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The Strain engaged in a struggle with Vornas Crimson is also the same one that is the primary target for the Sable Traders. It is the Mournful Song, one of the primary operations Tormus personally oversees. Beset by enemies, Tormus hopes to turn them against each other. He has at least some knowledge of the Acolytes if they were responsible for slaying his brother Ferrue in the events of Desolation of the Dead.
Tormus does not hold any particular animosity for this; in fact, they did him something of a favour by halting his younger brother's ambitions to replace him as leader of the Strain. Tormus hopes the Acolytes can perform another such favour by removing the Sable Traders who have been such a thorn in his side. It is for this reason that Tormus has both held back his full power in his war with Vornas Crimson, and purposefully fed Crimson the information about the Trade Sable. Tormus hopes that the Acolytes will be in contact with Crimson and act on this intelligence. Of course, Tormus holds no illusions about the danger the Acolytes pose, and plans to deal with them should they succeed in halting the smugglers.
Not all of the cultists are privy to his plots and strategies, however. One such group, ignorant of their master's plans, seeks vengeance for Ferrue Fayne's demise. Once the Acolytes' investigation is well underway, the GM should make a Subtlety test. If the warband fails this test, it indicates that the cultists have learned of the Acolytes' presence in the vicinity of the Gallowsway, and they move to strike at them. At an appropriate point during the Acolytes' investigation between major encounters, these cultists attempt to ambush the Acolytes. The group consists of two Strain Infectors and one Strain Initiate per PC (see pages 406-407 of the Dark Heresy Core Rulebook), a number that the GM can adjust to fit his Acolytes' combat ability using the threat threshold rules.
The cultists attempt to set an ambush, intending to launch a surprise assault on the PCs as they pass through an otherwise empty stretch of tunnel. The cultists conceal themselves amidst debris and behind pipes until the Acolytes approach. Each Acolyte should make an Opposed Challenging (+0) Awareness test against the cultists' Stealth, rolling once for the entire group of cultists. The cultists have specifically chosen a particularly dark area, where only a few sputtering chemical lanterns provide illumination. This grants them a +20 bonus to their Stealth test; however, if any of the players voice the observation, in or out of character, that this would be an ideal place for an ambush, provide that Acolyte a +10 bonus to his Awareness test. Any Acolytes who fail the Opposed test are Surprised during the first round of combat.
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