Classic Rogue Trader

Disclaimer

Please bear in mind this is a concept construction site. The reason this is not a complete campaign concept is it’s a work in progress. Brainstorming stage.

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General Concept and Theme

Long story short, the general idea here is a fairly vanilla / classic Rogue Trader game.

The Warpstorm Trilogy Modules look great for a backbone of the campaign. This wouldn’t work for Arc of Korthos due to the direction that has taken during development…which isn’t to say I don’t think Arc of Korthos has a lot of potential…just that about 80% of what I had in mind for that campaign has gone out the window since I started prep’ on it.

I think one key (to any Rogue Trader game) will be tempting the players off the bridge in a plausible and believable way.

I also think that having some core NPCs on the ship that the PCs know and/or care about would be handy for storytelling reasons. Not to overshadow the PCs but to stop the ship and crew just being equipment on the character sheet.

Not to mention the ship itself is a vital stage for the roleplaying element of the game and needs a strong character and feel all its own.

Doing a “punch grim-dark in the face” aspect might be a good idea…but diffusing the relentless grim darkness of a grim-dark setting always seems like a good idea.

But anyway, launching in with the Warpstorm Trilogy Modules as a first arc, seeded with a set of plot-hooks for a potential second arc (100% up in the air at this point) seems a solid approach to me.

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Intended Gear and Style Statement

Well, here’s two approaches that spring to mind:

Plan A)

I would be attempting to maintain a power balance in terms of gear and ensure the character not the equipment are the significant element. Also there is a lot of flavour in the “normal” gear which would be lost if everyone goes straight for carapace armour and bolt weapons. And, to be blunt, if people want super troopers with awesome war-gear, that would be a sign to play Deathwatch instead of Rogue Trader.

This was a lesson learned from Operation Raven / Hellstrom’s Hellions. When the PCs have significantly better gear, ‘normal’ opponents aren’t a challenge but it’s the ordinance not the characters that get the credit. So the temptation is to either throw inexplicably well armed opponents at the PCs (increasing game lethality levels) or greater numbers of opponents at the PCs (again, increasing game lethality levels).

Also, in the case of Rogue Trader, a ‘normal’ pistol or basic weapon such as stub, las and auto is unlikely to kill a character in one shot…unlike bolt, melta and plasma weapons…not to mention heavy weaponry.

Plan B)

Or, on the other power fist, we could go with the noteworthy gear and armour for PCs and use bodyguard NPCs and squadmates to cover the ‘normal’ gear.

In essence we follow the Warhammer 40k example of having a squad with a leader and / or special weapons trooper with different gear, or a command squad where everyone has special gear and roles (medic, special weapon trooper, leader, etc).

Say either 1 or 2 bodyguards, or 4 troopers to make a squad of 5, and using them to give an appropriate feel for that character’s retinue… After all, the PCs are upper officers of the ship, it’s perfectly reasonable that they not only have troops under their command but also excellent and remarkable wargear.

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The Ship

I would ideally want the ship to have a bit of flavour from each PC in the group, to the extent of a ship component (roughly 1 space 1 power) from each. Or possibly the character “providing the benefit” of said component.

For instance all ships include astropaths but maybe if there’s a PC astropath then an astropath choir chamber is thrown in free? An Arch Militant might warrant inclusion of an armory. A Void Master might warrant a Pilot’s Lounge. And so on.

The PCs should also have an influence on the personnel on the ship. For instance Adeptus Mechanicus underlings if there’s an Explorator on board, NPC astropaths if there’s an Astropath character. “More skilled voidsmen” if there’s a Void Master, and “more skilled marines” if there’s and Arch Militant.

On the other hand, this would have to depend upon the players involved. For instance if said Arch Militant wanted to style themselves as a lone gunman than a general, the above concept wouldn’t fit at all.

This musing depends a lot on player preferences, really. And I have no solid idea on the exact nature of this idea either…its another work in progress.

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