The Publisher Fantasy Flight Games
Degree of Familiarity None, really.
Books Required Just the core
Rogue Trader is the companion-game to Dark Heresy. While the former deals with the agents of an Inquisitor, investigating corruption and heresy in a Warhammer 40,000 meets Call of Cthulhu kind of way, Rogue Trader instead puts the character in the role of bridge crew aboard a vessel belonging to the titular character, and sent out beyond the boundaries of the Imperium to find interesting shit. It's the East India Company in SPAAAAACE, with orbital-deployment monasteries and floating servo-skulls and Murder Servitors and ships that are 5km long, crewed by 80,000 people not including the Murder Servitors held in stasis for when you absolutely positively need to fuck up an opposing boarding party. Ships that are so old, the last full map vanished several millennia ago.
Yeah. I like it quite a bit.
Stage 1: Generate Characteristics
Turning once again to random.org, I throw 2d10 for each characteristic in order. I get to re-roll one,
Weapon Skill 8
Ballistic Skill 18
That's actually a decent spread. Woo. Since an Explorator is a cut above the rest of humanity, I can re-roll one of those. That's going to be either WS or Fel, which really depends on what kind of Explorator I'm making. Hrm. Fuckit, put the re-roll into Fel. 16. Rock. We then add 25 to each, to give the results:
Weapon Skill 33
Ballistic Skill 43
I decide that I want to make a Rogue Trader, the bearer of a massive starship and a Warrant of Trade. The Warrant gives him the continuing mission to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before. And when you find something new, you drop an auto-monastery, convert the world to the Light of the Emperor, shoot anyone who refuses to comply, steal anything that isn't nailed down, crowbar the nails out of anything that looks valuable, and then go sell what you've got to the highest bidder. It's a job that requires improvisation, intrigue, and the willingness to con anyone and everyone three times before breakfast.
Stage 2: Origin Path
This is a better setup than the Dark Heresy Origin/Career split, because it draws a natural curve from the character's origins to how he came to be on the bridge of his own starship with a Warrant in his hand.
I've sketched out the following path: Noble, Vaunted, Zealot, Dark Voyage, Prestige, Rogue Trader.
Our Trader-call him Xanatov-is the scion of a long line of Rogue Traders. The third son of his family, he was the first of his generation to not be a self-absorbed idiot. While his elder sister originally held the family's Warrant of Trade, Xan drew her into a bloody feud with his brother, both prizing things for the want of things, rather than as a trophy with a wonderful story behind it.
From that, I get -5 Willpower (down to 38), +5 Fellowship (up to 46), a bunch of starting skills, an increased Profit Factor, two Peers, a +10 modifier in formal situations, and a whole bunch of enemies.
Starting Wounds are double Toughness Bonus (T/10, round down) + 1d5. So 10 Wounds to start with. I roll a 1 for starting Fate Points, so Xanatov starts with 2 Fate Points
As a child of wealth and privilege, Xan wanted for nothing, but even once he'd had everything available to his family, he still wanted more. That translates into the Decadence Talent, +3 more Fel, -3 Perception, and 2 Corruption points.
One of the reasons he didn't like the way his sisters and brothers wasted their time was their lack of faith. His family's got the best of what the Imperium has to offer through the Emperor's grace, and once he got that Warrant of Trade, he had to take to the stars to bring the Light of the Imperium to the worlds who do not know how good they can have it.
I choose Unnerving Clarity from the options, increasing Willpower by 5 but also inflicting 3.
On his third voyage, out to the Kelestian system, something happened on the ship. Fully five thousand of the crew, everyone from ratings to murder-servitors to two of the ship's void-masters took their own lives. Xanatov knows what they heard and saw that drove his people to such an extreme, but he has never told the full story. That's worth Resistance (Fear) and 4 Insanity.
Why does Xanatov ply his trade between worlds? Prestige, dear fellow. It's one thing to want things, it's another thing to desire the respect of the people at the very top of the Imperium. Other people toil or fight or judge. It's the job of a Rogue Trader to expand the Imperium. In doing so, Xan has uncovered heresy on forgotten worlds, and uncovered dastardly Xenos threats. That's worth Peer (Inquisition).
Finally, the starting stuff for a Rogue Trader. Skills and Talents are all well and good, but it's the gear I'm after. A common plasma pistol, common power sword, micro-bead, void-suit, a set of fine clothing, a cloak made from the hide of the Shadow-Champion of Talos IV's favourite pet, and a suit of best-quality Storm Trooper carapace.
Stage 3: Spend Starting Experience
Characters start with 500xp to spend on advances. I blow 200 for Renowned Warrant, a further 100 on the Simple Weapon Skill advance. A hundred more go on Secret Tongue (Rogue Trader), and finally on the Dodge skill.
Stage 4: Giving Characters Life
For Demeanour, I note Choleric. Xan is always out to do new things, and never slows down. He's called to the Koronus Expanse because something ties it in to his experience in the Kelestian system. He wants to find out what actually happened, find out what killed his men, and destroy whatever's responsible. While he's grown very attached to his bridge crew, and the men aboard his ship, he's willing to take any risk-because he honestly doesn't see how he can fail.
Stage 5: Profit Factor and Ship Points
I roll an 8, giving me 30 Profit Factor (+1, from earlier) and 60 Ship Points, enough for a light Cruiser. I'll get to that in a minute.
Stage 6: Equipment
I get one thing with an Acquisition Modifier of +0 for free. A Las-Gauntlet is Very Rare (-30), but acquiring only one is a Negligible quantity (+30), bringing the total modifier back to 0.
Now, on to the ship. I pick a Dauntless-class light cruiser, and roll for the Machine Spirit Oddity, and the Past History. The Machine Spirit is Stoic, reducing any profit by 1, but giving all components a 7+ save against damage.
The ship itself was Wrested from a Space Hulk, increasing the Armour, Speed, and Maneuverability but leaving it with a curse-any misfortune is the GM's choice of two.
Now, fitting out the ship: I have 5 Ship Points left, and I want to save them. I go for the Hovian Class 3 drive, generating 60 power and taking up 12 space. A standard warp engine for the class, and a standard Geller Field. A single void field, and an armoured command bridge. I splurge on a Vitae-pattern life sustainer. Likewise, decent quarters, and an R-50 Auspex Multi-band sensor array. That leaves me with 28 power and 26 space remaining, and only 5 ship points left.
For armaments, I pick out two Mars-pattern Macrocannon Broadsides, and a further Mars Macrocannon at the prow. That's 3SP, 12 Power, and 12 Space. For the two remaining Ship Points, I add a Comparmentalized Cargo Hold, and an Observation Dome. On the one hand, this is a well-armed ship that represents the major investment of a Rogue Trader out to find the truth and make pots of cash doing so. On the other, it's missing a lot of the more fun additions-Tenebro-mazes, Murder Servitors, and Crew Reclamation Facilities. Oh well. In a moment of weakness, I name it the Grey Area.
For the Emperor! For victory and profit!
My name is Xanatov Malecandara. I am a Rogue Trader, a bearer of an ancient Warrant of Trade that gives me title to this planet as it's a lost Imperial world. But though I technically own your world, I'm not a violent man; I don't wish you any harm. To my right is Weeja Nok, my Arch-Militant. She does wish you harm. In fact, if it was up to her, she'd be trying different methods of cooking you right now.
Let's get down to business!
Weapon Skill 38
Ballistic Skill 43
Fate Points 2
Profit Factor 31
Common Lore (Imperium) (Int)
Scholastic Lore (Astromancy) (Int)
Secret Language (Rogue Trader) (Int)
Speak Language (High Gothic) (Int)
Speak Language (Low Gothic) (Int)
Air of Authority
Melee Weapon Training (Universal)
Pistol Weapon Training (Universal)
a cloak made from the hide of the Shadow-Champion of Talos IV's favourite pet
best-quality Storm Trooper carapace (AP7, all)
Weapons: Prow 1, Port 1, Starboard 1
Systems of Note
Armoured Command Bridge
Vitae Pattern Life Sustainer
R-50 Auspex Multi-Band Sensor
Mars Pattern Macrocannon Broadside (Port, Starboard)
Mars Pattern Macrocannon (Prow)
Compartmentalized Cargo Hold
14 Power, 8 Space remaining
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