for 4 Rounds.
Objectives: If a model from Nokova’s team moves within 1” of the back of the ship and performs an Interact action they leave the board.
Victory points are awarded as follows:
2pts for each of Nokova’s team that leave the board
1pt for each of Locke’s team taken Out of Action;
2pts for each of Nokova’s team taken out of action;
2pts if Locke can disable the autopilot.
If you decide to play through the scenario (or use is to inspire your own games, I would love to know how it went.
What follows is a brief summary of how our game progressed.
There is an actinic flash of warp-light and the formerly dark hold of the void craft is piercingly illuminated. Inquisitor Gideon Locke and his people materialise from the ether. They are in close formation. Brother Artemis is the first to react. His senses are keen and he is unburdened by their recent translocation. A bionic eye, wired into his skull, registers a sealed admamantium door leading to the command dais of the craft. Whilst the others gather their senses, he fires two mass reactive rounds into the door. It buckles on its hinges just as red light washes the deck and a blaring claxon sounds on repeat.
Elsewhere, Inquisitor Nokova, looks up from her studies. She can sense the psychic seed of her former tutor and knows he is aboard her vessel. She knows not how he has found her but it is irrelevant. All that matters is she complete her great work. Calmly, she sets her craft’s machine spirit to self-pilot into the surface of the massive hulk below them, and voxes her people to make all haste to the escape modules.
The door to the command dais bursts from its mounting as a third bolt round explodes into it. One of Locke’s people, a hooded, nameless figure called “Headsmand” by his allies, charges into the room. He is met by massive armoured form of Aurelius, the second generation Astartes that Nokova counts amongst her followers. The psychotic charging warrior, combat drugs lancing through his veins, swings a massive axe into the powered plate of the space marine. The blow would have severed a mortal in two. Arelius just grunts as the axe enters his abdomen. Then the giant Astartes moves. He smashes aside the haft of the axe and buries his short combat blade in his opponent’s neck. The exchange has taken moments.
Nokova voxes to Arelius to hold the breach and then summons two of her companions to accompany her. She makes for the escape modules as the rear of the craft. Trader Janus and Battle Sister Pentia join Nokova as they break for an exit corridor but Locke sees them go. He takes careful aim and fires his ancient plasma weapon, unleashing its full potential. The backwash burns his face and hands but Janus disappears in the blast. When the furious beams clear, the Rogue Trader lies unmoving upon the cold deck.
Pentia and Nokova do not waste Janus’ sacrifice but, as they reach the adjoining corridor, the withered form of Navigator Tarsis limps towards them. Pentia raises her Bolter but, before she can fire, her brain is set aflame with psychic discord. Blood streaming from her eyes, she too collapses to the deck.
Nokova leaves her servants downed and bleeding and continues to make her escape. She goes to open the door that will lead to the modules but stops. She can sense the minds of Locke’s people on the other side. Their pious rage washes over her. She goes no further.
Back in the Command chamber, Arelius has dispatched his foe but is barrel charged by his fellow Astartes. Captain Artemis, enraged with the warrior he sees as having turned traitor to the Imperium, ignites his powered blade and the two titans begin an epic struggle. They are evenly matched and trade blows that dent plate and shatter steel.
Locke witnesses Nokova’s retreat and sorely wishes to pursue her so that he might deliver the Emperor’s justice for all that she has done. For a moment he considers it but then turns instead to the command throne. With moments to spare he deactivates the auto-pilot and pulls the craft up and away from the jagged rocks below.
With Locke distracted, Nokova retreats back the way she had come. The form of the Navigator Tarsis blocks her path and she draws her blade. It’s surface crawls, hideous runes that hurt the eye, swirling and changing. She charges the Navigator before he can react. Her blade connects and the Navigator goes cold, the daemon within the blade drinking from his very essence. The Inquisitor leaves him as she keys the activation runes on her module and is ejected into the void.
Locke watches the winking light of the escape module as it shrinks into the distance. He reaches down to the ship’s controls and redirects the craft back towards the surface of the hulk.