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Rogue Trader

Fantasy Flight Games' Rogue Trader

 

My love for 40k has been rekindled in the past few years by the launch of the 40k RPG line (after what, 20 years of waiting since the release of the original Rogue Trader hardcover in the 80’s?)

The second RPG in the set was released last year by Fantasy Flight Games and is a complete game, as was Dark Heresy and the third game, DeathWatch (which was released this year). While in the first game you played flunkies of an Inquisitor (oneof the most powerful persons in the Empirium), in Rogue Trader the players take on the roles of the command crew of a rogue trader – someone with a warrant of trade that allows them to trade not just between the worlds of the Empire, but also to open communications and trade with places and persons that would be considered “bad form” for anyone else in the empire – including dealing with Xenos on an as-needed basis. As a rogue trader, the PCs have a lot more power available to them than a starting acolyte of the inquisition – you own a big-ass spaceship and instead of scrounging for ammo for your stubber, there are rules for purchasing bolters by the truckload. Quite the change in scale.

I’ll be making a character in this post, and later I’ll be providing the same character’s stats as well as those of the rest of the command crew after we have played for a few dozen sessions.

To make a character, I start by rolling for Characteristics. For each of the 9 characteristics, I roll 2d10 + 25 and place them in the order rolled – already better than a starting acolyte. However, the dice aren’t very friendly today (except for Toughness) and my starting stats are pretty weak overall.

  • Weapon Skill – 31
  • Ballistic Skill – 36
  • Strength – 28
  • Toughness – 44
  • Agility – 33
  • Intelligence – 38
  • Perception – 37
  • Willpower – 32
  • Fellowship – 40

I get to reroll any one stat (I’m thinking Strength, seriously, how will I roll less than a 3 on the reroll?), but have to take the reroll. In the end I go for Willpower instead of Strength, and roll a 19, bringing it up to 44. So far we are looking at a very tough character, mentally and physically.

Now it is time to work on his Origin Path. There are 6 steps in the origin path (home world, birthright, lure of the void, trials an travails, motivation and career) – and each one you take has to be at most one step away from the one you took in the prior step. The rules also allow for less strict holding to the origin path, but for this particular character I stuck to the rules as written.

Home World: Void Born

  • born and raised within the ship of his rogue trader family, spent almost all his life in the void, never knowing a homeworld.
  • -5 Strength (23, ouch!)
  • +5 Willpower (39)
  • Speak Language (Ship Dialect) skill
  • Charmed – Roll 1d10 when spending a fate point, on a 9, benefits are gained but the point is not lost
  • Ill-Omened – creepy demeanor and pale, ill health provides -5 penalty on Fellowship checks with non-voidborn
  • Shipwise – Navigation (Stellar), Pilot (Spacecraft) are basic skills instead of advanced
  • Void Accustomed – Immune to space travel sickness and zero and low gee environments are not difficult terrain
  • Starting Wounds: 1d5 + Toughness Bonus x 2 (11)
  • Starting Fate: 4 Fate Points

Birthright: Stubjack

  • Born to violence, became a mercenary. It was a messed up ship with the senior crew mostly insane. Before taking over the charter, he survived as a tough and a fighter. With his low strength, he focused on being a quick and deadly shot.
  • Quick Draw talent
  • Intimidate trained skill
  • +5 Ballistic Skill (41)
  • -5 Fellowship (35)
  • 1d5 Insanity Points (4)

Lure of the Void: Duty Bound

  • Of course I’m a rogue trader. That’s my duty. I was born to the family and the empire and will forever be in its service.
  • Duty to the Throne – +3 Willpower (47)
  • Armour of Contempt talent
  • -10 to all Interaction Skill Tests when dealing with sources outside the Imperium (aliens, traitors, etc).

Trials & Tribulations: Dark Voyage

  • The ship was taken deep into alien space to trade by the last trader in charge. Dealing with the twisted Eldar left its mark, and Xenos are never to be trusted further than they must be – although they are more than fit to be used.
  • Forbidden Lore (Xenos) skill training
  • Marked by Darkness: 1d5 Insanity Points (3 – total of 7)

Motivation: Prestige

  • I am a rogue trader now, and I will bring our family renown in the eyes of the Emperor as we expand his grasp. Through his eyes I am a good judge of others.
  • Talented (Scrutiny) Talent (+10% on Scrutiny skill)

Career: Rogue Trader

  • Although lacking the Fellowship expected of a rogue trader, I have become the holder of the family charter. Making up for my own low fellowship will be the glue that holds the team together, as I will need a good crew to manage this ancient accursed ship.
  • Command (Fel)
  • Commerce (Fel)
  • Charm (Fel)
  • Common Lore (Imperium) (Int)
  • Evaluate (Int)
  • Literacy (Int)
  • Scholastic Lore (Astromancy) (Int)
  • Speak Language (High Gothic) (Int)
  • Speak Language (Low Gothic) (Int)
  • Air of Authority
  • Pistol Weapon Training (Universal)
  • Melee Weapon Training (Universal)

For starting kit I select the highest quality weapon I can get, not the most powerful – I want to take advantage of my gunslinging past, but I also am a weakling who prides himself in the quality of his hardware. So it’s the Best-Craftsmanship Las Pistol. Along the same vein, I also grab a Best-Craftsmanship mono-sword and a Best-Craftsmanship enforcer light carapace.

As a starting Rogue Trader character, he begins with 4,500 XP spent, and another 500 XP to spend. First thing I need is a 5% boost to my Fellowship for 100 XP, and I should pick up the Ciphers (Rogue Trader) skill for another hundred. I’m also going to drop 200 XP into a Renowned Warrant – my warrant of trade is so ancient and famous that I get +10 on Interaction tests with other traders and imperial bureaucrats who would recognize its import. The last 100 XP goes into picking up the Awareness skill.

Of course, like any good Warhammer game, the game includes random tables for naming a character too. I get “Xanatov”. A roll on the profit factor / ship points table gives me 30 Profit Factor and 60 Ship Points – a big ship but waning profits. It is time to bring the dynasty back to power under the leadership of Xanatov Tcheboukof.

The whole chargen system is painless and pretty quick, with the “lifepath” style chargen helping a lot in achieving this.

I’ll detail the Farseer (the ship) as well as Xanatov’s stats after a few adventures (along with his key crewmembers) in the upcoming weeks.

Name: Xanatov Tcheboukof
Career: Rogue Trader
Rank: 1
Experience Earned: 5,000
Experience Unspent: 0

  • Weapon Skill – 31
  • Ballistic Skill – 41
  • Strength – 23
  • Toughness – 44
  • Agility – 33
  • Intelligence – 38
  • Perception – 37
  • Willpower – 47
  • Fellowship – 40

Insanity Points: 7
Corruption Points: 0
Wound Points: 11
Fate Points: 4

Special Abilities

  • Charmed – Roll 1d10 when spending a fate point, on a 9, benefits are gained but the point is not lost
  • Ill-Omened – creepy demeanor and pale, ill health provides -5 penalty on Fellowship checks with non-voidborn
  • Void Accustomed – Immune to space travel sickness and zero and low gee environments are not difficult terrain
  • -10 to all Interaction Skill Tests when dealing with sources outside the Imperium (aliens, traitors, etc).

Talents

  • Air of Authority | Command tests affect 1d10 + Fellowship Bonus (1d10+4) persons
  • Pistol Weapon Training (Universal)
  • Melee Weapon Training (Universal)
  • Renowned Warrant | +10 on interaction tests with those who understand its importance
  • Talented (Scrutiny) | +10 on Scrutiny checks
  • Armour of Contempt | Reduce all corruption point gains by 1. Willpower test to ignore corruption points.
  • Quick Draw | Draw pistols, basic weapons and one handed melee weapons as a free action

Skills

  • Awareness (Per) (37%)
  • Ciphers (Rogue Trader) (Int) (38%)
  • Command (Fel) (40%)
  • Commerce (Fel) (40%)
  • Charm (Fel) (40%)
  • Common Lore (Imperium) (Int) (38%)
  • Evaluate (Int) (38%)
  • Forbidden Lore (Xenos) (Int) (38%)
  • Intimidate (Str) (23%)
  • Literacy (Int) (38%)
  • Scholastic Lore (Astromancy) (Int) (38%)
  • Speak Language (High Gothic) (Int) (38%)
  • Speak Language (Low Gothic) (Int) (38%)
  • Speak Language (Ship Dialect) (Int) (38%)

Kit

  • Best Craftsmanship Las Pistol
  • Best Cratfsmanship Mono Sword
  • Bicro-bead
  • Void suit
  • Fine clothes
  • Xeno-pelt cloak
  • Best Craftsmanship Enforcer Light Carapace Armour
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