Anyone that tells you being a Space-Pirate is an easy life knows no more than what a few entertainment holo-vids can tell. Our command structure is volatile at the best of times, and when you're into piracy as a family business it's never the best of times. In theory, I'm the Captain of the 'Void-Ghost', with a ten point stake and the final say on navigation. In practice, if I don't keep Red Raelyn happy (that's my wife) and more serious still, Dola Shrill (my mother-in-law) then I'm as good as blown out the waste pipe.
Like I said, Pelegosto was supposed to be easy. My brother-in-law, Black Bill, went down with an advance party to carry out a simple recon. Except that's the last we heard of him. The squat castle we identified as the head honcho's lair was supposed to be full of precious metals and other loot. Instead, if the last static-ridden transmissions Bill voxed back are anything to go by; it's full of damned monsters. 'Stealers, has to be. I seen a lot of crazy stuff in my life as a pirate, and we found ourselves a nest of 'Stealers, sure as the void's black and merciless. Now I got Red and Ma giving me the evil eye and foot-tapping routine because I won't go down there. I told 'em, 'Bill's a goner' I explained. Couldn't argue with that. Except they did of course.
Ah, who am I kidding. I'll be heading down as soon as I can get some boys together.
This was a fantastic game of Rogue Trader Thantsants and I played recently. Thantsants' had the scenario ready to go for another project but with a few tweaks and name changes we had ourselves a whole new narrative whilst retaining the opportunity to do a bit of play-testing. The idea was to emphasise the need to pass leadership tests to relay orders to add an element of 'fog' and to concentrate on telling a story rather than winning. As such the objectives and forces involved are fairly fluid. I needed to infiltrate first the shanty-town and then the castle in order to rescue Black Bill from the clutches of a Genestealer Cult while Thantsants played the part of the cultists who were on heightened alert after capturing the recon party.
I have available to me Captain 'Bloody' Sam Reade (major hero), the first mate (minor hero), a rogue psyker (level 2), a heavy plasma gunner, a heavy stubber gunner, a grenade launcher operator and 16 other pirates with assorted pistols and rifles.
The Cult's leadership is holed up in a castle, the largest building on Pelegosto. Around the castle is a run-down, miserable shanty-town occupied by peasants and used as a barracks for several corrupted PDF units. As the story begins, security is stepped up and the local militia units have been called up to provide extra patrols.
The road is the main approach to the castle, it leads to the front gate and has a right fork that goes around the castle. Buildings are corrugated plasteel and timber. There is an area of dense vegetation on the south side of the road. The area is thick with militia and Cult vehicles.
Somehow, Captain 'Bloody' Sam Reade (that's him in the tricorne at the back) must lead his band of 20-odd ruthless coves against the might of an entire Genestealer Cult, rescue his brother-in-law and live to tell the tale. Yaargh!
Reade has split his force into four groups of five men (and ladies). Three groups approach the castle using the jail as cover from the patrols lead by Reade himself while the First Mate, Yellow Yates the Swift, takes the fourth group (which contains the plasma cannon) on a right flanking manouevre.
Unfortunately, Yellow Yates fails to keep his unit quiet and the jingling of earrings accompanied by some muttered cursing leads to a group of militia coming over to investigate.
Planetary Governor, Nohm Bertoo, just pops to the loo to have a read of the newspaper. The walls are exceptionally thick and insulate all sound from the outside, an unfortunate coincidence.
The first mate's unit stumbles unwittingly into a militia patrol and fire off a few shots in panic, one of the militia keels over with a fatal gut-shot but most of the shooting goes wild. As more militia run towards the sound of fighting the situation looks grim for the pirates.
Alerted by the crack of Las-fire and Autogun rounds a squad of Brood Brother PDF piles out of their barracks and takes up a position behind their transport vehicle.
Confused about what has gone wrong, Captain Reade orders the unit armed with pistols and swords to use stealth to infiltrate towards the castle through the undergrowth on the south side. Reade hangs back with two groups and his psyker, Mento, to act as a reserve and set up a fire-base in the jail.
A pair of patrolling guards seem sure to stumble into the pirates before they get set.
The Brethren find it difficult to figure out quite what's going on and elect to hold their position to provide cover fire for the militia.
Though the plucky pirates give as good as they get for a while, the tide turns against them and casualties start to mount up.
Reade's infiltrators make it past the patrolling pair of guards as silent as ghosts and fade away into the vegetation.
Reade himself manages to get his fire-base in position on the roof of the jail and now has virtually the entire shanty-town covered. He decides to leave the first mate to his fate and use his demise as a diversion.
The pirates on the roof can see their first mate and his unit being torn to shreds but dare not intervene and give away their position just yet.
Overwhelmed, Yates and two survivors eventually rout and flee towards safety. They are hotly pursued by the fanatic militia.
As a large block of militia hove into view, the grenade launcher operator simply cannot resist the target opportunity and pops off a frag round into their midst. many are killed and a volley of rifle fire cause further casualties.
One of the pirates splits their fire off at the patrolling guards, killing one. The other panics and flees.
The infiltrators are deep within the lush, alien flora now and proceed to make steady progress towards the castle.
The appearance of a local transport carrying some miners home causes a moment of concern but it passes by without incident enabling the infiltrators to continue unnoticed. Phew!
The Brethren are concerned by the outburst of fresh gunfire and advance upon the jail to counter this new threat.
Yellow Yates has managed to shake off his pursuer who got caught in a wayward blast from the grenade launcher! This gives him the opportunity to rally unexpectedly! He fails, and heads for the hills.
The rooftop unit sprays rounds in all directions as they become surrounded by brethren and militia. Reade hangs back to provide support but cannot risk becoming too separated from his infiltrators if the rescue is to succeed.
Whooping militia, fresh from their victory over Yates' mob, scramble towards the jail.
Another round from the grenade launcher kills two of the Brethren.
The lone survivor of the guard patrol rallies and is absorbed into the Brethren unit.
Finally, the infiltrators exit the dense undergrowth at the base of an empty watchtower. They find an empty truck and begin to formulate a plan, but just at that moment a large unit of Brethren reinforcements pours out of the castle front gate.
Will the pirates be able to gain entry to the castle without the plasma cannon? Will the isolated infiltrators be discovered by the Brethren reinforcements? Will the rooftop pirates be overwhelmed in a last stand? Will Captain Reade's wife ever be able to explain all this to mother? Will Governor Nohm Bertoo ever finish in the toilet? Stay tuned for all these answers and more in the next exciting chapter of: Fifteen Raking Claw-Gouges on a Dead Man's Chest!
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