For Profit and Headware
The World Ship
The third Nexus Point is located in the cold depths of interstellar space, its position marked by a lonely Eldar structure floating in the void in orbit around an unnamed gas giant—itself orbiting an unremarkable star. Marking as it does the confluence of mighty channels of celestial power—the strands of fate engraved upon the Eldar star map—other things are drawn to the point as well. While some of this flotsam is merely the ghosts of vessels long lost to the warp, something else has drifted towards the Nexus, something long since lost to the Imperium, but still clinging hard to life. That something is the legendary vessel the Light of Terra, a mighty warship from the time of Saint Drusus himself. Though it disappeared centuries ago, the vessel now returns, and the Explorers are presented with an opportunity for tremendous profit, if they are bold enough to risk the attentions of the savage descendants of the Light’s original crew.
The Light of Terra was old even before the Angevin Crusade—dispatched as part of an armada of Imperial warships to reclaim the vast stretches of space along the western rim and bring the light of the Emperor back to these darkest of places. Some even speculate that it was constructed, its hull at least, during the time of mankind’s first great expansion across the stars. If this is true, of course, the vessel is truly ancient. What is known for sure is that it was as mighty a battleship as the Imperial Navy had ever seen, equal to such vessels as the Grand Redemption, Emperor’s Word, or Divine Right.
Throughout the records of the crusade tales of its exploits can be found, always in the vanguard of the fleet, always raining death down upon the enemies of the Emperor. During these long bloody years countless worlds and enemy vessels fell to the thundering cannons and sky-rending lances as it brought the Emperor’s will to the untamed void. Equally well documented are the tales of its Lord-Captain, Draken Roth, a
pitiless commander and master tactician favoured of Drusus—or so the stories go. Lord Roth was also a permanent fixture of the Light, his body fused with his lord-captain’s throne, his organs and flesh almost completely replaced by ingenious Mechanicus devices. It was whispered among the crew that Roth would only die when the ship itself was destroyed.
It was the cruellest of fates that befell the Light, when it travelled to meet a flotilla of lesser vessels to rendezvous with Drusus and aid him against a new alien threat known as the Yu’vath. While on route through the warp, a terrible storm rose up and consumed the Light, casting it adrift on powerful empyreal tides and doing what alien armies and renegade fleets had failed to do for thousands of years. Cut off from the fleet and lost in the warp, Captain Roth tried to maintain discipline and sustain hope in his crew—but catastrophe after catastrophe befell them. First, they suffered a madness among the ship’s psykers, forcing him to stage mass executions lest they turn on the crew. Then, a rent in the Gellar Field allowed an aberrant spectre to infiltrate the vessel and possess a deck master, leading to months of bloody serial killings. Finally, the ship’s Navigators, unable to find a path out of the storm, died one by one—driven to suicide by the constant crushing weight of the warp.
Trapped in the storm, unable to escape, the Light drifted far from the edges of the Imperium. Months rolled into years and years into decades and finally centuries. The crew turned in upon themselves, and devolved into warring tribes, fighting for the few resources available. Successive generations were born and died in the darkness of the ship’s holds and more and more information was lost, until they did not even realise they were on a ship, just a world of steel caverns and tunnels, divided by ancient tribal boundaries. By the time the ship was finally released back into the void to drift within the Heathen Stars, only Lord-Captain Roth remembered the ship’s true history; an insane oracle fused into the bridge screaming futilely as the primitive descendants of his crew lay offerings at his feet.
The World Ship
Twisted by battle and weathered by centuries adrift, the Light is only barely recognizable as an Imperial battleship. Up close, pitted aquilas and cracked Imperial iconography can be faintly seen amidst warped hull plating and countless scores of impact craters. If the exterior of the Light is a scarred and warped nightmare, then the interior is even worse. The once cluttered and tight confines of an Imperial warship are a twisted and broken maze of tunnels and caves, lit by flickering galley-lamps or human-fat candles. There are six distinct types of areas within the Light that Explorers can investigate.
The Cold Edges: The spaces next to the ship’s broken hull are dangerous indeed, as the vessel’s primitive inhabitants well know. Tunnels and chambers can suddenly lose air or heat, opening an ancient void-seal may well plunge the hapless explorer straight into space, and some areas are bathed in deadly radiation or filled with scoring plasma. To the tribes of the Terra these areas mark the edge of their world and the end of the known universe.
The Steel Caves: This area comprised the bulk of the ship and makes up most of the tribes’ known world. A relatively safe area, the Steel Caves stretch most of the length of the Light and reach up and down for dozens of decks in both directions. Divided by ancient boundaries, the Caves were once staterooms and barracks, ammo stores and supply wells, or deck gantries and processionals—now all merged into an endless series of primitive camps and detritus-littered wastelands.
The Deep Wells: Over the years some parts of the ship have become flooded as ancient cisterns and vast aqueducts have cracked and broken. These are known to the tribes as the Deep Wells. It is well known that some of the best salvage can be found somewhere within the Wells, for those brave or bold enough to plunge into their depths. Elders also speak of the dark and hungry terrors which live within the Well’s black water, all teeth and eyes and bloody murder.
The Shadow Hold: Some sections of the ship remain sealed, either by ancient purity-locks or a simple lack of power that keeps hundred-tonne blast doors firmly closed. Clever and resourceful tribesmen can sometimes find their way into these cold and lightless places to hunt for salvage, bringing back not only wondrous items but also
tales of pale, blind sub-humans, forests of luminous fungi and deadly half-metal warriors with weapons of fire and light.
Seat of the Oracle: The ship’s bridge is a sacred place for the tribes, and considered neutral ground, as it is the home of the Oracle—the twisted being once known as Captain Roth. Elders often make the pilgrimage to this place to listen to the Oracle’s ranting, trying to discern some truth from his words. For the most part, however, his words make no sense to them, especially when he raves about the Void-Beyond.
The Blazing God: Far below the Seat of the Oracle at the very edge of the known world lives the Blazing God, in what was once the Light’s engine room. In a vast chamber filled with heat and light the Blazing God stands higher than a hundred tribesmen and almost as wide as the world itself. All know that it is the Blazing God that heats and lights the world. It is said that those that brave the journey to the Blazing God and
listen to his hums and murmurs are touched by his glorious heat—those especially faithful and blessed lose their hair and return covered in sacred blisters and burns.
The Tribes of Terra
Each region of the Light is home to a different tribe, each with different alliances and histories and their own ways of dealing with outsiders.
Kin of Iron
Tales tell of mysterious metal men that once tended to the workings of the steel caves. They had minds of wire and hearts of iron and knew the world like none that have come after. The Iron Kin try to keep what is left of their memory alive, along with what few teachings they left behind, draping their bodies with scrap metal and painting their faces with iron dust. Many of the other tribes come to them for their wisdom on the workings of the world.
Predominantly the Iron Kin dwell within the steel caves, near the passages to both the Oracle and the Blazing God. Enclaves of Iron Kin are found throughout the territories of the other tribes as most chieftains value their council.
Leader: Unlike the other tribes, the Iron Kin are not led by a single all-powerful chieftain or tribal leader. Instead they are organised into enclaves and cabals led by Iron Speakers as laid down by the ancient writings and symbols of the cave keepers—those that once tended to the workings of the world. Furthermore, when a tribesman joins the Children he forsakes his or her identity to don the guise of the Iron Ones, hiding behind a mask of cloth and steel. For this reason the Iron Speakers have no names but instead are know by the areas they tend, such as the Master of Junction 3B7 or the Keeper of the Interlaced Mid-Deck Conduits.
Tribesmen: Under the guidance of the Iron Speakers, the tribesmen of the Iron Kin spend much of their time wandering the world looking for salvage or tinkering with its workings. Commonly, they help members of the other tribes when problems arise with the wind or water of the steel caves or lead missions to the forgotten regions such as the Deep Wells or the Shadowed Holds in search of ancient artefacts and
Alliances and Enemies: Unlike the other tribes, the Iron Kin are seen as an order apart from the normal struggle between the people of Terra. All the tribes rely on their wisdom to survive and their guidance when making pilgrimages to the Oracle or to the Blazing God. For this reason, the Iron Speakers are considered neutral by most and it is widely believed to be ill luck to kill one. Occasionally, however, an Iron Kin gets caught up in a tribal conflict or displeases a chieftain and disappears.
Motivations: The Iron Kin exist for a single purpose, to understand and maintain the world, mostly around the areas of the steel caves. Though their understanding of the tech they work with is rudimentary at best, they have a love for the machine that comes straight from the teaching of the Adeptus Mechanicus, whose scriptures they are born from. They are also likely to be the most open-minded and inquisitive when meeting those from the void beyond the world or when presented with strange and advanced tech, and could even be convinced to aid those from beyond if it were for the benefit
of the world.
Descended from the ship’s gun crews, the Wargars live mostly in the great ammo stores, making huts from ancient macro cannon shell casings and burning flash-powder to fill their chambers with the smell of war. Aggressive and dangerous, the Wargars live to fight with the other tribes for no other reason than to spill blood and prove their strength.
The Wargars rule the steel caves and control most of its interconnected chambers and passages, including areas nominally inhabited by the other tribes. Beyond the caves, their power wanes; in the Cold Edges and the lower decks they have no direct control, travelling in packs like everyone else.
Leader: The Wargars are led by a bear of a man known as Urgun, who leads because of his strength and love for violence. Urgun is perhaps the most powerful man on the Terra, his tribe’s influence felt by all the other tribes and covering nearly every corner of the steel caves. Unlike many of his predecessors, however, Urgun dreams of controlling all the lands of the world and has in recent times been aggressively expanding his domains. Brutal and bloody-minded, Urgun respects only strength and the willingness to use it.
Tribesmen: The men and women of the Wargars are the largest and most aggressive of the tribes of Terra, either born into the tribe or chosen from the other tribes for their strength and aggression. They typically saunter about the steel caves festooned with weapons: swords fashioned from torn metal or spears of heavy pipe tipped with glass. They consider themselves a warrior class and proudly show off their scarred flesh and often carry trophies from those they have killed. They are no mindless thugs, however, and do posses a kind of honour—generally only attacking those they consider a worthy challenge, or trying to impress their peers with acts of bravery by delving into the lower decks.
Alliances and Enemies: Wargars consider themselves the leaders of all the people of the Light and master of the tribes. Of course, in reality, they are only paid lip service by most and actively opposed by the rest. The Void Runners especially clash constantly with the Wargars, ambushing their hunting parties and raiding their territories. From time to time, the Wargars launch an attack into the Cold Edges to try and finish the Void Runners, though so far, they are unsuccessful.
Motivations: Urgun and his tribe are interested only in being the most powerful. As they consider themselves the leaders and rulers of the Light it stands to reason that the other tribes should obey them, and much of their time is spent trying to enforce this loyalty. The Wargars are also deeply suspicious and superstitious of what they do not know, such as the secrets of the lower decks and what lies beyond the world (one of the reasons they hate the Void Walkers so much). They react badly to anything from beyond the world.
The Void Walkers
Living in the cold and broken chambers along the Lgiht’s hull, the Void Walkers have made an existence living on the razor’s edge between the steel caves of the world and the great nothing beyond. A nomadic tribe, the Walkers travel the Cold Edges constantly seeking air and heat as much as water and food. Scarred by vacuum burns and decompression, the Walkers are as hardy a group as can be found on the Light, with a unique knowledge of the void. Dwelling almost exclusively within the Cold Edges, the Void Walkers survive on their knowledge of this dangerous and unpredictable land.
Leader: Palik the Blind leads the Void Walkers, an ancient sightless man, wizened and twisted. The Walkers look up to Palik for his wisdom and his unequalled knowledge of the Cold Edges. Having lost his sight to a sudden decompression, Palik’s other senses have sharpened. He can detect minute changes in the temperature and the purity of the air, enabling him to lead the Walkers to the best chambers for air, water, and warmth. Palik dreams of his tribe journeying out into the void in search of a new world.
Tribesmen: Void Walkers are typically small and scrawny from years of malnourishment and living in tiny crawl spaces, vents, and ducts. They wrap themselves in the tattered remains of void suits, air-channel insulation, and protective sheeting against the cold and favour weapons that are also tools, such as pry-bars and cog-spinners. The Walkers consider themselves to be the bravest and toughest of the tribes, living on the edge of the world and unafraid to look out at the distant glittering lights.
Alliances and Enemies: Void Walkers have little or no contact with the other tribes beyond their raids. They are bitter enemies with the Wargars and the lesser tribes that belong to them. There is constant raiding and fighting between the two. Occasionally, they deal with the Pale Sons in the Shadow Holds or the lower regions of the steel holds, though such alliances are tenuous at best and often brief. They are also sometimes known to deal with the Iron Kin, who they respect for their knowledge of the world.
Motivations: The Void Walkers are concerned almost entirely with their constant struggle for survival. They do dream, however, of travelling to the lights beyond the world.
Every society has its outcasts and its dregs. On the Light, these are known as the Pale Sons, the forgotten tribe existing in the cracks between the territories of the other tribes or deep in the lower decks and the dreaded Shadow Holds. Many of the Pale Sons are mutants, often the reason they were outcast in the first place, and live close to toxic or radioactive regions of the ship where only their unique physiology allows them to survive.
Though the true number of the Pale Sons is unknown, many of the other tribes fear that there are thousands of them, and they will one day rise up from the dark depths to destroy all those on board the Light. The primary domain of the Pale Sons is
the Shadow Holds, where they can hide from the light and persecution of the other tribes.
Leader: Living in small, isolated groups, the Pale Sons do not have a leader in the strictest sense of the word. What they do have is the Pale Mother. Whispers among the other tribes say the Pale Sons follow a massive mutant who lairs somewhere down deep in the Shadow Hold, grown so large that it cannot move its bulk from the chamber it has become fused with. Known as the Pale Mother, she subtly directs those above to do her twisted bidding. Whether or not the Mother of Mutants actually exists is something the Pale Sons have never explained.
Tribesmen: Pale Sons are as varied as the places they call their home, often adapted over the centuries to live in areas of intense radiation, icy cold, and even in the flooded Deep Wells far from the surface light. Though some can pass for human, most bear the taint of mutation upon their flesh and in their bearing. For this reason, they are cautious about revealing themselves fully.
Alliances and Enemies: No one likes the Pale Sons. Even within their own ranks, mutant often turns on mutant in bloody, pointless struggles. In fact, the only thing that truly unites the Sons is their fear and hatred of the other tribes. When threatened, the mutants band together to hide, flee, or fight to survive. The great irony of their persecution is that the mutants could offer valuable aid to the other tribes if accepted, given their extensive knowledge of the Light of Terra’s countless passages and chambers.
Motivations: Most Pale Sons care only for survival, though many harbour a bitter resentment of the other tribes, especially if cast out for mutation or some imagined taint. If the rumours of the Pale Mother are true, then this status quo could change,
as the Sons become more motivated and more organised.
The Nexus in the Void
The third Nexus Point at which the Explorers’ Navigator must take a celestial reading of the star map is located in the cold depths of space, in orbit around a vast, unnamed gas giant. This Nexus, though similar to its planet-bound cousins, is obviously constructed as an orbital structure.
Upon their arrival at the Nexus Point, the Explorers need to complete a thorough scan of the gas giant’s orbits, a task that requires a Hard (–20) Detection + Scrutiny Test with their ship’s scanners. Should they pass the test by one or more degrees of success, they will detect other augur returns, ghostly echoes of rocks and debris from the gas giant’s rings. One return, however, is something else entirely, though the Explorers have no way of knowing this just yet.
The nexus is a small wraithbone structure that resembles those the Explorers may have already found, although this one seems to have been built as a void-station rather than a ground structure. It is small, perhaps 50 metres across, and is open to the void. Pale wraithbone ribs stretch between the station’s several “floors,” and on the topmost level appears to be a starmap.
Having located the nexus, and established that it is in fact a solid structure drifting in space, the Explorers will need to work out how best to affect the reading. At the very least, the Navigator needs to make a void-walk, donning a void-suit in order to lay hands upon the nexus. Depending on the Navigator’s own skills, this may prove a hazardous task, but it must be completed nonetheless, and it may be prudent for other Explorers to accompany him.
As soon as the Navigator has completed the Nexus reading,
read aloud or paraphrase the following:
For the last hour or so, the only sound you have been able to hear is that of your own breathing, and the constant machine chatter of your vac-suit’s support systems. You are ready to make the return journey to your vessel, when your vox-set bursts into life with angry static. Through the noise, you can barely discern the agitated voice of your vessel’s watch-officer, but his transmission is garbled and unclear. And then, it is as if the stars before you are extinguished, the all-encompassing night of the void swallowing them whole as you are plunged into shadow. From out of the depths looms the cratered flanks of a mighty starship, its portholes dead as the eyes of a corpse, and its vast engines ominously silent.
The vessel is the Light of Terra, its endless passage through the void having brought it past the Nexus, as if drawn there by the inexorable strands of celestial fate. Initially, the ship does not react to the Explorers’ presence in any way, but merely continues in its own orbit around the gas giant. Once the Explorers are all safely back on the bridge of their ship, they are hailed by the Light of Terra’s master. A strange and distorted signal comes in over the vox:
“Strangers, fellow void-farers, heed the Light of Terra! By all the Emperor’s Saints, I command you to attend me… the taint of the abyss has stained so many of my servants. They are lost to me, lost. However, I…I would travel once more… rid myself of darkness and shed light upon the depths of the abyss…attend me, fellow travellers, attend me!”
With that, the transmission ends and the Explorers receive no further communications. However, a faint carrier signal continues to transmit, which will be important later. Whether or not the Explorers enter the ship is entirely up to them, but a Difficult (–10) Scholastic Lore (Legend) Test or a Hard (–20) Common Lore (War) Test reveals the basic details of the Light’s fate, including the legend that its holds were full to brimming with treasures beyond dreaming at the time it was lost. Surely, no Rogue Trader worthy of his Warrant of Trade could resist such an opportunity!
Ark of the Forsaken Adventure
The Explorers have come upon the space hulk of the legendary Light of Terra, a vessel thought lost many centuries ago. If the voidfarers’ tales are even slightly accurate, the vessel should be carrying a staggering fortune in treasure. But to get their hands
on the Light of Terra’s wealth, they must confront its insane master, and survive the savage descendants of the original crew.
This is an adventure, not an Endeavour, and does not have Achievement Points or Profit Factor awards. The immediate rewards are not grand enough to translate into lasting Profit (though the players will find them very useful). However, at the end of the adventure there are guidelines to turning the end result of the adventure into a later Endeavour.
ObJective 1: find the Captain
The Explorers have been invited by the master of the Light of Terra, Lord-Captain Draken Roth, to attend him on his vessel’s bridge. Doing so will not be an easy task, however, because the Light is almost entirely without functional systems beyond those required to provide basic life support. The ship is also very large, almost 10 kilometres long, and there is no indication as to where the message came from or who sent it. Despite his being hard-wired into his vessel’s bridge, the Lord-Captain has no power over the ship’s systems, although he can discern something of what occurs throughout it by semi-dormant sentinel-systems.
The first thing the Explorers need to do is work out how best to get on to the Light of Terra. If their vessel is blessed with a teleportarium, this shouldn’t be a problem, although the GM should be prepared to unleash an encounter with the ship’s
denizens should the Explorers materialise right in their midst. If they must rely on a shuttlecraft to cross the void, they also have trouble, as they must first find a way of raising the blast doors on any one of the Light’s many shuttle bays. A void-walk and some las-cutters could solve this, or the Explorers could even blast a bay door open with weapons on their shuttle or ship. There is a chance that in doing so they may irreparably damage the bay beyond, however, and have to find another bay to try again.
Having boarded the Light, the Explorers need to locate the source of the signal. A Challenging (+0) Tech-Use Test could be used in conjunction with an auspex in order to get a rough fix on the carrier signal still being transmitted. Success reveals the signal is being transmitted from the ship’s bridge. If the test is failed, the Explorers can attempt again after moving from their original spot—effectively triangulating the signal.
A Hard (–20) Logic Test determines a vox transmitter of any power is likely found in or near the ship’s bridge. Getting to the bridge takes a few Difficult (–10) Navigation (Surface) Tests. The interior of the Light is extremely unnerving, with lightless corridors full of damp and mould, pockets of stale air, and a few sections where the grav plates have failed, forcing the Explorers to move through zero gee. The GM may throw in one or two encounters with the descendants of the crew, just to provide an introduction to the types of people that call the vessel home. At this stage, however, keep such encounters small and inconclusive, with the occupants fleeing into dark passageways, lurking in the shadows, or perhaps setting minor booby traps along the way.
The idea is to unnerve the Explorers, and introduce the idea that they are not alone on the ship. Most of the journey passes through the Cold Edges (page 74). In this area, the Explorers have to avoid penetrating the weak outer skin of the Light and depressurising a small section of the hulk. Any weapon with AP 4 or better that misses its target has a 20 percent chance of piercing the hull and depressurising the local area (the corridors 1d10x10 metres in any direction, at which point there is a pressure door that can be sealed). If this happens, see the rules for depressurization on page 223 of Rogue Trader.
The trek to the bridge is an arduous one, but after several hours the Explorers find the Seat of the Oracle (see page 74). What was once the grand bridge of a glorious vessel is now a dusty crypt, strewn with the detritus the elders of the crew have brought before Draken Roth. At the centre of it all, amidst a halo of decaying life-support devices, is the desiccated body of the Lord-Captain.
Roth appears to be dead, his body shrivelled and his once-resplendent Naval uniform reduced to brittle rags. His eyes are dead in their sockets and his skull protrudes through skin as dry and thin as ancient parchment. Only when the Explorers approach his command throne, or otherwise tamper with any of the bridge’s long dead control stations, does he awaken:
Lord-Captain Draken Roth, the legendary master of the Light of Terra, sits before you in his command throne, tethered for all time by arcane life-sustaining devices that have preserved his body, if not his mind, for countless ages. Even as you look upon his shrunken features, his eyes open, and his head lifts towards you. “Ah, fellow travellers in the void,” the Lord-Captain whispers through desiccated lips. “You came…you came to set me free…”
The Lord-Captain goes on to make a request of the Explorers. Roth desperately wants the Explorers to send his vessel on its way once more. It has drifted through the Koronus Expanse, and the warp before that, for so long that the once glorious Light of Terra is reduced to a derelict, occupied by the savage and benighted descendents of the long-dead crew. Roth himself has been kept alive by the systems of the command throne, and although he knows he is quite mad and can never return to his former life, the Lord- Captain desires to take the Light of Terra to the stars once more. He waits to take his vessel far beyond the domains of man, casting the holy light of the Emperor into the depths of the Halo Stars, and find glorious doom amongst them.
Roth makes the Explorers an offer. Restore his control over his vessel, awaken its systems, and send it on its way. In return, the Explorers may claim the contents of the Hidden Holds.
• 50 Achievement Points for locating Lord-Captain Roth and meeting with him.
• 25 Achievement Points for establishing an alliance with any of the tribes aboard the Light.
• –25 Achievement Points for establishing any lasting animosity with any of the tribes aboard the Light
Objective 2: Gain Control of the Light of Terra
Themes: Exploration, Military
The second stage of this Endeavour is to do as the Lord-Captain asks; with the Explorers restoring control to various sections of the vessel. There are three main tasks that they need to complete to bring the ship back under the captains command; restore power to the primary plasma reactor, repair the power relays between the plasma reactor and the bridge section, re-initialise the core cogitator granting principle control of the vessel back to the bridge.
Awaken the Blazing God
Before the Light of Terra goes anywhere, it needs to have its main power restored. The GM should point this out to the Explorers as it is obvious from the feeble amounts of emergency and backup power currently keeping the galley-lamps burning and the void-seals intact. Investigation around the bridge or of any of the power feeds running through the ship reveals only the barest amount of power is coming from the ship’s primary plasma drive.
Either an Routine (+20) Logic or Tech-use Test tells the Explorers that getting the reactor back online is their first course of action. To restore the reactor, they need to make their way to the engine room and gain access. This means getting past the Iron Kin guarding its entrance. If the Explorers try and blast their way in, they earn the violent enmity of all the tribes for killing Iron Kin, and the rest of their task becomes harder.
Talking their way in requires convincing the Iron Kin they respect the Blazing God and have his best interests at heart. This should require either a Hard (–20) Charm Test or Difficult (–10) Tech-use Test to placate them with machine mysteries. Any character with obvious cybernetic limbs and any Explorator character gains a +20 on these tests.
Once inside, the Explorers then need to breach the inner reactor shielding and bypass the hard radiation and vacuum on the far side to see the state of the reactor.* In a void-suit, this means suffering 2d10 points of energy damage not reduced for armour or Toughness and a permanent level of Fatigue (until they can return to their ship to get purged of radiation) for 10 minutes of looking around (any longer results in death). In that time, the Explorer can make a single Challenging (+0) Tech-use Test to work out which parts of the reactor are damaged and what repairs need to be made.* Once this test is successful, they can begin the ritual of restoration (taking several hours) to bring the reactor online.
Clever Explorers or those not wanting to risk the inner reactor could come up with other ways of surveying the interior, such as utilizing servitors. Especially charming Explorers may even be able to get a tribesman or Iron Kin to go in and report what they see, though it certainly means their demise…
The Ribbon of Light
With the reactor now generating full power, the Explorers realize their next obstacle. From the engine room, pulsing amber runes and wailing alarms inform them something is amiss with the ship’s power relays. If there are any Iron Kin about, they immediately begin to wail along with alarms trying to appease the Blazing God and generally annoying the Explorers. From the displays available to them the Explorers can see that the relays connecting the reactor to the bridge systems are broken in a number of places. A Hard (–20) Tech-use Test reveals most of them are in the area the tribesmen call the Steel Caves, though some are close to the hull. These relays need to be found and repaired. If the Explorers make the test with two or more degrees of success, they also realize they need not repair all the relays to get power to the bridge—only some of them.
To find each of the relays, the Explorers need to search the ship, following the glowing conduits along corridors and through tunnels. There are 12 in the Steel Caves, two in the Shadow Hold, one in the Deep Wells, and three in the Cold Edge. The ones in the Shadow Hold and Deep Wells can be ignored (see the above test). To find the relays, they need to make a successful* Challenging (+0) Navigation (Surface) or Tech-Use Test for each one. If they have the help of the Iron Kin, they can add +20 to these rolls.* Once they find one they can repair it using supplies from their own ship and the expertise of their Explorator. If they fail a roll, the GM can have them wander into a dangerous area of the ship or be ambushed by some tribesmen.
To repair the relays in the Cold Edge, they also need the help of the Void Walkers and Palik in particular (see page 76).* This requires some Charm or Fellowship Tests and perhaps promising to take the Void Walkers with them when they leave (taking them along grants a +1d5 bonus to Crew Population*).
Mind and Spirit
With power restored to the bridge section the final task is to awaken the machine spirit of the core cogitator. Any Explorator characters know that this needs to be done to restore control to the captain, or any character can make a* Challenging (+0) Tech-use Test to realize it.* In addition, Roth eventually tells them what they need to do. Doing this entails finding the core cogitator chamber and enacting the ritual of awakening. Two major obstacles stand in the Explorers’ way. The first is reaching this chamber (once they have its location, either from the Iron Kin or making a Hard (–20) Navigation (Surface) Test to work out the chaotic layout of the ship), which lies through the Deep Wells (see page 74)—requiring an underwater swim. The second is to deal with the room’s inhabitant, the Pale Mother (see page 76).
Swimming through the Deep Wells the GM can have the Explorers encounter some Pale Sons, or darker denizens of the deep (use the profiles for Mutant Outcast and Mutant Abomination from page 372 of Rogue TRadeR ). This can be especially frightening if the mutants (who should be able to breath underwater) attempt to tear the Explorer’s void-suits or otherwise damage their breathing apparatus (see page 261 of Rogue Trader for rules on suffocation and drowning). Certain weapons may also not work underwater, while others such as explosives have a much greater radius of effect. The GM should have the Pale Sons stage a number of hit-and-run attacks rather than a stand-up fight—after all, they are interested in driving off the Explorers and keeping them away from the Pale Mother. If they suffer a few causalities, they retreat to the core cogitator room and the Mother to make a stand.
Rising out of the black waters for the Deep Wells, the Explorers discover the core cogitator and the hideous beast coiled around—the Mother of Mutants. There are also at least a dozen Pale Sons here to protect her. The Explorers can bargain with the
Mother (who speaks in guttural Low Gothic), though they need to promise they will not harm her sons or her. This requires at least a Hard (–20) Charm Test by the Explorers. Alternatively, they can attack—use the Mutant Abomination Profile for the Mother of Mutants modified to have 40 Wounds, Unnatural Strength (x3) and Unnatural Toughness (x2). Once they control the chamber, they can have their Explorator enact the ritual of awakening and get the machine spirit back online.
Dealing with the Tribes
All of these tasks bring the Explorers into contact with the various tribes (see pages 74-76). In fact, it is difficult (if not impossible) to complete these tasks without at least some help from the locals. The GM can use the following as a guide for running dealing with each of the tribes:
Wargars: Winning over Urgun and the Wargars requires the Explorers to make a show of strength, either by impressing them with some suitably destructive weaponry or killing a few of them in combat. To form an especially tight bond, one of the Explorers can challenge Urgun and best him in unarmed combat. If the Wargars are on the Explorers’ side, they can move about the Steel Caves freely and have a contingent of tribesmen help them in their efforts.
Iron Kin: To get the Iron Kin to work with the Explorers means respecting their customs and faith in tech. This combined with proof that they are fulfilling the will of the Oracle means the Children helps them in whatever they want to do. Killing any Iron Kin results in cold relations with any tribesmen.
Void Walkers: The Void Walkers are fascinated by the Explorers, as they represent proof that there is life beyond the world and something out in the void. They help the Explorers if dealt with fairly. However if the Explorers also deal with the Wargars, this may cause friction, which could even erupt into violence.
Pale Sons: Dealing with the Sons is difficult, as they are naturally distrustful of outsiders. If they can be won over with charm and gifts, then they are very useful in helping the Explorers get around, adding +20 to any Navigation (Surface) Tests to find their way around the ship and +20 to their Agility Test in Objective 3 (see below). However, if the Explorers approach any Pale Sons in the company of other tribesmen, it is almost certain to end in violence.
• 25 Achievement Points for awakening the reactor.
• 25 Achievement Points for activating the conduits.
• 25 Achievement Points for awakening the core cogitator.
• 25 Achievement Points for convincing any of the tribes aboard the Light to aid them or not interfere with the ship’s refurbishment (this does not stack with any alliances previously established).
• –25 Achievement Points for establishing any lasting animosity with any of the tribes aboard the Light (this does not stack with any animosity previously established).
Objective 3: Loot the Hidden Holds
Having restored control over each of the five sections, the Explorers find themselves before the Lord-Captain once more, no doubt expecting a reward for their hard work. Roth is true to his word, but only up to a point. His voice shrill with anticipation at taking his vessel once more into the void, Roth, through insane rantings, tells the Explorers where the Hidden Holds are located and how to access them. He then initiates an automated countdown, at the conclusion of which the Light of Terra will make an uncontrolled warp jump for the edge of the galaxy. The Explorers have only an hour before the countdown reaches zero, within which they must locate the Hidden Holds, plunder what they can, and escape before they too are trapped on the Light of Terra.
The journey to the Holds takes 30 minutes racing down the decks. However, have each Explorer make a Routine (+20) Agility Test. For each degree of success they achieve, this time is reduced by 5 minutes to a minimum of 10 minutes. Of course, this means that some Explorers may arrive before others. The GM may also allow the PCs to come up with novel ways of getting to the holds faster, such as remote-site teleportation (very, very dangerous), void-walking down the side of the ship (probably not really that much faster) or using their k*nowledge of the ship’s layout or systems to shortcut through vents (requiring an Arduous (–40) Navigation (Surface) Test not to end up in a plasma feed or carbon exhaust).*
The GM may also wish to complicate things by introducing trouble with the tribes—perhaps any uneasy alliances they have made breaks down as Roth’s voice booms over the vox announcing the ship’s departure. However it transpires, the GM should give the Explorers a real sense that time is running out and they very well might not make it. By the time the Explorers reach the Hidden Holds, their watch-officer is pleading through the vox-net for them to return, warning the Light of Terra is powering up for its transition to warp space and its voyage deeper into the Halo Stars. Mighty and ancient blast doors grind open before the Explorers, revealing a shadowed vault so vast its ends are lost in darkness. Within the vault are rows of tethered stasis crates, each with a small blinking telltale light revealing they are still active. The crates range in size from small hand-held boxes to something a Sentinel Power Lifter would be required to shift.
Provided they have at least 5 minutes, each Explorer can take a really good look through the hold making a single Challenging (+0) Search Test to see if they can find something of special value amid all the empty crates and junked goods. If this roll is successful, the Explorer has found a treasure and can make a single roll on Table 2-2: Treasures of the Hidden Hold on page 82. Note that each of the treasure items is unique (and has a rarity of “Unique”) and Explorers should re-roll duplicated items. Explorers should also make their rolls to discover treasures in the order they arrive in the hold (should they arrive at different times), or have them each make an initiative test to create an order. Each Explorer can only gain one trophy item from the Hidden Holds.
The Explorer who makes the last successful Search Test also finds something with a more subtle value: a small crate full of data slates chronicling the Light of Terra’s journeys during the Crusade. This is important later.
Any Explorer may modify their Search Test, hoping to take that little while longer to find something truly valuable. This, however, eats into the time they have to make good their escape. The Explorer may add any figure between 10 and 30 to the above roll (declaring before the roll is made), but lose this many minutes off their remaining time as determined by how fast it was they made it to the hold. Alternatively, the Explorers may spend 10 minutes to re-roll the Search Test (which can also be re-rolled by using Fate Points) as many times as they can afford. The Explorers need to save 5 minutes to make their escape to the nearest void-seal. The Explorers may consider teleporting goods from the holds, however there is simply not enough time to do this with any success.
Whether they witness the event from the bridge of their vessel or the cockpit of their lighter as it clears the shuttle bay, read aloud or paraphrase the following:
_An instant before the Light of Terra activates its ancient warp drive and dives for the warp, it appears as if engulfed by a golden halo. Its mighty, pitted flanks are illuminated, as they must have been in the time of Drusus himself, portholes aglow and running lights burning brightly against the black void. You cannot help but to be overcome with the notion that, if only for a moment, the Light of Terra is restored to the glory she enjoyed so long ago.
And then, she is gone, bound for the cold void and the deep Halo Stars.
The immediate result of the adventure is each Explorer should have an item in their possession that is truly unique (and is only found in this adventure). However, a Rogue Trader, is seldom in a situation he cannot turn to profit. The log- books of the Light of Terra are a unique and valuable find in themselves. If they are brought to the officials of Battlefleet Calixis (or the Imperial Navy in general), the Navy will pay dearly to have it returned and be in the Explorer’s debt. In addition, the Explorers’ reputations will be vastly increased throughout the Sector and the Expanse. All this will translate to +2 Profit Factor, and the Imperial Navy’s willing assistance in a future venture of the Explorers. However, this is beyond the scope of this adventure.
• 50 Achievement Points if at least one Explorer gains a
trophy from the Light’s hidden holds, proving one’s worth
to his fellows and crew.