“It is the Ecclesiarchy’s purview, and theirs alone, to interpret the word of the God-Emperor. Any teachings other than those sanctioned by the Ecclesiarchy are to be considered heresy.”
–Excerpt from Ecclesiarchy Memorandum DCLXVII
This blasphemous world is a small, arid moon orbiting a gas giant in the far coreward reaches of the Ragged Worlds, well within sight of the seething warp storms that hem the Expanse. Recently declared off-limits by the Ecclesiarchy, Redemption was once the cemetery world for a long-lost cult dedicated to a heretical version of the teachings of the God-Emperor. What these teachings were and what befell their adherents is unknown, whether lost to time or suppressed by the Imperium, but the Inquisition has branded them heresy so heresy they must be. The moon is covered with ornate cyclopean tombs engraved with heretical bas reliefs, grand necropolises, and countless obscure monuments. Gigantic cathedrals decorated with frescoes and stained glass proclaiming the glory of the God-Emperor and His saints stand shoulder to shoulder with humble monasteries and vast, silent crematoria. Every square meter of Redemption is covered in a strange luminescent marble veined with silver that throws back the baleful, flickering light from the nearby warp storms and makes everything the color of a day old bruise.
Beneath the broad marble avenues and numerous funerary buildings is a warren of thousands of kilometers of tunnels augured deep into the heart of the moon. These seemingly endless tunnels link colossal, city-sized ossuaries and great underground temples. Inside, the bones of countless billions lie stacked in these catacombs, marked with what appear to be purity seals and covered in painted tapestries. Where there are not bones or the statues of saints, huge stone vaults with doors as strong and thick as a voidship’s armor are bored into the living stone. These vaults are locked with arcane locks of blasphemous technology and sealed with more of the cult’s purity seals. What they hide is anyone’s guess, and the Ecclesiarchy refuses to disclose any of its findings.
The Secrets of RedemptionEdit
As is the case with most dead worlds, the allure of Redemption lies mainly in the money-making potential of its artifacts. Every Rogue Trader worth his warrant has at least a passing interest in the underground trade of heretical artefacts from man’s distant past. With Redemption, the potential is increased tenfold by the nature of its ancient and heretical artefacts. There are more than a few organizations and individuals in the Imperium that would pay vast amounts of gelt to posses such knowledge as Redemption hides, or see it suppressed. What is actually on the moon and in its vast catacombs is unknown to the Expanse, as the threat of the Ecclesiarchy’s censure and the power of Godwinne’s blockade keeps curiosity seekers at bay. The oldest crypts of Redemption date back to the earliest days of the Imperium and perhaps even before, to the time when the Emperor led His Great Crusade to re-conquer the galaxy. Some of the tombs may even have been raised to house great heroes of that time of legends. They could contain powerful relics and valuable treasures from the Imperium’s hallowed past, but such things would pale besides the wealth of knowledge of those times. Information about the first days of the Imperium, secrets discovered about the Halo Stars then lost forever, or even knowledge of the Emperor Himself and His designs for the galaxy, all may wait behind the sealed doors of Redemption. Below are three potential plots that the Game Master may use with Explorers that visit Redemption.
The Temple Tendency
The Temple Tendency is the remains of a heretical and ancient cult that once held sway over the entire Imperium. Long ago, the Temple of the Saviour Emperor was one of the first—and most powerful—sects to worship the Emperor as a deity. Its power grew amongst the Imperium as it became the One Faith and evolved into the Ministorum. Eventually, with the Ministorum bloated with secular power and worldly wealth, the infamous Goge Vandire took control. He unleashed the Reign of Blood, throwing the Imperium into horrifying civil war.
An alliance between the Mechanicus, the Adeptus Astartes, and a powerful religious leader and reformer named Sebastian Thor eventually overthrew the Temple of the Saviour Emperor, and Vandire died at the hands of his most loyal servants. The remains of the Temple fled to corners of the Imperium, where they became known as the Temple Tendency. To this day they work against the Ecclesiarchy, attempting to restore themselves as the “true” representatives of Imperial faith.
Members of the Temple Tendency masquerading as regular Ecclesiarchy functionaries charter the players’ ship to take them to Redemption for “field work.” They have the proper papers and signals to move through the blockade, and may even contract some players and crew to assist them in their endeavors on the surface. Their informants among the Ecclesiarchy have passed them information about Redemption, and the Temple Tendency believes that the documents and artefacts buried here hold secrets important to their cause. Of course, there is a contingency of the Adepta Sororitas on the surface, and it’s only a matter of time before Lord Captain Godwinne discovers that the priest’s documents are forged.
The Ecclesiarchy has contracted the players to transport a few powerful priests and their retinue, along with a fair amount of unidentified cargo from Redemption to Port Wander. The priests and their people keep largely to themselves, and the cargo is sealed in heavy vaults and guarded by a small unit of Adepta Sororitas. Along the way, the ship is ambushed and the attackers attempt to disable the players’ ship and board her. Are these random pirates? Rival Ecclesiarchy factions? Followers of Redemption’s cult? Something worse? This is a good option for players interested in faith and prestige based pursuits.
In His Service
The players have been offered vast sums of money to travel to Redemption in pursuit of a particular item or artefact rumored to be there. This will entail a great amount of pre-planning, stealth, and raw luck to get through Godwinne’s blockade in orbit and evade the Ecclesiarchy agents and Sisters of Battle units present on the surface. The players will be given a rough description of the object to be retrieved, an estimate of where it might be found, and a hefty down payment on their fee. The money is very good, more than enough to make up for the risk involved, and the deal has every appearance of either a wealthy noble or high-ranking Imperium official looking for something for their collection. Is this a legitimate business transaction, or is it a set-up?