Black Crusade Pitch: Dead Frontier (April 23rd Recruitment Drive)

Discovered by the powers of The Screaming Vortex in mid-M40, the Nightmare-World of Corpus V is a grey planet spinning around a dying Gloaming Worlds star. It’s a rare treasure, a former Yu’vath client world boasting examples of warp-engineering thought to be lost after the Angevin Crusade of early M39. While long gone, the Yu’vath left behind wonders once only whispered in hushed tones: Stories of black doors linking forgotten half-moments; blasphemous genome sequences surpassing all known limits; weapons of war that murdered entire battalions of Saint Drusus’ guardsmen within an eyeblink; and lost knowledge waiting to be stolen, so that mankind can forge a mockery of time itself

Corpus V boasts a diverse population of indigenous humans and xenos breeds who eke out a fearful existence beneath the shadow of warlords warped beyond recognition by the Yu'vath's masterworks. The local wildlife is an eclectic mix of alien beasts, hordes of mutant abominations, and feral biomechanical servitors. Offworld settlers dot the planet, driven by foreign benefactors seeking to steal Corpus V's secrets for themselves. Hardened reavers make up most of their number, but so do indentured workers, tithed security, and petty cultists.

For generations the Death Valley working-menial toiled in an endless race to the bottom harvesting psychoactive minerals and warp tainted uranium, all while suffering under the hired enforcers commanded by the xenos overlord-construct called The Commandante. This changed when the private security at the Radspite Uranium Refinery staged a coup and rallied the unions of Death Valley to war. After a month of fighting, The Commandante played their trump card, an armoured assault led by the infamous Irn Bonce the Squat. The Laughing Skulls are looking for volunteers in a last-ditch raid on Bonce’s spearhead before it hits their defensive lines. All aid is welcome, whether it’s from hardened true believers or paid reavers and aspiring champions.

Timeframe for Applying

The deadline for accepting applicants will be the end of Sunday May 2nd, 11:59pm EDT. Due to volume, those accepted will see a server link in their DMs no later than late-afternoon Tuesday (May 4th). Get your pitch in before it’s too late! 

Here's some campaign expectations:

The campaign will move at your own pace until there’s an appropriate stopping point or the PCs hit 100 infamy/corruption. You will be onroaded for the last session of the campaign’s taster scenario on May 7th. Over the next two weeks the open world element of the campaign will begin. We will assess the group dynamic at the end of the following compact. 

          The PCs know and have worked with each other for at least a year. Define party history as you like or not at all, but understand your characters are acquaintances, coworkers, and comrades. This will be an all-human campaign using core rulebook archetypes. Feel free to make Corpusian champions invested in The Laughing Skulls’ revolution. The latter only knows the party’s deeds, but do know a lot about Death Valley. Work together and have fun! 

          Lastly, Black Crusade has some heavy content (body horror, gorn, bombastic cosmic horror) and subject matter (e.g. slavery is by default implicit in the Screaming Vortex). To ensure a safe, fun, and relaxing experience, I use the Consent in Gaming Checklist to survey the party's boundaries and excise problematic elements. We also use the X-Card, as it’s every player’s Emperor-given right to have a safety net at the table. See page five and onwards for the current shape of the Consent Checklist and the Discord server code of conduct.

Here’s a Word on The Campaign’s Vibe:

Dead Frontier has a lot of inspirations. Sometimes they boil down to “Things Shinji is currently watching.” The personal immediacy of the original Shin Megami Tensei games, the politics playing out in a genre environment of the early Fallouts (including New Vegas), and the casually worded maximalism of Hideyuki Kikuchi's Vampire Hunter D novel series all form the campaign’s backbone, but how does that play out?

Corpus V is modern day neoliberalism and neocolonialism hustling and grinding within an H.R. Geiger piece. It’s a place that should not be known, ground which should not be tread, and people are forced to survive in it at the behest of forces far beyond their control. The background noise of ideology, state power, and material conditions work to shape the perspectives and goals of the people you encounter. As mercenary types, the players are just as much pawns of the setting’s geopolitics as they’re playthings of the gods. Every material struggle plays out in The Warp, and every move of The Great Game plays out in The Materium, after all.

Some Addendums:

  1. Experience with other systems, even and especially if they are not 40k related, is an asset.

  2. A folder of the campaign’s houserules can be found here. I recommend reading them, since it can be an important deciding factor.

  3. Some past applicants rolled up their stat arrays to get a sense of the character they’ll play. That’s perfectly valid! Feel free to use any kind of die roller to generate stats for your character if that helps narrow things down, but screenclip the results so I know they’re kosher. Cheat at your own peril. I’ve applied the original errata along with some houserules to chargen. I only need a rough sketch of the character’s crunch and role: 

  4. Some current applicants have been wondering about the party roster. That’s also valid! The party has a solid foundation in and out of combat, so you can’t go wrong with any build that you propose. Their setup is as follows:

  • A durable unaligned psyker, wielding hard hitting weapons through telekinesis.

  • A more agile melee-focused Slaaneshi psyker, focused on multiple attacks.

  • A versatile paramilitary Apostate who uses grenades, suppression, and minions.

  • The party has a broad skill base. There isn’t a precise niche they monopolise. You can build any kind of skill specialist and they’d be of great help.

  1. By “biweekly Fridays”, I mean every other Friday. Each session operates on a two week/14 day rotation

  2. Some quick answers about how I’m using BCA: Character alignment is determined by advances, but you get more from your alignment by accruing favour from your patron. Unaligned characters minimize scorn to get their track benefits. All Are Equal Under the Gods’ xp adjustment will be implemented, even for aligned characters. The fixed gifts and rewards are in, but the alignment-based talent adjustments are out. BCA’s psychic system restrains the core’s excesses, so it will be implemented. Lastly, the only applicable background package from BCA is The New Flesh, since all other backgrounds can be represented through starting common lores.

  3. I want this to be a long lasting campaign that people will enjoy. While it is an element of some Black Crusade games, PVP creates unnecessary conflict and erodes trust. Just like in any other campaign, your survival hinges on your ability to cooperate as a party. Tertiary objectives and dedication to the Dark Gods add extra complications to compacts, but never will they be used to turn party members against each other.

General Conduct on The Campaign Discord Server:

  1. This is a safe space: Respect and honour each other's pronouns. Be nice and be constructive as a first order.

  2. No slurs of any kind, no bigotry of any kind, no hate speech of any kind. Esp. ableist and transphobic slurs. One whiff of that: yeet.

  3. Take note of others' boundaries and what they may find triggering (common things are mental health, death, abuse, and assault). Apologise if you overstep them, owning responsibility and avoiding the passive voice.

  4. We don't know each other's boundaries yet and we'll never know all of them. Avoid posting any potentially triggering content without a warning. Follow the golden rule: If you have to ask, "Should I put a spoiler tag over this?" the answer is “Yes.”

  5. Everything's political and I inform my writing with plenty of continental philosophy on state power and ideological formation. However we're living in dire times. When talking about current events, be willing to drop it if people aren't comfortable. If it comes down to it, be willing to not bring them up at all without a heads up.

  6. This is a supportive environment. Our goal is to regain a chill equilibrium while acknowledging and solving all issues. The best course of action is always to self-correct and move forward.

  7. It's my job to listen and take people's problems seriously so we can nip them in the bud. Hit me up or drop a DM if you're having trouble, especially interpersonal trouble. I'll gladly resolve them as discreetly as you need.

In Game Conduct:

  1. You'll do well by working together. You'll do poorly by infighting. You'll be kicked for teamkilling.

  2. The nature of the consent systems we're using is "opt-in," which means we won’t touch anything that isn't greenlit on the checklist, and anything yellowlit is going to have caveats attached. This can be an anonymous process, it can be a very involved 1-1 process through DMs, or we can discuss it in the chat. Whatever makes you comfortable.

  3. The flow of the session is secondary to people’s safety. To use the X card, just post X in the session chat with an @here or simply drop that in a DM. We'll stop the game, assess what happened, change and remove things, take a five-minute break (or longer if necessary), then decide if we’re okay to continue.

  4. For both of these consent systems to work, nobody needs to explain, argue, or justify their boundaries. As the base and bare minimum to be comfortable at this table, they are all taken as a given and treated with the utmost respect.

On How to Slide Into Shinjipaper’s DMs:

If you have read this far, congratulations. Here’s how I can be reached to apply. I can be reached on Reddit, but I have an easier time vibing on Discord at Shinjipaper#7290. There I can ask you about what you want to play, what’s your draw to this game, and what skills you bring to the table. You can call it an interview, but my process is as structured as it is informal, so it’s more of getting to know each other and figuring out if we both have a good time vibing. To reach me on Discord, send a friend request and make sure your first message contains “Slam Sector” in its body, or is attached with this piece of High Culture:

If you are a lad, lass, or pal unequipped with either the password or the Vital Cultural Artifact, I will screenclip this sentence and ask you to find where it is in the documents provided in the advert, then unfriend you with a specified cooldown. You got a week, so it’s all good to come back and retry, but please show a modicum of effort.

I’m chill to be reached with a written application that answers the questions posed in the advert. If your application demonstrates you’ve read this document, and I’ll reach out to you for any clarifying questions while sorting you into the applicant roster. Please go with whatever method between apping on Reddit and chatting on Discord is the most accessible for you.

Here is the form for written applications if that’s your speed:

While you’re composing an application or preparing to hit me up, consider what’s your draw to this game. We all want to play Black Crusade, but the contents of BC campaigns can vary from table to table. I like to run something that’s distinctively 2000AD where there’s real leftist social commentary, and I like a game where mechanics and narrative work together to create messy, ambivalent scenarios. If that’s your jam,  great! Please drop a line. I’d be glad to hear from you.

Lastly, you can ask general questions about the campaign on Reddit, but I will not accept a character concept on Reddit from users that are not furnished with The High Culture. Asking questions in the comments section of the advert posts can help clarify things for multiple users, so feel free to ask there as well.

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