Draco (Inquistiion War 1) Analysis/Discussion Thread

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Draco (Inquistiion War 1) Analysis/Discussion Thread

Post by Connor MacLeod » 2008-12-31 04:14pm

I'll admit something up front. This sucker has been sitting on my hard drive longer than most others I can think of. I read these books right after Execution Hour and SHadow Point, honestly. But I kept delaying on them. Part of it was that as the story progressed, it got more than a bit weird and (in my mind) incoherent. Especially once you get to the third novel, which I delayed for years in finishing.

Its not really that the novels are written bad. The first novel was quite good, ,it had a coherent plot and purpose, and the conclusion with meeting the Emperor turned out as well as I expected. It was interesting and illuminating both, and showed up glimpses of many interesting aspects of the Imperium.

The second novel too started out pretty interesting for the same reason, because it had a purpose and things were getting more complicated (Draco is being hunted, The Inquisition is making plans, the Eldar are making plans, etc.) I even liked (as I later found out) the inclusion of his character from Space Marine (Lex) because Lex in my mind remained one of the few interesting aspects of the novel (The other being Grimm. I liked Grimm.)

But by the end of the second novel, ,things seemed to be falling apart a little. I mean the hunting for the Black Library was interesting, and in a way appropriate (because this was a very Eldar-themed novel) but things were really getting confused and not much was being resolved.

The Third novel, in my opinion, is quite unfortunately very incoherent. Alot of previous plot threads (the Hydra thing, the Eldar, etc.) remain unresolved, and then we get Chaos thrown into the bargain (for no purpose.) And Draco goes off on his Mad Quest For Personal Reasons leaving me with a very Anakin-esque sense of dislocation (as in the way I felt by Anakins falling to the Dark Side in ROTS.) It was like the story abruptly changed track for no purpose, and everything before was completely ignored (or shoddily "tied up" our last view of Carnelian and the Eldar is an example). Lex and Grimm were the best parts there, in my mind, and some of the views of the Imperium were still interesting (although the constant "destruction wherever Jaq goes" grimdark got tiresome by now too. Ian watson seemed to be a really big fan of grimdark by the end.)

Nonetheless, I w ould still recommend the first two books for the reasons that a.) they are well written, b.) the Characters are mostly likeable (I like Draco least, but Meh'Lindi, Grimm, and later Lex are a pleasure to read) c.) the series gives us quite diverse glimpses of the Imperium in all its myriad forms (From hive worlds like Stalinvast to Earth to Eldar craftworlds to far off frontier worlds or civilised worlds..) d.) plenty of technical or analytical bits to discuss on (from technology bits, to the discussion of the nature of the Emperor , to various warp related thingies.). e.) ITs a glimpse at the very very early era of 40K when things were different than the "modern" version.

That said, we begin the analysis....


Page 13
Some Hive worlds consist of shell upon shell of plasteel braced by great pillars, as if the planet has grown a meatal skin and then another skin and yet another, each successive skin being home to billions of busy human maggots, fleas, lice.

Other hive worlds are poisoned wildernesses punctuated by rearing plasteel termite mounds, vertical cities that punch through the clouds.

The cities of Stalinvast were more like coral reefs looming above a sea of hostile jungle. Kefalov bulged like some fossil brain adorned with innumerable ridges. Dendrov branched every which way, a forest of tangled stags' horns. Mysov was a mass of organ pipes, from which sprouted the fungi that were suburbs. Other cities were stacks of fans or dinner plates.
A thousand such cities, soaring, bulging, branching from the surface of Stalinvast and almost all involved in the manufacture of weapons for the Imperium.
..

The capital, Vasilariov, partook of most of the styles of coral architecture. Fifty kilometres long by forty wide by five high, currently Vasilariov was being scarred by some of its own weapons as Harq Obispal raged through the hive like an angry bear. Doing good work, oh yes...
A description of different kinds of Hive cities that exist in the Imperium (other sources like Dark HEresy give further elaborations, but we won't get into that here.) Some of them seem to e quite Coruscant like wth the "layers" of metal skin.

Stalinvast, the hive world in question, had a thousand hive cities, all are like "coral reefs" - some are like a ridged fossil brain, some are like tangled clusters of stag horns, some are like a mass of organ pipes, and some are stacks of fans or dinner plates.

Page 14
Stalinvast was a rich, important world. Its thronged reefs were proudly stained rose-red, scarlet, purple, pink. Between the cities the blue-green jungle was riven with great scars where plasma cannon and barrage bombs had been tested. Warrior robots, juggernauts, and land raiders used the jungles as a proving ground.
- Stalinvast is a weapons manufacturing hive. It tests plasma cannon and barrage bombs, proudces warrior robots, juggernauts, and great armoured vehicles. You can tell this is an earlier version of 40K with the reference to Robots still existing.

What is interesting is that this seems to be a planet that producse alot of stuff you'd expect to be on a Forge World.


Page 17

Jaq summoned a facet into full prominence. It swelled. Around it, like a thronged ring of moonlets each with its own scenery, all the other facets squeezed.
A skirmish in a hovertank plant...
- mention of a "hovertank" plant. One wonders if this is a referencee to the "Shampoo bottle" attack tank or if it ssomething else.

Page 17
Hastily he redirected his attention towards the circular screen that he had hung on the wall in place of an oil painting of some horned, scaly jungle monster.
His psychic sense of presence buzzed as he recontacted his spy-flies. The screen lit with a hundred crowded little images, a mosaic of miniature scenes. Now that screen was the faceted eye of a fly, though the view from each facet was unique.
The mosaic occupied much of his consciousness so that he was only dimly aware — out of the corner of his eye, and mind's eye — of Meh'Lindi, a flexible ebon statue of herself, yet still with an ivory face. Now she was inserting the throat and ear plugs with which she would hear and communicate and breathe.
Jaq summoned a facet into full prominence. It swelled. Around it, like a thronged ring of moonlets each with its own scenery, all the other facets squeezed.

- Jaq has a device that is a sceen linked to over a hundred tiny (fly-sized) observation devices, and is psychically controlled.


Page 18
A series of explosions tore at the stem of the plate-district where it was attached to the rest of the city. The entire plate sagged and snapped free. Briefly, the whole huge structure sailed on the air, then it fell. Rebels slid and scrabbled for hand holds, claw holds, as the district plummeted towards the fringe of the jungle two kilometres below.
- Stalinvast's hive cities (or at least one Jaq is observing) is at least two kilometers above the ground, presumably one of the "Stacked plate' ones from the description, meaning that it is seven kilometers in height. (2 above the ground plus the five in height.)

Page 19-
Meh'Lindi's hair was slicked down tight. When she sprayed her face, her visage became more of a blank than ever, a black mask with the merest hint of features. The syn-skin would protect her against poison gas or flame or the flash of explosions; it would boost her already-honed nervous system and her already-notable vigour.
By the time she wound the scarlet sash around her waist once more, miniaturized digital weapons hooded her fingers like so many baroque thimbles. The needier, laser, and flamer were precious, rare Jokaero devices.
Meh'Lindi is an assassin and her syn-skin outfit provides the following benefits.

Page 20
Flamers sprayed at the fracas; and at last rebels could be distinguished from loyalists, just as it became obvious that the new arrivals on the scene — pink salamanders — were also loyalists. For the black basilisks screamed and writhed and quit fighting as soon as superheated chemicals clung burning to them. Deathbats — those of the brood — rushed frenziedly, even as they blazed, to attack the wielders of the flame guns. Precision laser fire sliced through the berserkers, killing human torch after human torch till the last had fallen.

Presently, perhaps tardily, foam engulfed the platforms to douse the clingfire — blinding this particular spy-fly, though by now Jaq had registered the loyalists' hard-won gain.
- mention of clingfire from the flamers - I don't know if this is just Jaq/Watson's term for what flamers fire out or if its supposed to be some specific kind of flamer fuel (different from promethium).

Also the implication that lasguns are susstained-fire cutting weapons, at least here they are.

Page20
Jaq's hundred roving spy-flies and the screen-eye were another Jokaero invention, perhaps unique, which the Ordo Malleus had captured. Those simian, orange-furred Jokaero were forever improvising ingenious equipment, not necessarily in the same way twice, though with an accent on miniaturization.
Debate still waxed hot as to whether the orange ape aliens were genuinely intelligent or merely made weapons instinctively as spiders make web. Grimm, a born technologist himself — as were all Squats — had pointed out that this eye-screen required psychic input from the operator. So some Jokaero must have psyches. At least.
Most planets seemed to harbour biological flies. Swamp-flies, dung-flies, offal-flies, sand-flies, flies that liked to sip from the eyeballs of crocodiles, corpse-flies, rotting-vegetation-flies, pseudo-flies that fed on magnetic fields.
- Another mention of Jaq's observation device, and that it is a Jokaero innovation, captured by the Ordo Malleus.

Also, there exist 'pseudo flies" that feed on magnetic fields, these spy flies can imitate (mini mynocks?) And we get a glimpse of how the spy fly machine works. Also a referene to the good ol Jokaero..w hich definitely tells you this is earlier edition stuff its based on.


Page 21
Who would notice a little fly buzzing, around nimbly? Who would mark that fly watching you, transmitting what it saw and heard back to the eye-screen from anywhere within a compass of twenty kilometres? Who would expect that the fly and its fellows were tiny vibrating crystalline machines?
- Jaq's spy-flies can transmit what they see and hear in a "compass of twenty kilometers" - the operational range of the spy flies from the screen, one presumes (whether this is radius or diameter I'm not sure, but I'm betting radius). Also mentions they are "vibrating crystalline machines. They evidently possess a measure of self-awareness, as when psychically directed to obseve or follow someone (in this case, an Imperial assassin) they do so.

Jaq can alter the size of the viewscreens he observes.


Page 24
The inquisitor was advancing in the vanguard of a squad of armoured Imperial Guardsmen. Guardsmen from the local garrison, rather than Space Marines from off-world. Obispal believed in the force of will, in his own ruthless aura; and indeed, except for the evidence of lurid, puckered scar tissue across one cheek, he might have seemed invulnerable. Presumably he didn’t rate the Stalinvast operation as requiring really major surgery - even though thirty hive cities had been devastated to date and several totally destroyed.

Casualties? Twenty million civilians and combatants? Out of a thousand cities, housing billions...

Wistfully, Jaq quoted to himself the words of an ancient leader of the middle kingdom on bygone Terra: ‘In the land of a thousand million people, what does the death of one million of these count in the cause of purity? ’

- mention of "a thousand cities, housing billions." Its not certain whether this means billions total, or billions per city.(meaning trillions overall) but given Stalinvast and latter commentary its likely that the former (billions) is meant.

- Jaq quotes a paraphrase from an ancient text: "In the land of a thousand million people, what does the death of one million of these count in the cause of purity."? This seems to suggest something about the size of the planet or city or maybe evne just the Hive.

If we treat Jaq's statement as semi-literally, contrasted with the "twenty million" (milions) of deaths mentioned before, the implication would be that there are tens of billions (at least twenty, maybe thirty billion) people on Stalinvast. Which would make it rather small, as Hive Worlds go.

It should be clarified that in teh book Stalinvast is described as having "planetary" guardsmen, which seems lower case. Though given above that Space Marines are hinted to also be classifed as a kind of "Guardsmen" by that time we may infer this is more of a generic term rather than a specific one to the Imperium's own military assets. This also seems to predate the Guard/PDF distinction as well (though in latter context we do know the Guard established Garrisons on many worlds, and Hive Worlds often seemed to warrant them, so the "planetary guardsmen" could be PDF, the Imperial Guardsmen part of Stalinvast's personal garrison, and the reference by Jaq to "Space Marines" as guardsmen merely an offhand statement.

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Re: Draco (Inquistiion War 1) Analysis/Discussion Thread

Post by ScreenXSurfer » 2009-01-02 03:35pm

Connor MacLeod wrote: - Jaq quotes a paraphrase from an ancient text: "In the land of a thousand million people, what does the death of one million of these count in the cause of purity."? This seems to suggest something about the size of the planet or city or maybe evne just the Hive.
I think you may be right about that, but another explanation to the phrase would be he is considering the entire population of the planet when arrayed next to the entire population of the Imperium. I think this may be a better explanation when you consider future pondering on Exterminatus, "What is one world in the sea of millions?" or something to that effect.

Either way, keep it up.

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Re: Draco (Inquistiion War 1) Analysis/Discussion Thread

Post by Cykeisme » 2009-01-07 06:55pm

Mass produced Imperial hovertanks, robots (Abominable Intelligence!) and Squats.. what year were these books published?
"..history has shown the best defense against heavy cavalry are pikemen, so aircraft should mount lances on their noses and fly in tight squares to fend off bombers". - RedImperator

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Re: Draco (Inquistiion War 1) Analysis/Discussion Thread

Post by andrewgpaul » 2009-01-07 07:31pm

Mid-Rogue Trader era - Inquisitor (renamed Draco by Black Library) came out in 1990, Space Marine in 1993, Harlequin in 1994 and Chaos Child in 1995. Other than the Deathwing anthology (also 1990 or so), that was it for 40K fiction until Inferno! magazine came along in 1997 and kicked off Black Library.
"So you want to live on a planet?"
"No. I think I'd find it a bit small and wierd."
"Aren't they dangerous? Don't they get hit by stuff?"

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Re: Draco (Inquistiion War 1) Analysis/Discussion Thread

Post by Bedlam » 2009-01-08 03:17am

Ah, those were the days. I can remember getting the Deathwing expansion for Space Hulk for my birthday and spending the whole day reading the story they had in the rule book that was later printed in the anthology.

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Re: Draco (Inquistiion War 1) Analysis/Discussion Thread

Post by Cykeisme » 2009-01-08 05:37pm

Bedlam wrote:Ah, those were the days. I can remember getting the Deathwing expansion for Space Hulk for my birthday and spending the whole day reading the story they had in the rule book that was later printed in the anthology.
Were the Deathwing in the expansion you mentioned always supposed to be the all-Terminator armored Dark Angels force tasked with hunting down their Fallen, or was that retroactively added in later on?
"..history has shown the best defense against heavy cavalry are pikemen, so aircraft should mount lances on their noses and fly in tight squares to fend off bombers". - RedImperator

"ha ha, raping puppies is FUN!" - Johonebesus

"It would just be Unicron with pew pew instead of nom nom". - Vendetta, explaining his justified disinterest in the idea of the movie Allspark affecting the Death Star

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Re: Draco (Inquistiion War 1) Analysis/Discussion Thread

Post by andrewgpaul » 2009-01-08 07:21pm

The whole Fallen thing (and in fact, their coming from Caliban) was a later retcon. Originally, in Rogue Trader, the Dark Angels chapter wore black armour, I don't recall when that changed to dark green.

Anyway, the Deathwing short story, written by Bill King, concerns a recruiting party of Dark Angels who return to their homeworld to recruit new members (and for some reason, take the chapter's entire stock of Terminator suits - 30 - with them), only to find out it's been infested by Genestealers. The dozen or so Terminators paint their armour white as part of a ritual of their homeworld, signifying they were going on a suicide quest, and exterminate the 'stealer infestation, freeing their people. Tthe Dark Angels Captain Ezekiel also goes by the name Cloud Warrior (along with his battle-brothers Weasel-Fierce, Lame Bear, Bloody Moon and the Librarian Two Heads Talking). Deathwing was originally their people's name for the mythical steed of the Emperor, and also the name of their dropship.

This homeworld was, by the way, populated by Native Americans in space, not Medieval Knights in space. Which is why the metal Deathwing terminators have little feathers and the like on their armour. There was some rather nifty artwork of the characters from the story having painted their armour in white and drawn on their totem animals and the like - looked like a cross between Native American art and cave paintings. Looked better than the mysterious robes and so on, anyway. The story later got retconned so that this planet wasn't the Dark Angels homeworld, but rather a planet that Caliban passed by on its travels.
"So you want to live on a planet?"
"No. I think I'd find it a bit small and wierd."
"Aren't they dangerous? Don't they get hit by stuff?"

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Re: Draco (Inquistiion War 1) Analysis/Discussion Thread

Post by Cykeisme » 2009-01-10 06:48am

andrewgpaul wrote:This homeworld was, by the way, populated by Native Americans in space, not Medieval Knights in space. Which is why the metal Deathwing terminators have little feathers and the like on their armour. There was some rather nifty artwork of the characters from the story having painted their armour in white and drawn on their totem animals and the like - looked like a cross between Native American art and cave paintings.
Cool. I didn't really start looking into 40k fluff until 4th ed, and the early (out of universe) evolution of the fiction always fascinates me.

I wonder why they don't have any Native American chapter anymore, btw.
Perhaps is it somehow perceived as distateful to have a Native American-themed Space Marine chapter, even if Space Marines are heroic characters? Or maybe it's just too strong and recognizable a theme that stands out too much from the rest of the background fiction..
"..history has shown the best defense against heavy cavalry are pikemen, so aircraft should mount lances on their noses and fly in tight squares to fend off bombers". - RedImperator

"ha ha, raping puppies is FUN!" - Johonebesus

"It would just be Unicron with pew pew instead of nom nom". - Vendetta, explaining his justified disinterest in the idea of the movie Allspark affecting the Death Star

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Re: Draco (Inquistiion War 1) Analysis/Discussion Thread

Post by andrewgpaul » 2009-01-10 08:21am

I think it's just that whoever wrote the 2nd edition Codex: Angels of Death preferred the mysterious pseudo-Arthurian concept, rather than the Plains Warriors in power armour idea.

I don't think racial stereotyping has ever been seen as a bad thing at GW - see the White Scars, Valhallan Ice Warriors, Death Korps of Krieg, Tallarn Desert Raiders, etc, etc. :)
"So you want to live on a planet?"
"No. I think I'd find it a bit small and wierd."
"Aren't they dangerous? Don't they get hit by stuff?"

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Re: Draco (Inquistiion War 1) Analysis/Discussion Thread

Post by Connor MacLeod » 2009-01-10 11:30pm

There's nothing really shocking about grav tanks or robots - we know automated/robotic equipment is still used (Tarantula sentry guns..) they just call most robots "machine spirits" nowadays. And alot of early edition robots really amounted to some wind-up toy (which could be retconned as some remote control sort of dreadnought, we know remotely operated vehicles like the cyclops also exist and are employed, even by the Guard.) And we know grav-tech isnt nearly as "rare" as sometimes presented, its just not as common as wheels or tank treads, so the presecen or absencec of grav tanks would vary from sector to sector (And their limited use or absence in teh guard will be entirely due to logistics, since hte Guard has to be able to fight practically anywhere in the Galaxy.)

And alot of ideas are presented for Squats.. they may have blended in into the general "abhuman" populace the Imperium tolerates, or they may have acctually been integrated into humanity somewhat (hinted at in the Ravenor novels.)

As for the 'Native American Dark Angels" that may have been reconciled later as the tendency to recruit Space Marines from feral or feudal worlds, although in this particualr case we might have a chapter that descended from the Dark Angels misidentified as the Dark Angels themselves to explain differences, or maybe the story indicates aspects of the Dark Angels chpater that just aren't commonly known. Space Marine chapters tend to be pretty independent and secretive from the rest of the Imperium, and the Dark Angels even moreso. There's also even the timeframe factor in this (The time this takes place in, where it takes place, the contact between thes eparticlar Dark Angels and so on.)

I've read the short story and its stuck away somewher ein my archives, but I dont remember what I put down about it.

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Re: Draco (Inquistiion War 1) Analysis/Discussion Thread

Post by Bedlam » 2009-01-11 03:45am

Has it been mentioned more recently where the Dark Angels recuit from? Presumably the Rock itself has to small a civilian population to allow the whole chapter to recrute from there. I also forget if the Rock is suposed to be mobile or not. Thus either the Dark Angels recruit from a set world or number of worlds and it was one of them that was taken over by the genestealers or they recruit from a wide range of planets and they happened to have picked up a fair number of a 'generation' of space marines from tha planet.

If the Rock does move, either via the warp or through real space at a fair proportion of c, then the Dark Angels could have a slow generational shift in their personality as they recruit more troops from certain plants which are closer and less from planets now further away.

They could still all be indocrinated about the dark decret of the Angels and just not find it important to mention while on a planet taken over by Genestealers with no sign of a Fallen being there or having anything to do with it.

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Re: Draco (Inquistiion War 1) Analysis/Discussion Thread

Post by Teleros » 2009-01-11 05:41am

Bedlam wrote:Has it been mentioned more recently where the Dark Angels recuit from? Presumably the Rock itself has to small a civilian population to allow the whole chapter to recrute from there. I also forget if the Rock is suposed to be mobile or not.
It is mobile, but I'm not sure if it patrols a set route or not. Of course the Dark Angels used to recruit from Caliban, but then the place got blown apart leaving just the Rock :P .

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Re: Draco (Inquistiion War 1) Analysis/Discussion Thread

Post by andrewgpaul » 2009-01-11 06:47am

The Dark Angels currently recruit from worlds along Caliban's path, in a similar way to the Imperial Fists, Black Templars and other mobile Chapters. The Deathwing story has been retconned as occurring on one of these worlds (perhaps when Cloud Runner's grandfather was recruited, the world was ahead of Caliban, on the edge of its recruitment range, so they've got time to recruit from there at least three more times).

The Chapter being misidentified doesn't fit, for me - all references to the Chapter are made by the Marines themselves - I'd expect they know which Chapter they're in. It's also unclear when this story is set. Certainly after the Heresy, but there's an indefinite period of time after the Heresy before the Dark Angels switched to green armour.
"So you want to live on a planet?"
"No. I think I'd find it a bit small and wierd."
"Aren't they dangerous? Don't they get hit by stuff?"

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Re: Draco (Inquistiion War 1) Analysis/Discussion Thread

Post by Connor MacLeod » 2009-01-12 12:45am

Next update...

Page 29
Momentarily, Jaq flinched at the creature’s hypnotic gaze, even seen through the medium of the screen, and although he was psychically immune.
- Jaq is psychically immune to the hypnotic gaze of a purestrain Genestealer.


Page 30
Jaq willed the spy-fly to see in infra-red.
- Jaq's spy flies can see in the infra-red


Page 30
Assassins were proofed against pain, but surely Meh'Lindi must be aware of some agonies as her body strained to adopt a new shape in obedience to her will.
- Assassins are proofed against pain.


Page 31
Well, the syn-skin helps speed the reaction (polymorphine). Its galvanizing her whole metabolism, accelerating her vitality. It's designed to do that as well as protect her.
Syn-skin augments the body's abilities in certain was as well as offering physical protection.

Page 31
Meh'Lindi had formerly undergone experimental surgery to implant extrudable, shape-remembering plastiflesh reinforced with carbon fibre and flexicartilege which could toughen hard as horn. Thus she could pose as a stealer hybrid, could behave as one, and afterwards, could suck those implants back into herself, softening, shrinking, ,reabsorbing them.

Extra glands had been grafted into her to store and synthesize at speed the somatotrophin growth hormone that ordinarily promoted growht of long bones and protein synthesis in a child.. and glands to reverse the process. Her arrtificial implants were a living organic part of her.
A rather grotesque and specialized variation on Polymorphine transformation, though it robs her of the ability to take anyy other form now.

Page 43

- Jaq's troop carry stasis boxes stored with food. Evidently despite being wealthy, Stalinvast could not guarantee "real" food in any hive city, even in a wealthy hotel. Not especially during a conflict. Given the possible food sources later, I'm taking this as evidence that among Hives, Stalinvast aint a nice place to live. (oddly though, there are places on Necromunda that have self sustaining ecologies in the Hive, so one wonders why not on Stalinvast...)

Page 44

- Squats supposeldy endured "millenia" of genetic divergence. I'm more inclined to believe forced genetic manipulation or warp mutation.

Squats also make extensive use of hydroponically grown vegetables (and imported exotic foods) for their diet, whereas the majority of most populations on crowded worlds make do with recycled "synthfood." How appetizing.

Page 49

- Post-battle operations include "sorting" fresh human meat for "Recycling." Rotten meat and genestealer hybrids are incinerated. Don't guess what the meat is recycled for.

Page 49
Techs and robots were bracing and splinting Vasilariov's terrible urban wounds, the city's ripped skin, its splintered bones, injured organs, torn arteries.
Robots and "techs" (tech priests or just laypeople?) are utilized in repair operations.

Page 50
A plasteel wall circled that spaceport, which lay some fifteen kilometres from the southern edge of Vasilariov. Heavy defence lasers and plasma cannons studded the rim. Jaq presumed that periodically these would be switched on to prune the jungle back.
Armoured train-tubes on pylons linked the port with Vasilariov, from which other elevated tubes radiated towards other cities, high above the tangled savage vegetation.
The flora of this world was forever bubbling and festering, like a green soup on the boil. Vines in tree-tops strangled each other. Lianas writhed towards the light from bilious decaying depths. Lurid parasites swelled and bloomed and rotted.
Note the following: The capital has a wall fifteen kilometers from the hive itself, equipped with defensive weapons that also double in clearing out the virulent jungle. This implies the guns have very broad firing arc (they can hit air and ground targets) which would in turn imply they may be more point defense in nature rather than anti-ship. Also note the extensive use of train tubes linked between the other cities (And other tubes) which gives indication of the means of travel.

Also the Hive seems to be relatively "habitable" on the outside, unlike others like Armageddon and Necromunda - however the jungle is downright nasty (qualifying as a Death World I would guess) explaining why they need to use weapons to purge it periodically.

Page 51
Ladies eyed one another's gowns and intricate, suspensor-lifted, rainbow-hued hairstyles. Beefy Obispal would have enjoyed a number of those ladies' favours since the fighting died away.
- wealthy women on Stalinvast make use of suspensors to lift and maintain exotic hairdos. A rather frivilous use of what is now evidently a lost or restricted technology. (then again the idea that alot of grav tech is "lost" is refuted by various sources and applications: grav chutes, grav cars, etc.)

Its also amusing to note that Jaq is certain that his fellow Inquisitor has gotten laid quite abit, whereas Jaq at this point is relatively abstinent.

Page 52
The Emperor's Tarot was supposed to partake of the very spirit of the Master of Mankind, forever on overwatch throughout the warp. Immobile in his throne on Earth, that godly paragon who was so old that his personal name had long been forgotten both beamed out a beacon and sensed the flow of Chaos, through which his starships must swim and out of hwich could congeal... abmoninations.

The Emperor trawled, the Emperor sifted unsleepingly.

These cards, rumored to be of his design, and said to be blessed by virtue of that design - psychically imbued with his influence- also sieved.

They sieved the tides of fate. Of probability and improbability. Of strenghtening influences and weakening influences. They were an x-ray of embryo events in the womb of the universe.

The seventy-eight wafers of liquid crystal formed a charrt of the human Imperium, its champions and its foes. Each image pulsed animatedly, responsive to the currents of fortune, to the ebb and flow of events, to the forces of cleansing light and of dark malevolent corrupt insanity.
The Emperor's tarot, means of divination by psykers in the Imperium. The interesting implication in all this is that it provides quite an effective and acceptable means for the Emperor to communicate directly with his minions (or through them), and also a means by which he may effectively mobilize his Imperium against large scale threats should there be need (And astropathic communication prove unreliable.), though it proably cannot be as clear-cut as other means (but it likely requires very little effort.)


Page 54

- an outside force (such as another psyker) can contact an individiaul through the Tarot deck.

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Re: Draco (Inquistiion War 1) Analysis/Discussion Thread

Post by andrewgpaul » 2009-01-12 08:16pm

The suggestion that Stalinvast's upper echelons use suspensors in their hairdos isn't too far-fetched. After all, the upper-hive nobles on Necromunda can acquire Tau-built combat armour with integrated weaponry and self-repair and enhancement systems apparently superior to anything fielded outside the Adeptus Mechanicus.

If suspensors are reasonably common items, it may explain how Catachan Jungle Fighters can wave heavy flamers around willy-nilly.
"So you want to live on a planet?"
"No. I think I'd find it a bit small and wierd."
"Aren't they dangerous? Don't they get hit by stuff?"

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Re: Draco (Inquistiion War 1) Analysis/Discussion Thread

Post by Connor MacLeod » 2009-01-20 03:12am

I totally do not buy the idea that the Spyre Hunters use Tau power armor...

Anyhow, next update...


Page 57
Eyeless men could see through psychic eyes. The dumb could talk without tongues. The mouthless could feed through their skins. More sinister changelings became channels for daemons which walked the land in those host bodies, twisting and melting their anatomy into devilish monstrosities with scales and horns, claws and feelers — until the possessed bodies finally fell apart, until the vestiges of corrupted mind were sucked away as spirit-meat for those parasites from outside of normality.
Presumably all examples of psychic behaviour manifesting in individual humans, with an unforttunate side effect of mutation, with more extreme cases resulting in possession and extreme mutation (At least as long as the bodies lasted.)

Page 57
Recontact brought an Imperial expedition which admired the farming and fisheries potential of Quintus. One day, this planet could become an agricultural export world. If so, the Imperium could convert the barren fourth world, Quartus, into a valuable mining planet, its population fed from Quintus.
Its not sure how the Imperium would "convert" Quartus into a mining planet, but at the very least it would involve some sort of hab dome (which we know they can do on some planets like Krieg or Tallarn)

Page 58
Both of Jaq's parents were adepts of genetics. The Imperium had assigned them for life to Quintus, to assist in its uplift. Even in rapport with his significator card Jaq only dimly remembered his mother and father. He recalled smiles and fondling and sensed that his parents were happy to conceive him and care for him. Imperials both, they did not follow the local custom of farming him out to a neighbor. Indeed, they seemed to cherish him. Certainly — from what little he was later told — both parents were fervent in their work and their loyalty to the Imperium.
I find the reference to Jaq's parents as "Imperials" a rather curious statement, since the world in question has been "reclaimed" for the Imperium, wouldnt they all be Imperials? I suppose in one sense it would, but in another this tends to suggest perhaps that alot of the territory the Imperium controls isn't fully developed or "integrated" into the Imperium (wheras we might assume Jaq's parents are). Alternately, its possible worlds like this are treated as "colonies/protectorates" rather than say "member states" - perhaps only even allied? (We know that the Imperium has alot of components to it that are allied with but not directly part of it - the Astartes and the Adeptus Mechanicus are both examples.)

Alot of this seems to be hinted at in Dark Heresy, where they mention "Imperial" worlds independent of other world types (Hive, Feral/Feudal, etc.)

Also of note is that Jaq's parents were "adepts of genetics", yet they did not seem to be directly affiliated with the Adeptus Mechanicus or anyy of its biological component organziations. (IT would be hard to imagine any AdMech "adepts" wanting to happily have a child.)

Page 59
He would lie abed in the darkened dormitory, sensing a sloshing sea of human and mutant existence surrounding him. In that sea twists and clumps of phosphorescence marked the minds of other psykers. Many displayed the malign green of corruption, the verdigris of spiritual gangrene. Some swelled bloatedly, streaked with red, as power from the deeps infused them. From such, tendrils descended into the abyss.

Indeed, threads dangled down from all life, psychic and non-psychic alike. Filaments linked living beings with the seeds of themselves in the deep-down ooze. Up some of these tendrils the substance and energy of the ooze could travel parasitically. This material was hostile to life yet also greedy for life and jealous of life. This energy was hungry and destructive, bestowing power upon a person but invariably injuring that person by virtue of the power it bestowed.
- Jaq observes that all life, psychic and non-psychic alike, are linked to the Warp, adn through this linkage are they vulnerable to corruption via Chaos (or daemonic possession.) This has some interesting connotations. For one thing, it tends to suggest every human in 40K (or in the Imperium) is a potential "portal" for Daemonic possession, even though other sources have indicated this is largely reserved for psykers. In context, this isnt neccesarily contradictory, given the following:

* We know that humanity as a whole is evolving to become a psychic race like the Eldar and supposedly the number of psykers existing is growing.
* We know that many supposedly "normal" humans sometimes or often display tremendous or even supernatural capabilities - this may be seen as "minor" or unconscious psychic capability. Indeed, the whole "Imperial cult" may simply be a mechansim by which low level psychic powers may be invoked by humans (like a Necromunda wyrd, in a way.)
* We know (I believe) that humanity was one of the races (like the Orks, Eldar, etc.) who were engineered by the Old Ones to combat the Necrons. This may explain why even non-psykers have said "link."

It is also interesting to see how Jaq perceives other people in the warp - rather unique view really, but illustrative of what is being described here at the same time, including the price/dangers of possession. the implication here also is that the connection between the warp and humanity (and all actively psychic beings in 40K) goes both ways. Not only do the emotions/feelings of those in realspace affect the warp, but those in realspace can be corrupted by the warp via these portals, although to varying degrees (non-psykers are presumably still harder to corrupt, but still suffer potential corruption.) This does assume that Jaq's POV on all this is reliable... his sanity becomes questionable at times in this series, especially WRT the warp.

page 60
The abyssal ooze wasn't exactly like mud at the bottom of an ocean. As he peered through his mind's eye it seemed rather that the deepest water changed into a different type of material which sank down and down forever, tossed by its own fierce storms, swayed by its own currents that were swifter than any ocean's — until far off elsewhere there surfaced from this immaterium yet other seas of life, which were other worlds.
Potent creatures swam in the dark sub-ocean in between worlds. These creatures should be distrusted, not desired. Yet oh so many sparks of phosphorescence yearned for the potency of the denizens of that other realm, or else signaled obliviously to those creatures, blinking their little lamps — to summon the equivalent of sharks, or krakens of twisted intelligence.
One evening Jaq perceived a material vessel emerging from the ultimate deep. The vessel was diving upward towards his world. Jaq understood that this must be a warp-ship, protected against the forces in that ocean.
By straining his vision he glimpsed far off a beacon of white radiance by which that warp-ship strove to navigate. His heart swelled with joy and gratitude to the Emperor on Earth, whose mind was that lamp.
Already, like flowers turning towards the sun or like bees seeking pollen, in the wastelands of his world and in the ooze below — in that deep dark under ocean of power and Chaos — Jaq sensed attentions focusing upon him tentatively; and he blanked his own white spark. He hid it.
- Jaq can see the emperor's Beacon, but he himself is no Navigator. Jaq can also hide his psychic prescne from other entities in the warp. Note that in the Dawn of War novels that Gabriel Angelos, who may have been a latent psyker, could also purportedly see the astronomican.

Page 62
A few months later a shuttle carried Jaq up to a great black ship circling in orbit. He left the sun Xerxes behind forever...
A different ship was departing from a different world. Lifting from the spaceport of Vasilariov, Harq Obispal's shark-shaped ship rapidly diminished to the size of a bug,
of a sparkle of dust in the sky. Then it was gone, on its journey of several weeks through normal planetary space to that zone on the rim of the system far from the worlds and moons where it could dive into the warp.
- Obsipal's ship requires several weeks through normal space to the rim of the system where warp travel becomes possible. In later novels this distance is generalized to be "billions" of km, ,which meshes with other examples (9 AU in Ravenor Rogue, and in Sabbat Martyr). At the low end of the scale, it shouldn't take weeks to reach the edge of the system even if he was pulling a few gees (which any 40K ship should be able to do.) The only thing I can think of is that the plasma engines had propellant limtiations that dictated they could only accelerate to a fairly low velocity ( a couple thousand km/s tops) and had to make the bulk of the trip at that constant velocity.

Page 62
Jaq was pleased that the little man had been perturbed by the trashing of Vasilariov and the evisceration of other cities, destroyed in order to save them. He valued the Squat's presence and his occasional sallies of sarcasm — just as, in a way, he valued Googol's pose of disdain. Fanatics such as Obispal were invaluable; yet they were akin to bulls set loose in china shops. Certainly the Imperium embraced a million china shops and more; much crockery could be wasted. However, a sceptic could often see what rigid enthusiasts overlooked.
Jaq regards Obsipal as a "fanatic" (Even though Jaq is abstinent and eventually goes crazy.). This probably comes from Obsipal's methods being simple, direct, and unrefined. I guess this could also be taken as proof that not all Inquisitors who aren't Eisenhorn or Ravenor are psychopathic loons.

Page 65
Of the nearby cities, Kefalov alone had remained unpolluted and unwrecked. Now, a week after Obispal's departure, traffic between the partly ravaged capital and Kefalov seemed to have returned almost to normal. Planetary troopers patrolled, scanning arrivals. Licensed hawkers were circulating, braying the merits of spiced sausages containing only real animal protein — so they claimed.
Perhaps truly. Bearing in mind the recent huge casualty statistics, their sausages probably contained minced human flesh. Suchlike suspicions did not deter prospective travellers from paying the high prices asked for such authentic delicacies; maybe even encouraged brisker sales. Such train travellers, of course, would have funds; most Vasilariovites never left their reef-hive during a lifetime...
- sausages probably containing real human flesh. Evidently the food shortages on Stalinvast are so horrible that cannibalism is an accepted practice.

Also, on a less disgusting note, rail travel seems to be very common between the hives.

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Re: Draco (Inquistiion War 1) Analysis/Discussion Thread

Post by Teleros » 2009-01-20 06:51am

Its not sure how the Imperium would "convert" Quartus into a mining planet, but at the very least it would involve some sort of hab dome (which we know they can do on some planets like Krieg or Tallarn)
If it were rich in minerals but under-exploited this might explain the wording.
The only thing I can think of is that the plasma engines had propellant limtiations that dictated they could only accelerate to a fairly low velocity ( a couple thousand km/s tops) and had to make the bulk of the trip at that constant velocity.
It might also have been cheaper to coast along, especially if the ship wasn't in any great hurry.

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Re: Draco (Inquistiion War 1) Analysis/Discussion Thread

Post by Connor MacLeod » 2009-01-27 03:51am

Just another small update to round things out "Pre" Hydra... I like to try to keep things categorized somewhat reasonably...

Page 69 -
As the passenger capsule whisked through the crystalline rube above the blurred green hell of jungle, Jaq scrutinized his personal Tarot card and recalled his trip to Earth as a boy aboard the Black Ship... Only en route had he understood the true implications. To his keen senses, that cavernous crowded ship had been awash with psychic turmoil — despite the dampening field projected by a suppressor adept linked in to arcane machinery. This deadening field was subtly nauseating, a psychic equivalent of the stale, rebreathed air. In spite of it, Jaq easily read raw talent, hope, muted dread; and on the part of some of the officers boredom mixed with disgust, on the part of others fierce dedication, occasionally mixed with regret.
The suppressor field seemed to work perversely on Jaq, who already knew how to hide his own light. He hadn't read moods before, but now almost everyone on board appeared to broadcast sludgy feelings.
Stray whispers in a hundred distant-cousin tongues twittered through the ship, as if voices were trying to inform him of his fate, the ghost echoes from a million previous passengers, ten million down the centuries that this ship had been in service.
Jaq onboard the Black Ship. Note the psychic dampening field. There had also been a million/ten million passnegers down the "centuries" of the ship's servicee. Suggesting that on average the Black ships gather up thousands/tens of thousands of psykers.

Page 70
"A great fleet of ships like this tours the galaxy—"
"They trawl for promising psykers—"
"Wayward, twisted psykers are hunted down ruthlessly on a host of worlds. They're preached against and purged. The Inquisition scourges them. Planetary governors destroy them—"
"At the very same time fresh, uncorrupted psykers are being harvested. They're sent to Earth in Black Ships such as this—"
Psychic talent was the floodgate by which the malevolent lunacy of powers in the warp could invade and ravage worlds; could corrupt the human race into polluted slaves of evil.
Yet psychic talent was also the hope of the future, of a galaxy in which the human race, free and strong, could defend itself mentally.
Meanwhile, the God-Emperor must defend all his scattered multi-billions of subjects by ruthless sacrificial force. For a terrible equation prevailed: that which would ultimately save the human race — the evolution of a higher consciousness — was, in its long and vulnerable gestation, exactly what could so easily destroy humanity by letting it be corrupted, polluted, warped and ruined. Only the utter ruthlessness of one ravaged, machine-sustained tyrant and the overstretched forces of his fierce yet fragile Imperium kept the human race tottering along its fraying tightrope.
- a fraction of the psykers gathered by Black Ships - the "brightest and the best - were destined to be recruited as psykers in the serice of the Imperium. Most of this fraction would be soul-bound to the emperor for their own protection." The rest would serve by sacrificing their own vital force to sustain the Emperor, so that he could continue "to be a watchful beacon and protector."
Those that make it, like Jaq, are presumably the "white sparks" that remain virtually or wholly uncorrupted. (which evidently is tied to power - only the strongest resist the lure/coirruption of Chaos. On the other ahnd, Jaq isnt noted to be exceptionally powerful psi wise, so maybe his gift is more a matter of skill or stealth, than raw power, since he's masking his talent rather than simply resisting.)

It's also interesting to note the whole "plan for humanity" that we know pervaded the early material.

- sacrificed psykers would be consumed within a few weeks or months, drained of their spirits until they died.

PAge 71 - passengers aboard a Black Ship are tested and "counselled". The former is probably to weed out the strong and capable from teh week (the sacrifices from the sanctioned psykers, and others) The latter is probably more propoganda and brainwashing.

Page 71
Of the gathered talents on board the Black Ship, a fraction — the brightest and the best — were destined to be recruited as psykers in the service of the Imperium. Most of this fraction would be soul-bound to the Emperor for their own protection.
The "astropaths" and others - sanctioned psykers and inquisitors and whatnot. We know 90% of those not sacrificed are astropaths (as per Rogue Trader), though we don't quite know the fraction (though its probably less than 10%)

Page 71 - 72
Jaq still clearly remembered his reprieve and how annoyed he had been not to have foreseen it.
"You can blank out your light, boy," the goitrous officer had told him, almost respectfully. "Without training, that's rare. You'll certainly be recruited. I suspect you won't need soul-binding. I may well be addressing a future Inquisitor—"
- Jaq's ability to "blank" out his own presence is a rare talent without training. It also means he won't need soul binding (which means that even WITH training, the ability to block out one's presence is rare to begin with, making Jaq's feat even more exceptional.)

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Re: Draco (Inquistiion War 1) Analysis/Discussion Thread

Post by Connor MacLeod » 2009-02-06 02:55am

Next update. Enter the Hydra

Page 72
Presently the city of Kefalov loomed ahead. From a distance Kefalov was a grey brain bereft of a skull, ten kilometres high at least. Its tiers of convoluted ridges would be harder than any bone. As the train neared, great windows, air-vents and portals became visible. Seeming to be merely speckles and punctures at first, actually they were tall as the highest trees, A stream of military ram-jets flew from one such vent, into a sky the hue of bruised blood in a badly beaten body. Dirty clouds glowered and snake-tongues of lightning flickered. Soon bombs would rip the surging vegetation somewhere, punching holes which would rot and quicken with parasite blooms.
Another Stalinvast hive.. ten kilometers tall. Also note the "ram jet" ships.

Page 74
"Whereabouts in the undercity?" asked Jaq.
"Why, everywhereabouts. That's the nature of the beast."
Jaq made a guess. "And I suppose the death of so many millions — the psychic Shockwave — conjured up this new abomination, whatever it is?"
"You're catching on, Sir Jaq."
- the "hydra" (described later) required the deaths of millions of individuals to conjure into being - a "psychic shockwave".

Page 76
From the catwalk they surveyed this choked cavern which lay beneath even the underbelly of the city. Furnaces winked like fireflies. Holding a lens to one eye, Jaq scanned tunnel mouths that were almost buried.
Sprawling out from one tunnel, glassy branching tentacles pulsed as if they were huge muscles dissected out of the body of a leviathan.
As soon as Jaq noticed those translucent, almost immaterial shapes, their extent appalled him. They wove across the metallic dunes, submerging themselves like roots, surfacing again, twitching, throbbing sluggishly. Tendrils coiled and uncoiled, seeming to exist one moment yet not the next.
What did the scavengers think of this intrusion into their domain by a rubbery multi-octopus? The human crabs scuttled clear of its feelers.
Or should that be: their feelers? Jaq couldn't tell whether the hydra was single or plural, connected or disconnected. Or how much more of it existed out of sight, packed within the tunnel complexes.
Those tentacles did not appear interested in trapping the denizens of this underzone. Rather, the hydra seemed to be waiting. Meanwhile, it signaled a menace that alarmed Jaq's psychic sense.
Details of the hydra.

Page 77 -
Jaq aimed his ormolu-inlaid laspistol and squeezed. Hot light leapt out from the damascened chromium steel nozzle in a dazzling silver thread. He drew the sliver of light across that limb of the hydra as if slicing cheese. He sliced and resliced. Several portions writhed. Gobbets semeed ot wink in and out of eixstence. Though chopped every which way, the whole tentacle squirmed towards where they stood as if still joined togehter, glued by some adhesive force from outside the normal universe.

"Plasma," Jaq said to himself and switched weapons. The frontal hood of the plasma gun was gilded with safety runes. VEntilator holes in that hood doubled as the hollow pupils of slanting crimson eyes that focused faithfully on the chosen target, since a single discharge of super-heated plasma would completely exhaust the capacitor. A couple of minutes must pass before the accumulator vanes behind the hood re-energiezed the conductors and insulators. This target, though, was lage and various.

The gun bounced in his grasp as incandescent energy leap to evaporate a stretch of that many-times severed, yet still tenacious limb. Its boiling substance sprayed across the dune eyond, lacquering the metallic hillock. A backwash of heated air caressed Jaq's facee. He smelled the bitter fragrance of ablated chromium steel.
Jaq attacks the hydra with several weapons. his laspistol is operating as a continuous beam, slicing weapon.

The plasma weapon is interesting t hat it vaporizes the "limb." we dont know the dimensions, but its probably at least parttly water (its simulating organic, and it needs to draw matter from somewhere) Despite the great resistance to the laser weapon. Its also worth noting the laswepaon needs several minutes to charge.

I fwe assumed the vaporized area was a meter in length of tendril about 20 centimeters thick and the density of water (purely arbitrary, but possible) it would have vaporized ~30 kg of water, or about 75-80 MJ worth of energy per shot. Well within previously established parameters for plasma weapons, but purely conjectural. Nonetheless, given the descriptions above, its probably quite reasonable to assume, as its implied the Hydra tendrils are immense.

Page 81
'I run through the gap you blasted in the tentacle. Already the wounds sprout new groth. Each severed section seems alive independently. A few loose slices quiver with intent. As for the atomised material - well, I don't know. That is not ordinary matter.
- Jaq specualtes tha thte Hydra must be parrtly normal matter and parttly immaterium - partly of the warp. Jaq also notes that where the warp flows into the real world, daemons could follow.

Page 88-89
Had Jaq's plasma blast truly damaged the beast- or simply stimulated it, spraying elements of it hither and yon?

All the millions of deaths resulting from the genestealer rebellion - a great psychic bellow or frage, pain and extinction -had served to trigger the growth of the creature.

The Rebellion had been sparked deliberately, primarily to feed the creation of this craeture. To forge that strange blend of protoplasm and the fluidium of the warp - or more exactly, to quicken it, since its ultimate origin must surely lie elsewhere, in some dire biological crucible.
Jaq speculates further on the nature of the Hydra and its creation. It is interesting to notice that he thinks its birth was deliberately triggered by teh sacrifices of millions of people (Much like Slaanesh.) Which gives us some interesting insights into the nature and formation of chaos creatures.

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Re: Draco (Inquistiion War 1) Analysis/Discussion Thread

Post by Connor MacLeod » 2009-02-11 04:44am

Next update - and goodbye to Stalinvast...


Page 90
For such was exterminatus: the total destruction of all life on the surface of a planet by means of virus bombs delivered frrom orbit.

The life-eater virus, spreading at amazing speed, would attack anything whatever that breathed or grew or crawled or flew as well as anything of biological origin: food, clothes, wood, feathers, bone. The life-eater was voracious. The jungles of Stalinvast would swiftly rot into sludge that would form shallow festering inland seas and lakes, where rot continued to feed so that the very air burned planet-wide, searing the whole surface to ashes and bare rock.

In the cities all protein would eat itself and ooze in a tide into the underbelly, rot eating rot, until the firegas detonated, leaving the cities like mounds of dead, blasted coral.
Jaq describes exterminatus via virus bombing and the effects of the life eater virus. It is interesting to note the formation of "firegas" and that the air would "burn" planet wide (Global firestorms) hot enough to reduce everything on the surface (the jungles, the peoples, etc.) to ash - which would also pretty much burn out the hives (but not totally destroy them, giving us an indication of how durable 40K engineering is)


Page 96

- Jaq ponders that "several billion" would die in the exterminatus of Stalinvast. Seems rather small for a hive, but then again the place still has an atmosphere of sorts and a ecology rather than being a sludge or ash wasteland (like Necromunda or Armageddon)

Page 96

"Ah," said the majordomo, "I'm well aware that the college of the priesthood here in the capital was destroyed during the rebellion. You can't use their Astropath. What of commercial ones?
"Less reliable."
"Reasonably reliable."
"Reasonably is not enough. Your master's Astropath will be the very best on this world."
"Oh yes. Granted. Utterly true. Only the best for an Inquisitor. Still, the priestly colleges in other cities boast of some fairly excellent specimens..."
- Stalinvast has commerical astropaths as well as ones owned by other factions (such as the Governer and priesthood.) the commercial ones are of lesser quality of course, but it still implies that off-world commercial business is conducted between planets (which is seen in other novels, like Eisenhorn or described in Dark HEresy.)

Page 104
"An Inquisitor? Then you probably know how much wasburnt out of me. I neither see nor smell nor savour any tastes. I only touch." The cat writhed sensuously, throbbing. To kill this woman might indeed be a blessing to her...
Example of the senses burnt out by soul binding.

Page 105
"Listen to me carefully, Moma Parsheen." He recited the words. She mightn't understand them, but she repeated them back faithfully.
"Now commence your trance."
The blind woman quivered as she skryed light years outward through the warp, obeying the disciplines of the Adeptus Astra Telepathica, seeking contact with the mind of some other Astropath serving the fortress-monastery at Vindict V.
Its implied that the astropathic message sending (at least over a couple light years minimum) is fairly rapid (nigh-instantaneous, since she has to seek out and contact the other mind) This may, perhaps, be a more reliable means of communication.

Page 106
"Inquisitor... I'm sensing warp portals opening deep down in our city. And yes, in other cities across this world..."
"You must send my message immediately!" To sense portals in distant cities, she must possess impeccable talent... "What is entering through these portals?"
The Astropath shook her head. "Nothing is entering. Strange substances are departing from this world."
"Leaving! Are you sure?"
"I am. A life that isn't exactly life. A creation... I can't really tell. There's so little mind. It's as if its existence is almost blank as yet. Embryonic...awaiting. I sense it all passing away through those portals. So many little portals! What is happening?"
Warp portals opening on the planet for the hydra to leave. Its indactive that at least on smaller scales warp openings can be made within a gravitational field. And the astropath could etect them (at least at relatively short ranges.)

Page 106
"Our hydra's withdrawing into the warp whence it came," Googol murmured, half in answer to her. "Never find it again, I don't suppose."
"Can't you track it with warp vision, Vitali?"
"I'm a Navigator, not a magician. In case you hadn't noticed, I'm not in the warp at the moment. We're a week's travel away from the jump zone."
"Exceptional Navigators can see into the warp from the normal universe!"
"Yes, yes, yes, Jaq. But the hydra isn't flying away through the warp. It's using portals to leap directly from here — to Grimm knows where."
Several points of interest

- They are "a week" away from the entry point into the warp - the "jump zone" This would make Jaq's transport faster than Obsipal's, but slower than others. Possibly a trade off for a warp-capable vessel small enough to enter the atmosphere.

- A Navigator, if powerful enough, can "track" object sin the warp or see into the warp from realspace. This does imply that the opposite is also possible. Vitali is a weaker navigator but must be in the warp to do so.

Also the ability for a Navigator to track ships is evidently based on the motion of ships in the warp (perhaps the "probability wakes" referenced in the novel FArseer. It is curious though, I recall that Navigators (such as Simon Belisaruius) have detected warp emergences before (or at leats ships almost arriving) - perhaps it is another capability related ot the power/skill of the Navigator.

Page 107
Surely the Harlequin man understood that exterminatus wouldn't arrive instantly? Time for the Ravager Marines to equip and load virus bombs... warp-time versus galactic time... Ten local days at the earliest.
It would take the Marines at least ten days to arrive, and part of that time is required for preparation. Travel time in system (and out system) isn't included, but its implied to be far less than the week Jaq needed (a few days tops?)

At ten days, assuming 10 Light years distance, it would translate to a FTL speed of "hundreds" of c. This is conservaitve, ,given the fTL speeds implied much later.


Page 107
The old woman lapsed into a semi-trance. "If the... existence... possessed a higher consciousness," she mused, "I could place a psychic homer in it for you, a little beacon. Though only I could follow such a trace."
- astropaths can place psychic beacons in living (ones with higher consciousnesses) entities for purposes of tracking, although the astorpath placing it must be the one tracking.

Page 107 - Carnelian, the Harlequin man, has a Holo-suit (presumably eldar.) Also, Jaq's spy fly jokaero devicee can project holograms.

Page 108-109
"Moma Parsheen," he whispered, "place your tracer in the man that sends this illusion. His tiny toys are nearby, linked to the real man somewhere in the city. Feel out those links. Snare him."
"Yes... yes...," she mumbled, en-tranced.

..

"Oh yes.. I marked him without him knowing. I can track him, and he won't know. You'll have to take me with you, Inquisitor Draco. Take me from this place. I have been here for decades untold in this court, never leaving it except in my mind, ranging to far stars yet never truly experiencing those elsewheres. Only terse commercial messages. Is it one and a half centuries, is it two? I was rejuvenated... was it twice, was it thrice?
More about the trace. Also, Moma Parsheen has been rejuvenated at least two if not three times, living at least 150-200 years.

Page 109
The figure levitated, spinning, darting out its arms menacingly, hands crackling with light — and vanished, just as the guards opened fire in alarm. Ruby laser light stitched the interior of the sanctum like thinnest threads of stronger flame within a dully glowing oven.
In vain.
Worse than in vain.
Screams rang out from the galleries, where spectators had been gazing down instead of hiding. Some data screens exploded. The laser fire ceased too late.
the Governor's own guards using laser weapons. We dont knwo the exact yields, but notice, like with Draco's laspistol, the beam operates in a distinctly sustained mode.

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Re: Draco (Inquistiion War 1) Analysis/Discussion Thread

Post by Connor MacLeod » 2009-03-07 03:26pm

Biggest update of all is Draco, mainly cuz I was sitting on this so long.. oh well, enjoy:

Page 113-114
A week later, in pursuit of the Veils of Light — not trying to catch Carnelian, only follow him — the Tormentum Malorum entered the ocean of Chaos which was warp-space.
Only then did Moma Parsheen say to Jaq, "I sent the message anyway."
"Message?"
"Your message to Vindict V. I sent it while we were still in Vasilariov."
"Unsend it," he cried. "Cancel it."
Sightless, she smiled thinly and inhumanly; she who had not seen a smile with which to compare since her girlhood, nor a mirror either.
"From here, in the very warp? Impossible."
Was she telling the truth? He did not know.
"In that case," said Jaq, "let us drop back into true space."
"And lose the scent of Carnelian? While we dilly-dally in the ordinary universe, his ship will forge onward through the warp out of my range."
"Surely you can transmit from the warp."
"I'm sure I wouldn't know how, Inquisitor. That's quite outside of my experience. If I was trained in that, I've forgotten long since. Please recall how I've been penned in a sanctum on a planet for most of my days. I haven't known the pleasures of star-cruising. So, supposing I tried, the task would demand total concentration. I might easily lose my sense of our quarry."

...

Time passed faster in the warp than in the real universe, but was also inconstant, unpredictable. Moma Parsheen had sent the exterminatus signal just over a week earlier. The Ravagers might already have sailed towards their jump zone, or be on the point of sailing. Once in the warp, how quickly would they arrive in the vicinity of Stalinvast?

..

If the government of Stalinvast realized the import of the death-fleet's arrival, the orbital monitors might resist for a while. A day. A few hours. Armageddon would soon enough descend — enforced almost with a sense of regret.
Again a week for Jaq's craft to enter the warp. Also note that Astropaths (at last according to Parsheen, who is unreliable at best) says that she cannot transmit while in the warp. There may be an element of truth to this, as transmitting form the warp arguably would alert daemonic entities to their presencee, and put the ship at danger.

It is also implied here (perhaps) that the astropathic message took a fairly short time to transmit.


Page 117
On other wavelengths of perception than the visible, the warp was far from empty. It was super-saturated with virtual existence. Vitali Googol's warpscreen displayed an iridescent soup of energies riven by currents both swift and sluggish, poxed with vortices and whirlpools.
Here was the domain which glued the Imperium together since ships could slip through it to distant stars within days - or months at most - instead of taking impossible thousands of years over such voyages.
"thousands of yearS" would imply a distancee of thousands of light years easily. The ability to cross it within "days or months" would imply FTL speeds on the order of tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of times c.

The other bit of interet is that the "Warp" supposedly emits on "non-visible" wavelengths. Not sure if this really applies IN the warp, but in realspace this may be true. Or it may just mean something weird like "psychic wavelengths"

Page 118
These bloated Powers dangled lesser daemons. Avatars, made out of their own perverse essence, would hook into the spirits of vulnerable psykers, into greedy, heedlessly ambitious mortals, and would offer those dupes a little power — playing them like living puppets on intangible strings — before twisting them into tools of evil and eventually consuming them.
Thereby did the diabolical Powers seek to mutate the substance of the universe and to destroy Man's far-flung yet ultimately frail empire of sanity — a sanity that must needs defend itself with unrelenting savagery...
Jaq had learned all this during his training in the headquarters of the Inquisition, that labyrinth many contorted thousands of kilometres in extent which cut through the bed-rock deep beneath the massive concealing ice-cap of Earth's south polar continent.
Lesser daemons described as "avatars" constructed from the essence of greater powers, and in possessing psykers. Also that the Inquisitorial Fortress extends for th ousands of kilometers beneath the ice cap on the southern part of Earth.

Page 118
Nothing from the warp could intrude into Tormentum Malorum, for the ship — this bubble of reality — was strongly shielded with force-fields and prayers.
Note of the "redundancy" employed in protecting ships from the warp.

Page 121
The Inquisition was by no means the be-all and end-all of the fight against corruption; nor was the secret inner order of the Inquisition the ultimate either.
The order of the hammer, Ordo Malleus, had been founded thousands of years in the past in deadliest secrecy — before the wounded Emperor had even entered his life-support throne. One of its mottos was: Who Will Watch the Watchdogs! The Ordo had even executed Masters of the Inquisition when those mighty figures had shown signs of straying from true purity or diligence.
Yet its main task was to comprehend and destroy daemons. Jaq learned the appellations of those great entities of Chaos: Slaanesh the lustful, Khorne the blood-soaked, Tzeentch the imitator, Nurgle the plague-bearer. He would not utter those names lightly. All too often, human beings showed a literally fatal attraction towards such poisonous powers and their sub-daemons; as indeed perhaps people must, since those selfsame entities had agglutinated from out of the foul passions of once-living souls.
The training and conditioning of a Malleus man quite eclipsed the rigours of Jaq's training as a regular Inquisitor. At the climax of a blood-chilling ceremony he swore even more secret oaths.
The early incarnation of "The Inquisition" rather more obviously overriden now that we have three Ordos rather than one. It may be argued, though that there ARE layers within layers within layers.. The Inquisition is not an open organization, after all.

Page 124
A space hulk wallowed in the spangled spectral abyss, in thrall to the random currents of the warp; and it was there that Veils of Light had docked, slipping in to some gaping port.
The hulk wasn't one single derelict craft. The hulk was many, and more. It was a titanic conglomerate constructed by madmen, even by mad aliens too. The hulk might be ten thousand years old, so scoured, pockmarked, and ancient did some parts appear.
Once, there must have been a single core-vessel which had lost its way or had lost the use of its warp-vanes so that it could no longer jump back into truespace.
Maybe its Navigator had died, his mind disrupted by daemonic intrusion. Maybe a warp storm had battered the ship and broken its warp-vanes when their runes failed.

...
Over the millennia, other wrecks and crippled vessels were welded to the first, in whole or in part, or were crashed into place in what became a vast assembly kilometres across and deep.

...

Over the millennia, other wrecks and crippled vessels were welded to the first, in whole or in part, or were crashed into place in what became a vast assembly kilometres across and deep.
Many of these were deep-space vessels that never landed on worlds. Crenellated towers and buttressed spires jutted from the hulk as if a multiple collision had occurred between baroque flying castles.
Space hulk description.

Page 126
"We'll be safe," said Jaq. "I'm picking up a powerful field of daemonic shielding from this hulk. The field spills out beyond. We're within the fringe. Daemon spawn won't be able to home in and manifest themselves. We can leave
the shield of Tormentum in almost total confidence."
A specific capability/field that seems to be able to not only prevent daemons from finding it, but also from manifesting themselves. This would probably be different from what we see protecting ships, as daemons can manifest onboard a ship. How t his is created and why or why it isnt used on starships isnt explained, though. It may be a property of the hulk itself, perhaps.

It is worth noting, though, that the Hydra is able to manifest despite this shielding, so it seems that the defense does not work by "blocking" warp based entities in general, just specifically daemonic ones.

Page 126
He glanced Moma Parsheen's way. "I've no desire to stay with her, though. My gaze can kill, but obviously not a blind woman."
A Naviagtor's warp-gaze won't harm the blind.

Page 127
Logic said that Jaq should execute her now — and quite justifiably too — for the murder of a world, for the sabotage of the Imperium. However, maybe Stalinvast still survived, and the Tormentum Malorum might yet leave the warp in time for him to compel the old woman to send a signal to save the situation. And even so, she deserved to die for attempted treason.
Earlier we learned that it might take ten days or so for the Ravagers to reach the planet. On the other hand, its considered possible that they may already be there or nearly there and preparing to blow the planet, so we can conclude that Moma Parsheen can transmit her message rapidly enough to cover the distancee (A week's travel.. say perhaps thousands of light years?) in less than a few days. Probably alot shorter (hours or minutes) given that Draco apparently believes it could be stopped while the planet still lived.

Page 127
If only Jaq could sense ordinary human physical presence at a distance, as some psykers could. The firefly of a psychic spirit gleaming in the nightscape of existence: ah, that he could pinpoint by and large. Exerting this sense, he encountered the fog of daemonic shielding which was hiding whosoever occupied the hulk.
"Are you sure you can still fix him clearly, Astropath?" he demanded.
Moma Parsheen gazed blindly. "Oh yes," she said. "I'm good at harking through warped spaces, very good. I'm not looking for him. I'm listening to the echo of my tracer."
some psykers can detect human physical presences at grerat distances - Jaq can only detect the spirits.

Page 128 -
Meh'Lindi spoke up. "We'll be wearing powered space armour all the time we're inside the hulk? That disposes of the problem of Parsheen's muscular atrophy." Oh no, Meh'Lindi would not call the Astropath Moma.
"Huh! Give a madwoman the strength of a tigress?"
Powered space armour can give a human the strength of a "tiger" (in this case, a tigress) I'm not sure how accuratley this could be quantified though, since a tiger is not a biped, and its "strength" could be in very specialized ways (as opposed to a human.) You might be able to generally say "manyn times stronger than a person" but thats all (if even that)

Its also interesting to note that they can operate the armor (even the old astropath) without the astartes connections.

Page 129


Presently they were testing their sensor pick-ups, temperature regulators, air purificators...


part of the gear in Jaq and Co's power armor.

Page 131

Like four black-carapaced beetles decorated with protective hex signs, fluorescent red icons, and weapons pouches, Jaq and Meh'Lindi and little Grimm — who was tugging Moma Parsheen—jetted their way into a ruptured, cavernous hold. They hoped to maintain radio silence.


The power armour has reaction thrusters as well.

Page 132

Jaq carried on his suit a force rod, power axe, and psycannon. The force rod, resembling some solid black flute embedded with enigmatic circuits, stored psychic energy so as to augment a psyker's mental attack.
Unknown aliens had crafted all such force rods which had fallen into the hands of the Imperium, most notably the cache found in the ice-caverns of Karsh XIII. Impervious to any probing, a rod never needed or offered the possibility of any overhaul, so it was perhaps the least adorned of all weapons. By contrast, the shaft of Jaq's power axe was embossed with rococo icons, the pommel of that halberd was a brass Ork skull and complex purity seals embellished the power-pack to which a cable resembling a gem-serpent ran. The psycannon likewise was adorned with supernumerary ribs and moulded flanges painted with esoteric, exorcistic glyphs.


- mention of a "power rod" - a device for storing and amplifying psychic energy/attacks.

Page 132

Jaq drew Meh'Lindi's attention to the bio-scanner in its filigreed, jade-studded frame. A blotch of green light registered the psychic throb of life deep in the interior of the hulk. However, his scanner was fogged by emanations from the aspect of the hydra that was alive, almost masking the trace.
That pocket of life was plainly still some distance away, yet it was apparent to Jaq that the instrument was attempting to distinguish more than the single sharp blip that would represent Carnelian alone.
He held up his gauntlet questioningly, opening five fingers once... then twice.
Meh'Lindi signalled another ten possible presences far ahead, in her opinion. Maybe more.
When Jaq turned up the gain on his sensor, static flooded it. Too much interference from the hydra. To his annoyance the sensitive instrument failed like a night-flower wilting in too bright a light. He muttered an invocation but the machine's soul had perished and did not revive.


Bio scanners can detect life, it seems, even by its psychic emanations (which may imply some warp based detection method), though the hydra is fouling it up severely.

Page 134


Through a plascrystal port they gazed upon a vast hazy hangar lit by the occasional glowstrip. Veils of Light was berthed there, tethered magnetically.


Magnetic "tether" - a sort of tractor beam perhaps.

Page 135


The Assassin and the little man both favoured laspistols at this point. In the gravityless environment of the hulk any unexploded bolts or similar projectiles could ricochet unpredictably for a long time within a confined space.


Las weapons seem to be favored in confined space when in microgravity - presuably a lack of recoil is also an avantage.

Page 135

Jaq activated his power axe and strode forward. Meh'Lindi and Grimm flanked him, firing their lasers, slicing through the impeding arms.
Severed segments writhed and melted. Globules filled the air. Still more hydra poured into the corridor — from every gargoyle now. Its substance reformed and repaired itself, recoagulating and stiffening even as Jaq hewed with his power axe and as his companions lasered.


Again we se lasers firing on sustained, cutting effects. Curiously they seem to be "melting/liquifying" the hydra substance, though it may not be a thermal effect. The power axe seems to do likewise.

Page 137

Yet soon the glutinous entity was withdrawing far from his head, allowing him to see it squeezing portion by portion back into the ventilation system. He still couldn't move. Burly, fearsome robots held all four of the intruders inflexibly.
The machines were hideous parodies of the human form, their metal casings and flanges moulded so that the robots seemed to be sculptures made of bones welded together, interspersed with flattened, grimacing skulls. Each sported two flails of sinuous steel tentacles and a crab-like claw. The sensors of their faces were indented into a snarling, tusked daemon mask.


Robots. Interestingly, ,earlier Servitors too were mentioned, so both seem to exist, ,at least at this point in time, with some level of commonality.

Page 139

Carnelian produced null-sense hoods and proceeded to fit these over Grimm's head, and Moma Parsheen's. Dartingly as a lizard's tongue he kissed Meh'Lindi on the side of the brow before plunging her too into silence and blindness.


null sense hoods.

Page 141

Even with rejuvenations it seemed highly unlikely that any of those present could possibly live long enough to experience — to enjoy seemed totally the wrong word — the fruits of the hydra enterprise. Unless those eight masked High Masters were sufficiently confident in their associates to try to journey to the next galaxy and back — in some incredible megaship — to take advantage of time-compression! Or to place themselves in stasis for centuries on end? Unless they dared to absent themselves from the slow unfolding of the plan —would not their keen minds continue to be needed?


- Jaq notes that the creators of the Hydra are not likely to see the fruition of their work come to pass, unless thy traveled to another galaxy to take advantage of "time crompression", or to lock themselves off in a stasis box for "Centuries" on end. Evidently there is a finite number of times rejuvenation will work (less than millenia?)

Page 142

Moma Parsheen cried out as she sensed environment flooding back, the way that sensation needles through a frozen limb. For the first time in her life, perhaps, the Astropath had been psychically blind as well as visually so; utterly isolated.


The null-sense hoods also blocked out psychic senses.

PAge 142

"For the record," said Jaq, "it was an Astropath trace. A homer in your mind."
"Ah, ah, of course. Inserted when!"
"Don't worry, it'll decay within a few days."


Assuming ten or so days occured, the astropathic tracee may last for up to several weeks almost, we may consider.

Page 143


Carnelian rounded on Moma Parsheen, laughing. And still laughing, he plucked a laspistol from his belt and shot her through one of her blind eyes ,boiling her brain.


As previously discussed in various sources, a human brain masses something like 1.3-1.4 kg "boiling" it would require at least 268 kj (raising to boiling point from human temp, assuming to boil the water content in the body), so the shot at least encompassed 350-400 kilojoules.

This is conservative as it doesnt account for inefficiencies. It does not also account for damage to any part of the head besides the brain (boiling of other parts). It may seem odd that I took boiling literally, but we know this effect from the uplifting primer and other sources, so I have no reason to do otherwise. In any event, its quite liekly that searing/cauterization would take place, an the energy input for those would be considerably higher (2-3x grreater than mere boiling.)

Also, the beam would have to drill a hole through the head (at least halfway or 2/3 of the way through, ,presumably) and we know las-shots vaporize along the path of the beam (3rd edition codex, Eye of Terror, the Dawn of War novelization, etc.) Assuming a 2 cm diameter beam (discussed previously - 13th legion, Ghosts post-Necropolis short story, ,DoW novel, etc.) and a penetration between 10-20 cm.. between .03 and .06 kg of matter vaporized. Assuming ~2.5 MJ per kg (water content again).. that would be an additional 75 to 150 kilojoules, elevating the lower limit of the estimate to say between ~400-550 kilojoules (still not including surrounding effects/cauterization, etc.)

the one thing we dont know here is the duration of the shot, but we can infer its likely a sustained beam-effect, and it seems to have occured too fast for PArsheen to react - perhaps 1/4 to 1/3 of a second. sustained firepower would be then at least between 1.05 MW and 2.2 MW low end.

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Re: Draco (Inquistiion War 1) Analysis/Discussion Thread

Post by Imperial Overlord » 2009-03-07 03:57pm

A few comments.

1) Getting weird and incoherent is actually par the course for an Ian Watson book. The series was initially planned for four books before they axed it, which is part of the reason the end is so unsatisfying.

2) It's a "force rod" not a "power rod". Force weapons (rods, swords, staves, etcetera) have been in the game since the Rogue Trader days and are quite potent in the hands of psykers.
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Re: Draco (Inquistiion War 1) Analysis/Discussion Thread

Post by Ford Prefect » 2009-03-07 05:08pm

Jaq has a pretty wild imagination at times; they could build a fabulous and vast vessel and use it to cross the gulf of space between the Milky Way and Andromeda, thus leveraging relatavistic time dilation! Also, this Carnellian dude is creepy, as well.
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Re: Draco (Inquistiion War 1) Analysis/Discussion Thread

Post by Connor MacLeod » 2009-03-08 12:21am

Imperial Overlord wrote:A few comments.

1) Getting weird and incoherent is actually par the course for an Ian Watson book. The series was initially planned for four books before they axed it, which is part of the reason the end is so unsatisfying.
Which is a pity, because the last book is bad enough to pretty much ruin what the prior books built up to.

Edit: Of course, the novels as they stand now are practically a poster child for GRIMDARK!, so maybe that's why they're getting republished. :P
2) It's a "force rod" not a "power rod". Force weapons (rods, swords, staves, etcetera) have been in the game since the Rogue Trader days and are quite potent in the hands of psykers.
Typo on myy part probably. I was too rushed getting it out (After days without a computer, and then several subsequent days without internet after I was gettign this ready) to do much reviewing.

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Re: Draco (Inquistiion War 1) Analysis/Discussion Thread

Post by andrewgpaul » 2009-03-08 06:01am

I wonder if the Inquisition War is being republished to try to cash in on Dark Heresy. Am I correct in thinking that the last omnibus was out around the time of the Inquisitor game?

The first book, at least, is a pretty good description of how an Inquisitor and retinue operate. Add that to Eisenhorn, Ravenor and Scourge the Heretic, and there's some good material for players and GMs.
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