Jan 4, 2013

The Tellian Sector Returns!

The Tellian Sector returns!
The link has:

A big map of the Tellian Sector I created using Hexographer
An Excel 2007 spreadsheet with planetary profiles for 44 systems with 136 described locations
An Excel 2007 spreadsheet with stats for 15 espionage organisations active in the Tellian System (several are sector-wide)

This was created with the Stars Without Number planetary generator. This is the setting I created for my 40K games. I've used it in three campaigns using the actual 40K games (Dark Heresy, Rogue Trader and Deathwatch), and I'll be using it in future when I run 40K games using Stars Without Number.

The Tellian Sector is adjacent to the Calixis Sector, the basic setting for Dark Heresy. Specifically, it is almost directly below it, with its "top" side touching the galactic plane and extending downards. Proximity to the Calixis Sector and the Koronus Expanse allows referees to repurpose material from their Dark Heresy and Rogue Trader books with a minimum of fuss.

Some of the tags in the above planetary profiles are different than in stock Stars Without Number. They are all direct conversions of existing tags - "Unbraked AI" becomes "Silica Animus", the term in the setting for AIs. "Regional hegemon" becomes either "subsector hegemon" or "sector hegemon", "preceptor archive" is "ancient archive", "aliens" become "xenos", "psionics" become "psykers", "pretech cultists" are "tech priest cult", "perimeter agency" becomes "inquisition outpost".

There's also a new tech level, "specialist 4", which is a world with Tech 4 in most respects, but Tech 5 in one or two.

The Tellian Sector tends to focus on the elements of 40K I like the most, and downplay or ignore those elements I least wanted to tell stories involving. There is a lot of malign technology, rogue psykers, Chaos cults, and inscrutable xenos. Orks, Tyranids and Necrons are not present in any great numbers, but there are plenty of Xeno-controlled worlds that could be repurposed to those ends, particularly Washout, Crux Ultima and the Devil's Egg.

The stories I've told using the Tellian Sector primarily focus on the machinations of an arch-heretic named Valentine Illst and his various cronies, particularly a Dark Mechanicus sect known as the Statisticians of Certainty, and a Nurgle cult known as the Black Dawn. Both Illst's core organisation, the Statisticians of Certainty and the Black Dawn are statted up in the espionage organisation section (based on the system in Darkness Visible). If there's demand for it, I can also stat them up as factions using the core rules.

Originally, this was all part of a mega-campaign ("The Navigator of Possibilities") where I would run one campaign / adventure in each FFG 40K system focusing on an interwoven narrative.

The first adventure was a Dark Heresy adventure focusing on a Black Ship that had dropped out of a convoy while transporting a former Interrogator turned heretic, a Mechanicus Magos working for the Inquisition, a dozen or so alpha psykers, and a mysterious artifact known as the Navigator of Possibilities, a communication from the residents of a possible future trying to invade their own past and cannibalise it. The cell managed to stop these foul psyker-vampire mutants from invading our timeline en masse and consuming all life in the galaxy.

The second was a Rogue Trader adventure in which a Rogue Trader crew was asked to find and pinpoint the location of the Statisticians of Certainty, who had captured the Navigator of Possibilities with the help of arch-heretic Valentine Illst. The Statisticians of Certainty had fled into the Lost Worlds, beyond the edge of the Imperium intending to activate the Navigator of Possibilities, travel to the far future, and become techno-gods. This adventure ended with the Navigator of Possibility recaptured, and the Statisticians of Certainty's main fleet crushed, though many of their members escaped. The mysterious pre-Imperial demigod Azar, a supergenius alpha-psyker from the Dark Age of Technology released from his imprisonment on a lost world by the Rogue Trader, was seen vanishing into the future with several of the Dark Mechanicus and the psyker-vampires.

The third was a Deathwatch campaign in which this sudden burst of activity by Valentine Illst was registered by his old foe, an Inquisitor-Lord on Ammis unable to travel between the star due to a daemon's vendetta. A kill team of Deathwatch marines was assigned to hunt down Illst (who is possibly any one of a Xeno pretending to be human, a Silica Animus remotely operating a doppleganger, or a colonist from the Dark Age of Technology resurrected over and over again by infernal science). The kill team captured Titus Hyle, Nurglish sorcerer and master of the Black Dawn, slew several others among Illst's cronies, and eventually captured Illst himself after leading an Imperial naval fleet into the Black Atlantis dyson sphere.

The Black Crusade game, if I ever run it, will be about breaking Illst free of the Inquisition's headquarters on Ammis, and recovering the Navigator of Possibilities from the same.

The Only War adventure is a secret until I run Black Crusade, but will involve Illst and his cronies once again. Azar will show up here again, and the nature of his mysterious connection the Illst matter resolved.