Patterns (An Inquisitor/Warhammer 40,000 Campaign): Introduction

Phil and I are planning to play a short (~4 game) campaign using Inquisitor and Warhammer 40,000 in October. This is a brief bit of fiction to kick off our planning!

Inquisitor Dornoth spent most of her time cataloging and examining patterns. Any discrepancy could point to change and unexplained change was often a sign of malignancy. Dornoth tasked many acolytes with monitoring and sifting through astropathic reports from different sectors and planets, trying to detect even the smallest changes in patterns. A year ago the planet of Srylene XI had been brought to her attention by Davius, an apprentice investigator, not because of a change in pattern, but because a pattern had remained when it should have changed. Srylene XI was a moderately populated planet with two major industries, mining and agriculture. When a plague devastated the planet’s population the output of the farming industries fell heavily. Strangely the mining industry seemed unaffected. What made this industry resilient when another proved so frail? The pursuit of an answer had brought Inquisitor Dornoth and her small retinue to Srylene XI to investigate.

A yellow dust filled the air as Dornoth lay against a low ridge, observing Davius through her bionic eye as he advanced towards some mine workers handling crates in the distance. He was masquerading as a stranded off-worlder who was seeking work, an undercover role he had played for the last few months while investigating cult activity on Srylene XI. He was quite inexperienced for this task, but she had talked him through some of the more obvious signs of heretical behaviour to keep an eye for: cult icons or strange tattoos, rehearsed answers, odd mannerisms. Besides she was quite certain the planet was tainted by heretics. While Davius engaged the workers she would also reach out with her powers to attempt to detect more conclusive signs. Brother Gidrion, an Adeptus Astartes from the Oathkeepers, the fifth company of the Sanctifiers Chapter, was beside her. His helmet was removed, but she suspected that his highly augmented vision gave him a better view of what what was happening than even she had. “The rest of the retinue have taken up positions on the perimeter”, he reported in hushed tones while continuing to survey the area using the Auspex built into the left forearm of his Power Armour. Dornoth did not expect trouble, but that was usually when it arrived. Having a Space Marine’s fighting skills and near invulnerable armour here meant there was little in terms of martial trouble they couldn’t handle and her considerable psychic powers could take care of anything else.

Davius now stood in front of the workers, who had stopped what they were doing, and she could see he was talking to them. The workers responses appeared brief and Davius become a little more animated, maybe playing into the role of off-worlder desperately seeking employment. Dornoth began to reach out with her mind, trying to touch the minds of the workers. To her frustration she couldn’t get even a fragmentary glance into their thoughts. The hazy atmosphere seemed to also exist in the realm of psychic connections. She refocused her efforts, but an impenetrable fog blocked her efforts. Somewhat confused she instead reached out to sample Davius’ thoughts. Despite his training she was able to glimpse pieces of what he was experiencing, feeling the character he was playing, detecting glimpses of those he was talking to… their unhelpful demeanours… their unwillingness to engage… their dismissal of him. She could sense Davius’ feelings of failure as he turned to make his way out of the work yard. She tried to focus on the workers, but again encountered the fog. Something was blocking… someone, a powerful psyker, was protecting the workers. Dornoth turned to Gidrion and smiled, “We have work to do here”.

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