The Pelager Clan

Summary: A clan of pelagers lives here in a small lake that ultimately feed the Grey River. Imperial presence has only recently made itself known here, and the pelagers have begun preying on the townspeople who live in the fishing village along the tributary and the river itself as vengeance for their failure to resist the coming of the Imperials.

Discovery: The Inquiry check to learn from the locals that pelagers are abducting them is Easy(+30). If towns this small had newspapers, the attacks would be making headlines. For similar reasons, Imperial-aligned characters (or characters who have convinced Imperial authorities they’re Imperial-aligned) might be told about the disappearances and asked to investigate. The pelagers in Brandt’s Landing (06.05) or the Enclave (05.05) might also have mentioned the clan living here, either because the characters befriended them or under interrogation. The attacks occur only one or twice a week. If the characters stay the night, roll 1d5-1 to determine how many nights until the next attack. If it’s a zero, the next attack happens while the characters are staying, and will be immediately obvious to anyone outside on account of the screaming, the thrashing in the water, and the occasional gunfire.

Exploration: A half-dozen pelagers are sent on the raids, and they always try to target someone who is somehow vulnerable, who is completely alone, or underarmed, or physically frail. If possible, the pelagers will abduct the hapless victim to bring them back to their lair, but as the town is now on high alert and deeply suspicious of the river waters, especially at night, this is getting harder. Since the ultimate goal is vengeance against the locals for allowing themselves to be absorbed into Imperial territory without a fight, the pelagers will kill their target and retreat immediately if it looks like a response is on the way, which is usually the case these days. The gunfire that characters may have heard while staying up is from an impromptu militia, equipped with stub revolvers and poor quality shotguns, who are nevertheless pretty damn dangerous to relatively small raiding parties of pelagers.

Pelagers who are captured will reveal the location of their clan’s lair with a Difficult(-10) Interrogation check. Following them back to their lair is difficult since they move through water, although that also significantly narrows down the search area and gives the pelagers few places to run to throw off the trail without just making more obvious tracks to follow. A Challenging(+0) Survival check will allow a character to trace the pelagers back to their lair.

Confrontation: The pelagers are taking their captives back to a small air pocket in an underwater cave in a lake fed by a tributary of the Grey River on one end before the water overflows to continue the tributary on the other. The captives of previous raids have all been devoured, but if the characters pursue a pelager raiding party here, and that raiding party successfully abducted someone, the captive will be in this cavern. Reaching the cavern requires fully submerging weapons, which will render nearly all of them inoperable. Gunpowder-based shotguns or autoguns will have their ammo completely ruined. Bolters will be unable to produce thrust underwater, though they will not be damaged. Lasweapons and melta weapons with the Reliable quality will remain effective indefinitely, while those without will fail after 1d10 rounds underwater. Unreliable lasweapons or melta weapons will be rendered inoperable after 1d5 rounds. Lasweapons and melta weapons ruined by water damage are rendered permanently inoperable. Being underwater also counts as arduous terrain for anyone not adapted to it, imposing a -30 penalty to all Weapon Skill and Evasion tests.

In addition to any survivors of the half-dozen strong raiding party (most, if not all of whom will have survived if the party did not intervene, as they do not stick around once an armed response shows up) there are another dozen pelager warriors in the pond, along with about two dozen non-combatants, mostly children and the very old (these will not join a fight – if the characters kill all the warriors, they can do just about whatever they like with the non-combatants afterwards without facing any significant resistance). While the pelagers flee quickly in the face of opposition while out raiding, they will fight to the death anyone who enters their lake in order to keep its location secret.

The pelagers are already enemies of the Imperium, so Chaos-aligned characters who find the pelagers and succeed on a Challenging(+0) Charm check to convince them that they’re enemies of the Imperium have won the loyalty of the pelagers in that fight automatically. There is no need for a Charm check if the pelagers witness the characters attacking Imperial agents like PDF, Arbites, or Ecclesiarchy. Attacking average Imperial citizens will impart a +20 bonus to Charm checks, but will not convince the pelagers automatically.

Convincing allied pelagers to leave their hex requires a separate Very Hard(-30) Charm check which is not affected by any bonuses for attacking other Imperials. This check receives a +30 bonus if the Imperial presence in their home hex has been decisively removed as a threat (and if the Imperials significantly increase presence in their hex, the difficulty may instead take a large penalty), but even when successful the pelagers will only send their half-dozen warriors, leaving the rest behind to defend their home while they’re gone, regardless of current Imperial presence in their home hex.

Checks made to convince the pelagers that they are a recognized abhuman strain (which is technically true, though ground-level PDF and Ecclesiarchy on Vestitas don’t usually know it) and have nothing to fear will require succeeding on a disposition check against the leader of the pelager warriors, who has an aggressive personality and a starting Disposition of 15 towards Imperials (and 35 towards Chaos or unlawful, if that comes up).

Rewards: The pelagers’ lair can be used as an underwater hideout, as it’s perfectly hospitable (if a bit damp and cold) to airbreathers once you get into the air pocket. Additionally, as mentioned above, a party, especially an anti-Imperium party, may be able to convince the pelagers to join them.

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