|Dark Heresy | Published 10 February 2010|
+++Incoming Astropathic Transmission+++
Greetings, Dark Heresy fans!
“Now, you face a somewhat better class of heretic.”
–Inquisitor Felroth Gelt
During the development of Ascension, one thing that became clear early on is that we needed to present ascended characters with suitably challenging enemies. An Inquisitor and his hand-picked retinue face different foes than the cultists and mutants that Acolytes often encounter.
One of my favourite bad guys from this ultimate bad guy chapter in Ascension is Governor Malakai Vess. He does not represent an unstoppable monster in personal combat. No, in fact, he is little more than a normal man (albeit hardened by years of service in the Emperor’s Name). What makes him truly and exceptionally dangerous is his heretical beliefs and his exceptional ability to inspire fanatical loyalty in his followers. Thus, Vess presents an interesting challenge to an Inquisitor and other Throne Agents, in that facing him head-on will likely not produce ideal results. Rather, a more creative approach is going to provide a much better outcome for the Throne Agents. It may even be possible to reason with Vess, and no doubt there could be a great deal of exciting roleplaying opportunities for the player characters to attempt to sway him...or perhaps for Vess to sway them to his point of view in turn!
As an Imperial Governor, Vess has a great deal of power and authority. This is represented by his Influence score. In Ascension, Influence is a game mechanic that measures the impact a person’s authority may have on the various organisations of the Imperium. For Vess, his impressive Influence score means that the Throne Agents will not simply have to face him in battle, they will have to first untangle the web of favours and pressure the Governor can use to slow their progress.
Influence may also be used to acquire special gear or the services of particularly useful groups or individuals. In Governor Vess’ case, this means that he not only commands the potent forces of his own personal guard, he may also be able to call on the services of the especially deadly Eversor Assassin!
Imperial Governor Malaki Vess oversees Zweihan’s World, a minor hive world located in the Malfian Sub-sector. A cool and temperate planet, much of Zweihan’s World’s surface is covered in water, resulting in a rather damp planetary climate. The planet is circled by several long, mountainous and almost serpentine continents, which are straddled by four hive cities near the equator. Zweihan’s World’s most notable feature is not on the planet, but around it: a vast ring system made up of the shattered remains of what used to be a large moon. Now the rock rings are mined, bringing the planet impressive mineral wealth.
As the Imperial ruler of the planet, Vess has overseen Zweihan’s World’s development for most of the last century. An intelligent, empathetic, and charismatic man and ruler, he has ruled his planet well, and as a result his subjects are prosperous and content. It is no wonder that Vess is respected, even adored, by his subjects.
However, trouble looms for Vess. The Adeptus Administratum has recently determined that Zweihan’s World is not properly exploiting the vast mineral deposits found in its planetary rings. As a result, the planet’s Tithe is set to increase to exploitive levels.
Vess knows what this means; Zweihan’s World will become a blasted, strip-mined, and polluted wasteland where the unlucky inhabitants scrabble for simple survival. He cannot stand to see this happen, and thus, plots rebellion.
Naturally, Governor Vess is simply one of the many ascended adversaries you will find within Ascension...this particular chapter is quite packed with other dangerous Xenos, foul minions of Chaos, and much more!
Ascension Wallpaper #3
As a special bonus, this week you can find the third of four special Ascension wallpapers on the Dark Heresy support page! Enjoy!
Dark Heresy is a roleplaying game set in the Warhammer 40,000 universe, a setting in the grim darkness of the far future. Players take on the roles of Acolytes serving the Inquisition, rooting out heresy and corruption from within the galaxy-spanning Imperium of Man.
@Servitor: We already heard about Eversors in the D6G podcast, so it's nothing particularly new in itself(aside from the fact we have a planetary governor who obviously has contacts with the assassinorum).
What really interests me is that we're being showed a character with a bit of depth. Rather than the typical moustache-twirling wearing villain in black who ties fair maidens to railway tracks before spouting some evil mastermind speech, we can see someone who we, for the most part, in our modern era would identify with as a positive image - a man who is willing to look out for the 'little guy', yet is obviously well versed with using darker elements to get the 'right' thing done.
Why does he do it? Maybe he is richer this way, maybe he can immortalise himself in his planet's records as a hero, maybe he thinks this will earn him the Emperor's grace upon death. Maybe he's just genuinely nice (OH NOEZ!! NOT NICENESS IN MAH GRIMDARK!). That's something for the players and GM to explore I think.
If the calibre of 'antagonists', people who are actually human, we can expect, it can only be a good thing, because it sure beats WOLF FANGWOLF ON A THUNDERWOLF WITH WOLFWOLFWOLF WOLVES (if you'll all excuse the terrible strawman). It's a good show on FFG's part of what sort of dilemmas can come about and be shaped by the PCs (and other forces at work) if this is the example to go by.
What I'd be terribly interested in though is a more mechanically oriented example in the next preview or two. Something like the early DH/RT days, where we got a look at a page or two out of a career path so we can see where our characters are going.
Well, there's one other bit of interesting information in there:
Vess can sic an Eversor Assassin on the party. Which means, presumably, that we'll get stats for Eversor Assassins.
Since I did that very thing in my last Rogue Trader session (yes, I am a cruel GM), I await this development with interest.
While the Description of Zweihan´s World and the reason the Governour plans to rebel are very nice and detailed, the only information about "Ascension" herin are
- There is an Influence score that handels...well the Influence of you / your opponent
- There will be a chapter about villians, one of them the covered figure
To me, a little "wanting" as a "Design Diary"
I'm curious, does this sourcebook contain an adventure (as this character certainly suggests one)?
Well, there goes me trying to save money for more important things...must keep getting these books.
NOW I'm interested in Ascencion!
Moral ambiguity? Delicious!
"Vess knows what this means; Zweihan’s World will become a blasted, strip-mined, and polluted wasteland where the unlucky inhabitants scrabble for simple survival. He cannot stand to see this happen, and thus, plots rebellion."
Now this is the sort of antagonist I like to see. Nice job FFG. If nothing else, Ascension looks set to up the scale of adventures and enemies nicely.
This book can't come quick enough...
My players will love 'bad' guys like this.
This is awesome!