Jan 9, 2024

A Quick Answer: The Statisticians of Certainty

 A couple of comments asked about the Statisticians of Certainty that I mentioned in the previous post, and why they wanted to travel to the future. Since they won't feature directly in the current campaign, it's easy for me to answer.

A bit of background: Between 2009 and 2012, I ran a series of linked campaigns using Dark Heresy 1e, Rogue Trader, and Deathwatch which were all set in the Tellian sector. The Statisticians of Certainty, a Dark Mechanicus cult focused on time travel, were one of the main antagonists of all three campaigns, along with a Nurgle cult called "The Black Dawn", a psyker named "Nebruzon" who could copy his mind into other people to create a hive mind, and a guy named "Valentine Illst" who was essentially the last surviving Man of Gold and a perpetual, endlessly revived and sent to wage terroristic guerilla war against the Imperium by a rogue AI (my one-sentence write-up of his initial idea was "The Joker but a Cylon").

The first campaign was about the Statisticians getting ahold of a transmission they called the "Navigator of Possibility" (recorded on a big crystal that was dug out of the ground on an obscure planet) that would allow them to create and open up a portal to various possible futures. They wanted to open one up to a future in which the Omnissiah had returned and the goal of total knowledge of the universe had been obtained. The Navigator was a trap, of course. It had been sent back in time from a future in which humanity ascended as a race of psychic vampires, consumed all other sentient life in the universe, and was slowly starving to death as the universe wound down. The plan? Come back in time and cannibalize the past to keep on living.

The Dark Heresy campaign started off with a missing Black Ship that had been resdiscovered, now unresponsive to hails. The PCs were sent over to board it and investigate, and long story short, one of the Statisticians had taken over the ship and had harnessed six alpha-level psykers in storage as a battery to test-fire the gate. Many explosions ensued, a few psychic vampire escaped into our universe, but things ended up more or less safe for a while.

The Rogue Trader campaign focused on the Statisticians' second go at it, when they travelled to Black Atlantis (a giant psychically-active Dyson sphere) and tried to tap into the psychic potential guy of a guy trapped in a tomb for millions of years who my notes describe as "Nyarlathotep but 40K'd" to blast open the gate, this time thinking they'd try a different possible future. The Rogue Trader came in, blew up a bunch of their apparatus, and instead the gate they opened led to a post-universe where the Big Crunch was just completing, creating a black hole that sucked their entire fleet in (the RT crew got away in the nick of time). That was essentially the end of the Statisticians - sucked forward beyond time as we know it, to become raw mass for a future universe.

The third campaign was a Deathwatch campaign that mainly dealt with their allies' reactions to losing them. Valentine Illst in the second campaign had helped the SoC build the apparatus and find Black Atlantis so they could use it. The Deathwatch campaign had them hunting him down and _not_ killing him, because so long as they didn't kill him or allow him to kill himself, he couldn't reappear somewhere else, safe and sound and ready to cause more trouble. It was OK as a campaign, but I was kind of getting sick of how the core system struggled to represent characters as powerful as space marines, and I basically had to write macros of tactics for complex villains to make sure I would be able to challenge them.

I ended up stopping playing the d100 FFG 40K RPGs at that point, though I briefly toyed with running a Black Crusade campaign whose premise would be "You rescue Valentine Illst so he can get back to causing trouble".

Anyhow, so that's their deal. I threw a mention of them into the Tellian Sector write-up mainly as a shout out to all those campaigns and the many PCs in them. Great job guys: You prevented the psychic cannibalisation of the universe from happening, and contributed to the birth of a new one!

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