Vulture Warriors From Dimension X Meet Plenty Of Cheerful Orks With Plasma Cannon
Back in the dim and distant past, when White Dwarf carried all the latest excitement from GW towers to spotty teenagers across the globe, the magazine used to be packed with one off scenarios. Judge Dredd, Runequest, D&D, Call of Cthulu, WHFRP, WFB and more had speacially written and illustrated scenarios published monthly. A story line, PC's, NPC's, GM notes, illustrations, plot points, maps. Everything you'll need to run a game (or series of games) if you were too lazy, inept or dopey to write your own. These were incredibly popular, and even if you never got round to playing them, if you read WD at the time, you'll still remember some of them, even if it's just from the pictures!
This tradition led to a tiny (I can think of two!) amount of scenario's being published for GW's brand new mega-game, WH40k Rogue Trader. The best one was published in WD112 and was written by Ken Rolston, the guy that brought you 'Something rotten in Kislev' for WHFRP. Ken was a well known rules writer and was responsible for turning Paranoia into a madcap dystopian comedy (he also wrote a complete magic system for WHFRP that GW apparently turned down but is supposedly widely available on t'internets).
One thing that I find strange is that, despite being published right in the middle of the period of articles which went to make up the White Dwarf Compendium book (the squats army list was in the previous edition and the terminators article was in the very same month with the 'Pacification of Flotis III' the month after) this scenario wasn't including in that seminal book (neither was 'Skirmish on Rynn's World, the other published scenario). That says a lot about the direction GW obviously wanted their new baby to develop in but it also meant that without this secondary, longer lasting exposure, Vulture Warriors From Dimension X Meet Plenty Of Cheerful Orks With Plasma Cannon has languished in obscurity in comparison.
So what have we got?
Vulture Warriors from Dimension X first featured in a trio of adventures for the RPG, Paranoia. (If you are not familiar with Paranoia then you should be ashamed of yourself but essentially it is set in a sealed city ala Logans Run where everybody is a vat born clone and your life is controlled and overseen by the computer (who is your friend!). When trouble arises the computer occasionally arms his citizens and gives them the status of 'troubleshooters' so that they can investigate and sort out the problem. There is the basis for the adventures. However nothing is that straight forward in Paranoia, part of your mission is to discover mutants and members of secret societies and destroy them when the computer tells you to. Problem is you're mutant. And a member of a secret society. So are all the other troubleshooters. But you have no proof and neither do they. And if you accuse someone without proof the computer will destroy you. Or the other troubleshooters will. Add to this the fact that you are only a red level clearance citizen and those blue level citizens keep bossing you about.......)
In the three adventures (Alice through the mirrorshades, Twilightcycle:2000 and Vulture Warriors of dimension X) the troubleshooters have been called by the computer to report to the R&D department where some techie types need your help in testing out their brand new invention, sorry, the computers brand new invention, The trans-dimensional collapsatron. This device sends our hero's back in time to sort out an issue that has caused the computer to crash and through the three adventures the Vulture Warriors find themselves in the cyberpunk universe and then the Twilight:2000 universe and then various other universes on the way back home.
This is where 'Vulture Warriors From Dimension X Meet Plenty Of Cheerful Orks With Plasma Cannon' comes in.
In the game 12 loyal citizens and a couple of droids are zapped into a grotty looking room, covered in rubbish and smelling pretty awful.
On the other side of the base a bunch of bored and smelly orks are wondering why the alarm has gone off and are considering investigating or going out and shooting some Algae.
The game is a double blind. Both sides start off in their side of the base with know idea where the other is and no idea what is going on. As they move through the base and into the central dock area or down into the outside (there's no roof! everything is green, I don't have green clearance!) the base is put together on the gaming area and when the two sides discover each other the real fun begins!
The troubleshooters have to survive for a certain number of rounds before the transdimensional collapsatron can recharge and they can attempt to escape. Of course if an Ork happen to get dragged back with them......
The scenario is illustrated by the mysterious 'H' (who's images I've cheekily knicked for this article, but they are too good to lay in oblivion!) (turns out it actually says 'GH' and is in fact Gary Harrod, thanks to Owen Cooper on the FB group for pointing this out) in a gorgeous two-tone style that I've marveled over for years.
I've played a version of this once, last year but I feel it's still waiting to have the full whiskey treatment. Figures will need converting alongside the original figures that I've managed to collect
and a base will need building but this obscure little gem of Rogue trader game will see the light of day. Hopefully this article will highlight this mutant little scenario to a whole new set of gamers and it'll get all the plays that it deserves.