Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Saturday Morning Warfare (On Wednesdays!): Week Two, "Arm Choppin'!"

In 2012, I took my first steps into the world of pen and paper role-playing-games. Which wasn't really pen and paper, but rather, Skype and a PDF. But whatever. This is the story of those games. Some of the character names have been lost to time and Skype kerfuffle, so I've done my best to replace them. I've also tried to make the Skype format into a more readable experience.  As with last week, I removed some extraneous ("Is it my turn?" kind of chatter, while trying to leave the more "unique" and/or in-character remarks.)

This is the session where the slow slide into insanity really began. None of our characters were exactly stable to begin with (such is life in the 41st Millennium), but by the end of this session we'd hit a tipping point.
Cast of Characters:
Nick: The GM, and the one of us with the most experience playing RPGs. 
Greg: Me, as Commissar Gaius Galt, a political officer in charge of keeping troops from running away.
Jackson: A friend of mine, as Horton the machine-gunner.
JJ: Another friend of mine, as Sergeant Powell.
Zach: Yet another friend of mine as Dunner the Vehicle Operator.

The Group: Curses being awake early in the morning. On a Saturday. But this IS Saturday Morning Warfare! …Aaaaaand then we ended up postponing until evening anyway.  There was some talk about Rule 34 of Death from Darksiders, I made a "Le Petit Mort" joke, then we discussed who wasn't able to be there. Anthony (our medic) was absent from this session onwards, so we took turns proxying him. Zach was late, which was pretty normal. Jackson was a possible no-show.

Greg (Gaius): Jackson may or may not make it. I think he's writing a paper. (I offered to write it for him, but he refused for some reason. It's like he doesn't trust me..)


Greg (Gaius): HERESY? WHERE? *draws boltpistol*

Nick (GM): Alright, just a heads up, trying to make this session be more roleplay focused. Combat's going to get a lot harder. I'm not cutting you guys a single smudged dice roll. Enemies are using the "Hard" templates. Buuutttt you're gonna have backup, in the form of Zach's tank and a few squads of Catachan.

The Group: Variations on "Zach will kill us all."

The Group: More chatter, everyone's getting ready to roll. I volunteer to proxy Jackson's character so we have a heavy gunner. 

Zach: SORRY! I got into a serious talk with my parents...

JJ (Powell): (y)

JJ (Powell): "There are the birds and the bees-"

Greg (Gaius): (*)(*)

Greg (Gaius): That's what we're doing, right? ASCII genitals?

Nick (GM): Anyway, you've been asked to advance through the Hive (a city the size of Manhattan) and establish contact with a unit who's already set up shop at the local Administratum. The air is filled with mist as rain comes pouring down. Your Chimera tank has been advancing through muck for about an hour now. You've spotted no enemies.

Greg (Gaius): I warn the troops to keep a close watch for ambushes. "These Tzeentch fethers are tricky. You never know what might be part of their plans."

Greg (Gaius): Is there anything suspicious around? 

Nick (GM): Gaius, you see Chaos symbols lining the walls of some buildings, and you hear gunfire in the distance. However, you can detect no movement.

The Group: Variations on "It's quiet. Too quiet."

Greg (Gaius): "Chaos scum. Befouling everything they touch. Let that remind you what we fight for."

JJ (Powell): "You sure it wasn't like that before?"

Zach (Dunner): "I don't think that the God Emperor would ever let a city run to ruin... Would he?"

Greg (Gaius): "That is correct, trooper. The glorious Imperium would never allow such wanton desecration of the Emperor's work! This is the work of Chaos. May we defeat it always..."

Nick (GM): You hear screaming to your right for a second, before everything goes quiet, save the monotonous song of gunfire in the background.

Greg (Gaius): "Keep driving. We have our orders, and we shall follow them. The Emperor protects his own."

Zach (Dunner): "Right side guns, keep a look out."

Nick (GM): You hear the boom of a Heavy Stub Rifle to your right, and the gunfire starts up again, more furious than ever. You can hear shouts of "BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD GOD!" mixed in with pained grunts and lasgun discharge.

Greg (Gaius): "Perhaps we should make a detour. Driver? Get me closer." I draw my chainsword and pop up out of the hatch.

Zach (Dunner): I turn the Chimera to the right. "Ready boys? Bring the guns around!"

JJ (Powell): "Alright men, get ready for some action!"

Greg (Gaius): I duck back inside. "Combat ahead. Prepare to disembark. Remember men: The Emperor protects his own."

Zach (Dunner): I drive toward the frenzy as my hands sweat on the controls. "R-ready!"

JJ (Powell): I switch to 3 burst rounds and ready to charge out when the doors finally open.

Greg (Gaius): I lead the men in a litany of True Firing, hands upon my lasgun. "Let my aim be true, for the God-Emperor; Let my shots not falter, by the Saints."

Nick (GM): The tank lumbers out into a square. A large building, covered in Imperial Aquilas and military insignia stands on one side, Heavy Stubbers and Missile Launchers in nearly every window. Chaos militiamen run towards the building, a few taking cover behind a statue in the center of the square—one of an armored Space Marine.

JJ (Powell): I charge towards the nearest cover and begin providing covering fire for the rest of the exiting squad.

Nick (GM): Powell, the lasgun flashes, the three bolts striking the ground near the feet of the Chaos soldiers. They turn towards you, and begin to grin. "BLOOOOD!" one of them scream, running towards you.

Greg (Gaius): "For the God-Emperor!" I open fire from the cover of the Chimera.

Nick (GM): Gaius, your lasgun fires, striking a cultist in the arm. It jitters around, the nervous system of its owner on fire from the electrical discharge.

Nick (GM): The cultists open fire, lasgun bolts streaking towards you. They bounce off the side armor of the Chimera. A single bolt hits the Sergeant in the arm, however, his flak armor seems to absorb it.

Greg-As-Jackson (Horton): I (Horton) sprint to the nearest cover and set up my Heavy Stubber.

Nick (GM): Horton, you successfully do so, sliding behind a set of sandbags nearby. Your loader slams the ammunition into the gun, grumbling. "Bloody 'ell, bloody cultists..."

Greg (Gaius): "Death to the heretics! In the Emperor's holy name!"

JJ (Powell): "Ha, ya just nicked' me ya' cross-eyed deamon lovers!"

Nick (GM): The cultists fire upon you, all of the shots missing or absorbed by cover. However, some begin to run at you with wicked looking weapons, covered in teeth and mouths. "BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD GOD! SKULLS FOR THE SKULL THRONE! SSSIIIIIIIIIIIIINNNNNNNNNNNNDDDDDDDDDDDRRRRRRRRRIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII"

Zach (Dunner): I get the guns ready. "EAT SOME OF THIS, YOU CHAOS SCUM!"

Zach (Dunner): FIRE!!!!!!

The Group: Mass panic, thinking Zach wants to fire the tank's main gun at a target so close to us. He clarifies, and only fires his machine-gun.

Nick (GM): The guns of the tank roar, firing off into the crowd of cultists. The heavy bolter bursts, .75 caliber rockets cleaving apart five of the cultists, reducing them to bloody chunks. The cultists with the strange weapons give pause for a millisecond, then resume their charge.

JJ (Powell): "HAHA, eat some of that cultist scum!"

Zach (Dunner): "Keep it at 'em boys, for the God Emprah!"

Jackson: I escaped. Goodie. 

Nick (GM): The rest of the squad piles out of the Chimera, taking up positions behind the vehicle and inside sandbags. The mounted weapons in the building fire at the advancing hoard, taking many of them. Several of the cultists shift their fire back upon their original targets.

Greg (Gaius): (Sweet! So, Jackson, you're in cover, heavy stubber at the ready. You can fire next round. We're attacking cultists in a square, with Zach and a tank as backup)

JJ (Powell): I switch to sword and charge head first into the nearest cultists.

Nick (GM): You run into the cultists, swinging at the first one you see. Your chainsword rips through his flesh, bloody chunks flying at you with the sword's chain moving through him. His weapons falls to the ground, evaporating before your eyes.

Greg (Gaius): Slinging my lasgun, I draw my chainsword and boltpistol and charge as well. "Ave Imperator!" 

Nick (GM): Your bolt pistol burps out a round, cutting straight through one of the foes advancing. He falls down, but the others begin to take his place. The cultists run at your men, swinging their swords. One impacts the Sergeant's chainsword, the chain squealing against the Daemonically-reinforced warpmetal. It's barely deflected.

Jackson (Horton): I fire the stubber into the cultists, protecting my allies.

Nick (GM): The stubber fires, eight rounds streaming out of the barrel. Shots impact the cultists. Three of them fall, their weapon disintegrating. Four are left, running towards the Chimera.

The Group: Some discussion over whether or not it's possible to run over the enemy cultists. Nick (in his role as GM) warns us that would be a bad idea. General disappointment. 

Zach (Dunner): I open fire with the autocannon at the Chaos soldiers firing at the Admistratum. "Ha, take that, YOU SHITLESS CHAOS FILTH!"

Nick (GM): The shot lands in the middle of the Chaos troops. Most are taken out, with the rest fleeing into the surrounding buildings.


Nick (GM): The squad opens fire on the troops running into close combat, killing them with the sheer volume of lasgun rounds.

Greg (Gaius): "See the righteous fury of the Emperor!"

Nick (GM): However, just as you begin to celebrate your victory, an explosion knocks down the statue in the middle of the square. Another lands nearby, deflected off the top of one of the ruined buildings. You hear a shout. "MORTARS!"

Greg (Gaius): "Find cover! Lives are the currency of the Emperor: Do not waste yours!"


JJ (Powell): I move to the nearest cover while screaming "SPREAD OUT AND GET TO COVER!"

Nick (GM): Another mortar goes off, this one killing two guardsmen with shrapnel. you're running out of time.

Nick (GM): Powell and Gaius run into a set of ruins with a few other men. The rain begins again, stronger than ever.

Greg (Gaius): All right. I examine the ruins, chainsword in one hand, lamp pack in the other.

JJ (Powell): I survey the distance and say "We need to take that mortar out men, or it will turn us into chunks of meat!"

Nick (GM): Gaius, you see the walls are dotted with Aquila and Chaos symbol alike. However, you notice something- or someone in the shadows.

Greg (Gaius): Calling to the troops, I move cautiously towards the figure.

JJ (Powell): "What is it Commissar?" I say as I move towards Gaius.

Nick (GM): The figure steps into the light. A Catachan. He puts a finger on his lips, and motions to an open archway. He seems to want you to follow...

Greg (Gaius): "Catachans, eh? Come on, then. Whatever they're doing here, they're worth sticking with."

Greg (Gaius): I follow the Catachan.

JJ (Powell): "A Catachan? My my, we are in luck after all."

Nick (GM): The Catachan leads you through the doorway, putting his finger over his lips again, motioning for silence. He steps through, pointing out what seems to be a normal patch of air...a distorted patch of air...

Greg (Gaius): I try to figure out what the patch is.

Nick (GM): You see the air move like water. For the untrained eye, it would be extremely hard to see. Even for the trained eye, it'd be impossible to see at a distance. The air forms the shape of a humanoid. It seems to be looking the opposite way, since it has not noticed you. It seems to be impossibly lithe, as well...

The Group: Prepares to beat a hasty escape. Xenos are bad. 

Greg (Gaius): Drawing my boltpistol, I move toward the humanoid... "Be you xenos?"

Nick (GM): The figure turns, its shimmering shape revealing two bright yellow eyes. It looks you up and then down. It fully turns its body around, and you see the flash of a blade. "Pitiful Mon'Keigh" It says, charging at you with the sword drawn.

The Group: PANIC! 

JJ (Powell): I begin firing at it.

Greg (Gaius): I fire desperately, scrambling backwards as I do. "Fear the alien! Cleanse the xenos!"

Nick (GM): The squad fires desperately, but the thing moves with an inhuman grace. It flings itself forward, its blade coming down on the Commissar's arm. The arm falls to the ground, bolt pistol landing with it. The Catachan's shotgun roars, and the alien stumbles backwards, its cloak failing. It slices the blade into the air, the Catachan managing to dodge. A lasgun round hits the xenos. Then another. The xenos flees out the window, leaving a yellow trail behind it.

Greg (Gaius): (Now I can get a robo arm!)

JJ (Powell): "SHIT, MEDIC!"

Nick (GM): The squad's medic runs up to the Commissar, grabbing pain medication. The building's guns open fire on the Xenos as it runs past, shots impacting the rockcrete.

Greg (GM): "...just my luck. I should have known my life would be like this after the servitor incident. As the Emperor wills, I suppose."

Nick (GM): The Catachan stands, smearing the yellow blood on his flak vest. "If it bleeds, we can kill it"

Greg (Gaius): "Hurry and patch me up, medic! We've got a xenos to kill!"

JJ (Powell): "What ever that was... It's going to report to whoever is higher up in it's chain of command. Who wants to get a little pay back for the commissar's arm there?!"

Greg (Gaius): "Well, I do, for one. That was my... shooting arm!"

Nick (GM): The medic injects Gaius with a needle, saying "You're gonna be fine sir, you're gonna be fething fine! Emperor help me, give me some space here!"

Greg (Gaius): (You just injected me with poison, didn't you?)

Nick (GM): (No, anesthetic. I'm not That Guy!)

JJ (Powell): "Aye, and a fine...shooting... arm it was, but at least you'll come back with a souvenir to talk about over drinks!"

Greg (Gaius): "Someone get on the vox to HQ! Command needs to know there's fething xenos mucking about here."

Nick (GM): The Catachan walks out of the shadows, grinning. "Let me take ya' back'ta HQ, wee Commiser. Mah Commander will explain 'verythin'..."

The Group: General confusion over what kind of accent that is, followed by the conclusion that it's Cajun. 

Greg (Gaius): "Well, other than getting MY FETHING ARM CUT OFF, you haven't led us wrong. Let's go, trooper." I clamber to my feet, retrieving my boltpistol. "Now how am I supposed to shoot deserters...?"

Zach (Dunner): "D-deserters?"

Greg (Gaius): "That's right, trooper! Heretics, scum, and deserters will be executed in the Emperor's holy name!"

JJ (Powell): "That's the beauty of having two hands, Commissar. You always have another to use if the other is no longer there"

Nick (GM): The medic protests. "Sir, your anesthetic will wear off of you do anything other than lie down right now! You're going to pass out from pain soon!"

Greg (Gaius): "This is nothing! Why, after that servitor incident..."

Nick (GM): "Well, well, well..." says a Catachan, walking out of the building. "Youh have coghme at laast" (Read that in Arnie's voice)

JJ (Powell): "We decided to have a chat with the commissar's old xeno friend back there and he just had to shake hands. So what's the situation?"

Nick (GM): "Xeno forces have been preforming hit and rahn strikes on us for the past few days, along with constant cultist shelling. Xenos might be Daemons though, they seem invincible."

Zach (Dunner): "Fething Chaos scum..."

Greg (Gaius): "Why doesn't that surprise me? It'd be just like Tzeentch cultists to attack a planet with xenos."

JJ (Powell): "Didn't look like any daemons I've heard about before, but then again I couldn't get a good look at 'em... Too busy shooting and all"

Greg (Gaius): "I agree. While I'm no daemonologist, what little I learned in Commissar Schola didn't mention calling us 'Monkeys'."

Nick (GM): "Alright, let's get inside, shelling's gonna start up soon. The tank can go in our garage.

Greg (Gaius): "Gunner! Did you catch a glimpse of the xenos that got my arm? You were outside."

Zach (Dunner): "S-sir? Umm... I-i wasn't exactly coherent with the situation... I don't know if I did."

Greg (Gaius): "Not you, tank-boy. The gunner!"

Jackson (Horton): "Yes sir. It was huge. And very vicious looking"

Greg (Gaius): "Huge, you say? And vicious? Were we looking at the same xenos? I saw a tall, slender, prissy-looking xenos scum."

JJ (Powell): "You just described 70% of xenos, kid... and several Commissars as well"

Jackson (Horton): "Well pardon me sir, but I know large and vicious when I see it. I'm married."

Greg (Gaius): "Poor man. I'm thankful that the servitor incident made me unmarriageable."

Greg (Gaius): "All right, Catachan. What's the situation? You obviously have a xenos problem, but how have things been on the cultist front?"

Nick (GM): "They've got mortars trained on us. They've been launching troops at us all week. All forces we've sent to take out the mortars have never returned. Xenos have been hitting any supply lines we've tried to get in here."

JJ (Powell): "So then, do we go after the hard to kill xenos or the unhappy cultists with the mortars first?"

Greg (Gaius): "HQ sent us to support the Catachans. We do what they need. Though I'd prefer to avoid another run-in with those blasted arm-cutters. I need at least ONE arm."

JJ (Powell): "Why not ask one of the tech priests for one? They always have an extra one to spare."

Greg (Gaius): " know, I might do that once this mission's over. But for now, I'll make do."

JJ (Powell): "Back to the situation at hand" I turn towards the Catachan commander "Do we know anything more about the xenos?"

Nick (GM): We know they can become invisible, they've got power weapons, and lasgun rounds don't seem to do anything. The Colonel's shotgun seemed to so the trick though..."

Greg (Gaius): "So, shotguns, eh? Have any extras?"

Nick (GM): "Again, we're cut off from supply lines. Get rid of those mortars, and we can talk."

Greg (Gaius): "Well, we have orders to deal with the heretics. Let's start there, then. We can deal with those xenos later. I hope you've alerted HQ to this."

Nick (GM): "Our voxman got destroyed halfway through the order for backup. Never had the chance."

JJ (Powell): "Lock and load, men. Putting the fear of the Emperor into cultists is our specialty after all!"

Greg (Gaius): "Trooper Dunner, go use the tank's vox to tell HQ we have heretic mortars targeting us, and an unknown xenos force raiding Catachan supply lines. Make certain you emphasize the fact that these are UNKNOWN xenos."

Zach (Dunner): I grab the voxbox and speak nervously into it. "H-HQ, we've got fething mortars targeting us, and motherfething xenos, unknown, REPEAT, unKNOWN, raiding Catachan supply lines."

Greg (Gaius): "Now, is there someplace I can find an arm?"

The Group: Discussion about new times to play.

The session ended here, as did all attempts at sanity. After this, madness becomes the watchword. Arnold Schwarzenegger was just the beginning.