SCHOLA PROGENIUM


Introduction

These rules allow you to generate Acolytes from the highly militarized, mercenary system of Vessor. Their unique culture and view of the Imperium can make for a wealth of roleplaying opportunities. You will find rules below for creating Vessorine characters, background packages, and alternate ranks for playing janissary mercenaries and dragoman negotiators.

Vessor

With sparse resources and harsh environment, Vessor has never been a hospitable planet. Winds sweep across vast, rocky steppes divided by low, jagged mountains. The harsh conditions of the steppes and the struggle for resources gave rise to a pragmatic and mercenary society where everything has a price, including its people.

+++ PLANETARY DATA +++

SECTOR: Scarus

SUBSECTOR: Antimar

CLASS: Feral

EQUATORIAL CIRCUMFERENCE: 41,265 km

GRAVITY: 1.09G

SATELLITES: Two moons, Soldurii and Utto

The moon Soldurii orbits at a distance of 408352 kilometers and consists primarily of jagged regolith. Its density is sufficient to cause only mild tidal forces on Vessor. Utto, an asteroid captured sometime in the distant past, has an irregular tricorne shape that features prominently in local iconography.

CLIMATE CLASSIFICATION: Continental Temperate

MEAN SURFACE TEMPERATURE: 7.21C

TROPOSPHERIC COMPOSITION: Nitrogen 75.1%, Oxygen 22.3%, Argon 0.8%, H2O 0.7%, Other 1.1%

RELIGION: Unclassified

Despite the best efforts of the Ecclesiarchy, the Imperial Creed has never taken seed on Vessor. As devout pragmatists, the people embrace no religious tenants at all. Since the population holds no belief over that of the Emperor, the Ministorum has been unable to classify them as either noncompliant or heretical.

SOCIETY: Stratified Semi-Tribal

The clan forms the nuclear unit of Vessorine society, both in civilian and military realms. These clans typically consist of three- to four-thousand souls and can field a fighting force of up to a thousand janissary warriors.

Three concepts hold primacy in Vessorine clan society to the exclusion of nearly all else: property, warcraft, and currency.

The scarcity of resources and rocky landscape of Vessor made the ownership of arable land and grazing beasts one of the most important aspects of their primitive society. Over time, this rite of ownership extended beyond land and objects to include individuals, who represent either the labor or force of arms necessary to develop and protect that property. The populace grouped into clans for increased security and resources, and though the leader of a clan holds the title of Clansire, the term refers neither to patrilineal nor matrilineal descent. Children are sold — the local term is bonded — at a coming-of-age ceremony at their tenth year. This First Bonding celebration has deep personal significance, and quite literally establishes an individual's worth.

The continual conflict over resources and property has spawned one of the most warlike people in the Imperium. From an early age, typically after First Bonding, both male and female children begin training as janissaries. They undergo training to enhance their strength, stamina, and agility, sometimes doing so with only the food and water they can find in the wilderness. They also learn the three primary Vessorine battle arts: open-hand, blade, and gun lore. By the time they participate in their first contract, an ascension ritual called Second Bonding, they are formidable warriors equal to any in the Imperium. In preparation for Second Bonding, janissaries receive their first repatriation tattoo, which declares the bond a clan will pay for the return of their soldier if captured.

Currency can purchase everything of value to a Vessorine, including their life. Thus, particularly since reunification with the greater Imperium, they have embraced the use of various hard currencies and coinage. While one might think that this would lead to society where money trumps morals, it has done quite the opposite. Breaking a bond is one of the most heinous crimes imaginable, and oathbreakers become shunned pariahs — if they manage to survive the wrath of the other party…

PRINCIPLE EXPORTS: Mercenaries

Clansires provide for their clan by contracting their janissaries to the highest bidder, occasionally returning to Vessor for replacements, refit, and troop rotation. They spend most of their time on campaign. Dragomen, part scout and part negotiator, search out lucrative contracts, reporting back to the Clansire when they encounter the golden combination of conflict and coin. Even the mighty Imperium is a frequent customer.

Vessor (Imperial World)

"They would fight, peerlessly, savagely, and to the death, in the Emperor's name, provided that name was stamped on high denomination coinage." — Inquisitor Gregor Eisenhorn

Nearly from the time they can walk, Vessorine children train for their future life as a janissary, developing their natural abilities and learning the necessary skills for warfare. However, not all find themselves suited to a life of warfare. Thus, while most become janissaries, others do find other callings, and many are bonded into institutions of the Adeptus Terra, literally selling themselves into servitude for the gain of their clan.

Much like the first bonding from childhood, an individual's first contract as a Janissary is a societal milestone and cause for celebration. It is further proof on one's value to the clan, and particularly lucrative contracts are seen as a sign of great potential. Prior to this first venture, they receive their first repatriation tattoos, which guarantee their value if returned to their clan after capture. Veterans often have larger and more elaborate tattoos as their value to the clan increases, sometimes covering older ones with campaign symbols or tributes to lost comrades.

Vessorine PCs

The populace of Vessor tends towards a short but rugged stature, with fair skin. They also have an extremely low incidence of psychic activity, with an unusually high occurrence of the Pariah Gene.

The Vessorine view it as a great honor to be bonded to an Inquisitor, and given the resources of the Holy Ordos, it tends to be a profitable one as well. Though extremely rare, individuals from a Vessor can break from their clan to find their worth outside the structure of their clan. They are pragmatic, mercenary, and will honor a bond to their final breath. Their tendency to place monetary values upon everything they see, including people, can cause tension in many circles, but the people of Vessor simply see this as the natural order of things.

Creating Vessorine Characters

Use the Imperial Home World template, but Vessorine Acolytes may not choose the Career Paths of Cleric or Imperial Psyker. Replace the Hagiography and Liturgical Familiarity traits with the following:

Vessorine Skills

Acolytes from the Vessor system start play with the Speak Langauge (Base Futu) (Int) and Barter (Fel) skills.

Emergency Response

Given the dangerous nature surrounding most Vessorine training throughout their lives, nearly the entire populace possesses basic medical skills.

Effect: Vessorine characters treat Medicae as a Basic Skill.

Blunt

The people of Vessor have virtually no psychic potential, and have an unusually high incidence of Untouchables.

Effect: You receive the Resistance (Psychic Powers) trait or may purchase the Untouchable Elite Advance for 300XP (rather than 400XP) with GM permission (see Discpiles of the Dark Gods p@@). Your character may never have psychic powers, nor any skill or talent directly related to them.

Background Packages

While it is virtually a truism that Vessorine Acolytes will also take the Janissary background package, there are rare exceptions to this rule. Outcasts and bondbreakers infrequently survive the castigation of their peers to escape off world, and those that do frequently find themselves hunted by their former brethren.

Vessorine Janissary

"In hindsight it was remarkable any of us had got out alive. I was glad I hadn't known who they were at the time. If I'd been told I was facing Vessorine janissaries, I might have frozen up…" — Inquisitor Gregor Eisenhorn

Career: Guardsman

Home World: Vessor

Cost: 300 XP

Throughout much of Segmentum Obscurus, the mercenaries of Vessor hold a well-deserved reputation for martial prowess, unfailing determination, and unshakable loyalty to their employers. The Janissaries are frequently the only contact citizens of the Imperium have with that culture, and that contact is on the wrong end of a lasgun more often than not.

An agreement or promise made by a Janissary forms an unshakable bond that often has greater import than his own life. Breaking a bond is a cultural taboo akin to murder in most other cultures, and from their very infancy they listen to cautionary tales of unfortunate wretches who have broken their word.

Janissaries train extensively with their off hand to prevent disadvantage if wounded or disabled. They have normal instance of right- and left-handedness, but simply work very hard training with the other. Though this is not the same as true ambidexterity, it amounts to the same effect.

Effects

Apply the following changes to your Acolyte:

Characteristics: Increase both Strength and Toughness characteristics by +3, but reduce Fellowship by -5.

Skills: You gain the Survival (Int) skill.

Talents: You begin the game with the Ambidextrous, Jaded, and Nerves of Steel talents.

Alternate Career Ranks

While the Guardsman Career Path adequately represents the early portions of a janissary's development, they become more specialized and unique as time goes on. The following alternate Ranks correspond to the specific training available to the Vessorine, particularly in their three primary battle arts.

Janissary

"No Excruciator, don't bother. See the tattoos marred by your efforts — the repatriation bonds of the Vessorine? He'll die before giving us what we need, so let him do so." — Arbitrator Klus Jacuis

Clans grant the title of janissary only to individuals fully bonded into the clan and considered capable of a general contract as a member of a "Blood," the closest Gothic translation for the Base Futu term "team." Competition can be fierce in this three-man unit for the rank of "Eldest," the leader of the squad.

Required Career: Guardsman

Alternate Rank: 3 or higher (1,000 XP)

Other Requirements: Vessorine Janissary Background Package

AdvanceCostTypePrerequisites
Intimidate100S
Navigation (Surface)100S
Pilot (Military Craft)100S
Basic Weapon Training (Flame)100T
Crippling Strike100TWS 50
Pistol Training (Flame)100T
Rapid Reload100T
Sound Constitution100T
Street Fighting100T
Common Lore (Imperium)200S
Gamble200S
Berserk Charge200T
Melee Weapon Training (Shock)200T
Swift Attack200TWS 35
Literacy300S

First of Threes

"I never seen teamwork like that. They didn't say word one from the time they blew the door till they was out again. Old Perdus won't be saying any words from here on after neither, 'cept maybe to the Emperor." — Unattributed

After proving themselves as both leader and follower, a janissary may earn the rank of First of Threes typically shortened to First — so called because he leads three Bloods of three men each. They call the resultant ten-man unit a "Line." By this time, competence in the three primary battle arts is assumed, and most begin training in more advanced techniques of their preferred art.

Required Career: Guardsman

Alternate Rank: 4 or higher (2,000 XP)

Other Requirements: Janissary Alternate Rank

AdvanceCostTypePrerequisites
Awareness +10100SAwareness
Common Lore (Imperium)100S
Demolition100S
Drive (Ground Vehicle) +20100SDrive (Ground Vehicle) +10
Interrogation100S
Scrutiny100S
Secret Tongue (Janissary Tac Cant)100S
Basic Weapon Training (Bolt)100TS 30
Dual Strike100TAg 40, Two—Weapon Wielder (Melee)
Melee Weapon Training (Chain)100T
Pistol Training (Bolt)100T
Sound Constitution100T
Takedown100T
Carouse100T
Inquiry +10200SInquiry
Interrogation200S
Silent Move200S
Tech Use200S
Crack Shot200TBS 40
Crushing Blow200TS 40
Dual Shot200TAg 40, Two—Weapon Wielder (Ballistic)
Furious Assault200TWS 35
Heavy Weapon Training (Flame)200T
Heavy Weapon Training (Primitive)200T
Two-Weapon Wielder (Melee)200TWS 35, Ag 35
Barter300S

Pack Leader

"You can set your fears to about the Wakasuu Cartel and their new facility. We may not have the Emperor on our side, but I paid for the next best thing." — Actuor Mahin Telones

The Pack, roughly equivalent to an Imperial company in size, consists of three Lines, and is the smallest unit seen in independent action outside of Vessor. A single Team-sized command element leads the pack, the Pack Leader and two other officers responsible for coordination and logistics with employers.

Required Career: Guardsman

Alternate Rank: 5 or higher (3,000 XP)

Other Requirements: First of Threes Alternate Rank

AdvanceCostTypePrerequisites
Acrobatics100S
Command100S
Demolition +10100SDemolition
Dodge +10100SDodge
Intimidate +10100SIntimidate
Navigation (Surface) +10100SNavigation (Surface)
Pilot (Military Craft) +10100SPilot (Military Craft)
Secret Tongue (Janissary Tac Cant) +10100SSecret Tongue (Military)
Survival +10100SSurvival
Bulging Biceps100TS 45
Die Hard100TWP 40
Hard Target100TAg 40
Heavy Weapon Training (Bolt)100T
Heavy Weapon Training (Las)100T
Heavy Weapon Training (Launcher)100T
True Grit100TT 40
Climb200S
Gamble +10200SGamble
Medicae +10200SMedicae
Search200S
Silent Move200S
Hardy200TT 40
Hip Shooting200TBS 40, Ag 40
Iron Jaw200TT 40
Mighty Shot200TBS 40
Sound Constitution200T
Sound Constitution200T
Sure Strike200TWS 30
Trade (Armourer)300S
Lightning Reflexes300T

Pater

"The Thrones be sufficient. What be the target of House Ortak?" — Pater Berka Serhat

A House fields slightly over 100 warriors at full strength, comprised of three Packs, one command Team, and one logistics Team. The Vessorine take their supply and equipment very seriously, and serving well as a logistics officer is seen as a stepping-stone to command. This ensures the logistics Team can lead portions of the House if necessary.

Required Career: Guardsman

Alternate Rank: 6 or higher (6,000 XP)

Other Requirements: Pack Leader Alternate Rank

AdvanceCostTypePrerequisites
Command +10100SCommand
Common Lore (Mercenary)100S
Common Lore (Imperium) +10100SCommon Lore (Imperium)
Interrogation +10100SInterrogation
Basic Weapon Training (Melta)100T
Basic Weapon Training (Plasma)100T
Deadeye Shot100TBS 30
Hard Target100TAg 40
Marksman100TBS 35
Melee Weapon Training (Power)100T
Strong-Minded100TWP 30, Resistance (Psychic Powers)
Chem-Use200S
Literacy +10200SLiteracy
Medicae +20200SMedicae +10
Scutiny +10200SScrutiny
Trade (Technomat)200S
Blademaster200TWS 30, Melee Weapons Training (Any)
Pistol Training (Plasma)200T
Rapid Reaction200TAg 40
Sound Constitution200T
Deceive300S
Evaluate300S

Dragoman

"I'm sure your word is good, Sir. However, my House simply waits on the equally honorable word that the funds have been transferred to our accounts." — Dragoman Tunç Hazan

A Dragoman scouts the area in the vicinity of the Janissaries' current bond, prospecting for other contracts in the area. Unlike their militant brethren, they must learn social graces and local linguistics if they are to succeed in their goals. Often circumstance, in the form of a debilitating injury, forces individuals into this roll.

Required Career: Guardsman

Alternate Rank: 6 or higher (6,000 XP)

Other Requirements: Pack Leader Alternate Rank

AdvanceCostTypePrerequisites
Awareness +10100SAwareness
Common Lore (Underworld)100S
Deceive100S
Evaluate100S
Interrogation +10100SInterrogation
Speak Language (High Gothic)100S
Deadeye Shot100TBS 30
Strong-Minded100TWP 30, Resistance (Psychic Powers)
Barter +10200SBarter
Charm200S
Climb +10200SClimb
Concealment200S
Security200S
Heightened Senses (Hearing)200T
Heightened Senses (Sight)200T
Heightened Senses (Smell)200T
Leap Up200TAg 30
Melee Weapon Training (Power)200T
Sound Constitution200T

Kinfather

"No, the destruction wrought upon the Kasuru Dynast was not the work of the Ruinous Powers after all — far worse from their perspective, the Vessorine had taken a bond against their House." — Inquisitor Jalo Sullo

A Kindred consists of three Houses and a headquarters Line, the second largest Janissary unit seen within the Imperium. They are fielded for large-scale operations and engagements against widely dispersed targets where coordination between elements is essential.

Required Career: Guardsman

Alternate Rank: 7 or higher (8,000 XP)

Other Requirements: Pater Alternate Rank

AdvanceCostTypePrerequisites
Acrobatics +10100SAcrobatics
Navigation (Surface) +20100SNavigation (Surface) +10
Pilot (Military Craft ) +20100SPilot (Military Craft ) +10
Secret Tongue (Janissary Tac Cant) +20100SSecret Tongue (Janissary Tac Cant) +10
Air of Authority100TFel 30
Counter-attack100TWS 40
Pistol Training (Melta)100T
Blind Fighting200TPer 30
Iron Discipline200TWP 30, Command
Nerves of Steel200T
Sound Constitution200T
Sound Constitution200T
Step Aside200TAg 40, Dodge
Logic300S
Lightning Attack300TSwift Attack
Resistance (Psychic Powers) +10300TResistance (Psychic Powers)
Sharpshooter300TBS 40, Deadeye Shot

Kindred Dragoman

"I'm sure that you understand the consequences of delinquency in your payments. We have no need to speak of such things, but they are… severe." — Dragoman Volkan Es'n

As a Dragoman becomes more senior and experienced, his responsibility to secure bonds for the Kindred increases in parallel. The Kinfather and Clansire expect larger contracts, and the Dragoman frequently needs all the social skills in his arsenal — in addition to wider travel — to obtain them.

Required Career: Guardsman

Alternate Rank: 7 or higher (8,000 XP)

Other Requirements: Dragoman Alternate Rank

AdvanceCostTypePrerequisites
Navigation (Surface) +20100SNavigation (Surface) +10
Pilot (Military Craft ) +20100SPilot (Military Craft ) +10
Survival +20100SSurvival +10
Mighty Shot100TBS 40
Chem-Use200S
Concealment +10200SConcealment
Deceive +10200SDeceive
Evaluate +10200SEvaluate
Speak Language (Choose one local)200S
Security +10200SSecurity
Lightning Reflexes200T
Sound Constitution200T
Sound Constitution200T
Charm +10300SCharm
Disguise300S
Shadowing300S
Tracking300S
Resistance (Psychic Powers) +10300TResistance (Psychic Powers)

Clansire

"Given this Janisary's rank and the corresponding assumed efficiency in the Vessorine battle arts, I calculate you have a 22.67% chance of surviving this encounter, Inquisitor. Might I suggest an alternate course of action?" — Logician Emem Dubakus

Clansire is the pinnacle of the Janissary field command structure, commanding a full clan of over a thousand warriors, three Kindred and a Pack of headquarters personnel. As merit and prowess form the basis for promotion within the ranks, no one reaches this position without cunning intelligence and skills honed on a hundred battlefields.

Required Career: Guardsman

Alternate Rank: 8 or higher (10,000 XP)

Other Requirements: Kinfather Alternate Rank

AdvanceCostTypePrerequisites
Command +20100SCommand +10
Scholastic Lore (Tactica Imperialis)100S
Deceive +10100TDeceive
Frenzy100T
Total Recall100TInt 30
Unshakable Faith100T
Carouse +10200SCarouse
Concealment200S
Combat Master200TWS 30
Disarm200TAg 30
Precise Blow200TWS 40, Sure Strike
Into the Jaws of Hell200TIron Discipline
Leap Up200TAg 30
Master Orator200TFel 30
Mental Fortress300TWP 50, Strong—Minded
Sound Constitution300T
Sound Constitution300T
Wall of Steel300TAg 35

Clan Dragoman

"I am your savior. I represent a strength of arms that could easily make this all go away — like that. As with most spiritual experiences, however, there is the small matter of price." — Dragoman Kadri Burak

Sometimes ranging from sector to sector to locate truly worthy bonds for the Clan, Dragomen of this caliber have reached the pinnacle of a number of methods of subtle persuasion, and can sniff out simmering conflicts and animosities with uncanny proficiency. They also skillfully avoid hopeless causes and death-zones, ensuring both the financial and physical health of the Clan.

Required Career: Guardsman

Alternate Rank: 8 or higher (10,000 XP)

Other Requirements: Kindred Dragoman Alternate Rank

AdvanceCostTypePrerequisites
Awareness +20100SAwareness +10
Barter +20100SBarter +10
Tracking +10100STracking
Chem-Use +10200SChem—Use
Evaluate +20200SEvaluate +10
Shadowing +10200SShadowing
Silent Move +10200SSilent Move
Speak Language (Choose one local)200S
Pistol Training (Melta)200T
Pistol Training (Plasma)200T
Lightning Attack300TSwift Attack
Mental Fortress300TWP 50, Strong—Minded
Sound Constitution300T
Sound Constitution300T