Hey ho, Warhams. Quinn “Lhyon” Radich here, local Elf Crimes enthusiast, and I’m running our branch of the Vadinax campaign up in the Seattle area. This is the third Crusade I’ve run over at my local FLGS, Mox Boarding House Bellevue, and helping me out on the side (when he’s not buried in making sure the whole campaign works) is Mr. Administratum himself, Andrew “Pendulin” Haywood.
In the previous campaigns I’ve run, we’ve tried out a few experimental tweaks to the Crusade system, and I’ve refined my skills in writing some custom narrative missions. Here as part of the Vadinax campaign, we’ll be running largely in alignment with the global campaign as a whole, but there might be a few little unique opportunities available on the world of Tern’s Endeavor.
In the early years of M33, the rogue trader Armandus Tern espied a promising world in the Ultra Vernor Expanse. Overlooked by the Great Crusade due to its lack of a native population and forgotten in the aftermath of the Heresy, old geological surveys revealed promising natural resources on the rain-slicked ball of jagged rocks.
Landing at the vanguard of a slap-dash colony effort, Tern proudly proclaimed a new trading settlement under the auspices of his charter. Indeed, so promising was the venture that the rogue trader was shot in the back within a solar month by a loose coalition of his subordinates.
Alas, honor among thieves being what it is, the loose agreement of the conspirators was torn apart even before the blood had dried, each grasping their own outpost or settlement or orbital craft to form the basis of their own fortune. And Tern’s Endeavor has continued in that “proud” tradition ever since – the material abundance of the world has never been truly exploited in any unified and coordinated way, each squabbling settlement cutting their own deals and trade, paying only the loosest obedience to any central planetary authority. And the emergence of the Cicatrix Maledictum has only deepened these tendencies; cut off from the light of the Administratum, it’s every would-be trade baron for themselves on Tern’s Endeavor. Thus, the planet presents a ripe opportunity for Xenos influence or Chaos takeover… and a massive headache for local Imperial forces trying to uphold their tenuous grasp on the world. In the scattered mess of planetary settlements and orbital docking stations, forces in the Vadinax Sector can exploit any measure of control they can exert at this critical stopping-over point on the fraught warp routes of the Ultra Vernor Expanse.
Armandus Tern’s initial settlement remains the planetary capital to this day, now a sprawling, grungy thing that’s outgrown the broad rock shelf upon which it was founded. With all the squalor of a hive city without the gothic majesty of the classic spire, Tearfall at least boasts the dubious honor of being easily accessible, well-provisioned, and comparatively safe. In geosynchronous orbit above the city is The Weeping Eye, the world’s largest void station, built around the hollowed-out remains of Tern’s original flagship. The only orbital platform able to support anything approaching a conventional military landing, it would be an invaluable prize for any particularly bold invaders.
The Aeolian Choir
The largest Mechanicum forge-fane on Tern’s Endeavor, the Aeolian Choir clings to an archipelago of lonely stone pillars, jutting from one of the world’s storm-wracked seas like the bones of some primordial leviathan. A floating city in its own right, the Choir maintains its own oceanic landing platforms and persistent connections back to its ecumenical superior, the small forge-world of Perinetus.
On the opposite side of the world’s largest continent from Tearfall, Mellar’s Rift spans both sides of a deep knife-wound of a fjord, and marks the beating heart of the world’s mining operations. Long nursing its rivalry with the planetary capital, the Rift has little interest in monitoring or administering the many commercial interests that operate out of it. These independent operators delve greedily, they delve deep… and if they find anything valuable or interesting deep beneath the planet’s craggy crust, they aren’t much inclined to share it with anyone save their off-world business partners.
No-one on Tern’s Endeavor is entirely sure what Underside is, only that it’s some underwater facility, supposedly controlled by off-world Imperial elements beyond the knowledge of the planetary authority itself. Industrial auspex readings often pick up scrambled signals from somewhere beneath the waves, though there’s no discernable pattern to their precise location or nature. Still, if someone disappears under suspicious circumstances on Tern’s Endeavor – especially if they were suspected of being up to no good – it’s commonly held that they were hauled off to Underside. And while there are many wild stories of such, that’s just idle talk. No-one ever comes back.
Near the south pole of Tern’s Endeavor, the vagaries of the world’s ocean currents and weather patterns sees the accumulated wreckage and detritus of Imperial settlement pile up around an archipelago of storm-blasted islands known only as The Graves. Inconstant and impossible to map, brutal scavenger-settlements struggle to pick the wreckage clean of any valuables… while avoiding the orkish clans endemic to the expanse of flotsam, who seem to consider the combination of ample scrap and perpetual danger a right jolly time.
The Laiten Expanse
In some places on Tern’s Endeavor, the land is flattened by storm and water and time, rugged prospecting settlements dotting slopes of fallow soil. But to the planetary northeast of Tearfall lies the opposite – a broken crown of craggy mountains stretching hundreds, if not thousands, of perilous miles. The Expanse is a smuggler’s paradise, everyone knows it, but the geography makes it impossible to survey, let alone police. Still, several Imperial facilities dot these highest spires of the planet, whether they be independent facilities in need of their own easy orbital access or lonely shrines of some radical hermits of the Ecclesiarchy.
The particular meteorology and geology of Tern’s Endeavor has always made standard-band communications prone to intermittent failure over longer reaches planetside… and as the Great Rift spilled darkness over half the galaxy, the planet’s peoples were left cut off from all but their most immediate surroundings. Gradually, communications were re-established, the worst of the initial panic and terror fading, and every major settlement reported back in as per normal.
Every settlement, that is, except for Grand Kriosa.
Hugging the comparative stability of the northern polar icecaps, the city was always known for its dangerous character. Perhaps endemic to the local industry – breeding the fierce native predators of Tern’s Endeavor, then releasing them to be hunted and harvested for their rare furs and bone and sinew – Grand Kriosa was always inclined towards a troublesome deviation from all sorts of Imperial orthodoxy. For a while, it seemed the darkness had claimed the inhabitants of the city wholesale for their sins, leaving nothing but a ghastly abandoned expanse… until recently, where the “haunted” city has become a hive of activity once again, the sinister hand of the Ruinous Powers returning to the beachhead they claimed as their own.
Commanding a fortified island complex not a hundred miles from Tearfall, Valern Citadel represents the bastion of Imperial defensive strength upon Tern’s Endeavor. The command center of the local PDF – dubious though it might be – and a full-stocked munitorum depot, Valern Citadel serves as an ideal staging point for Imperial forces arriving planetside, and a high-value target for any opposition.
If the citadel has any security vulnerabilities – besides needing to command a swathe of outlying islands which could provide a valuable staging point for attack – it’s that it’s staffed by the people of Tern’s Endeavor, who no-one could truly call the most trustworthy or loyal of the Emperor’s subjects.
The Empty Eye
The second-largest orbital body around Tern’s Endeavor, The Empty Eye is less a unified space station and more a pile of scuttled voidcraft and platforms, all melded together in something that seems desperately trying to be a proper space hulk. Due to vague wording and omissions in the original charter of settlement, the Empty Eye is technically not subject to tithes or legal dictates of planetary administration, despite being under its nominal protection – a state of being that the assortment of scoundrels and pirates and thieves that make it their home have taken extensive pains to cling on to. If stereotypes prove true, any forces battling over control of Tern’s Endeavor will find easy – if fair-weather – allies in The Empty Eye, as everyone planetside will tell you that those up there are disloyal snakes in it for a few quick creds. And coming from a local, that’s saying something.
Games on Tern’s Endeavor
While in the past I’ve ran shorter (6 game) Crusade campaigns with scheduled pairings and bespoke missions, this campaign is going to be a little more free-form. If you’re in the Seattle area and are looking to participate, head over to the Mox Bellevue site, join the discord, and check out the #40k-narrative-play channel. Miniature gaming tables at the store are reserved for narrative gaming on Wednesday nights, but you’re of course free to find opponents and get games in whenever works for you.
Throughout the campaign, there will also be several “flashpoints” on Tern’s Endeavor, where I’ll write up a bespoke mission and set up pairings among interested players. If you’re interested in missions with a few more unique narrative mechanics, that’ll be the time to get some wackier games in.
Have any questions or feedback? Drop us a note in the comments below or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.