Imperial Governor Malaki Vess oversees Zweihan’s World, a minor hive world located in the Malfian sub-sector. As the Imperial ruler of the planet, Vess has overseen Zweihan’s World’s development for most of the last century. An intelligent, empathetic, and charismatic man and ruler, he has ruled his planet well, and as a result his subjects are prosperous and content. It is no wonder that Vess is respected, even adored, by his subjects.
However, trouble looms for Vess. The Adeptus Administratum has recently determined that Zweihan’s World is not properly exploiting the vast mineral deposits found in its planetary rings. As a result, the planet’s Tithe is set to increase to exploitive levels.
Vess knows what this means; Zweihan’s World will become a blasted, strip-mined, and polluted wasteland where the unlucky inhabitants scrabble for simple survival. He cannot stand to see this happen, and thus, plots rebellion.
Governor Vess provides a GM with a unique adversary. Vess is not a Chaos-worshipper or xenos, nor is he really a heretic. In fact, many players may find his character and motives sympathetic and even commendable. Thus, when they learn of his plot, the choice over how to stop him (or even if they should stop him) is likely that much more difficult. However, if he isn’t stopped, his entire world will burn. The Imperium must brutally stamp on rebellion, and this may be the only way for the players to avert a sub-sector war.
Of course, there’s nothing simple about stopping him, either. Vess’s plans are secret, but the scale of preparations for any rebelling planet is impossible to hide. The first order of business is to discover the plot. Arms shipments, mobilisations of the Planetary Defence Forces, even the quiet elimination of local Arbites, all are signs of the approaching storm. Once the players have put the pieces together, they have to figure out what to do about it.
As an individual, Vess is not incredibly dangerous. His power comes from Zweihan’s World’s populace and PDF, who are utterly devoted to him. Should the players attack Vess directly, they find themselves up against an army. Vess does not wish to confront them personally, instead allowing hundreds (or thousands) of regular troops led by his elite forces to deal with them.
Unless the players have a personal army, they have to use their wits to get to Vess. Even then, he should always be accompanied by a substantial bodyguard of his elite Defenders. In battle, the Defenders push to get between their master and danger, while he directs their actions from behind.