“Only ten of us are left. We delved too deep into this maze, or something is here with us, come from above---I know not which. The expedition, such as remains, will attempt the unexplored gamma region shafts by suspensor platform, aiming for a speculative secondary exit above the prime gate. From there, we may have more options---to stay where we are is to be carved away to nothing, one by one.”
–Vox record of Tyreus Klave, discovered in Archeocomplex IV.b
The Diversified House of the Lords Klave of Scintilla has long invested in archeostudy across the Golgenna Reach; it is a proven road to greater wealth and power. Gilded museums in the spires of Hive Sibellus assure the Lords Klave a grand position in noble society, whilst trade in unique rarities---even xenos artefacts, some whisper---swells House coffers. In 735.M41 a House Klave survey discovered huge gateway markers carved into equatorial cliff-faces on Designate-228-18: a barren, bone-dry moon of the Settlement 228 system, comprising a low-gravity, cool desert waste of grey dust dunes, dark rocky outcrops, a thin and unbreathable atmosphere, and great dust storms that churn the dunes.
In 753.M41 Athus Klave uncovered and partially mapped the labyrinth of Archeocomplex I. Tunnels, deep vertical shafts, and strangely shaped vaults extended for leagues beneath the dunes---but all were empty or collapsed, and the expedition proved a costly failure. In following decades, Designate-228-18 was the subject of lesser academic archeoexpeditions and modest House Klave patronage; further exploration made inroads into Archeocomplexes II and III. In 782.M41, artefacts and tech-remains of unknown patterns were uncovered in the complex depths and returned to Scintilla. They were declared, on the flimsiest basis, to be of pagan human origin, evidence for the Scintillan Empire of Antiquity theory popular at the time. Their exhibition brought much prestige for the House, and rumors circled of psy-active materials not displayed, but traded to greater Houses for princely sums.
On the strength of these relics, favored scion Tyreus Klave led a well-equipped archeoexpedition to the largest complex yet discovered---and vanished without a trace. A relief expedition recovered only scattered equipment and ambiguous vox records. They departed Designate-228-18 in fear and haste after some of their number also disappeared.
Ancient Origins and Present ActivityEdit
Knowledgeable archeoexplorators of Scintilla believe, correctly, that the ruins of Designate-228-18 are xenos in origin. House Klave keeps this secret: the Lords Klave do not wish to lose access to Designate-228-18 should the Administratum be forced to declare it forbidden. House Klave members are presently financing a new expedition to the archeocomplexes---the gene material of Tyreus Klave must be recovered. However, the Holy Ordos is suspicious: whispers of xenos artefacts and psy-active materials have grown loud enough to be heard in the Tricorn.
The truth, were it known, is far worse. The vaults of Designate-228-18 were constructed by the Yu’vath, a warp-worshipping xenos breed whose empire of corrupted human worlds bled the Angevinian Crusade for decades. Complexes like those of the dust moon were used to create Hell Worlds---swirling centers of warp-tides, sustained by foundation-tunnels of human sacrifice and machine-enhanced psyker agony.
Archeocomplex IV.b’s stonework is smooth and featureless. Thousands of kilometers of tunnels, vertical shafts, and hundreds of strangely shaped vaults form a vast, layered maze of unknown extent. The hexagonal or arched passageways vary in size; some are too small for a man, others are large enough for vehicles.
Access to IV.b requires navigating a dust-choked Klave drilltunnel and then descending 200 meters down a kilometer-deep primary shaft. Auspex mapping has proven useless, and vox communication within IV.b has a short effective range, less than 300 meters outside shafts and long corridors, unless vox-cables are strung through the maze.
Artifacts made of a black, yielding material lie scattered in deeper reaches of the complex---they are of many sizes and shapes, but none have obvious function or purpose. Much deeper within IV.b are isolated human mummies, so old they crumble at any disturbance. Some are fused with dark artifacts in disturbing ways. Within the deepest vaults, kilometers below the surface, lines of human mummies in wall-niches wear psy-active Yu’vath crowns of the same dark material.
The Resonance is Yu’vath machinery, much more warp-sorcery than mechanism. It suffuses the rock of lower levels of IV.b, dormant and invisible to commonplace Imperial technology. In the depths, Resonance can work a slow, insidious effect upon human minds: the Yu’vath corrupted by forcing actions that fragile minds then justified as their own choices. Explorators deep within IV.b begin to suffer hallucinations, false memories, and waking dreams as their minds rationalize what is happening to them.
Resonance is only active beneath 1 kilometer in depth. The first time each day that an explorator is alone for an hour, the Game Master makes a secret Ordinary (+10) Willpower Test. Failure indicates that Yu’vath Resonance influences the minds of those exploring the ruins:
Number of Failures:
1: Move to a new location, deeper in the tunnels.
2: Locate and collect one of the black artifacts.
3: Locate several more artifacts.
4: Vanish into the depths with his artifacts to fuse with the Yu’vath Resonance in an ecstatic death.
At each stage, the explorator hallucinates or constructs false memories to explain his actions: orders from expedition superiors; accompanying comrades; that he is following or fleeing something. As the actions become more bizarre, so to do the hallucinations. Talking to other members of an expedition can break the Resonance’s immediate hold by showing the explorator is in the grip of hallucination---but he still will not know that his actions were forced upon him.
Whenever Resonance operates on an explorator, any psyker within chamber IV.b may make a Very Hard (-30) Perception Test, adding +10 per Psy Rating. If the test is successful, the psyker feels as though saintly, wondrous presences move far below and call to the faithful. Two or more degrees of success reveal the saintly wonder as false, and behind it an ancient evil suffusing the archeocomplex. A psyker subjected to Resonance is affected in the same way as a non-psyker, but still makes this Perception test. On success he feels presences---saintly or evil---reaching from far below to touch him.
Other psychic powers have the following effects:
- Psychometry provides the same impressions of a saintly presence as the operation of the Yu’vath machines. With overbleed of 10 points or more, the evil behind the cloak is sensed.
- Soul Sight and Mind Scan show minds affected by Resonance to have been disturbed by a subtle, potent force.
Crown of WondersEdit
The crowns set upon ancient mummies are circlets of black, flexible material, steeped with psy-power and ornamented with curling projections on the outer surface. They are a Radical’s prize---and curse, as they slowly twist a psyker’s mind. Wonders of the Yu’vath bubble up within the mind: wise, angelic beings that guide humanity to rightful adulation of the Ruinous Powers and joyous depravity. The lies begin as a whisper, then grow to a blasphemous torment. Soon, the psyker cannot distinguish the visions from his own beliefs.
Wearing a Crown has the following effects:
- Lowers the Threshold of all Psychic Powers by 5.
- Limns the psyker in warp-light when using his powers.
- Gains 1d10 Insanity points each full 12 hours the Crown is worn. Resulting Mental Disorders are convictions of righteousness in the visions of the Crown.
A successful Willpower Test is required to remove the Crown after it has been worn for an hour. Failure means the psyker believes he has decided to continue wearing the Crown and may not try to remove it for another hour. The psyker gains 1 Insanity and 1 Corruption whenever the Crown is removed.