From my experience, players love figgity bits. They love handouts, cards, pictures - anything they can hold in their hands. Of course, there is a limit to everything. No one wants to read your 10 page dossier on the royal palace and its architectural history.
So, I definitely decided I wanted to start with a map. Maps can be a good way to get your players' attention. Usually, when you bring one out, everyone's eyes turn towards it. It also helps everyone conceptualize what is going on. For example, players can see with their own eyes how far their company and traveled. They can see how close particular threats are and which factions lie beside other ones.
So, you can see above a map of the Koronus Expanse. I was very deliberate about its size. In my Iron Kingdoms campaign, we printed out a large poster map of the Iron Kingdoms. However, whenever I brought out the map, people had to pick up their stuff or move their drinks. In the end, it was just too cumbersome. This map is just the right size for the table.
Of course, a map is nothing special. Plenty of games use maps. It's what is going on the maps which is cool.
So I've made these handy Endevour cards for the group. In Rogue Trader, side quests (or even your main quest) are described as Endevours. At the top of the card, there's a place where I can write the title of the Endevour, and then there's a place where I can circle whether it's a Lesser, Greater, or Grand Endevour. Below that, I can write down how many achievement points it will take to accomplish that Endevour. Finally, below that I can write down all of the Objectives, or tasks that it will take to complete an Endevour.
Also, if you look to the right of the Endevour card, there are little squares with arrows. What I'm going to do is to write the names of some of these Endevours on the little squares and tape them to the map, so at any time, the players can see what Endevours are on the map and how far away they are. Not unlike the galaxy map in the Mass Effect games.
One Endevour I'm thinking about setting down at the outset of the campaign is:
Fame & Notoriety: Spread your fame / infamy throughout the Koronus Expanse and the Calixis Sector. (Grand Endevour - 1,500)
- Spread knowledge of your deeds to at least three separate locales in the Koronus Expanse (300 pts.)
- Spread knowledge of your deeds to a highly populated and metropolitan area in the Calixis Sector (300 pts.)
- Accomplish a particularly heroic or villainous task (200 pts)
- Get another rogue trader crew to be impressed with you (100 pts. each)
- Deal successfully with the Imperial Navy (100 pts.)
- Deal successfully with the Inquisition (100 pts.)
- Get the Imperial Navy to owe you a favor (300 pts.)
- Get the Inquisition to owe you a favor (300 pts.)
I plan for this particular Endevour to be something that the party can pursue for most of the campaign. As you can see, the Objective points can actually exceed the value of the Endevour. Excess points can, at the GM's option, go towards other Endevours.