You have been told of the Inquisition; that shadowy organisation which defends Mankind and the Emperor from the perils of heresy, possession, alien dominance and rebellion.
You have been told the Inquisition are the ultimate defence against the phantoms of fear and terror which lurk in the darkness between the stars.
You have been told the Inquisition are the bright saviours in an eclipse of evil; purest and most devoted warriors of the Emperor.
You have been told the Inquisition is united in its cause to rid the galaxy of any threat, from without or within.
Everything you have been told is a lie!
These are the first words written in one of my favourite games that GW has ever released. Inquisitor was a sea change in direction and style in game design for them, a “narrative wargame” it had no points values, no missions and a bewildering variety of weapons and equipment – all of which made a difference to how your characters could perform. It was the most detailed wargame I had ever played – more of a roleplaying game really – and still has one of my favourite close combat systems, it can model everything from a fist fight to a clash of power sword vs. force halberd and do so all satisfactorily. It also came with the Eisenhorn series which was a massive inspiration and is still – I think – the best books black library have released. We played a ton of it back in the day and the freedom to expand the universe of warhammer 40,000 beyond the battlefield was intoxicating and inspirational.
But there was a teensy, tiny problem. It was played with 54mm models. Fantastic miniatures, lovely sculpts – for the most part – but the lack of a wide range made it tough to create much variety without prodigious skill. There was an even bigger problem too, scenery. We all had 28mm scenery but with the models being twice as large it meant that you needed a whole extra collection of scenery or go back to piles of books. Slightly dissatisfactory. Recently we have been debating a solution, drop Inquisitor from 54mm to 28mm.
Of course, it turned out that we hadn’t stumbled on to the last original idea; there is already a large and growing community of people playing what they call Inq28 (link follows through to a nice hub for Inq28 sites). We needed to get in on the action.
We are going to try a very different way of playing these sorts of roleplaying/narrative wargames. We are all going to be players and we are all going to be GMs. All of us are going to make a warband (roughly 3-8 combat figures) and ALSO, we are going to make a set of adversaries and adventures for the others to fight. We will have our very own sandbox and will populate it with bad guys, plots, schemes, cults and the like. Our Inquisitors will just be far too busy to investigate our own adventures. We’ll share the stories of our adventures and will build the sandbox into a nifty little setting all of our own.
Preparation and planning:
Charlie and Maisey are currently hammering out the rules we’ll be using, there’ll be more on that later I have no doubt. I took on the challenge of crafting the bare bones of the sandbox. A small subsector of the Segmentum Pacificus called Cetus.
I’ve written a paragraph of flavour text for each inhabitable system in the style of a Navigator’s encyclopaedia with just enough information to tantalise as to the possible adventures available. Each GM will then flesh it out nicely as they write adventures, create settlements, NPC’s, histories and dread activities. Should be a laugh! Below is presented the Navis Nobilite guide to the sector along with some prettied up prop versions if anyone wants them! We’ve got parchment pages and also a computer printout at the bottom; I just couldn’t decide which I preferred so you got both! Enjoy:
Navis Nobilite reference document
Being a Gazetteer of the Cetus Subsector of the Segmentum Pacificus.
The Cetus (Kay-tuss) subsector is an oft-overlooked area within the Segmentum Pacificus - no great crusades or widespread conflicts have swept through the area since the The Macharian Crusades reunified the Segmentum. As a result it is largely ignored by the more bombastic histories. It is too close to the Halo Stars for Terra to truly trust it with the more important assets and too far from Hydraphur to be closely monitored. However, the unrest currently sweeping the Segmentum Pacificus is causing broad Inquisitorial scrutiny to be cast upon Cetus for the first time in centuries. Take caution when trading that you do not draw their eye upon you.
Systems of the Cetus Subsector:
All systems described in terms of their primary habitable world – named for the system, unless specified otherwise. Uninhabitable torrid inner planets, Jovian exoplanets and frigid planetoids are ignored unless specifically occupied to a significant capacity.
Cetus Major is the subsector capital and the administrative centre of the region. Its primary
habitable world is in the process of advancing from a Gamma-type civilised world to an Eta-type Hive world with the constant expansion of its largest city. As a result of the thirst for raw materials for building and to improve the docking capacity for spacefaring vessels, the two airless moons are being heavily mined, militarised and undergoing geoplasty to become a pair of giant orbiting space docks.
Once, Dheneb was humid, green and verdant. Now it is a dead world. Cometary impact triggered a global extinction event, and the planet is now a dusty rock. Nonetheless it possesses an atmosphere, and the lost forests have left staggeringly rich fossil fuel deposits. The mechanicum have claimed the Dheneb system for their own and the Administratum of Cetus Major are happy enough with the tithes of promethium to let them have it unopposed and unmonitored. It is for all intents and purposes a protectorate of Mars not Terra.
Sparsely populated agrarian world with extensive oceans and abundant sea life. Primarily engaged in exporting foodstuffs to Cetus Major and Dheneb. Particularly famed for its clams.
One of the many worlds named in honour of Solar Macharius. Simple Gamma-class civilised world, only point of renown is the gleaming Macharian Cathedral in the capital decorated with the embedded shell cases of a million regiments recovered from the battlefields of the Segmentum.
Were it not for the planet’s incredible mineral wealth, the Imperium would abandon Ariscone - it is infested with a silicon-based termite-like species roughly the size of a grox and utterly inimical to human life. The termite hives dot the landscape and the alkaline rain that sweeps the storm-wracked skies can turn the unwary to soapy bones. Mining and mercenary corporations run Ariscone and try to extract as much wealth as possible before the conditions and wildlife force them off-world. Most of the administration of the world takes place in the Ariscone Orbital, a large space station in geostationary position over the Northern Pole. It is a bustling and borderline-lawless place.
Baeten was a fairly ordinary, post-terraformed world before Ariscone was prospected. As the
nearest world to that hellhole it was ideally placed to take advantage of the vast mineral wealth being generated by the mining companies. Unregulated growth led to old plants and refineries being abandoned in favour of new ones. The industry moves on and leaves behind it the poisoned skeletons of factories, refineries and ore processing. Where the manufactorum guilds are in operation, Baeten is a thriving, Imperial world. The abandoned sectors – referred to as NoGo in the local patois – are sinks of poverty, gang violence and anarchy. Avoid.
Mira is the gatehouse to the Cetus Nebula. It is a civilised world trying to grow and develop but its extreme proximity to Mu-814 and the disruptive radiation pulses mean that it is harder to attract business.
Mu-814 is a pulsar called the Cetus Lighthouse. It can help to determine the truth of Empyreal Mirages on the route in to the subsector.
Paracus is a ghost world. Haunted, even, if you believe the rumours. Once it was a thriving Imperial Feudal world with designs on urbanisation and industrialisation. Then a contagion spread through the population. Panic and rioting killed hundreds of thousands. The Imperium evacuated the Ecclesiarchy and the Administratum and then placed the planet under quarantine interdiction. The interdiction is due to lapse in fifty years.
Cetus Minor is at the heart of the Cetus Nebula and is the centre of the rimward cluster that makes up the furthest reach of the subsector. As a result, despite being a minor Industrial/Civilised world it has become an important administrative hub for the Rimward cluster and is considered second only to Cetus Major despite other worlds being richer or more suitable.
Agri-world, investigated twice for importing illegal xenosform crops.
Has no habitable worlds. One rocky exoplanet has a large Imperial research station investigating the Cetus Nebula for interesting and lucrative phenomena. It is hoped that it will rival the Piscean nebula where gaseous tritium and heavy metal dust clouds made the Rogue Trader Brassrick his unimaginable fortune. It is rumoured that it is also a long range listening post and intelligence gathering operation for the Ordo Xenos regarding the Halo Stars.
Penal Colony. The only habitable world is a dead rock with a barely breathable atmosphere. Rumour indicates that the high fatality rate covers the sale of prisoners to unscrupulous captains from Erydimae as either pressganged crews or as slave cargo…
Erydimae has made quite an industry out of being a waypoint for ships heading out into the Halo Stars; you will not find a better or more attentive resupply and dry-docking centre in the sector. Its labour, though, comes from alien and mutant ghettos. Cetus Minor turns a blind eye to the goings on there as the above-required tithes are welcome. Cetus Major, though, is starting to worry that minor abhuman missions and embassies are becoming settlements. A clash is imminent and inevitable. Tread carefully.
Rift is a garden world, the most rimward of the Cetus subsector and thus closest to the Halo.
Civilisation hasn’t advanced this far but the abundant animal life and the large carnivores that prey upon it are a common resource for hunters and rogue traders.
And that is it! Expect a lot more from this over the next year. Exciting times.
And that is it! Expect a lot more from this over the next year. Exciting times.