Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Staging the Battle at Wake

For the battle at Wake, I was able to have a ready-made cutout of the planet. It was rather nice to have, on the table, the very same picture of the planet I had been showing them. (Even though it wasn't to scale like I thought. Ah, well.)

Another great victory was that all of the models used were fairly accurate. The Ferral Wolf is represented by the red ship below, closest to the planet. It's a frigate in the RPG and represented by an accurate model. The Nihontu, Kitsune's ship is a Rogue Trader cruiser and is also represented by an accurate model. The rest of the vessels are raiders or frigates - which all came from my friend Nick's collection for Battle Fleet Gothic.

The Explorers faced off against 10 Chaos ships. Well, it just so happened that we had more than enough models to cover that! We even had a model that could represent the taken over Imperial Battlecruiser.

Here's a better look at the Chaos fleet. Quite imposing to see it lined up and bearing down on you.

All for now.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Staging the Battle with the Tau

So, for this session, I knew that it was going to involve two, (possibly three) epic space battles. Also, it would be the introduction of the Tau to the campaign. I really wanted the Tau to leave an impression. I chose them as a campaign nemesis because they are so different from what we've traditionally dealt with in the 40k universe. In Dark Heresy, the players had experienced all kinds of Warp-tainted enemies. Now, it was time to introduce something totally different. Something totally...alien.

Painting up a Tau Ship
The Tau ship was really easy to paint up. I got a Merchant Class ship, because I liked its look the best. Just based it black with a dry brush of grey. Then, with a fine brush, I went back in and put in the gunmetal on the cannons and added some red highlights. Overall, I was very impressed with the model. It's 100% metal for one, and much more importantly, it looks a lot better than the ship on their website. I'm not saying that I paint so well. Just that the photos for the Tau ships on the GW site simply don't do them justice.

Overall, the Merchant Class Tau ship is very reminiscent of the Starcraft Battlecrusier. Or rather, I should say that it's the other way around.

Cheap Little Props Mean Everything
You know, the thing about space is...there's nothing in it.

Staging space battles on a piece of black felt is all fine and good, but 99% of the time there is nothing else on the table but the ships, because space is, well, empty. So, I found a very cheap, quick, and easy way to spice up my space battles. Just print out some pictures of planets and put them on the mat.

Here's an Earth-sized planet. To scale!

Just one or two makes all the difference. And the fun part is - the math works out!

Fun with the Maths
A Void Unit in Rogue Trader is an abstract measurement. However, they suggested as a rule of thumb to call the average VU around 10,000 km. With some quick Google-fu, we can see that the Earth is just a little over about 40,000 km. So on your battlemat, 4 inches, 4 squares, or 4 hexes can be the diameter of any planet cutout you put down. And that planet will be approximately the size of earth. Easy as pie.

Now, you have the bragging rights of not only having cool props, but you have the geek satisfaction that your props are to scale.

With a little more Google-fu, we can see that the moon is, when closest, about 350,000 km way. Or 35 inches on my battlemat. So, when I placed the moon in the battle 35 inches away from the main planet, I could still revel in the coolness that the battle was to scale.

Perhaps the coolest thing about all of this is that you really get a sense of how fast these ships can move. If a Rogue Trader crew knows what they are doing, they can cross the distance between the Earth and the Moon within an hour's time. That's over 350,000 km (217,479 mi.) an hour! And remember that they are moving ships with enormous mass.

Here, we see the battle with the Tau as it began. The Tau were in orbit around an Earth-sized planet, while the far moon was about as far away as our Moon is to us. And the cut-outs were to scale. Kind of neat to see it in scale before you.

How did I get that when a fast ship moves only 8? Remember that the ship's Void Master and Explorator can both boost a ship's speed significantly. We've seen PCs more than double a ship's movement with good rolls. It makes a tremendous difference.

As the battle joins, the fast Tau ship was able to cross the difference swiftly. Kitsune's ship hid behind the berth of the ringed moon while the Ferral Wolf gave chase to the Fel Hand.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Fourteenth Session - The Tau Arrive

Investigating the system of Lucin's Breath
After winning the bidding war of being able to investigate Lucin's Breath, the crew traveled out to that system and jumped out of warp in the shadow of one of the large moons of the system. There, to the Explorer's surprise, they discovered that the vast majority of the system's ships had been destroyed by the Tau. And indeed, there were still a dozen Tau ships in the system surveying it.

Hadarak Fel's betrayal
Of course, no good scouting mission is as good as one with a side order of betrayal. As the Explorers were taking scans of the area, Hadarak Fel (who had been running silent) powered up his own vessel and took a few pot-shots at the Ferral Wolf. And then proceeded to flee.

The nearby Tau vessel immediately turned and sped towards the coordinates of the disturbance. The Explorers pursued Hadarak Fel's ship - The Fel Hand - and fired upon her. By sheer blind luck, the crew landed a critical upon the Fel Hand and disabled her warp engines, preventing her from leaving the system.

But just as the crew of the Ferral Wolf threw up their arms in celebration, Fel responded with his lance batteries, cutting their hull integrity by half and damaging one of their macrocannons. Then, a second ship belonging to Fel appeared on their scopes, hiding until an opportune moment to attack them from the rear. Meanwhile, the Nihontu, Lady Kitsune's ship, engaged the Tau and began taking fire from a far off distance.

As the Tau closed in and sent out their own bombers, the Explorers engaged in evasive maneuvers and plotted in the solution for a short Warp jump to the edge of the system. They safely made it along with the Nihontu, although Lady Kitsune's ship took heavy damage from the Tau bombers in the process.

The Plot Thickens
At the edge of the solar system, the crew waited for what they were sure to be an impressive light show as Hadarak Fel's ships were destroyed. However, it was not to be. Strangely, Fel's two ships were largely ignored by the Tau, leading the Explorers to suspect that their new nemesis might be in league with the xenos.

From the relative safety of the far reaches of the system, the crew did some deep scans and discovered that five remaining small ships were hiding out at the edge of the system as well. These last few surviving vessels were in a defensive formation, protecting just two ships that were Warp drive incapable.

After some negotiation, it was decided that one of the disabled ships was to be evacuated while the other stayed behind. Essentially, that final ship refused to evacuate. What followed next was an interest moral dilemma. Should the Ferral Wolf attempt to recover the evacuated ship while it remained unmanned? The rescued crew was coming aboard with the expectation of being able to get their abandoned ship back. But in the wilds of space, where no law exists in any event - could the Holocene dynasty claim that ship as their own? Could the dynasty coerce the rescued crew to join the dynasty? And even if they could do these things - would it be right?

Another Battle?
But before such moral quandaries could be explored, the crew discovered something alarming. The ship's Navigator was able to detect a small fleet awaiting them in the Warp itself, just outside of Wake.

After delivering a warning to the governess at Wake, the Ferral Wolf dropped out of Warp, soon followed after by 10 ships from the Null Fleet. A climactic space battle then erupted, with Wake's planetary defenses, the Ferral Wolf, the Nihontu, and their rescued vessels battling with the 10 chaos ships. Then, with a rousing speech, the Rogue Trader rallied the numerous unaligned vessels in the Wake system to their side. With the combined efforts of all of these forces, the chaos vessels were sent running. Four of the ten invading ships were destroyed.

And with that, the Explorers won an historic victory against the Null Fleet.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

From the Journal of H. Tiberius Holocene

Matt, our Rogue Trader player was kind enough to contribute to the blog once more. This time with words from the dynasty's former Rogue Trader....

This letter, penned by my uncle, was given to me three days before his death at the hands of Ork raiders. I still wonder if he knew or sensed something, a preternatural awareness of his impending death that caused him to officially, albeit secretly, hand over the Holocene Warrant of Trade before his demise. The original copy of this letter, hand written on parchment instead of coded into a dataslate, rests with the Warrant. I transposed it here for… well, for rather obvious reasons.


Let me begin with pride. The man you have become certainly instills within me that emotion. My sister, your mother too would be proud, were she here to see you. As much as my arrogance would enjoy taking credit for your upbringing, I must admit that you certainly are your own man. This is good in our kind; you will be often required to make difficult decisions, and while advice and wisdom will help, in the end never forget that you are the imperator of this dynasty, which brings me to the reason for this letter.

Our once great house has fallen nearly into oblivion. It is up to you to ensure its survival. In some ways I envy you; you will begin the greatest adventure that any in our dynasty has ever attempted, save perhaps Hester Nathaniel himself. At the same time, even for the same reason, you will also face the greatest challenges.

I will not tell you to be careful or safe. I pray you understand the weight, the importance of your position; not just as a Rogue Trader or as the Archon of House Holocene, but as the terminal hope that keeps our name from extinction. That, however, does not mean to always be cautious. You will be required, at times, to make bold decisions. I place my trust in your judgment in this.

I offer only three things to leave you with, wisdom I have gleaned from just over two centuries as a Rogue Trader. First, consider thoroughly the man you wish to become. This dynasty will follow in your footsteps. If you are a brigand, a traitor to your word, so will this House be named. Infamy is easier to achieve, it always has been; but do not mistake it for greatness. The name Holocene has long been synonymous with honor, will you continue that tradition? It will be easy, especially in this time of unrest, for you to turn toward unscrupulous behavior. I hope, for the sake of both your soul and our dynasty, that you will not succumb to this temptation.

My second piece of advice is this: question every decision you make. Allow for doubt and listen to the advice of those whom you trust. Analyze possible outcomes and understand that your decisions affect the lives of thousands today, and perhaps the lives of untold billions as time progresses. However, once a decision is made, let it be made. There are things that cannot be undone once done. Sometimes we simply must live with the consequences of our actions. Greatness is not the same as perfection. Learn to live with the mistakes you will make.

Finally, I leave you with our secrets. As a house descended from Inquisitor Holocene himself – I would warn you that our Dynasty and the very ship that you inherit possesses many. I will not enumerate them here, as words transcribed can be read by others. No, what I have to tell you is for your ears alone. And we will speak true when the time comes.

I know you have the potential for leading the Holocene name back to the glory it once held. When all else fails, remember that I willingly placed this dynasty, along with my trust, in your hands. You have always had about the mark of terrible purpose. The Holocene Name needs such a man at this hour of twilight.

Swift and True shall she venture, so long as your heart is pure.

With greatest affection,

Admiral Lucant Holocene

Monday, November 8, 2010

Thirteenth Session - The Taming of the Pirates

Within the Warp...astronomic geography can take on strange and terrible proportions.

How do you incorporate a pirate crew into your Rogue Trader dynasty?

This is the question that the Explorers were faced with in this session. After all, it's not like these people are disciplined, well-trained soldiers. Their pirates. They have no discipline. They have only fear. They have no courage. They have only greed. They have no honor. They have only hate.

Trouble with the Fleet
On approach to Wake, we rolled for the NPC Navigator's trip through the Warp and came up with a Warp Storm. While the PC Navigator has skills high enough that he can easily pilot through the most terrible of Warp anomalies. However, the NPC pilots of the other ships....

Here is where the idea of a PC entourage is useful. At this point in the campaign, if it were just the PC ship flying around, the Void Master's skills are so high that he almost need not roll in certain situations. However, since the Explorer's are now in charge of a fleet of ships, how everyone else does becomes equally important.

In short - they lost a ship. The warp storm caught the pirate raider, the Red Glaive. After an entire series of terrible rolls, I ruled that the Red Glaive was going down. Pirate Captain Tor, in an effort to save half of his fleet, saved the Glaive but at the expense of his own vessel. In a split second, the frigate Talon was gone. 30,000 crewmen were lost.

That was truly a profound moment for me. In what other game do tens of thousands of people's lives hang in the balance like that?

Finally Arriving at Wake
The crew finally arrived at Wake, where Governess Ophelia Winterscale requested an immediate audience. At the governor's palace, the crew met with Governess Winterscale and there encountered two other Rogue Traders - Lady Yuriko Kitsune and Hadarak Fel. People really versed with the Rogue Trader universe will certainly recognize the name Hadarak Fel. And Lady Kitsune is just Lady Sun Lee from Lure of the Expanse, renamed.

It turns out that Governess Winterscale's astropaths had recently lost contact with the system of Lucin's Breath. Being an extremely important system, she wanted to hire out a Rogue Trader to go scout out the system and bring back a report. After a short bidding encounter, the Explorer's won out and were given the task of scouting Lucin's Breath, accompanied by Lady Kitsune. Hadarak Fel was understandably affronted by being left out of the mission and promise of profits and left in a huff.

While the crew were preparing to make an expedition to Lucin's Breath, they met with the pirates again. The crew of the Rogue Trader dynasty were extremely unhappy about joining with pirates. Particularly with pirates who had once captured and enslaved some of their senior officers.

Pirate Captain Tor, then, offered a compromise. As Rogue Traders, the PCs had the ability to bestow upon him a letter of marque, declaring an alliance with the pirates, but keeping the pirates at arm's length. The pirates would not be part of the dynasty in this case.

During the negotiations, there were, of course, dissenting pirates who wanted nothing to do with the Rogue Trader dynasty. They chose that moment to stage a mutiny. And in the words of a certain knight, they chose...poorly.

The Void Master's fractal power sword literally caused one of the mutinous pirates to explode in a shower of gore, blinding some of the nearby combatants. The Explorator broke open the head of another pirate with a bolter shot. According to the lovely crit tables, this gentleman suffered the ignominy of getting his head exploded and his body set alight. The still-headless body ran forwards before hitting the corner of the room and falling over.

Now bonded in the rite of mutual combat, the pirates took on the letter of marque, placating the crew and yet still increasing the strength of the dynasty.

More later.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Interlude - Outpost: Wake

Wake is a series of planets in the Winterscale's Realm sub-sector, named after its spectacular planetary architecture. Legend has it that the planets within this system were transformed with a mega-invasive crystalline growth from a cosmic anomaly known as the Ravager. Hence, the system's name - Wake - for it is said to live in the "Wake of the Ravager". (Bonus points to anyone who knows the reference I made here.)

A view of Wake and its largest planet - Sirocco ; many of its moons bear the mark of the Ravager

Wake has an importance second only to Footfall in the Koronus Expanse. Its importance is due primarily to the fact that it forms a gateway into Winterscale's Realm, the most settled, colonized, and frequented sub-sector within the Expanse. The most travelled and well-known warp routes all pass through Wake. It is a strategic place to stop off for supplies as one travels further into the Expanse.

Wake's unusual crystalline structures also provide the system with a vast wealth of minerals. Everything from water, to silicon, to quartz, to galluim can be found here in abundance. The Wake system is constantly being mined for its resources by countless mining vessels and exploratory ships. The thousand thousand mining claims made all over the system are cause for numerous battles and fights over territory in this outpost on the frontier.

Wake's sun is called Mercurial, due to its flickering and erratic luminescence, particularly notable at a distance. It is an approximately the same size and age of Sol, the Terran sun. However, one would never know by looking at it. The star is surrounded by a thick mass of crystals which distorts the star's light, constantly refracting it. Now and then, solar flares from Mercurial will set the cloud of crystal fragments alight, causing dramatic light shows across its surface and throughout the Wake system. This thick cloud of crystals is constantly replenished by the planets that rotate around Mercurial.

The each of Wake's planets feature massive crystals, most of which are size of continents. These crystals jut out of the system's planets constantly shed shards and fragments. Many of these crystal spines have their own atmospheres. Some even have their own ecosystems and weather patterns. As each planet rotates, it continually flings fragments of these crystals into space. Some are as small as grains of sand, others as large as cities. As the system continues to age, it is predicted that eventually the planets of Wake will resume their spherical shape, casting off the excess crystals over the course of aeons.

The political seat of Wake is Spire - a large spaceport and community located at one of the tips of the smaller crystalline spines of Wake's largest planet - Sirocco. Spire is a built on top of a crystal spine of obsidian, one of Spire's larger exports.

The outskirts of Spire - the city itself sits at the tip of an obsidian crystal.

Spire itself is a city crafted primarily from the obsidian around it. Most of the city's architecture was constructed to mimic the surrounding landscape. This unusual construction makes it a darkly glittering city with buildings made from hollowed out obsidian spines mixed in with buildings made to look like obsidian spires. Dancing all over them are thousands of holographic advertisements and messages. As a frontier city, Spire is a city where anything and everything is bought and traded.

The Governor's Palace on Spire

Notable is Spire's high population of cultists. These pilgrims have come mainly from the Calixis Sector seeking refuge from religious persecution. All of these cults are Cults to the Emperor as Chaos cults and the like are not tolerated. However, here in the far reaches of the Koronus Expanse, a cult to the Emperor which does not share the precise teachings of the Ecclesiarchy need not draw the raised eyebrows of the public or worse...the examinations of an Inquisitor.

Above Spire is its all-important outport, a vast array of small space stations which provide a place to dock for the hundreds of ships which come to Spire on a daily basis. Repairs and maintenance is performed at the outport, far above the frontier mega-city.

The political head of Spire is Governess Ophelia Winterscale, cousin to Calligos Winterscale. As the political head of one of the most important ports in all of the Koronus Expanse, Ophelia Winterscale wields tremendous political power. Ophelia is known for her unassuming and informal manner. She does not tend to dress or speak the part of a noble and even prefers to conduct meetings in Low Gothic if allowed.

One of Wake's four planets - Cyclops - with its moons

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Session 12.5 - Epic Moments in Role-Playing

Build to the Awesome
When last I left off on the blog, Rob's Astropath, Zachariah was seething with rage against the pirates who were now accompanying the Rogue Trader fleet.

Here were the very people who enslaved him and also caused him to lose his arm. So what does he do? He has a meeting with the Rogue Trader of the fleet explaining his desire to vet the pirate captain of the other fleet. After all, can a pirate captain be trustworthy?

However, in a complete breach of protocol, the Astropath marches up to the bridge of the Ferral Wolf and hails the captain himself, summoning Pirate Captain Tor to his own personal chambers.

This highly irregular breach of procedure and protocol caused the captain to give pause. But he relented all the same. Tor then left his ship and docked inside of the Ferral Wolf, bringing his entourage along with him.

What then happened was a series of tense, show-down type moments, as the security team of the Ferral Wolf scrambled to receive this very unexpected guest. (Remember, the Astropath didn't give the Explorers any warning. He just said, "Get your ass over here!")

The pirate captain arrived and was escorted by the Explorers' own armed guards up to the Astropath's chambers. Just before entering the chambers, however, Tor turned to the Seneschal, who was present. He just basically laid it all out there and said, "So...what is this about exactly?"

Now, all the while, the pirate captain had set up a secret vox transmitter on his person and had it sending blips over to his ship. If vox transmission stopped for some reason (due to the captain's heart stopping, or simply a loss of signal), then the pirate ship was poised to ram the Explorers' ship as well as open fire.

Bringing the Awesome
For me, this was an epic moment for the campaign and one of the things I wanted to get out of Rogue Trader. Here was the ship's Astropath, bent on revenge, seething with anger. Here was the pirate captain, wanting to do right by his crew and ship. Because this was so momentous, I paused for a moment and really shone a spotlight on the event.

Think about it. You have two frigates lined up beside each other. Each one manned by close to 30,000 people. And all it would take for these two massive ships and populations to start firing on one other is for the wrong person to panic at the wrong time or for the PC Astropath to want too much vengeance.

I described in that moment what it would take for two such ships to go to war. In that moment, dozens upon dozens of fighter craft were powering up their engines and arming their missiles. Massive macro-cannon batteries were plotting firing solutions. Enginseers were preparing to fire up void shields, boost power to the sub-light engines, and divert power from non-essential systems. Basically, 60,000 people were all on edge, all preparing to go to war, all because one person needed his pound of flesh. But that is the world of Warhammer 40k. War in the grim darkness of the 41st century is often fought for far less.

Ultimately, the Astropath did not melt the pirate captain's brain, but he did essentially torture him. And that's because Tor never had anything directly to do with his enslavement. Or his loss of the arm. However, he still was made to see the Astropath's long-suffering aboard the pirate vessel and all of the other torments that he received.

After that long moment, Tor and the Astropath actually came to an understanding. Which was sort of epic in and of itself.

The crew then proceeded to make their way to Winterscale's Realm. Where destiny awaited them.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Twelfth Session - Escape and Torment

So this session precipitated, for me, an epic moment in roleplaying. A single moment that encapsulates with Rogue Trader is all about. That epic moment deserves its own post and will be discussed at greater length there.

The session started off with the group recovering from their escape from Footfall. The Explorers took stock of their crew and ships as well as the small pirate fleet accompanying them. It turns out that the pirate fleet is now accompanying them out of Footfall as a direct result of player actions.

The battle pskyer of the group puppeted the pirate captain into accompanying them out of Footfall. This action led to the captain's death, but it gave the Rogue Trader Dynasty a chance to prove to the pirates that they were the better way to go. After all, it was the pirates' own second-in-command who ultimately killed the captain. As the Rogue Trader said, "Hey, if you join us, we won't kill you."

So now...the Explorers have pirate allies. The same pirates, by the way, who press ganged three of the player characters. Interesting. And not what I would have expected at all.

This session was spent mostly dealing with that the subsequent fallout. Mainly, the crew in the PCs' fleet was unhappy about having pirates tag along with them. Not only that, but the two pirate vessels were roughly the equivalent of the Rogue Trader's fleet. A frigate and raider against a frigate and raider.But also, these pirates were the same pirates that had once captured and enslaved three of their senior staff.

All of these meant that the session started off with tension. The crew's morale was low. The pirates and Rogue Traders were trying to feel each other out. And then, into the mix steps the Explorer's new Astropath.

Rob's Astropath was not just a former slave of the pirates - he had taken mortal wounds and been brought back from the brink of death. As a result from the battle of Footfall, he lost an arm. (Rob's player had to burn a permanent point of Fate to keep from dying.) Now, the Astropath awoke and seethed with rage. The pirates...they had done this to him. They had caused him this pain and entrapped him all those years aboard their ship. Now, he was going to have his vengeance.

More on that in the next post.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

There's Always Room for More Figgity Bits!

Long ago, I learned that players love manipulatives. Cards, hand-outs, etc. One can go over-board, of course. No one wants to read your 50+ page of fake world history for your home-brew world. (Okay, there are some people like that. But few.)

However, just a little card or token can be a pretty neat thing to hand over to a player. That's why I came up with this:

It's a large card that I gave a colored border to and filled with text, describing an innovation that the Explorator recently came up with. It's a sort of "ion grenade" which makes technology go amuck by messing with the machine spirits. I guess I could have just emailed him this info or wrote it down in my notebook, but what I'm learning in this campaign is that that stuff often gets lost. You forget about it. We've all been there, right? Ten sessions later, the GM or the player perks up and says, "Hey! Remember my thingamajigger?" This helps as a sort of reminder. A placeholder that says: "Hey there, I have this now."

What's interesting is that in the campaign, out in the depths of space, the Explorator can do these sorts of things. In a Dark Heresy or Deathwatch game, innovating or inventing would be strictly prohibited. That said, I suppose that a tech-priest could always "rediscover" old technology.

So here's what he came up with:

Gear Shriek

Class: Thrown; Range: SBx3; Damage: Special; Pen: 0; Special: Blast (2)

Upon detonating near a technological device, roll 1d10


1 grenade fails, no effect

2-3 machine spirits confused - device is unreliable/operates erratically

4-5 machine spirits panicked - device operates continuously on current settings for 5-10 rounds

6-7 machine spirits frightened - device very difficult to use or control, -20 to -40 on rolls

8 machine spirits scared - device locks and will not activate for 5-10 rounds - this is the *intended* result

9 machine spirits maddened – device continuously one and rate/speed of operation increases and at the end of operation, the device is damaged or destroyed; machine spirit may be permanently affected (GM's discretion)

10 spectacular/bizarre event, GM's discretion

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Eleventh Session - The Domino Effect

One of the most fun aspects of a game is when it takes on a life of its own for me. The point or points in which I have completely let go of the reins and am only reacting to what the players do is pretty much the high point of any campaign that I run.

While that has certainly happened many times in this current campaign, it certainly started a large chain of events in the Eleventh Session.

Quick recap - The Explorers were at a ritual Foretelling, conducted by the Witch of Footfall. In the middle of it, Footfall is attacked by a Chaos fleet.

The session was planned as a series of large set-pieces.
  • Set-piece 1 was a fire-fight with some pirates, who were using the chaos of the moment to hopefully reap vengeance on some of the Explorers.
  • Set-piece 2 was a scramble across suspension bridges to a shuttle craft so they they could escape, all the while being fired upon by a flyer.
  • Set-piece 3 was a space-battle as the PCs tried to escape Footfall.
In our current game, three of our player characters are interconnected. The Explorator, Void Master and new Astropath all chose Press Ganged as their Trail and Travail. All three of them chose to have been prisoners aboard the same pirate ship. While on board, all three of them staged a mass riot and escape, breaking free from their servitude and linking all three of them. However, I noted that this didn't really provoke much roleplay when the session were actually under way. And that's because while this past was written into their backstory, they didn't really experience it.

So, I threw them a softball and see where they went with it. A had the very same pirate crew that captured them show up at Footfall. During a sudden attack on Footfall, the pirate crew made their way towards the party, hoping to settle some old scores.

That's when the PCs stepped in. The Explorers' battle-psyker took control of the pirate captain's mind because the pirate captain happen to be at the Fortelling alone (a requirement for attendance). With no one else to note what was going on, the pirate captain started marching around with the Explorers and barking sudden commandments to his fleet.

However, the rules for mind control in Rogue Trader being what they are, this was no charm person or dominate person spell. You can only control someone's body like a puppet (making it look unnatural) or issue them short commands. All of which made the pirate crew was suspicious. Making them extra-aggressive.

How it went:
Set-piece 1
Of course, who do the pirates fire on? Not the battle-psyker, but the ship's new Astropath, who they bore a grudge against anyway. Obviously, he was the one who was controlling their captain's mind, right? After being fired upon by a melta-gun, the ships new Astropath's arm was mostly melted, due to Wound damage. Not good.

The Explorers tried holding the pirate captain hostage to get the pirates to back off. But pirates being who they are...the first mate fired upon his own captain and killed him. At that point, the Rogue Trader did something extraordinary. He called out to the pirates and said, "If you join me, I won't shoot you."

While that didn't convince the pirates immediately, it did put the seed into their mind. It was the serious ass-whooping that they received from the Rogue Traders in the midst of mass chaos and confusion that pushed them over the edge. Also, the Rogue Trader made a hell of a charm check.

The end result was that the Explorers

Set-Piece 2
Who ever said that Rogue Trader characters were too powerful and couldn't be challenged? As the Explorers made their way to the shuttle craft, they had to cross over a number of suspension bridges, all linked to various pieces of debris floating in space. That's what Footfall is, after all, just a collection of space debris that's been built upon.

While they were scrambling over the bridges, a flyer dove in on them and attacked. I used the stats of the Aquila Lander from Into the Storm. It's definitely not the worst flyer in the game or even close to it. But it put down the Astropath. Yep. He had to permanently burn a Fate Point to keep his character in the game. Now, he sports a cyber-arm for his troubles. And that's just the beginning! Kudos to Rob for taking this severe injury so well.

So, here's the thing to remember - the Astropath's arm was melted mainly because the battle-psyker took control of the opposing pirate captain. The results of this would see serious repercussions in later sessions.

The flyer was even actually able injure the Arch-Militant. However, after firing their newly acquired melta-gun at the flyer and some firestorm action from the battle-psyker, they were able to finish it off.

After the Explorers finally got on their shuttle, they were able to fly back to their own ship under heavy fire and make their way out of Footfall. A distraction was set up by their tentative allies, the Naraghast. A small fleet of Imperium ships, led by their staunch ally Admiral Balter provided more cover.

Set-Piece 3
Next, we staged the battle, minis and all. The party's objective? Maneuver their vessel across the battlemap safety, while battling and dodging the enemy Chaos ships.

On the Rogue Trader's side was their two ships (a frigate and raider) and three pirate vessels (a light cruiser, frigate, and raider). Up against them was a chaos cruiser and three frigates. Now, I will say that I certainly had not planned for the PCs to have so many ships (four) on their side. The reason they got help was as a direct result of the Rogue Trader's coercion of the pirates.

Having a space battle with so many ships was certainly daunting. Particularly when the rules lean heavily towards the campaign being about one vessel. In the end, what I did was to assign each allied vessel to a player and have them make the appropriate rolls. The players were also able to make their regular character rolls to boost their own ship, since all of the PCs stayed aboard the main Rogue Trader vessel.

As I've said on some of the comments here, what makes combat in space difficult is the fact that all vessels involved have to move. So, each turn, you're having to adjust the entire field of combat. That said, I still like the combat very much. I just need a bit more practice with it. And, to be fair, the space combat system was clearly never intended to have a large field of battle with numerous ships on it.

The result of the battle was fairly spectacular. The allied fleet concentrated fire upon the cruiser and destroyed it with appropriately spectacular results. As it was destroyed, I joked that whenever a ship bites the dust in Rogue Trader, there's always that chance that the Warp Field generator is disrupted and the destroyed ship creates a warp storm. Heh. Careful what you joke about.

Then, they scrambled past the exploding vessel and veered around space debris. In a turn of events worthy of Star Wars, a raider pursuing the allied fleet rammed into the space debris, destroying it in the process.

Just as they thought they were all clear, the pirate's light cruiser was fired upon by the Chaos fleet at was destroyed before it made it clear. The result of the pirate cruiser's destruction was a warp storm, which threatened to suck in the remaining pirate fleet. It did not, but it did suck up one more chaos vessel, demonstrating how deadly Rogue Trader space combat can be.

Friday, October 8, 2010

And now we pause yet again for some of the Awesome.

Many thanks to my buddy Duck Sauce for bringing this to my attention. Once I beheld it, it was so awesome that it needed its own post. That is all.

Wizard's new ad for D&D:

And now here's where it's from - a short from the 2006 D&D movie competition:

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Prepping for a Game

I have found over the past 8 months, with the addition of a new child, my prep style for games has radically changed.

The thing I used to do was put in a massive amount of prep work up front. I'd build the world, create NPCs, build plot lines, and have everything in near-publishable format before we took off. I'd even create stat blocks and tab monster entries. Then, after the game got started, I let the world take care of itself. Because I had put so much time and effort into the NPCs and the world, I created whenever the PCs did something, it was very easy to figure out how my world and cast of characters would react. My session prep, then, was to just take a few notes about what the various factions of my world would do.

Now, it's much different. Now, I literally can't put in the intensive prep work up front. So it has to be spread out over the course of the campaign. Plus, there is a lot of re-reading the rules and refining my knowledge of how the game works.

In my past two campaigns, I had about a week or two to put something together resembling a campaign. What I came up was a very rough, very bare skeleton for a campaign. Basically a very broad and open-ended outline. On that outline were what I thought the major events of the campaign would probably be (subject to change, of course), and most importantly, the major themes of the campaign. Then, I start filling in the world and campaign outline in-between games. It's very different for me but I'm getting used to it.

Something new for this game...I now extensively email my players about their characters' agendas and what they want to get done. This sort of happened on its own. The Rogue Trader player, Matt, started emailing me with orders he was giving to their entourage. I would respond back and then we would see his orders carried out during the course of the next session.

However, now that emailing habit has started to spread to the other players. I find it to be tremendously helpful in maintaining interest and momentum for the campaign. When I've tried to do this before, it's usually failed. People are busy with their own lives, etc. I'm not sure why this campaign has provoked this much outside-game buzz. But there you go.

Something I've always done is to write notes on what they did last session and consider how it will affect the game world. Then, I bullet point a few things that I definitely want to happen in the next session, usually as a direct result of what they did previously. But I allow room for them to change.

One more thing, and this is big: I am constantly prepping certain big scenes or big reveals in my head. Cutscenes and set pieces, if you will, that will come up later in the game. I even have them set to music. I don't know when they will come up, but when the PCs do something that I think warrants the big reveal, then I'll whip it out, perhaps tweaking it for their specific actions.

What about you all? How do you prep for a game session? I'm curious to hear.

Friday, September 17, 2010

The View from Dragon Con

So it's been a while since my last post - but this one took a while to get out. There were just too many people to thank, talk about, and hotlink.

So anyways, I went to Dragon*Con this year, marking my 17th visit to the largest sci-fi convention in the South.

A Sister of Battle and a High Priest! Long live the Emperor!

And what makes this year so special? Well, I got shanghaied into being the game programming director at Dragon*Con. That means I was in charge of game panels. Things like Dungeon Design 101, How to Make a Better Character - things like that.

This year, we were able to get some fairly esteemed guests to our game panels. For our two indie games panels, we got Fred Hicks, who is responsible for creating Spirit of the Century and the recently and highly successful Dresden Files game.

Fred was at Dragon*Con just to hang out with Jim Butcher, the author of the Dresden Files books. Turns out these two were old friends that go way back. And not only that Jim Butcher's agent happened to be a gamer-geek, so she got him to put forth his material in RPG form.

Also, appearing in our panels was Jason Bulmahn, the lead designer for the Pathfinder RPG. Jason, too, arrived at Dragon*Con by way of vacation and was kind enough to sit in some panels for us as well.

Finally, we had Eloy LaSanta, who, while not as giant a personality as Bulmahn or Hicks, is living the dream that all gamers have - he has his own gaming company and is actually in the black. He's putting out his own games, game systems, and game worlds and getting returns. And he has one Hell of a combat system, I must say.

But we didn't just draw people from the pen and paper side of things. We also had Michael Capps, who is the CEO of Epic Games. Epic produces the Unreal engine, which is used for most of the console games you see nowadays for anything from the recent Transformers game to Batman: Arkham Asylum. But Epic is best known for producing both of the Gears of War games.

Mike literally hopped off of a plane coming from San Francisco where he shared the stage with Steve Jobs touting his latest upcoming game - Project Sword - to be on a panel with me. That, my friends, is the definition of graciousness. To come from a big, thousand plus sized hall and rush to be in a room with just 100 people for my lil' old panel...well that's just class right there.

Here's the presentation that Mike was at just before he joined me at Dragon*Con.

Coming with Mike was Alexander Macris and Julianne Capps. They were, respectively, the CEO of Themis Media and former Editor-in-Chief of the Escapist Magazine. Not ringing any bells? Well, Themis runs the award-winning Escapist Magazine site. Still not ringing any bells? The Escapist hosts Yahtzee - the famed "No Punctuation Critic". If you haven't seen or heard of Yahtzee, well you just lost some geek cred. No worries, though. Check out his reviews of video games. They're friggin' hilarious. How that guy maintains his level of comedy year after year is beyond me.

Alexander, it turns out, is a huge D&D nerd so we kibitzed about that quite a bit. It all led up to Mike, Alexander, Julianne playing in a game of 3:16 Carnage Across the Stars. We were joined by Alexander's VP Newton Grant and some long time friends of mine, Doug and Melanie.

And, you know, I have to really give credit to the Minions of the Monster Master for being able to introduce this cool group of people to 3:16. We all had a blast while playing it and even after the con, these folks were still emailing me about the game.

Other games played were Weird War II, using the Savage Worlds system. In a nutshell, think Castle Wolfenstein. Put Nazis, zombies, and Cthulhu into the same soup and you have yourself a game. Again, anyone from the Minions podcast would be familiar with this setting, since my pre-generated characters for the scenario were from a campaign we all played together.

Finally, I also got to play Zombie Cinema, which was introduced to me by the Minions. That was very interesting because what should have been an hour to hour-and-a-half game turned into a four hour deep-roleplay experience. If you haven't checked out Zombie Cinema, it's one of my favorite RPGs of all time. It has no GM. No character sheets. No stats. And yet can often yield very powerful role-play experiences.

But despite all of this gaming goodness, the highlight of the weekend had to be me getting to see Stan Lee. Back in the day, Stan Lee could come to Dragon*Con and you could walk up and just say hi. While he was always popular since the launch of the Marvel movie franchises he's a little more in demand. He nearly filled a 1600 seat hall with people wanting to see him. The wait in line for Stan was nearly two hours long. But it was worth it, because we were just three rows back from the front and could see everything quite well.

And, of course, you cannot leave Dragon*Con without a one-on-one celebrity moment. My celeb moment this year was getting to hang out with Brent Spiner for about five minutes. I was fortunately enough to catch him at a good time when the line to see him was light. I paid my money for an autograph and chatted with him about Star Trek and his random cameo on the new show, Leverage.

Of course, I would be completely remiss if I didn't mention my Dragon*Con friends that I saw as well - people that I get to see about once a year at Dragon*Con. Many of my friends are now staffers of the convention like myself, but I'm happy to have seen Dave, Joe, Beau, Shaun (both of them), Rebekah and her new significant other, Rob. Perhaps my only regret this Dragon*Con is that I didn't see more of them.

Two of my players were there - Nick and Doug. The guy who plays the battle-pskyer and the seneschal, respectively. Nick was brave enough to attempt to indoctrinate his fiancee into the convention scene. A complete and total geek-virgin, Jen bravely wandered about the convention taking everything in. To understand how uninitiated Jen is...she didn't even know what Lord of the Rings was until Nick introduced it to her. (I am exaggerating...but only a little.)

One more time, I have to give out major props to the Minions of the Monster Master. While I was at the convention, I met lots of hardcore gamers and game designers. But I was more well versed in the wide variety of RPG games out on the market than most folks that I knew. Most everyone I talked to had no idea about 3:16, Zombie Cinema, With Great Power, or Dogs of the Vineyard. And I have to really give credit to Duck Sauce and the gang for continually exposing me to new games and new experiences all of the time.

Anyhow, that's all for now.

Friday, September 10, 2010

And Now We Pause for some do you say? Battlefleet Gothic

So, a while back one of my buddies got back from Saudi Arabia and we were able to get involved in a game of Battlefleet Gothic. Like a lot of the other defunct Games Workshop games, it's pretty awesome. The game works well on its own and has not suffered from the bloat of numerous rules upgrades and modifications. So it's easy to jump into.

The game is a tight little skirmish game, which employs about seven to five minis to a side. Not at all a big investment for a Games Workshop game. The ships controls and combat are not unlike the controls in Rogue Trader. Ships in motion must move forwards a minimum distance before engaging in a turn. Moving faster than normal or turning sharper than normal requires a special order. Each ship can only receive one special order per turn.

Just like in most Games Workshop games, the combat turn is divided into phases - a movement phase, firing phase, and ordinance phase. Attacks are rolled on a chart, which is modified by range, and the target's ships position relative to yours. Again, like most GW games, the combat is all resolved on the same chart, making it easy to look up and resolve.

Probably the most fun thing about the combat for me was the impact clouds. When a ship is hit, blast tokens are placed on the table at the point of impact. Flying through a blast token causes a ship to move slower and possibly take damage. So, as the battle continues, the battlefield quickly fills up with blast tokens, which function as a sort of terrain. The randomized, shifting-and-moving terrain made the game chaotic and fun. It really helped capture the sense of a massive space battle.

So how did the game go? I'll let the pictures do the talking.

Here's my fleet. Three chaos battlecruisers and four escorts (frigate class).

My opponent's fleet. Imperial cruisers! The two smaller ships are frigates.

To give you an idea of scope in the 40k universe...yes, the small ships are escorts, which is sort of like a Raider in Rogue Trader RPG. The next smallest class are the frigates, which are sort of the default vessel of Rogue Trader. I think it's mind-blowing that most of the massive and grand ships of the Rogue Trader game are just 1 hit fodder in this skirmish-level game.

Here are some more shots, just because they look good and the pictures turned out well.

I love the look of the Chaos cruisers the best. So many spines. So very Ridley Scott.

The heavily armoured prow of an imperial cruiser. What would end up being my downfall.

More spines!

Right. So onto the important stuff. How did I fare? Not well, I'm afraid. Not to say that I didn't have a blast, because I did. But in the end I literally had my arse handed to me. Basically, my opponent did a good job at spreading himself out and getting me to spread out my attacks so that I could not concentrate fire enough to take out many of his ships at all. All of his vessels took some hits, but only one or two took enough to become disabled.

But if it says anything about the game, I thoroughly enjoyed it, despite the fact that I lost so badly.

Since forward movement and momentum are inherent, its quite easy for two ships to sail on past each other, firing salvos at each other the entire time. Very naval. Very cinematic. And very different from what I'm used to in a minis game.

Here you can see the real thick of it. Ships right on top of each other. Blast tokens creating that spontaneous terrain that I'm talking about. If Chaos is going to go out, what better way to go out?

Well that's all for now. Next time, I'll give the low-down on Dragon*Con.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Tenth Session - Prophecy and Fortelling

After a successful raid of the Space Hulk, our intrepid Explorers then made the rest of the journey to Footfall. There, they picked up their new Astropath, who happened to be a new player.

Rob, our new guy, gravitated towards the Astropath career after learning that the crew had lost their first one. Interesting, considering that the first Astropath was just an NPC. I'm sure there were other factors in his decision-making, but there you have it.

After disembarking on Footfall, the crew was met by a large platoon of Kroot mercenaries, who offered their services. The Kroot come fresh out of Into the Storm, and I was happy to incorporate them into the campaign. The Arch-Militant got fitted for some new power armor and then it was time to get more plot-heavy.

The Explorers were invited to a Fortelling - a great prophecy that bends the future itself. This particular Fortelling was put out by the Witch of Footfall. Actually, there are seven witches in Footfall, but in my campaign there's only the one. One can win a seat at the Fortelling but you have to bid at an auction to do so.

(If any of this seems familiar, the whole scenario comes straight out of Lure of the Expanse, which what I'm currently mining for ideas. )

In any event, the auction isn't one for money but instead for...something curious. Like the toenail of a daemon, ten-thousand blind servants from hive world of Necromunda, or the last sonnet composed by long-dead Sister of Battle. In an unexpected turn of events, the Explorers bid the Senechal's missing memories which he's been wanting to get back for over a decade, now. Yet another reason I'm loving the game and the setting - you can actually do things like that with real consequences. Now, the Senechal will never get to see his hidden backstory. He will never get to know what was taken from his mind.

The crew was able to be present at the Fortelling, though, when all was said and done.

A great presence awakens
But the prophets shall arrive
With their White Light before them
The claw, taloned - shall stir

And lo, near the four suns, a treasure emerges from a Dead World
A great prize to be claimed by those who fear neither Fate or Destiny
And she shall be the key to the awakening
Its slumber
She shall be its key.
All will be revealed with the coming of the Great War

Then, in the middle of the Fortelling, Footfall was attacked, by the mysterious and infamous Null Fleet, a group of bad guys I used for my last campaign. In the next session, we'll have our climactic finish was the Explorers say farewell to a dear friend.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Character Journal 3 - H. Tiberius Holocene

Day 267, 813M41
Log of Events
Ferral Wolf, comissioned 389M34
Captain H. Tiberius Odysean Holocene

Warrant of Trade # RV-426-G7-96-BFN4Y2
Granted to Rogue Trader Hester Nathaniel Holocene 623M35 327M31
Given leave to spread the light of the God Emperor to places unknown within Segmentum Obscurus.

How do you measure the value of a life?

It is a question that every leader worth his salt must face, even Rogue Traders. I have sent men to their deaths, lost soldiers in battle. I have even left people to die and made decisions that cost the lives of thousands of souls. I tell myself that the sacrifices are necessary; sealing off a burning compartment on my ship might kill hundreds, but save everyone else, tens of thousands of people who rely on me to make the right decision. I have commanded warriors to stand and fight in futility or to advance straight into corruption. But I will never be able to forget the screams of those burning alive, or the sight of men being ripped to pieces at the hands of an Ork horde. Despite these memories, I have always been able to remind myself why I do these things.

How can I let the fate of one life, or even a thousand lives stand in the way of destiny?

I am the progenitor of the Holocene Dynasty. Sending men to their deaths is a part of that. The decisions I make will someday influence entire star systems, billions of people. I will not fail my ancestors, I will not allow our line to fall into oblivion.

And yet...

Losing Sitara was a hammer blow. Though I rarely had opportunity to express them, I cannot deny the feelings I had for her. Love is probably too strong a word, but there was caring and compassion to be sure. She smiled only rarely, but when she did, it brightened my day. Watching her get ripped to shreds by the... thing under the city was devastating.

Suddenly my understanding of my destiny was cast into shadow. If her fate meant so much to me, what of the fates of all the rest who serve under my command, who toil for the name Holocene. How can one man be held responsible for so many? How can I continue to choose to send men into battle, or one of a hundred other gruesome ends?

I wish, for a fleeting moment, that I were someone else; a lowly serf. Riches and fame seem ill-equipped to offset this price, this burden I must bear.

I find myself unsure as to my next course of action. This is unnerving to say the least. I know that I am still tasked with leading this crew, this dynasty. What if I make the wrong choice?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

ALL STOP - Into the Storm - a review

A buddy of mine, who happens to be a player in my Rouge Trader game went to Gen Con this week and picked up Into the Storm. So, here's my review of the new book, after having it for only three days.

If you don't know what Into the Storm is, it's an upgrade book or "player's guide" for the Rogue Trader game. So far, this book seems to me to be what The Inquisitor's Handbook was to Dark Heresy. And that is certainly a good thing.

Chapter One: Advanced Origins

One of the more innovative things I enjoy about the Rogue Trader system is its Origin Path system for character creation. It's a real help because it helps focus character backgrounds and creation in a massive universe of options and realities.

Chapter One greatly expands upon the Origin Path system and keeps it backwards compatible by introducing alternate origins at each station. For example, instead of starting out on a Death World, you can start out on a Death World or a Frontier World, which gives different benefits and penalties. Moving down from that, you could pick Scavenger or Fringe Survivor, etc. And on top of that, each of the new origin picks has three different variations to choose from as well. If you choose to be a Fringe Survivor, you could be a Survivalist, Heretek, or Pit-Fighter. (Warhammer Quest anyone?)

All of these new Origin paths do cost xp, however. So people looking to go crazy and power-mad are reined in a bit. I'm going to certainly offer these new Origin Paths retroactively to my players, because many of them are much better fits for their characters.

Another row of Origins is added as well: Lineage. Lineage is an Origin aspect which describes your family and their reputation.

Another cool edition - an Origin path for the Explorer's Warrant of Trade. This is very neat. In this section, the players and GM sit down together and decide the general history and background of the very Warrant they hold. Doing so determines the group's starting Profit Factor and Ship Points.

Chapter Two: Koronus Careers

This section of the book contains information the both expands on the initial Rogue Trader classes and introduces new elements to the game. I will tell you right now that this is the section that introduces the Kroot and Ork Freebooter races to the game. Unfortunately, neither race is given its own Origin chart, and they are stuck with a single career choice - Kroot Mercenary or Ork Freebooter. They do, however, have a slew of Talents and other abilities that set them off from humans. The Kroot, for example, can gain hit points by eating their slain opponents.

Thereafter, the book describes Alternate Career ranks. Just like in Dark Heresy, alternate career ranks are special ranks which can be taken instead of the next level on the line. After your alternate rank, you go back to the ranks in your regular career. Some of the alternate ranks are more specific than others. For example, the Acquisitionist can be only taken by the Seneschal. Some are very setting specific, like the Drusian Adherent. However, many of the alternate career ranks are open - able to be taken by any of the career paths.

The end of the chapter features a few Elite Advances. Two of them are are open to most careers, while some like the Rite of Duplessence and the Sanctioned Xenos are career specific.

Chapter Three: Extended Armoury

This chapter features, as you might expect, a lot more weapons and equipment. I didn't know how much they could expand the weapons list from the Inquisitor's Handbook, but they did it. Noteworthy are the expanded types of grenades and ammunition; as well as a fair number of xenos equipment.

Chapter Four: Starships Expanded

This section offers a brief write up on ship life and then goes into expanding the ship options in Rogue Trader. More hull types are present. Many should seem familiar to fans of Battlefleet Gothic, like the Firestorm frigate or the Lathe-class monitor cruiser. Also added are ship background packages. You can buy these with ship points, and are like backgrounds you can pick for your ship, rather than roll for.

There are also ship upgrades like better Warp engines, additional Void shields, or different ship weapons like missile batteries. Finally, there are interesting ship upgrades like giving your vessel vaulted ceilings (morale increase) or even buying an atomic weapon. But you can only buy one nuke at a time.

Chapter Five: Vehicles

This is perhaps the most valuable portion of the book, since it gives stats and rules for vehicles, something missing from both Dark Heresy and Death Watch. There is an old web book out there with vehicles and vehicle rules for Dark Heresy, but those rules were much more on the narrative side and sort of filler for a gap in the rules.

The vehicle rules are not unlike the rules for ships, though obviously they work on different scale. Each vehicle has a degree of armor and structural integrity. When it starts taking Structural Integrity damage, it starts taking critical wounds, much like a character.

Chapter Six: Expanded Psychic Powers

This section includes new Navigator powers as well as new Astropathic powers. None of the powers that I saw in my quick glance seemed to be redundant, as can happen in systems of this nature. There is also a new psychic school, which is Theosophamy - a school which focuses on manipulating the Warp itself for its own sake. The powers included allow the psyker to do such things as attempt to banish daemons and the like (it's not easy), or make one's weapon into a Warp Weapon.

Chapter Seven: Enhanced Game Mechanics

Chapter Seven is almost an appendix, with a number of rules upgrades or mechanics ideas in place for GMs to use or not. There is a small section on Social Interaction challenges, not unlike an Exploration challenge.

The book also introduces Meta and Background Endeavours. Meta Endeavours are large, campaign-spanning Endeavours which are meant to be either an outline for your campaign or something close to it. I rather liked this write up. It shows how Endeavours can be used to outline an entire campaign, even if you run it sandbox style.

The addition of Background Endeavours is nice as well. It allows the PCs to set up long-term tedious tasks to be accomplished by NPCs so that the party can go do exciting stuff.

This chapter also introduces ideas to make Acquisition Tests and Profit Factor more interesting. For example, if the Rouge Trader group keeps on spending extravagant amounts of money, they can attract unwanted attention.

Finally, there is an expansive look at then different roles on a Rogue Trader ship, what they do, and where they operate. I also enjoyed this section, because ship-board drama is something I wanted to cover in my campaign, and this section is great for ideas for just that.

Chapter Eight: Port Wander

Obviously, this is a detailed write up on Port Wander. Footfall, of course, is covered in Lure of the Expanse.