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Contact Dark Heresy is a roleplaying game based upon the universe of Games Workshop's Warhammer 40, The setting of Warhammer 40, is a dark, gothic future where the Imperium of Man is beset by dangers within and without. In Dark Heresy players take on the roles of Acolytes of the Inquisition, aiming to uncover and combat the enemies of mankind, be they aliens, heretics or mutants! You are an Acolyte in the service of the Emperors' Inquisition. You stand in the front line of a great and secret war where your duty is to hunt out the foul stench of heresy, the vile alien, and the twisted influence of Chaos.
It hesitated for a second, less than a second, staring right at him, and then turned and vanished into the mist. He started to run. He heard Alia call his name from the forest behind. No pretence now. Something was here, and it knew they were here too. Moving fast, he broke through more undergrowth and came out into another clearing. It was no longer spongy and soft. It was hard, and flat. He looked down. A stone platform made of perfectly cut slabs.
The softening of the edges and the patches of lichen suggested great age. Yes, great age indeed. He looked around. The platform he was standing on was just the apron of a ruined stone structure that stood between the trees. It was swathed in ferns, strings of creepers, and a profusion of climbing vines. In places, the huge trees had split through the stonework, or had been forced to grow in twisted, convulsing shapes to snake around the heavy lintels and uprights.
How long had this stood here? He stepped onto the platform beside Hessk, long las cradled, looking up at the crumbling architecture. He just knew what the first question was likely to be. Alia and Dayglass came out onto the platform behind him. He walked forward and began to tear creepers and other tenacious succulents from the facing wall of the temple. Hessk realised that Vertigon was exposing some kind of figuring, carving This is by far the most complete and sizeable site ever found.
The script has never been deciphered, though again there seems to be much more of it here than has been found at any other site. It runs all along the wall I think there may be more under that great hedge of creepers there. Before that, I saw a figure. She looked directly at him, and he felt her scan his surface memories.
It felt like a shaft of warm sunlight had briefly crossed his face. Why is the face a skull? She looked at Vertigon and the shadowy bulk of the ruin.
The displayed coordinates were a precise match. A cold, wet slap of psyche from Dayglass shivered his mind and sent him a last-second warning, just enough of a warning for him to back-step.
It was about twice his size, but it seemed even more gigantic as it dropped towards him, arms outstretched, legs crooked. It was a half-naked thing, covered in tattered, rudimentary clothing and matted hair.
Its belly was distended. Its limbs were muscular but emaciated. Its flesh was dark, as though it had been scorched with a blowtorch. Its fingers were capped with ragged, horny talons. They were extended and huge, like those of a giant simian, lips stretched back to expose huge canines and incisors.
It howled. It screamed like the Warp. He felt something bite into the flesh of his hip and he exhaled in pain, staggering backwards from the impact. The creature landed on the platform, and then rolled, still screaming.
It was a scream that pierced the soul as much as the ears. It was the scream of the insane, of the inhuman. Rising, in a manner that seemed terribly swift for a thing its size, it lunged at Hessk. Alia Kanaed was in its way. Grim-faced, she delivered a fluid spin-kick to its face that rocked its misshapen head backwards.
As it reeled, she rotated and delivered another. This one broke a tooth, a lower canine, and sent blood and spittle flying sideways in a long, viscous spurt from its mouth. The creature howled and swung at her with a long, taloned arm to disembowel her. There was a crack and a wet explosion. Las heat smoked the platform space. Vertigon lowered his long-rifle. He began to smile. There were more of the things, a whole lot more. Hessk opened fire. He put three rounds from his Tronsvasse through the chest of the nearest creature, and then two more through the skull of the next.
There was so little light. Everything was directional. Their stablights were only illuminating jerking bars in the darkness, and the gunfire was briefly lighting up other splashes, like strobe lights.
It was hard to see, hard to pick a target. Just eyes, eyes glinting in the blackness. Eyes and screams. Dayglass had taken time to focus. Dark things rushed her. She reached out with her mind and squeezed, bursting a temporal lobe with a telekine vice. Dayglass, show us! Of course. Tactically it was much more useful. Concentrating, oblivious to her own safety, she expanded the conscious cone of her mind.
It was a risk. Any use of psychic abilities was a risk. Even if your mind was attuned to the Warp, it did not pay to go meddling there. Dayglass felt cramps in her abdomen. Frost settled on the ground around her. Things that were not her made whispers leak out of her mouth. But she persisted. She focused. She expanded her perception. For her, and for her three comrades, the ruin and the platform were now lit up as if by night vision.
Their immediate locale was washed in a pallid, luminous green glow. The screaming creatures were visible. Hessk tossed his stablight aside. Though physically blind, he could see now. Dark, fanged things wailed as they fell back into the forest pit behind them.
Blood sprayed, hot white in the mind-view. Zarn Vertigon fired repeatedly, loosing las-rounds at distances far shorter than generally recommended for his sniper weapon. The stopping power was considerable. But they came as fast as he could reload, and his bag of munition cells was not limitless. He was busy firing and reloading his twin autopistols. The heavy, long-framed guns punched round after large-calibre round into the faces and chests of the feral attackers clambering onto the platform.
Then he knocked down two more who were poised to leap. When one of his shots grazed the roofline and showered up grit and dirt rather than killing a target, he cursed aloud over wasted ammunition. He heard Vertigon yelling. Yes, there were too many.
They had ammo. Hessk prayed to the God-Emperor that they had enough. How many of these things could there be? Maybe a planet full? Dayglass concentrated. That was all that mattered. Sustaining the mind-view took all her concentration.
The creatures made another mass rush, but Alia Kanaed had drawn her djin blade. It was hungry. It moaned in her hands. Kanaed went into the thick of the charge and struck blows twohanded, right and left, hacking and slashing, sending hunks of meat and body parts flying. Her blade sizzled as it sliced flesh. She ducked a ripping blow, and severed the limb that had tried to deliver it from beneath.
A creature reeled away, wailing, squirting blood from its stump. Another came at her. She sliced its face in two.
Two more, from the left: The blade sung to her. It liked the blood. It liked the air. It liked to be loosed and free. It sang its love song to her, the love song that had ruined her, the love song she tried so hard not to obey, the love song that only she could hear.
To everyone else, it was a fine blade of xenos manufacture. To her, it was She wondered why. She wondered what made her so blessed, or cursed. The sword had almost entirely claimed her sanity.
She tried to shut it out, but every time she was forced to use it, it stole a little more. How much longer have I got left, she wondered. How much longer before the sword is me and I am the sword? Deny the thought! Deny the fear! Alia Kanaed put her head down and struck on. She no longer knew where her fingers ended and the sword began. But she was sure that however long it was going to take for the djin blade to claim her, the creatures she was facing had infinitely shorter lives.
Alia pivoted. She ducked a handful of claws, and then sidestepped a charging creature that she reverse-stabbed through the heart the moment it had gone past her.
She came up, ready, rotating the blade, letting blood-drops fly away from it. Where next? There were no more creatures attacking them. The stone platform was littered with corpses and body parts. Blood pooled on the stones, and she could hear it streaming into the darkness below like a rainwater. How many had she killed? How much of a frenzy had the sword put her into?
Had Hessk seen? God-Emperor no, please He picked up his fallen stablight and scanned her with it. Good kills. They retreated. The air above the platform was wet with blood mist and stank of gunsmoke.
The battle had been intense. Vertigon rushed to her side. They looked up. The glow of the mind-view had vanished, but they still had the glow of the stablights.
A movement. A figure in a long red robe stepped onto the platform before them. They raised their weapons. It lowered its hood. Its head was a skull, a brass-fitted, fully-functional human skull, beautifully machined Alia Kanaed glanced at Hessk.
Inquisitor Tortane. I seldom enter the field in person. My presence here should therefore assure you of the significance of this. Tortane hesitated. Acolytes must face the horrors of Daemons and ancient aliens dedicated to the eradication of Mankind as a species, and battle for survival amidst webs of conspiracy and betrayal.
Perhaps the greatest threat they face, however, is their fellow man, for the human soul is such fertile ground for corruption.
Foul cults and insane heresies permeate all areas of the Imperium, and no one is beyond suspicion. There are always heresies to be uncovered, aliens to be vanquished, and Daemons to be banished. To be an Acolyte is to know these terrors exist, and possess the strength and will to combat them, no matter the sacrifice.
In an age of Insanity, look to the madman to show the way. They each take on the role of an Acolyte in service to an Inquisitor, at the front line of a great and secret war to root out the foes that imperil all of humanity.
Inquisitors— ruthless agents dedicated to preserving Mankind at any cost—are relentless in the pursuit of these threats, and answer to no one save the lord of the galaxy-spanning Imperium of Man, the Emperor Himself. Yet Inquisitors are but men, and though their purview is limitless, they are far from omnipotent.
As such, they employ Acolytes to project their power throughout the Imperium. To be an Acolyte is to possess more power than most men can conceive of. Should they fail, entire worlds, systems, or even the Imperium itself may fall to endless night.
These desperate times call for desperate measures, and these are the darkest times that humanity has ever known. The Imperium is beset by enemies, both from within and without. Acolytes cannot shirk from their noble calling, harsh as it might be, for the only thing worse than their actions is what might occur if they fail to act. I 12 blessed is the martyr. What is a rolePlaying game?
Throughout the course of the game, the players embark on harrowing journeys, thrilling investigations, and intense battles. The roleplaying game presents a set of rules that helps guide this narrative as it unfolds. In addition to the rules, every roleplaying game has three key elements: Player CharaCters Each player in the game creates a character—one of the protagonists of the ongoing story. In essence, an adventure is a series of locations, characters, and events that the Acolytes encounter as they make decisions and progress the story.
The Game Master is in charge of not only presenting the adventure to the players in a fun and engaging way, but also making sure the adventure is prepared before the group sits down at the gaming table. There are also free adventures that can be downloaded at www. What is needed to Play? These can be photocopied from the back of this book or downloaded from the Fantasy Flight Games website www.
Playing the Game. Character Creation to fashion their Acolytes for the game. The Game Master for advice on running encounters, creating adventures, and other aspects of his position within the game.
ChaPter i: Playing the game This chapter provides the basic rules and core mechanics, the characteristics that define each character in the game, and how to perform game tests to determine character success or failure.
ChaPter ii: CharaCter Creation Here players learn how to form their characters, choosing home worlds, backgrounds, and roles to bring their Acolytes to life. ChaPter iii: These may be present as part of character creation, or learned in later adventures. ChaPter iv: Talents are special proficiencies, many of which augment skills. Unlike skills, a talent is always active and does not require a test to use.
The chapter also covers traits, representing special innate abilities found in many of the unusual denizens of Askellon or the Warp. ChaPter v: This chapter includes rules for such items, as well as how to acquire them. PsyChiC PoWers Cursed or blessed, some beings can call on the Warp to blast their enemies with eldritch lightning or divine the future.
This chapter includes rules and descriptions for the powers, as well as the hazards a psyker faces when using them. ChaPter vii: ChaPter viii: This chapter presents these topics along with rules for Fear, Insanity, and Corruption, plus guidance on using Fate points and Reinforcement Characters. ChaPter iX: This chapter also covers the dreaded Inquisition that the Acolytes serve.
ChaPter X: The chapter details several of the worlds and settings players can find here. ChaPter Xi: How mighty its aspect! How far-reaching its boundaries! As one world dies, ten more are brought into the fold.
Fear us, for we count the lives of planets, not men! The Imperium of Man is hailed as the greatest stellar empire humanity has ever raised up, its extent taking in the length and breadth of the entire galaxy. The worlds upon which Mankind resides vary from factory-hives populated by uncounted billions to feudal cultures ruled by savage, warlike kings.
There are no limits to which man does not go to realise his manifest destiny to rule the stars, and he makes his home wherever he may, whether in the clouds, beneath the sea, or in the depths of space itself. Though humanity long ago learned to travel between the stars, the technological marvels upon which its dominion of the galaxy is founded are long gone. Learning is a thing of the dim and distant past, cast down by generation after generation of war and calamity.
No man now knows how many times humanity has soared to the lofty heights of achievement only to plummet once more to the depths of barbarity. The science that caused both advancement and debasement is now the subject of superstition and fear.
Only fragments of it are remembered, and then only by rote, passed from one generation of Tech-Priest to the next, each iteration ever more distorted than the last. While most men know how to operate a weapon, they have no inkling of the processes that power it.
Only through prayer are the machines Mankind relies upon maintained, and the machine spirits are easily displeased.
The Emperor, or rather the High Lords of Terra who rule in His name, claims the entirety of the galaxy as sovereign domain. The Imperium occupies millions of planets, but in reality Mankind is cast across the vast depths of space and is to be found on more worlds than can be imagined.
What long-forgotten tides of war washed human colony vessels up on planets from one end of the galaxy to the other can scarcely be imagined, but some claim there are likely to be more unknown worlds populated by men than there are known worlds in the Imperium. I ChaPter Xii: The chapter also includes guidelines for crafting combat encounters and suitably matching them to the Player Characters to generate challenging and rewarding games.
ChaPter Xiii: Like the previous two chapters, this section should be for Game Masters only. Ten thousand years ago, or so the legends say, the Emperor once walked among his subjects. Having united the disparate tribes of ancient, blasted Terra at the very moment that terrible galaxy-wide Warp storms finally dissipated, he led his legions on the Great Crusade. Moving outwards from Terra, the Emperor and his most trusted and beloved scions cast down alien empires and established contact with human worlds isolated by war and the Warp since time immemorial.
This was an age of reason and optimism, where Mankind could still prevail by science and by honour. The Emperor sought not adoration and he rejected the worship of false gods. He promised unity, but it was not to be. The ensuing civil war consumed the nascent Imperium, plunging the newly claimed worlds into war and bloodshed of a scale never before seen.
The galactic carnage that was the Horus Heresy was only brought to an end when the Emperor faced his son, the Warmaster Horus, at the height of the Siege of Terra.
Horus was slain, but at such terrible cost that the Emperor was wounded unto death. Only by his interment in the arcane lifesustaining machineries of the Golden Throne, a wonder of Dark Age technology wrought by the hand of the Emperor himself as if he knew his doom long before, could the Emperor persevere. From that age to this, the Emperor has ruled from the heart of his palace on Terra, though his godlike energies are entirely devoted to steering the soul of Mankind through the subsequent ten millennia of war and calamity.
Not a single word has passed his withered lips, and his body is nothing more than a dry, black husk. The Tech-Priests have long ago lost the knowledge to maintain the machine systems of the Golden Throne, if ever they truly had such knowledge.
Year by year, one system at a time, the machineries of the Golden Throne fail, yet still the Emperor lives on, a god to the countless teeming billions of subjects cast across the immense void. The Imperium has endured for ten thousand years, despite the depredations of every manner of foe.
Rebels and heretics attack from within, like parasites gnawing upon the flesh of a gargantuan host. The creatures of the Warp slaver endlessly for mortal souls and countless fools have entered into bargains they shall regret for all eternity.
The entire edifice is rotten to the core, but its foundations are sunk deep, and entire worlds can fall silent and galaxy-spanning institutions fail, their demise going without comment for decades. Many among the teeming billions of humanity exist in a permanent state of dystopian barbarism and superstition, their lives regimented through centuries of dogmatic repetition.
Few leave the planet of their birth, and many are completely unaware that their own world is but one amongst a million planets. It is only through this that the bulk of humanity is spared death at the hands of one of the many enemies clamouring to extinguish its existence. Anyone who will not fight by your side is an enemy you must crush. Some are environmental, such as death worlds where every life form in the entire biosphere is dedicated to slaying any intruder.
Others come from within, such as when a trusted leader turns his back upon the Emperor and seeks to name himself master of his own domains. The vast majority of threats to the continued existence of Mankind can be assigned to one of three great enemies—the enemy within, the enemy without, and the enemy beyond. T the enemy Within The soul of Mankind is bound to the Emperor not by unconditional reverence, but by the rule of the Imperial Creed.
Though it takes as many specific forms as there are planets or even cultures in the Imperium, the one, true faith unites every man, woman, and child, every scribe, worker, and soldier, every noble, planetary governor, and High Lord.
Heresy takes a myriad of forms, often varying drastically from one culture to another. Expressions of faith made on one world might be condemned as blasphemy on another, and while interplanetary travel is rare, when strangers from such divergent cultures do meet, conflict is not uncommon.
When worlds are isolated for prolonged periods, the doctrines of faith are wont to diverge and mutate. Sects rise, and formerly proscribed cults step out from the shadows and preach openly to the masses.
Such blasphemy against the Master of Mankind can lead ultimately only to the worship of other, darker entities: Those who turn to Chaos are forever damned, and in their damnation they endanger all of humanity.
Some believe themselves to be sowing seeds of purity and truth as they denounce the hated corpse-god of Mankind.
Others are warriors who find in the service of the Ruinous Powers the means to unleash undreamed-of destruction on their enemies. Most terrible of all those who fight for the glory of the Ruinous Powers are the Chaos Space Marines. The more outwardly visible expression of the taint of heresy is that of mutation and deviation from the divine form of Man. While the Imperium tolerates certain genetic divergence—subspecies such as the brutish Ogryns or diminutive Ratlings, and 16 mild mutations to be endured within the depths of a hive factory or on fringe worlds—these exceptions are rare.
Most mutants are hideous creatures tainted in both body and soul, bearing distended limbs or oversized appendages, tentacles, claws, or countless other hideous signs of some unknown sin. Some worlds use the more easily controlled mutants as expendable slave labour, while others exterminate them wholesale in fiery pogroms and wars of faith. Many mutants display their heresy in bodily form, but the more insidious mutants possess mental aberrations, and are decried as witch, sorcerer, Warp-dabbler, or, more commonly, psyker.
Each year, ever more psykers are born or come into their powers, but the vast majority are entirely too weak to control their abilities. If allowed to exist unchecked, they bring down death and destruction on their communities, as some can slay with a mere glance or blast sheets of flames from an outstretched hand.
Worse, psykers cannot help but attract the attentions of the denizens of the Warp, for their powers are fuelled by a special connection to that unreal dimension.
Such daemonic incursions all too often lead to the death of entire worlds and even systems. While the Imperium stretches from one side of the galaxy to the other, it can never hope to maintain discrete borders. Within this enormous volume of space are innumerable star systems and worlds, the vast majority of which have never been explored.
The million or so worlds that fall under the direct rule of Terra must be measured against the hundreds of billions of stars in the galaxy. In between each lies the trackless black void, hiding all manner of blasphemous and horrifying forms of life.
Entire alien empires rise and fall in the depths of space, some never coming into contact with the Imperium of Man. Many xenos species never develop the means to leave the world of their birth and may vanish into extinction, leaving only bones and ruins to mark their passing. When a technologically advanced culture and the Imperium encounter one another, the result is almost always bloodshed on an enormous scale. Such conflicts invariably spell the doom of the xenos, for the one resource the Imperium possesses in limitless reserves is men.
Some races, though, resist their rightful extermination and are persistent dangers to Mankind. Heavily muscled, brutal, and crude, Orks can be found everywhere across the galaxy, with a barbarous cunning and an innate empathy with the machineries of war.
If left unchallenged, even the smallest Ork empire very quickly develops into a major threat as, united under a single leader who has fought his way to the pinnacle of power, countless millions of bellowing greenskinned warriors take to the stars aboard ramshackle warships and space hulks in search of war. The Eldar are the fading remnants of a once-great galactic empire, and one that refuses to die quietly. They are divided into many subgroups, from those who dwell within world-vessels large enough to house countless millions, to their cruel kin who lurk within extra-dimensional lairs and crave the souls of mortal races.
While successive waves of invasion have thus far been held at bay, albeit at terrible cost, these Hive Fleets now attack from other vectors, closing in around the galaxy as a gargantuan slavering mouth closes upon its prey. Then there are the Tau; not a numerous species, but a technologically advanced one determined to spread its doctrines across the stars.
The Chaos Gods are raw desire, rage, decay, and hubris, and from terrible kingdoms within the Warp reach out to Mankind to entice and destroy. There are four great Chaos Gods: These Ruinous Powers await the deluded and desirous, granting power in exchange for souls to those who would betray their Emperor. Serving these terrible entities are their legions of Daemons.
These creatures of raw Warp energy can emerge from the Immaterium to form corporeal bodies and directly kill, tempt, and enrapture mortals. Each is an impossible shape, baleful to the mind and imparting soul-wrenching fear upon all who see them. Some are summoned through foul ritual, eagerly venturing into reality and often consuming the souls of those who would seek to bind them. Others pierce the breach between real space and the Immaterium through locations weakened from bloody warfare or uncontrolled psychic emanations.
A few are mortals raised up to the status of immortal Daemon Princes, the reward for exceptionally perverse and dedicated service to their profane god.
The vast majority who tread the Path to Glory have not the strength to contain the mutating power of the Warp, however, and are transformed into Chaos Spawn: Without the Warp, the Imperium would cease to meaningfully exist. It is only by voyaging through the Sea of Souls, where the rational laws of time and space have no meaning, that it is possible to maintain a galaxy-spanning empire at all.
Equally, Mankind relies upon those gifted with psychic powers for interstellar communication. Control over the worlds of the Imperium would be impossible without the Warp. It is via the soul that the beings within the Warp interact with the physical universe, poisoning the hearts and minds of men with the unutterable madness that is their being.
The connection flows both ways; for mortal passions feed the Warp, and from these concentrated storms of emotion came sentient creatures of horrid design. These are the Chaos Gods, manifestations of the worst excesses of living creatures. Billions will live or die by our actions here, and we have not the luxury to count the cost. These are bolstered with towering war machines that bestride the battlefields like gods of metal, and black-clad assassins able to infiltrate enemy armies by changing their bodies to mimic those of their foe.
These warriors and untold more give their lives every day to stem the relentless tide of insurrection, invasion, and incursion, but there are those who occupy a unique position in the ranks of the servants of the Emperor and are feared above all others. These are the Inquisitors—or simply the Inquisition. An Inquisitor calls no man master save the Emperor, and the Inquisition owes no fealty to any in the Adeptus Terra or beyond.
The Inquisition serves in the name of the Emperor, and its origins are shrouded in the calamitous age of the Horus Heresy and its aftermath. Each Inquisitor is an individual empowered with the means, will, and authority to face any threat that might assail Mankind, whether that threat emanates from within, without, or beyond. It is within the purview of an Inquisitor to order an entire world burned, that the taint of heresy might not infect a surrounding sector, or to take command of a whole army in order to combat an enemy only he knows how to face.
Each knows that the only thing worse than the deeds they must commit to protect Mankind, would be the outcome should they not act. Each Inquisitor is a unique individual, for to be blessed with the will to bear such a burden one must exist apart from the common ranks of Mankind. Some are bombastic ideologues, while others operate in silence and keep to the shadows. Some are warriors of peerless ability, while others are puppet masters who fight their wars by proxy.
Some are blessed with the power of the psyker, while others abhor witches and hunt them down wherever they hide. Inquisitors commonly recruit others to aid them in their duty.
Most of these agents are blessed with specialised skills and abilities the Inquisitor himself does not have or cannot bring to bear at a given time and place. All are expendable, though not all realise it, as indeed the Inquisitor is too in his service to the Emperor.
Each Inquisitor fights for Mankind in his own manner, with his own approach to deal with what he views as the direst of enemies.
There are many concentrations of thought amongst them concerning tactics and threats. These are the Ordos, with the three largest focused on combatting one of the great threats to Mankind: All Inquisitors associate themselves with an Ordo; in some sectors, they might A 18 gather in mighty fortresses to issue proclamations and train successors, while in others the Ordos exist more as loose connections of shared information and assets.
How each Inquisitor serves in an Ordo in his sector is as unique as the Inquisitor himself, as is how other Inquisitors might honour or impugn the actions of their fellow members.
Some are firebrands who stir up the masses in order to prosecute bloody pogroms against mutant populations. Others are masters of dogma who hunt the enemies of the Emperor not in the habways of hive cities but in the pages of texts, diatribes, and epistles. The Inquisitors of the Ordo Hereticus prosecute the enemies of Mankind within its own ranks, uncovering treachery, mutation, and witchcraft wherever it may be found. They swoop down upon entire divisions of the Adeptus Terra in search of a single scribe hiding his mutation beneath his ink-stained robes.
They execute the most senior of generals for failing to eliminate a suspected psyker in his ranks.
They burn cardinals of the Ecclesiarchy for allowing suspected heretical cults to flourish beneath them, twisting the Imperial Creed to the worship of the Dark Gods.
Other Witch Hunters are blessed with these powers and use them against their foes, believing they honour the deeds of the Emperor himself, the font of all power and the greatest psyker ever to have walked the land.
Many Witch Hunters are also infamously schooled in the dark arts of torture and can use them to extract a confession even from the most unwilling subject. Where there is an enemy hiding within, the fires of the Ordo Hereticus are ready to burn and purify.
They are masters at hunting down inhuman species and detecting them when they seek to infest the Imperium. They study the spread of xenos empires advancing across the stars themselves and marshal the armies of man to oppose such expansion. They breach tombs constructed before humanity even evolved, seeking out and destroying slumbering enemies before they can awaken.
They even seek the taint of the xenos at levels other men cannot even perceive, such as the genetic and the psychic, for the alien has countless means of attacking, enslaving, and preying upon Mankind.
The Ordo Xenos is ever vigilant for alien invasion or incursion from any quarter, even from outside the galaxy. Some races even sleep beneath the cities of Man, awaiting some pre-coded signal or portent to rise up and retake the world of their birth. Others lurk in the depths of planets long settled by humanity, only occasionally preying upon the intruders.
Some occupy worlds seemingly devoid of recognisable life, while a few exist in other dimensions, feeding and breeding before vanishing with only befouled corpses in their wake.
The alien also threatens through its very inhuman existence, twisting men through perverse philosophies or mechanisms. When combat escalates, the Ordo Xenos often calls on the Deathwatch. The Deathwatch is a unique Chapter amongst the Adeptus Astartes, one formed from Space Marines from other Chapters selected for their skill and experience in fighting the xenos.
The most senior Inquisitors within the Ordo Xenos work alongside these mighty warriors and occasionally accompany them into battle, the two forces fighting as one to stem the inexorable tide of the alien foes of Mankind. There can be no rest against this threat, no negotiation or peace with inhuman races. Wherever the alien dares exist, the fists of the Ordo Xenos, backed with the righteous strength of humanity, ensure none survive. They guard against attempts by men to tap into the power of the Warp, and to combat the forces of the Warp when they attempt to break through from the Realm of Chaos.
Most men have no idea of the awful truth of the existence of the Warp, never knowing that travel to other stars requires passage through that hellish realm. Preachers in hive parishes warn of the consequences of evil deeds and admonish those who would have truck with evil powers, without any true understanding of the horrors they speak of.
Missionaries on pilgrim transports beseech their shipmates to raise their prayers during travel between the stars to assure safe passage, but are ignorant of the denizens outside their vessels hungrily eyeing their souls. The Ordo Malleus knows these truths and more, for they are the Daemonhunters and know what menaces lurk in the Warp as well as how to fight them. To belong to the Ordo Malleus is to bear the same soulshattering, sanity-searing knowledge that is held within the many accursed tomes of those who worship or utilise the unholy power of the Warp.
They must match mortal flesh against Immaterium, against raw emotion spun into nightmares that walk the weeping earth. Light itself shatters on the Daemon, their forms burning retinal scars even through closed eyes. To those with their souls unwarded against the corruption of the Warp, reading the secret name of a Daemon is to rip the thin veil of reality asunder and call that thing into terrible existence, a folly that can only result in the immediate death of the summoner and the subsequent damnation of his soul.
Yet the Daemonhunters do this and more; but for their struggle, the Ruinous Powers would surely conquer humanity and feast on its souls for all eternity. When their investigations uncover a threat even they cannot combat, the Daemonhunters of the Ordo Malleus call upon the Grey Knights, a Chapter of the Adeptus Astartes entirely devoted to the battle against the Daemons of Chaos. Every Grey Knight is a peerless warrior, a paladin of supreme martial skill and psychic ability, though their numbers are vanishingly small compared to the daemonic forces against which they stand.
Alongside these allies, the Daemonhunters fight an impossible war of terrible stakes. Using an unearthed manuscript, a cult might open a gateway allowing creatures to pour forth in a tide of corrupting filth, poisoning an entire world.
Against these threats and more, the hammer of the Ordo Malleus is raised, prepared to smite the Daemon back to its foul realm. These can also be tasks where a character pits himself against another character, such as interrogation attempts to force a captured cultist to reveal the meeting locations of other heretics.
Players resolve these tests using dice rolls. To determine if a test is successful or not, players compare the results of a dice roll to a target level that the GM sets. A Desoleum bounty hunter, well-schooled in violence, would normally have no problem hitting a fleeing oath-deserter with his trusty laspistol.
It is through these tests and results that the players progress through the story they are creating. These tests are not just rolls, though, for the players also should invest roleplaying into task I 20 descriptions and dice resolutions. This brings the events to life, and makes for memorable games. The more players put into this aspect of the game, the more rewarding their adventures become. During this, he allows the players to act in the game world—making decisions, interacting with characters, and then rolling dice to decide the outcome of the story.
Structured time covers combat and other time-sensitive actions, and is detailed in Chapter VII: Narrative time includes travel, social interaction, exploration, and other instances when time is not of the essence, and is covered in Chapter VIII: Narrative Time.
Characteristic values range from 1 to and the higher the characteristic is, the more raw talent the character has in that particular area. Characteristics are modified by external factors such as skills, and can be improved in a number of temporary and permanent ways. For more information on how to generate characteristics and how they relate to character generation, see Chapter II: Character Creation.
For example, a character with a Strength of 42 would have a Strength bonus of 4. Characters with high Weapon Skill values are excellent warriors, renowned with a chainsword or even their bare hands. A high Ballistic Skill indicates a character is an excellent marksman, someone to be rightly feared in a fire-fight or shootout. A high Strength characteristic value allows a character to lift heavier objects and punch a foe harder.
High Agility can allow a character to manipulate delicate machinery with finesse, or keep his footing when crossing treacherous terrain. A character with a strong Intelligence value can recall huge volumes of data, correlate esoteric clues, or determine if an ancient archaeotech relic is genuine or not. A character who has a high Perception value can pick out a stray bolter shell casing left amidst an underhive morass, or tell when someone is being deceitful. High Willpower allows a character to exert control over a crowd of near-rioting hab workers or interrogate a captured heretic.
It is also often used when wielding and resisting psychic powers. Chapter I: Having a strong Fellowship makes for a character who can ingratiate himself into a gathering of suspicious forge menials or make skilled trades with wily vendors.
High Influence can allow a character to quickly summon the aid of local military forces to his side, or arrange for fast transit to another star system. Unlike the other characteristics, Influence changes only as a character performs actions: Listen to the Game Master. During a session, it is best to let the Game Master adjudicate things, and trust in his judgment.
Letting things run their course in this way is usually the best way to keep having fun. Of course, any GM who tries to use Rule Zero to justify decisions that keep the game from being fun soon finds that he lacks a group of players.
Remember, the goal of the game is always for everyone to have an enjoyable time. Clear and open communication is essential to keeping a gaming group going—just recognise that mid-session is not always an appropriate time for it! For example, a 3d10 roll would consist of three dice rolled and added together for a total result between 3 and This follows the same process as above, but the player or GM divides the result on each ten-sided die by two and rounds up, to create a result between 1 and 5 for each die.
Percentile d Roll: When required to make a percentile roll, the player or GM generates a number between 1 and by rolling two ten-sided dice. One designated before the roll is the tens digit; the other is the ones digit. Two 0s represents In this case, the result from the dice is added or subtracted to the fixed modifier to gain the final result.
Note that if the final result is less than zero then it counts as zero unless a rule particularly states otherwise. Sometimes, a special rule can allow a player to re-roll the dice. When this happens, the second result must be used, even if it is worse than the original result.
When two or more multipliers apply to a value, add them together to form a single multiple, with each multiplier beyond the first adding 1 less than its value to the first multiplier. The following steps are used to determine if the character succeeds in a test: Determine Value: Determine the value of the characteristic or skill being tested. Apply Modifiers: Roll Dice: Make a percentile roll. If the result of the percentile roll is less than or equal to the target number, then the test succeeds.
Otherwise, the test fails. The player then references his character sheet and obtains the value associated with that skill or characteristic. This value will be a number between 1 and Add all modifiers together to obtain the final modifier.
Then, the GM adds the final modifier to the value of the characteristic or skill to obtain the target number used for the percentile roll. It is possible that the target number will be greater than or less than 0, but the target number is typically between 1 and If the result of the percentile roll is 1, the test automatically succeeds, even if the target number is less than 1. Likewise, if the result is , then the test automatically fails, even if the target number is greater than Talents are unique abilities and proficiencies that a character possesses either through his intrinsic nature or from years of hard-won experience.
Quick Draw, the ability very rapidly pull a weapon and ready it for use, is a talent. Finally, traits are those abilities a character possesses by virtue of birth, mutation, or innate circumstance. Dark-sight, the ability to see in complete darkness, is a trait, as it is not something humans are normally able to do.
More information on skills can be found in Chapter III: Skills, and information on talents and traits can be found in Chapter IV: Talents and Traits.
Each skill is governed by a corresponding characteristic, which sets the base level of the skill on a scale of 1— For example, Dodge is governed by the Agility characteristic, and Scrutiny is governed by the Perception characteristic.
To make a skill test, the Core Mechanic is used. The player first adds all relevant positive and negative modifiers determined by the Game Master to the governing characteristic. Once the final result is tallied, the player then makes a percentile roll. A skill test succeeds if the result of the percentile roll is equal to or less than the final target number after all modifiers are applied.
A skill test fails if the result of the percentile roll is higher than the final target number after all modifiers are applied. Succeeding at a skill test is always easier if a character has training in the skill being tested.
A character can attempt to use any skill untrained, but does so at a heavy disadvantage. For more about skill tests and their penalties and benefits, see page Not knowing if they are part of the cult or not, she wishes to spin a tale that she was seeking out a nearby market to explain her presence without tipping the group to her true objectives. The GM decides a Deceive test is in order to fool the scavengers.
Unfortunately, Rhia has no training in the Deceive skill, and so must make the test with a —20 penalty. As her Fellowship is a 42, she must roll a result of 22 or lower in order to succeed. Breaking through a reinforced door or resisting torture are two tasks that call for characteristic tests. Again, the Core Mechanic is used. First the Game Master determines the most appropriate characteristic for the test, then the player makes a percentile roll.
If the roll is less than or equal to the characteristic after any modifiers are applied, then the test is successful. If the roll is higher than the characteristic after any modifiers are applied, then the test fails. Table 1—1: Ballistic Skill Make an attack with a ranged weapon.
Strength Break down a door, restrain a captive, push over a massive grox. Toughness Resist poison or disease, tolerate extremes of temperature, stave off mutation, resist hunger. Agility Determine Initiative in combat, maintain balance on a narrow surface, navigate treacherous terrain.
Intelligence Recall an important detail, identify a familiar face, solve a puzzle. Perception Notice a hidden enemy, locate a secret door, gauge a person's attitude. Willpower Resist torture or psychic powers, manifest psychic powers. Fellowship Deceive or charm others, make a good impression, inspire confidence. Influence Requisition new weapons or gear, obtain services or aid. Therefore, particularly simple tests such as driving a ground car along an open road, climbing a ladder, or writing routine reports can be passed automatically, without any test needed.
A good guideline is that if the test would not have any consequences for failing, the GM should not call for a text. There are times, however, when it is helpful to know just how well a character has succeeded at a given task, or just how badly he has failed.
This is of particular importance with social skills, such as Charm and Inquiry, as well as during some combat situations such as when firing an automatic weapon, which can score additional hits depending on the roll. Once the percentile roll for the test is made, compare the outcome of the roll with the modified characteristic score.
If the roll is equal to or lower than the characteristic, the character has gained one degree of success DoS. He also gains additional degrees of success equal to the tens digit of the target value minus the tens digit of the roll. Conversely, if the roll is higher than the characteristic, the character has gained one degree of failure DoF , and gains additional degrees of failure equal to the tens digit of the roll minus the tens digit of the target value.
She fires the moment they appear over a pile of ancient debris, and her player makes a Ballistic Skill test to see how well she did.
Rhia has a Ballistic Skill of 51, and her player rolls a 13—a great shot! Many of the cultists are sure to be hit and hopefully eradicated, the proper fate for any heretic. In cases such as these, the Game Master can require multiple skill tests to complete the task. This is known as an Extended test. In general, each skill states within its description whether it requires an Extended test. However, the GM should adjust the time represented by each test to best suit the situation and the needs of his campaign.
In an Opposed test, each participant makes his appropriate test normally and whoever succeeds wins the test.
If both parties succeed, the party with the most degrees of success wins the test. If the number of successes is equal, then the party with the highest characteristic bonus wins. If there is still a tie, then the lowest die roll wins. Should both parties fail, then one of two things occurs: The GM calls for an Opposed Strength test to determine who gets control of the weapon. The GM roll for the cultist, scoring a 22 as well, but the cultist has a Strength of just 28 he only scores 1 degree of success.
Rhia maintains control over her trusty autogun, and can continue to cleanse the area of the foul cultists. Driving an autocarriage across an open field is one thing, while racing through a ruined, debrischoked underhive while under heavy fire is quite another. The question, however, is just how much harder is it to drive the autocarriage through the underhive?
Some tests can even require multiple modifiers depending on the various factors involved in the attempt. In these cases, the modifiers are added to create the final bonus or penalty to be applied.
One of her fellow Acolytes is more learned though, and she is able to contact him on a secure vox channel for aid. Rhia and her warband cannot rest—they now must race to determine why the cult needed the planet isolated. Perhaps the heretics planned an uprising and wanted to ensure no loyalist reinforcements would be possible, or wanted to keep valuable targets from escaping EXAMPLE Rhia has dispatched the cultists, and now wishes to quickly search the decrepit hovel for further information on their activities.
It is dark, and she is in a hurry and also unfamiliar with the location. The GM decides to impose a —20 penalty on her attempt, meaning instead of needing to score equal to or under her Perception of 42 on the Awareness test, she now needs to roll a 22 or less.
The Emperor is surely with her this day, as she gets a 21 and discovers an unfamiliar mechanical object secreted deep in the dank bowels underneath the outpost. Purge the Unclean. Creatures Anathema. Dark Heresy Core Rulebook.
Game Master's Kit. Living Errata v3. Shattered Hope. The Edge of Darkness. Apocrypha Timeline. Heed the Higher Call. Heresy Begets Retribution. Salvation Demands Sacrifice. The Lost Dataslate. Blood of Martyrs. Book of Judgement. Daemon Hunter. Disciples of the Dark Gods. Radical's Handbook.
The Inquisitor's Handbook. The Lathe Worlds. Character Sheet. Character Sheet writeable. Extended Character Sheet Printer Friendly. Home World and Career Mementos. Dark Heresy Official Errata 3.