In search of the Hermit

So our first scenario in the Swamps of Axxos inquisitor28 campaign was played last saturday. We all had a blast! We ended up breaking it down to 2 separate games instead of one big one, since we basically had two different locations . It was a big challenge for me to pull this game off and since I had spent a lot of time making miniatures for it, preparing the storyline and making a lot of NPC’s, everything had better turn out well! Well it did and above all Lazar, Thomas and Nils had a great gaming experience and lots of fun.

Here is the story so far. If you haven’t read Something brewing in the swamps and Prelude, they are a good place to start.

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The table is set and we are ready to enter Swampgrubber town

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Inquisitors Stefan of Meteora and Job met up on the way down through Hive City Mondus Centurium, as per their agreement beforehand. Job had brought a servitor with him and hired an underhive ganger for further protection and as a guide through the labyrinths of the lower parts of the hive. “you come alone?” Job asked.

“I have a swamp explorator unit waiting for me at the gate”

They proceeded down through the darkness of the bottom of the hive city mostly in tense silence, collaborations between inquisitors were rare and more often than not tense and reluctant.

“We’re getting a bit more help for this one” Job said “we are going to meet up with an old acquaintance of mine, the rogue trader Gralum the 3rd, I figured we could use all the help we can get.”

“Hmm ok” said Stefan”Just as long as he realizes that it is no treasure hunt”.

“He has helped me out before, his intentions are pure, you can trust him as much as you can trust me” Job said.

After a long trek through the labyrinthine darkness of the underhive, they came to the edge, in between derelict old hab blocks and factories, they could glimpse a wall. The wall was hundreds of meters high at the few places, that were not cramped with old buildings, cranes, scaffolds and the general slum of civilization, the wall just faded away in the darkness. They followed the wall for about an hour. The population here was the lowest slum, stunted degenerates and mutants. The stink was spectacular, here were thousands of dirty people living in their own dirt with absolutely nothing to do and nowhere to go. Beggars, mutants and outcasts all. No wonder that the authorities had problems keeping order in the underhive, it could just as well be on an entirely different world from the upper tiers of the hive city. This place was made up of old disused factories, hab blocks and thousands of kilometers of sewer canals and pipes from the upper parts of the city. Newer yet still ancient factories built literally on top of the old ones… Generations of disuse and ruination making up the bottom layers, yet still over populated, a population mercifully short lived in the squalor and disease, never ever seeing the light of day.

Stefan felt a pang of pity for all these poor souls living in this darkness without any hope for improvement. And a bit of concern; to think that this whole civilization is literally standing upon this foundation of slum, poverty and ruins, he thought. It must fall sometime, this cannot last…

Eventually they came to a huge gate in the wall, slightly ajar. The gate itself was about half a kilometer wide and one could only guess how far up into the darkness it went. Upon closer inspection one could see that the gate itself and all of it mechanisms were one solid mass of rust. The 5 meter crack was all this thing would ever be opened, frozen in time and rust.

They met up with Gralum the 3rd, a cheerful squat rogue trader. Grallum had hired two ratskin scouts to help them out.

They met up with the swamp explorator unit, hired by the inquisitorial high command to help out on the search and rescue mission, a rather worn looking katafron servitor tracked unit with a holding tank modification and an imperial guard veteran in an environmental suit, named Bob.

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After a brief introduction and an agreement that the first part of the mission would be to find the Hermit and have him help them to get to the bottom of things in the swamps, they went through the crack between the gates.

Outside the hive everything changed. It was a lot lighter, though still more dusk than actually daylight. Everything was overgrown with twisted trees and shrubs and fungus everywhere. The air itself was moist and one could hear a constant dripping. There was a perpetual fog everywhere. They proceeded down a slope from the gate and into the most squalid little town any of them had ever seen. In the fog on the other side of the small town they could just make out a large body of water, a lake they would have to cross by the look of it. I looked like it encompassed a kind of peninsula on which the little town stood. There was a pier on the other side of the town.

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Welcome to Swampgrubbertown, I am the marshal of Swampgrubbertown

As they entered the slum village, they were accosted by a funny little bald creature with a slightly too large black leather jacket, facemask and a pumpgun. He spoke very fast in a high-pitched voice “Welcome to Swampgrubbertown, I am the marshal of Swampgrubbertown and these two are my deputies, so you better behave!” Inquisitor Job cut to the chase “show us the way to the Hermit!”

“Can’t help you”said the marshal “we don’t know no hermit…”

More swampgrubbers were moving about, looking curiously at the newcomers. There was an oppressive mood to the place, they seemed afraid.

Stefan tried to placate them a bit saying “We are of the holy Inquisition, what seems to be the problem here?”

“Them big psychos come here killing many swampgrubbers, they won’t leave us in peace. We got a fish market, you want to buy fish?”

Just then a scream cut through their minds like a knife! Several of the swampgrubbers collapsed. The scream was not of sound but inside everyone’s mind; a psychic scream of great anguish, leaving only the mindless servitors untouched.

“What was that? Where did it come from?” yelled Job

“We don’t know, but it is driving us mad” said the marshal trembling “and there are also the big psychos killing us”

“You help us we help you!” yelled an old bearded swampgrubber with a staff topped with an old servoskull, that was the mayor of Swampgrubbertown Ugh.

As if on cue, two huge pit fighters showed up with a roar down at the waterfront. They seemed quite deranged! One was armed with a big powerclaw and the other with an assault cannon, he started firing killing swampgruppers and tearing their little village apart as if it wasn’t enough of a ruin already.

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The two pit fighters starting to tear down swampgrubbertown

The one with the powerclaw injected a load of combat stimms and charged the populace and our inquisitors. The one with the assault cannon fired at Job, who narrowly escaped being cut in half. He hit Job’s servitor in the leg, resulting in a bad limp, as if the servitor was not slow enough already.

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Gralum and his two ratskins tried to circle left and attack the pit slaves from the flank. In between the fences and walls of the town they, in turn was attacked by a third pit slave! This one was armed with two powerclaws grafted to his arms. He was just about to tear one of the ratskins in two when Grallum fired his bolter. It was a lucky shot hurting the pit fighter bad and leaving him stunned, giving the ratskin the opportunity to finish him off. The ratskin collected teeth of the enemies or beasts he had slain as trophies. Just as he was about to pull a tooth, he noticed a slight bipping from the pit slaves backpack, he looked closer and saw the countdown…6 seconds left… it was a chrono-gladiator, rigged to explode if he didn’t win the fight. The ratskin sprinted, Grallum dove for cover! The gladiator exploded with as ear shattering boom!

Meanwhile Job and Stefan had shot the first pit slave, who charged rather unwisely in the open, he had lately got used to swampgrubbers who couldn’t defend themselves, not inquisitors armed with bolters, grenade launchers and a katafron with a cannon. He got shot down badly!

Wisely the last pit slave decided to leg it. He didn’t get far as he was tackled by the last ratskin and ran into Grallum’s bolter!

The swampgrubbers gathered around the heroes chanting “what does the skull say! What does the skull say! What does the skull say! What does the skull say!”

Suddenly the servoskull atop Ugh’s staff came to life lighting a faint green light in an eye lens, let go of the staff and hovered. It started to speak with a tinny synthetic voice from a voxgrille. “You will follow me, I will take you to the Hermit!” The swampgrubbers fell to their knees shouting “our heroes, you killed the big psychos!” A young swampgrubber yelled “Follow me, I have boat I take you to other side of lake!”

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Sallying forth into the swamps

So Stefan, Job and Gralum the 3rd were sailed to the other side of the water and into the swamp proper. It was a big lake, dotted with many small islands and joined by many small streams. They went up something like a river delta into the mainland. It was full of lakes, streams and water holes. Everything was moist and musty. The landscape was dotted with small hills here and there of a strange reddish color. Abundant with plant life.

As they landed, the boat turned back, the swampgrubber pilot having run out of courage.

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Nils measuring up as his ratskins scout the land

The servoskull started to slowly fly off into the fog.

The group warily followed after. They were very alert. One of the ratskins went ahead scouting at the nearest lake. the water started bubbling, something was down there! A big shadow moved beneath the surface….

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Roaaaaarrrrgh!!!!…….

Suddenly a big biomechanical snakelike monster reared up over the water! It vomited forth a thick oily whitish highly acid liquid!! The ratskin narrowly jumped aside avoiding the attack. The others started firing at it with bolters and grenades. Their small arms made little impact on the monster, merely anoying it a bit. It vomitted at the ratskin again, I treated its breath weapon as a flamer attack. The big monster managed to miss the ratskin yet again, he is more lucky than he has a right to be. The ratskin ran off and the monster dove back beneath the water.

The party continued deeper into the swamps following the servoskull. They were very carefull. Stefan took a good long look at the next lake they came to, the water started to bubble, they skirted wide around that lake.

As Gralum scouted ahead, he noticed some noise on the far side of a wooded rise. Silently he sneaked closer and took a look out on the other side of the trees. There was a weird-looking tower. It looked like someone had jammed a house into a tower ruin and stuck mechanical legs under it… a walking tower. The tower was under siege by a bunch of half mechanical half biological beastmen and more indefinable biomechanical creatures. The noise he had heard was the creatures growling, bellowing and hitting the tower with hands, claws and weapons…

Gralum signalled to the others that something was there and that they were to follow quietly and take a look.

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Laying siege to the walking tower

As soon as Stefan layed eyes on the creatures he started shouting and attacking them!! “Halt foul creatures!! Disperse in the name of the Emperor and the holy Inquisition of Terra!”

The beastmen turned with a growl and started to surge up the slope towards Stefan and Gralum. Stefan started shooting at the creatures with his bolter. The leader of the beastmen was armed with a grenade launcher and started lopping grenades at Stefan, Gralum and one of the ratskins. Stefan’s powerarmor easily soaked up the power of the grenades, but Gralum and the ratskin were downed. Stefan was especially angry with the grenade launching beastman and pumped bolt after bolt into it. Apart from being half biological half mechanical the beastmen were also wooden. Many of their claws and antlers were branches and even tree trunks. As the leader got more hurt by Stefan’s bolter fire it started bleeding oil and gears. A little more exchange of bolts and grenades and the wood antlered beastman leader died with a last aggressive growl.

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At the same time Inquisitor Job and the guardsman Bob circled to the right and was met by the big slug thing and a host of beastmen. Job fired a smoke grenade and thereby protected themselves from the guns of the beastmen. Job and Bob were understandably very intimidated by the big biomechanical slug thing and concentrated their fire on that one. They managed to defeat the slug just before it could attack. The beastmen started to get quite nervous with their leader and big slug dead. After a while they began to run of into the swamp.

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On the left flank the katafron confronted a snail centaur. The snail centaur attacked with its mechanical tentacles, knife and pistol. The tentacles were electrical, stunning and electrocuting the servitor. As the other beastmen ran the snail broke and fled as well leaving the servitor alone.

While the battle came to a close inquisitor Job approached the tower and shouted up at it “Hermit are you in there? If you are in there, show yourself! The holy Inquisition needs you, you are called upon!”

At first there was silence.

When the last beastmen had fled, a little noise could be heard from the tower.

The door in the side of the tower opened and out came a strange, spindly and ancient creature. He was unnaturally tall, his lower body was mechanical but rusty, he looked like  a priest of the mechanicum, once human, but with most, if not all of his human body replaced with machines. His robes were wooden, almost like bark, his rusty carapace also took on an almost wooden texture. His parchment thin facial skin although synthetic was discolored and wrinkled, a wispy white and dirty beard adorned his chin and his partially bald head was fringed by thin wisps of dirty white hair. A tree seemed to grow from his back or maybe the tree and the soil from which it grew was part of the man himself, it was hard to tell.

“I am the Hermit, what do you want from me?” he said in an ancient high-pitched piping voice.

“What was these creatures from which we just saved you” Inquisitor Job said.

“Aaaaahhh these are my children, they were going to kill me! They have turned my children against me”

“Who are “they” and can you help us find somebody who has been abducted here?” asked Stefan

Suddenly they were interrupted by the psychic scream cutting through their minds like a knife! The Hermit doubled over clutched his head and screamed himself.

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The Hermit

“What was that where does it come from?”said Job “This screaming has grown worse and more frequent ever since we came here.”

“It is the bad men who came here recently, they cause the screaming, I do not know how, but it is driving me crazy” said the Hermit “If I weren’t crazy already, I am the Hermit, but I was once known the Foreman, that was before… But there can be no before in this swamp, the swamp is eternal, there can be no before or after in eternity, then it wouldn’t make sense, nothing makes sense, nothing makes sense anymore, nothing makes sense after I deleted it…..” His rant trailed of into some unintelligible mumbling as he paced back and forth.

“What is this place?” asked Gralum

“It is forever! that’s what it is, no before, no after, but it makes no sense” the Hermit said with a mad glint in his eyes.

He jangled a set of ancient keys from one of his rusty mechanical hands. “I will take you to the central pillar, there I will for a time reload my memory, which I deleted, I can’t remember why, but I must have been important. You may find your answers at the central pillar and the bad men who cause the screaming are not far from the central pillar.”

“Sounds intriguing” said Stefan “We have an agreement”

As they entered the weird musty building the Hermit looked hungrily at Job’s servitor that was limping slowly by “you need that one?”

Job said “I need him and I would like to have him fixed!”

“A pity” said the Hermit

They noticed several old and more or less skeletal servitors installed in the walking tower.

With the katafron servitor trundling mindlessly by outside the walking tower of the Hermit started off into the fog of the Swamps of Axxos, walking to the heart of the swamps.

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So is the first part of the adventure in the Swamps of Axxos concluded. Our heroes proceed onto the heart of the swamps to see if they can see their mission through and maybe save Gralum from the mafia.

We had a great time playing this game.

I am now working hard on even more miniatures for our grand finale and writing a storyline for the conclusive game. We will play the next one on saturday 4th of february if all goes well and according to plan.

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8 thoughts on “In search of the Hermit

  1. This sounds like it was a joy to play, so many interesting characters and environments! I look forward to seeing how the narrative plays out. Good luck with finishing any last models before the final game!

    Also, I wanted to let you know that my blog Between the Bolter and Me included Secrets of the Void on our list of best blogs of 2016:
    http://betweenthebolterandme.blogspot.com/2017/01/a-look-back-best-blogs-of-2016.html

    Keep up the great work!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It sure was and thanks 🙂 I am myself looking forward to end this one next saturday, especialy how the players respond to the narrative and what unforeseen stuff will happen 😉 Narrative games like this are quite organic, something unexpected will always happen, so I get curious too.
      It’s an honour to be on your list, thanks! 🙂

      Like

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