Litanies of the Lost: Dark Bidding

Wrath and Glory

gaming gm settings rpg scifi

I'm reading through the published adventures available for Cubicle 7's Wrath and Glory Warhammer RPG. Litanies of the Lost is a book containing four adventures that can be run independently or as a continuous campaign. The framework suggests the IMPERIUM keyword, but two new frameworks specific to Cult Mechanicus are provided as alternatives. The adventure is for Tier 2 characters.

This review contains spoilers.

Dark Bidding

One of the suggested patrons during Litanies of the Lost is Archdomina Aexekra Vakuul, a regent commander of the forge world Avachrus. She's an easy connection to Grim Harvest, at least, and because she's of the Cult Mechanicus, it could make sense that she'd have sent the agents to fetch a potential source of power in Vow of Silence. In this adventure, she's an easy patron because the adventure takes place on Avachrus itself.

That's the obvious entry point into the adventure, but the book has some interesting alternative suggestions. One is to use agents with the INQUISITION keyword, and assume that an Inquisitor has ordered them to investigate Avachrus. The other is to use the CHAOS keyword, and let the agents go to Avachrus on a rescue mission.

All three suggestions are enticing, and I can imagine replaying it thrice, each time using agents with a different keyword.

Whatever setup you choose, at the centre of the plot is a stasis coffin. Nobody knows what the coffin contains, but it's presumed to be someone or something of great significance. The problem is, the coffin got stolen, and Archdomina Vakuul (or whomever you've got giving the agents their mission) needs it back promptly and discretely. She needs this job done discretely because whatever the stasis coffin contains is of apparent interest to the Inquisition.

In Warhammer 40,000, the Inquisition is a faction tasked with uncovering heresy within the Imperium. They have, more or less, carte blanche to do whatever's necessary to find and end it. You can use this as a constant underlying threat throughout the entire adventure. Should the agents attract too much attention to their mission, then the Inquisition can show up.


To retrieve the stolen stasis coffin, the agents must find out who stole it and where they've taken it. Much of the game is, accordingly, an investigative adventure. Agents start on Avachrus and attempt to find out who took the coffin, and what they intend to do with it. Once the agents discover that, the adventure becomes a retrieval mission.

Investigation adventures aren't always the easiest to run. It's not uncommon for players to feel that they're on a guided tour through clues that only serve to reveal the actual game. I've been on both sides of this equation. I've been the player who's put all the clues together but who hasn't been permitted by the Game Master to go to the final confrontation because all the clues hadn't been revealed yet. And I've been the Game Master who's tried to string clever clues together that lead players to an exciting conclusion, only to waste everyone's time with boring imaginary travel from location to location in hopes that an obligatory impromptu combat or two might trick people into thinking the session was fun. It's not easy.

The authors of this adventure obviously understand that, and they're here to help.

This adventure pretty much has two clues. There's a clue about the perpetrators at the first location, and then there's a clue about where they went at the second. There are plenty of false leads for players to get distracted by, and you can let them follow one or two of them if everyone's having fun. Once it stops being fun and starts being confusing, it's really easy to either reinforce the first or drop the second to help the agents get on the right track. It's really nicely done, and frankly a good model of how to do an investigative adventure.


This adventure gets a lot right. It does investigation well, it's got mystery and subterfuge, and lots of different possible setups. The plot is simple, but there's so much at stake that there's a wonderfully high potential for things to go differently than expected. I don't think most players would even understand just how delicate the situation is for most of the adventure, which I think is fun for the Game Master and potentially disastrous for player plans. In the best of ways.

All images in this post copyright Games Workshop.

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