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The Pergamus Heresy:

Our first narrative campaign tournament

Entry Fee: $20 (to prizing)

Initial army details due on September 31, including fluff.

First round will be completed approximately October 20, second round completed approximately November 12, third round approximately November 30.. 


Ten years ago, the Rogue Trader Finn’s Flyer, lost in the Warp and fleeing from daemonic assailants, made systemfall in a world in the Segmentum Pacificum that it could not find on its charts. The drop from Warp was as perilous for Finn’s Flyer as it was for the pursuers: the navigator’s log hypothesized that the Warp was the “thin” near the new system, creating something like the Warp equivalent of shoals. 

Finn’s Flyer kept the information – and the trade – to itself, until one of the crew was arrested during a scuffle on Hydraphur. The crewman’s personal effects included a pistol of unknown archaeotech, which came to the notice of Inquisitor Aquillis Von. Von questioned the captain and crew of Finn’s Flyer extensively, before taking the logbook and commandeering a vessel to explore. 

Apparently, the new system – referred to variously as  Pergamus from it’s capital world, Chalcis from the nearest inhabited planet, or simply the “Seven Worlds,” as the locals call it from its seven habitable worlds. Apparently founded during the Dark Age of Technology, it possesses advanced technology, some of which is suspected to be “lost” human technology.

In spite of Von’s execution of the crew, he was not sufficiently circumspect to keep the information to himself.  A Ministorum Adept of the Lords of Terra forced Von to explain the matter in detail, and the matter has caught the attention of a number of different factions – and a few Xeno races with agents on Hydraphur.

As a result, Von’s inquiry became part of a larger effort very unusual for the Empire: diplomacy.  The Adeptus Mechanicus, for instance, suspect that there may be a Standard Template Construct in the system that accounts for the advanced technology.  Other factions, such as Adeptus Astartes and Astra Militarum, note an apparent martial tradition, and hoped to find a recruiting ground. The Ministorum itself hoped to find a new source of revenue.

Talks on Chalcis appeared to all participants to be going well: the President of the Seven Worlds, Tara Chrynestis, was open to discussing joining the Imperium, although it was clear that years would be needed to work out details such as the place of the Imperial Cult in a traditionally atheistic culture, and the Seven Worlds was reluctant to share many details of its military technology until it had been integrated more thoroughly into the Imperial system.  The Seven Worlds were certainly open to increased trade and mutual defense arrangements. 

Diplomacy was cut short, however, by Von’s sudden declaration that the Seven Worlds were heretical, and to be subject to immediate Exterminatus. His reasoning for the order – that they were in possession of unauthorized technology, and that they did not recognize the Emperor as a god to be worshipped – was not received with enthusiasm by all parties expected to comply with it. Worse for Von’s fortunes, the strike cruiser Deimos, that was to be the instrument of his wrath, foundered on its way into the system. The reasons for its destruction are unknown, and the wreckage is still inbound. 

Following this disaster, Imperial factions are divided between those that are willing to carry out the Exterminatusorder, and others that believe the Inquisitor himself is a heretic or impostor, and plan to defend the people of the Seven Worlds. As contact with the Imperium is somewhat slow, the question will likely be decided before a decision can be sought from Terra. Outside of these factions, Xenos races and Chaos Legions are listening in, and deciding whether or not to intervene.


1)   The Seven Worlds System

The Seven Worlds system has seven inhabited planets.  Pergamus, the capital; Chalcis, the world closest to the system’s usual entry point from the Warp; Percote and Larissa, largely agricultural worlds; Abydos and Cilla, relatively densely inhabited, and Halizon, which is a relatively new colony.  There is also an exoplanet: Thymbre, which is well on its way to leaving the system.

2)   Seven Worlds Culture and History

Such system records as the Seven Worlds has been willing to release at this time suggest that the system was indeed colonized in the Dark Age of Technology. There have been hints of civilization rising and falling in the system over time. Seven Worlds administrators have deflected questions regarding the original founders: however, long-range sensors pick up an ancient necropolis on Pergamon, and local broadcasts suggest that it attracts “tourists” visiting what the locals believe to be the site of the original colony.

Seven Worlds culture appears to be highly idealistic.  Its political system is a democracy, with a separation between executive, judicial and legislative powers, lead by a President elected for ten years.   They appear to emphasize personal and political freedom to a great degree (which apparently influenced Inquisitor Von’s judgement).

The exact position of the military in their hierarchy is unclear: President Chrynestis has occasionally appeared with a man named Rodrigo Diaz, identified by her as a “military advisor.” However, he typically wears simple white garb garb like hers, without badges, has never brought visible aides-de-camp, nor identified his rank.

Military personnel appear to be assigned to “Legions” based mostly on the colours of the rainbow (but including Black and White) but observed units appear to have no correlation to this Legion structure. There does not appear to be a fixed command structure beyond task forces, although communications have referred to “Dragons” and “Stasi,” which appear to be superior and inferior ranks. Slogans include such tendentious things as “Duty,” “For an Honour Greater than Ourselves,” and the slightly confusing “For the good of our people, we lend ourselves to battle.”  Military personnel engaged in conversation on Chalcis appear to serve for only a few years, and not even to believe Space Marines who said they had been serving for centuries. 

In spite of substantial weaponry, most of the system’s inhabitants are apparently occupied in manufacturing, trade, and education, and appear to have leisure and considerable amounts of disposable incomes. They appear to highly value reason, education, “culture” including performing arts, and sciences (the latter indicated by Inquisitor Von as a suspicion that they “worshipped science.”

It is clear from evidence on Chalcis that the Seven Worlds have fought some wars against hostile Xenos.  However, they deflect all attempts to discuss it.

Settlement patterns of the Seven Worlds appear similar to those of Ultramar: mixed-use planets that are designed for residents’ convenience, and limit urban sprawl while making space for natural habitats.

3)   Seven Worlds Technology

Seven Worlds forces appear to relatively small.

The Seven Worlds does not appear to have a Warp-capable navy.  However, they have a small number of warships that appear capable of great speed.  Adeptus Mechanicus personnel speculated that some of the drives in use may be capable of faster-than-light speeds, before it was pointed out that this was probably heretical.  Naval forces include a number of very small craft first thought to be simple aircraft that appear capable of interplanetary range.

Seven Worlds infantry appears to be armed with some sort of plasma pulse rifle.  They are also armed with swords of archaic design, and a pistol that looks like the archeotech flechette pistol discovered on Finn’s Flyer.  They also appear to carry grenades as standard issue, and have some sort of body armour, which looks lighter and less protective than that of the Astra Militarum. Some sort of power armour has been glimpsed, although Seven Worlds forces have worked very hard to keep it hidden.  While large and laden with apparent weaponry, it appeared to lack the strength of heavy ceramite plating. There is also some sort of mock power armour that apparently protects infantry officers, but seems no more protective than that of regular foot soldiers.  To date, the Adeptus Mechanicus has not been able to get a clear enough view to scan the armour’s capabilities.

The Seven Worlds forces do have tanks and artillery in small numbers, similar to an Astra Militarum unit.

4)   Tournament Structure

This will be a progressive  tournament using narrative play rules.  There will be three games per round, in four rounds. 

Each of the first three rounds will involve individual pairings, and have a set of three encounters, tailored to the setting, the factions involved, and their goals.  Casualties taken in the first encounter have a chance of enduring to second or third rounds, as reinforcements are not always available. 

The first round will be fought at 750 points: each round, players will receive reinforcements equal to 500 points, as ships (and ship lifeboats) gradually arrive. Thus, first round is 750points, second is 1250, third is 1750. Units that survive each round MUST appear in the next round. Army lists must be registered with the Tournament Organizer (TO).

Players have a maximum of two weeks per round to complete their battles.

The final round will be fought on the basis of “what’s dead stays dead” (subject to the availability of medical intervention). A final battle may be held as an Apocalypse-scale event, arraying the surviving forces of each side.

5)   Choosing Factions, choosing sides

Players may choose to represent any faction they wish, with the proviso that no player play the same faction without prior approval of the TO. Faction choice MUST include naming all of the faction’s Characters, and generating some fluff to explain who they have in their army and why they are present. Roboute Guilliman cannot be used by any player, for the simple reason that he could confirm or overrule Von’s Exterminatusorder.

After everyone has chosen a faction, and this information has been revealed to the other players, each player must choose a side: in favour of Inquisitor Von’s Exterminatusorder, or in opposition to it. There must be an equal number of players on each side.

Between rounds, players have the opportunity to seek additional information on the Seven Worlds, and to potentially spy on other players’ army lists.

Players may switch sides between rounds, with the proviso that the number of players on each side must remain matched.

Players allied with the Seven Worlds may take a Seven Worlds detachment as part of their army. 

6)  Technical Details
A.    Overall Structure

This tournament will be run on a modified Swiss (non-elimination) format.  It will use the general structure discussed under point 4 above.

B.    Timeline
Submit Fluff (1 Week)  

We need to know who is in the initial 750 points.  That means faction and sub-faction, with a battle-forged army. We need names down to unit commanders, and an explanation of both why they are there, and what the faction’s basic stance was beforethe disaster.

First Round (Week 2-4)
Gather Non-Combat Information (1 Day)

Every player has a chance to gather information from the TO, that can be gained without combat. Information that requires some degree of mission success will be identified through the dialogue.

Diplomacy (1 Day)

Players have a chance to negotiate with each other to change sides if desired.  Players as a group (in consultation with the TO) will decide who is on what side for the round

Generate Mission Parameters (1 Day)

Based on the results of the previous two steps, players may discuss missions designed to gather secret information, or to pressure other factions to change sides.  Mission parameters will be agreed on with the TO by the end of the first week.

Assign Antagonists and Establish First Narrative Battle Trees (1 Day)

Based on previous steps, the TO will assign antagonists, and establish narrative trees using the Campaign rules (see BRB p272-273).

Fight Battles (2 Weeks)

Antagonists have two weeks to fight three  battles and return battle reports to the TO after each battle. Based on the battle reports, the TO will award battle honours to participating units, and occasional customization to “generic” characters, using the rules from Chapter Approved 2018.

Award Battle Honours and Scenario-Specific Information (1 Day)

Based on the battle reports, the TO will award scenario-specific information.

Second Round (Week 4-6)

The Second Round will repeat the steps of the first

Third Round (Week 7-9)

The Third Round will repeat the steps of the first

Grand Finale (Week 10-12)

Final dispositions will be decided, and all participants will gather for one Apocalypse-style grand melee.

C.    Retreat

During a battle, a player may declare the intent to “retreat” any or all units of his or her army at the end of any turn beginning with the army’s third turn.  Retreat takes place at the start of the unit’s next Movement phase, after the opponent has had one more turn. This may lose a battle – but force preservation is a goal in itself.

D.    Recovery of slain units

Between games of a round, casualties have a chance to be recovered by support units.  This applies to every model without a wound track. Thus, for every member of a units, one will make a roll as follows:

Base: 5+
Surviving medical units are present: +1 to roll
Victory/hold the field: +1 to roll
Unit is a Character: +1 to roll

Units which are not recovered are not available for succeeding battles of a round: their faction will play with their army list short by those units’ points. Units of the same time that are below minimum strength must be combined until there is only a single under-strength unit of that type.

Beware of pyrrhic victories in early battles. It is possible to win the first battles but lose the final battle because of casualties.

After the last battle of a round, it is important to do this for any units that are otherwise completely destroyed.

E.     Repair of Damaged Vehicles

Vehicles with a wound track can be repaired. For each line of damage on the wound track, roll 1d6: a successful roll repairs the vehicle to the bottom of the next line of the wound track.

Base: 4+
Surviving mechanical repair units are present: +1 to roll
Victory/hold the field: +1 to roll

Units which are not recovered are not available for succeeding battles of a round: their faction will play with their army list short by those units’ points.

F.     Reinforcements between Rounds

Remember to make recovery rolls for any units that are completely destroyed. 

Between rounds, units may receive reinforcements to bring them up to full strength. There are three exceptions to this rule:

If a unit is completely destroyed and not recovered, it does not reinforce. The player adds a new unit in its place, the leader of which must be specified as per the original setup rules.
If the unit was a character, it is not reinforced.  A new unit may be added per the rules above.  Once dead, a unique character such as Abbadon or Farstrike remains dead, and cannot be added as a new unit by anyone.
Units are not reinforced at the end of the third round.  They move directly to the final battle, as-is.

G.    Costs

Every participant will asked to contribute $20 towards the tournament.  This will go entirely towards prizing (as store credit). A portion will be set aside as a prize for the final battle.

H.    Scoring

The nature of a campaign game is such that victory in the first two games leads to a final game which is more or less favourable given performance in the first games.  Because of this, the winner of the final game of a round is the winner of the round as a whole. The winner of a round gets 3 points for the purpose of pairings and victory in the tournament.  A draw yields one point. Presuming eight players, half of the prize money will go to the first-place winner, a quarter to second place, and the remainder split between third and fourth.

Prize money for the final battle will be divided among the player with the most victory points scored, most valuable player on each side (as voted by the side), and best-painted/fluffiest army (as voted by the participants as a whole).

I.      Pairings

First round pairings are random, subject to the rule that players must play opponents from the opposite side. Successive pairings will match winning players with winning players, subject to the rule that players must play opponents from the opposite side and that players cannot play against the same opponent twice. Should pairings be difficult to achieve, players may be requested to change sides between games.

J.      Prizing

If there are 8 or more players, half of the prizing will go to the player with the highest point total. One quarter will go to the player in second place.  The remainder will be split evenly amongst 3rdand 4thplace

If there are four or less players, two thirds of the prizing will go to the winner, and one third to second place.