FAE Warhammer 40k Adventures: Imperial Guard vs Genestealers on Holborn III

An Imperial Guard Regiment from the Warhammer 40k Wiki

An Imperial Guard Regiment from the Warhammer 40k Wiki

Since we now have Fate Accelerated Edition versions for playing both the Warhammer 40k Imperial Guard and Genestealers, here’s a brief outline for an adventure pitting a squad of Imperial Guard PCs against the insidious Genestealer menace.



Dornenplaz, a small city on the Imperial world Holborn III

from the Warhammer 40k Wiki

from the Warhammer 40k Wiki

Dornenplaz is an agricultural center; a regional market town where the produce from Holborn IIIs great estate-farms is brought together for processing and shipping off-world. The city has a small spaceport, and more importantly an Astronomican relay. The relay tower is a tiny part of a network that reaches through warp-space back to the Golden Throne on Terra itself, and provides guidance for Imperial starships.

A Company of the 1421st Veltross Infantry garrison’s the planet in the Emperor’s name. Normally Dornenplaz’ insignificant spaceport would hardly require the Imperial Guard’s presence—but the relay tower makes posting Guard troops there a necessity.


Scene One: A Disturbing Encounter

Sentinel on guard from the Warhammer 40k Wiki

Sentinel on guard from the Warhammer 40k Wiki

The PC’s squad, reinforced by a single Sentinel walker, is on duty at the port. The other three squads of their Platoon, and two more Sentinels, are at the barracks in the center of Dornenplaz, near the Lord Mayor’s Residence.

Sinja Epas-Marchant, a wealthy local socialite, arrives at the spaceport with her entourage in three hover limousines. The Epas-Marchant estate farms provide vast quantities of grain, enough to feed the teeming populace of more than one Imperial hive-world—meaning that Lady Sinja gets whatever she wants, whenever she wants it. Right now, she wants to examine her family’s silos and audit the bills of lading from the most recent transport ships. The spaceport officials are falling all over themselves to make Lady Sinja, her accountants, and her hangers-on happy.

Situational Aspects: Massive Grain Silos, Officious Bureaucrats, Confusion and Disruptions of routine

While this is happening, a half-dozen members of Lady Sinja’s entourage take advantage of the confusion and sneak away from the silos. Members of the Guard squad spot them heading toward the Astronomican relay tower.

They’re Genestealer cultists, of course, but the Guardsmen won’t initially realize that. They’re good at infiltration; it’s possible that they can escape notice and get all the way to the relay tower. If they are approached, their leader, Gast Rudower, claims that they were looking for smugglers. “Lady Sinja has proof that Epas-Marchant grain shipments are being sent out underweight! That grain is being stolen out from under your very noses!” He’s lying, of course. This is all a ruse he created to get a chance to enter and sabotage the Astronomican relay.


Scene Two:

Shortly after Lady Sinja’s visit to the port, vox communication from the other Guard squads in the city center reports rioters in the streets of Dornenplaz! Lieutenant Gavrilan, senior officer at the garrison, believes that rival noble factions are behind the rioters—or perhaps rebellious estate-laborers; he’s not entirely sure. He’s got too much on his mind to dwell very long on the problems the PC’s squad has encountered at the port.

In fact, any attempt to request support from the barracks is immediately refused. Lieutenant Gavrilan has deferred to Lord Mayor Karloff van Orn, and the Lord Mayor has demanded that the Guard squads in Dornenplaz protect the Residence as their first priority.

This scene is primarily an opportunity to role-play, and deal with the Imperial Guard chain of command. It’s also a good time to bring in a PC who wants to play a Commissar character; Commissars need not obey the orders of Lieutenants, and a Commissar might be very interested in irregularities at the port.


Scene Three:

If Gast Rudower was unable to sabotage the Astronomican relay tower in Scene One he returns now, with a better plan. He might come in disguise, pretending to be an Inquisitor sent to inspect the Astronomican relay. He brings three Servitors with him (actually Genestealer Hybrids in concealing robes) to perform the “inspection”. Alternatively, he might just stage an assault with a dozen Cultists and up to six Hybrids.

Situational Aspects: Isolated Astronomican Relay Tower, Open Landing Fields

A Genestealer Hybrid that spends an action inside the relay tower creates a “Relay Down” advantage, knocking Holborn III out of the Imperial warp-navigation network. Repairing the relay requires the efforts of a skilled Astropath—and until another Imperial ship arrives, there are no Astropaths on Holborn III.

Any captured Cultists rave and froth about “the coming destruction.” Apocalyptic doomsday cults are thick on the ground, but this one seems oddly specific about the details. Successful attempts to interrogate a prisoner—or just find one whose ravings make sense—elicits the following information:

The attempts upon the Astronomican relay and the chaos in the city center are the climax of a generation-long bid for control of Holborn III. Without the relay, Imperial forces can’t easily reinforce the planet, and without its warp-space interference the psychic presence of the Genestealer Patriarch can shine forth like a beacon, drawing in a Tyranid hive-fleet!


Scene Four:

Guard Veteran from the Warhammer 40k Wiki

Guard Veteran from the Warhammer 40k Wiki

The dire news of an imminent invasion must be passed on to Lieutenant Gavrilan, but the PC’s squad has lost contact with the barracks, and ominous smoke is rising over Dornenplaz.

Situational Aspects: Cut Off from Command, Time is Short, City On Fire

Rejoining the rest of the platoon means leaving the spaceport—an easy decision to make if the relay tower has fallen to enemy action, more difficult if it must still be defended. Splitting the squad into two groups is a dangerous temptation. Transport can be commandeered if necessary, either port vehicles or the hover limousines that brought Gast Rudower and his cronies.

When the PCs enter the outskirts of the city, the full impact of the day’s events is visible. Bands of armed Genestealer Cultists are roaming the streets, killing or rounding up the rest of the terrified populace. Genestealer Hybrids and even a few purestrain Genestealer broods act as shock troops.

Getting to the Imperial Guard barracks means running a gauntlet of xenos! Treat the trip as a Challenge with at least five stages. Unsuccessful overcome rolls result in delays and encounters with Genestealer forces. Possible encounters include: A wrong turn into a dead-end alley filled with purestrain ‘stealers; a Hybrid with a laser rifle sniping from a rooftop; an adrenal ‘stealer tearing up the PCs’ path; or a “family” of purestrains, Hybrids, and cultists manning a street barricade.


Scene Five:

By the time the PC squad makes it to the center of Dornenplaz, their worst fears have been realized. Their barracks are aflame, citizens—and a few Imperial Guardsmen—are lying dead in the streets. The smoking wreckage of a Sentinel is scattered before the main gates of the Residence. Amid the chaos, handfuls of Imperial Guard are trying to hold improvised fortifications.  Rallying each group of survivors is a Challenge; the PCs can assemble a squad’s worth of reinforcements, backed by one functioning Sentinel, if they succeed at three separate rally attempts.

The survivors from the garrison report seeing the Lieutenant killed—by Lord Mayor van Orn! The Lord Mayor was secretly a member of the Genestealer Cult, perhaps even its leader. With the Astronomican relay down and no way to contact anyone off-planet, the only way to save Holborn III is to snuff out the psychic beacon drawing the Tyranid fleet nearer—the Genestealer Patriarch must be slain!

Situational Aspects: Palatial Residence, Wide and Ornate Hallways, Secret Underground Chambers

The PC’s squad and any reinforcements they can muster have no choice but to assault the Residence—and face the deadly Patriarch in the Lord Mayor’s basement!

Karloff van Orn

High Concept: Corrupt Lord Mayor
Trouble: In Thrall to the Patriarch
Other Aspects:
Politics is Warfare
Terrified of Imperial Retribution

Careful: +1
Clever: +2
Flashy: +0
Forceful: +1
Quick: +2
Sneaky: +3

Concealed Pistol: Because I carry a Concealed Pistol, I gain +2 to attack unsuspecting targets.
Lying Bastard: Because I am a Lying Bastard, I gain +2 to Sneakily create advantages by telling lies and half-truths.
Cornered Rat: Because I fight like a Cornered Rat, I gain +2 to Quickly defend myself in combat when I have no escape route.


from the Warhammer 40k Wiki

The Lord Mayor and his residential staff of a half-dozen cultists hold the upper floors of the Residence. Below ground level, there are eight purestrain Genestealers and the Patriarch himself.

The hallways and staircases of the Residence are broad enough for even a Sentinel to pass, but below ground level the squad is on their own. If the PCs prevail, other platoons from their Company can reinforce Dornenplaz in the coming days, assisting with the tasks of cleansing the xeno-infestation and restoring order. Without the psychic beacon of the Patriarch, the hive fleet will not be able to find Holborn III. The planet has been saved!


For a greater challenge, reveal Sinja Epas-Marchant as the cult’s Magus, and a deadly psyker. She was the power behind the Lord Mayor’s throne all along!

As a darker variant, play this scenario in reverse; PCs take the roles of the Lord Mayor, the Patriarch, Gast Rudower, and Sinja Epas-Marchant as they attempt to subvert Imperial rule and conquer the planet for their Tyranid masters.

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