|Contests, Tech-Heresy, and More!
by Ross Watson
|Dark Heresy | Published 20 November 2008|
++Incoming Astropathic Transmission++
Greetings, Dark Heresy fans! As I write this, I am wrapping things up on Creatures Anathema, the bestiary of aliens, beasts, and daemons of the Calixis Sector. This book is going to introduce a ton of new adversaries for your Dark Heresy campaign, and I am very keen to see it in print as soon as possible.
On a related front, I have a printed copy of Disciples of the Dark Gods in my hands! This book looks fantastic, and I am very proud to have been a part of the team that is getting this book on store shelves in late November.
Lastly, I am also gearing up for HeroCon this weekend, where I will be showing off this pre-production copy of Disciples, so if you want a sneak peek at the new book, come on over to the convention!
A different kind of Heresy
One of the subjects that is very interesting to me and some of the other Dark Heresy design team is the idea of Tech-heresy in the Calixis Sector. One entire chapter in Creatures Anathema is devoted to aspects of forbidden science, and Disciples of the Dark Gods discusses it as well.
Put simply, in the Calixis Sector, heresy to the Ecclesiarchy, the Imperial Creed, and the Inquisition mean different things than heresy to a Tech-priest and the Cult of the Omnissiah. There are particular vile and deviant uses of technology and paths of research that are persecuted most greatly by the Mechanicus of the Calixian Lathe Worlds. These heresies include (but are not limited to):
• Using technology to raise the dead
• Using technology to access the power of the warp, summon daemons, and the like
• Using technology to corrupt the holy form of man with alien genes (transgenic blasphemy)
• Using technology that resurrects horrors of the Dark Age of Technology
• Certain forms of xenos devices are also considered heretical
To further illuminate the concept of tech-heresy, I will share an excerpt from Disciples of the Dark Gods about the Logician cult, who are damned by the tech-heresy of progress.
The Forbidden Arts of Dark Technology
The fundamental tenet of the Logicians, as enshrined in the great text, is the acquisition of power through unrestrained technological advancement. The great arrogance and sin of this work is as obvious as it is dangerous to anyone who believes in the Credo Omnissiah or the Imperial Creed and would lead mankind back to the terrors of the Age of Strife if it was allowed to bear fruit.
Here are but a few examples of the dark paths down which such forbidden technology might wander and the legends that cloak them:
Engines of Destruction: Weapons are the foremost goal and desire of many tech-heretics, whether it's the discovery or theft of heavily restricted designs—such as atomics or the dread life-eater virus used as a tool of Exterminatus, acquiring sophisticated relics like the secrets to creating the induction coils used in plasma weapons, or the pursuit of alien designs of terrible power.
Gholam and other Forbidden Fleshworks: A Gholam is an artificial construct made primarily of flesh and synthetic tissue by the arts of a gene-sculptor, although a widespread technology within the Adeptus Mechanicus, many branches of this lore are considered heretical and forbidden. These, in particular, include so-called "Murder Gholam"—horrific organic fabrications solely intended for violence, and homonculites—bio-forms fashioned from harvested human organs, alchemical serums and vat-grown tissue in the shape of a living thing with no natural origin. Rarer creations include "Chimerics"—strange amalgam creatures that combine many sources of DNA in often twisted monstrosities with utterly unpredictable results, forced psychic mutation, and unspeakable "slaver parasites"—artificial organic grafts that subvert the will and the bodily functions of those unfortunates they are inflicted upon.
According to sacred legend, such fleshworks were forbidden by the word of the Emperor during the days of the Great Crusade in response to the horrors that he and his superhuman warriors encountered in the wars to end the Age of Strife.
Transgenic Blasphemy: This field of research embodies the techno-heresy of combining xenos gene-matter or surgical grafts with human organic matter. It is an utterly forbidden practice, considered both a pollution of the divine pattern by the Adeptus Mechanicus and outright blasphemy by the Imperial Cult.
The Silica Animus: An artificial mind (rather than a simple cogitator) created from forbidden technologies, tradition holds that such unholy constructs are inherently evil and a perverted abomination in the sight of Omnissiah. Mechanicus doctrine states that the machine spirit of a Silica Animus is a twisted mockery of the soul of man, treacherous and insane. Ancient texts tell apocryphal stories, shrouded in metaphor, of such murderous and powerful creations during the Dark Age, and the legions of ‘iron children' that served them, blaming them in part for many of the terrible wars that laid humanity low in that lost time.
Malifica: Perhaps the darkest and most arcane of all sciences is the technology created to manipulate the energies of the warp or psychic force. A necessary evil for the Imperium and a cornerstone of its existence, it is a dangerous and volatile field of study. At the outer regions of the excepted uses and patterns of this tech lie terrible devices and desires, and the melding of Daemonic spirits with machinery and the channelling of the raw power of the empyrean through technology has long been a thing forbidden by the Mechanicus. For those reckless or insane enough, the temptation to pursue such dark experiements is great, offering the possibility of creativity and function unfettered by reason or the surly bonds of the universe's physical laws.
The Proteus Protocol: Considered little more than a myth by many but the ultimate goal of an obsessed few, the Proteus Protocol is an ancient and heretical technology for transferring not only the engramatic knowledge and memory of an organic brain, but also the personality and will, granting in effect complete mental and spiritual immortality in a artificial physical form. Of the few legends that surround this tech, some state that the abominations created are soulless beings with dark desires and alien hungers that can never be satiated. These warnings however, often fail to deter the Protocol's most ardent seekers.
The Next Step
I recently put up a poll on the Fantasy Flight Games web site, asking the Dark Heresy fans what they would like to see in our next official contest. The majority voted for an adventure scenario, so it is my pleasure to announce the beginning of the FFG Dark Heresy Scenario Contest. The contest has an official thread on the messageboards.
The details are as follows:
Contest Rules and Info:
• All entries must be received by January 6, 2009.
• Entries should be submitted in PDF, Pages Document, Word Document, or rich text formats only.
• Entries should be no longer than 10,000 words in length (which equates roughly to a 16-page adventure).
• Entries must be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org and must include the following information on the cover sheet of the submission:
1. Your full legal name
2. Your e-mail address
3. How you would like your name to be displayed (e.g., J. Smith, James Smith, or James T. Smith)
4. The title of the scenario
5. The following disclaimer must appear verbatim:
"I certify that I am the author of the attached material and that attached material is original, unpublished work. Fantasy Flight Games and its licensees may reproduce, distribute, publish, display, edit, modify, create derivative works, and otherwise use the material for any purpose in any form and on any media. I agree to indemnify and hold harmless Fantasy Flight Games against all claims, suits, costs, damages, and expenses that may be incurred in connection with the material."
* Entrants shall not submit or expose their scenarios or any part thereof for any purpose beyond private use once submitted.
* Entries will be reviewed by the Warhammer 40,000 Roleplay development team, and the top three entries will be submitted to a limited pool of our playtesters for evaluation and judging.
* Entries will be judged based on creativity, setting treatment, clarity and professionalism.
* Winners will be announced by February 9th, 2009.
The winning entry will receive a signed copy of Creatures Anathema in addition to being posted on the FFG web site. However, it is my hope that all three finalist scenarios will be made available for download once the finalists have been announced, so the fans can view them and play the best scenarios submitted.