Monday, February 15, 2010

Getting the Scope of Rogue Trader

As I'm getting ready for the campaign, inevitably my players are asking questions and we're talking about what to expect for the upcoming game.

One thing that I've found that we've all struggled with is understanding the macro scope of Rogue Trader itself. For one, I've had to really reiterate that the characters on the ship are not beginners. They are not just starting out. The characters in Rogue Trader are experienced explorers with long histories behind them. I think that will be challenging for some of the players who are not as familiar with the setting. Heck, it's challenging for me.

If you look at the size of ships in the Warhammer 40k universe, they are massive. Their largest ships are 5 km, or 3.1 miles long. To put that into perspective, Manhattan Island is 2.3 miles wide at its widest point. So, an Imperial Battlecruiser's shadow would actually exceed the width of Manhattan.

Here's another way to look at it. A modern aircraft carrier is 333 meters long. The smallest of the capital ships in the 40k universe, a destroyer, is 1 km long. So the smallest of the Rogue Trader vessels is as long as 3 aircraft carriers. A light cruiser - a medium sized ship - is about as long as 6 aircraft carriers.

In other geek news, a Star Wars star destroyer is estimated to be 1.5 km long, about as long as a frigate in the 40k universe.


  1. Another facet to help illustrate the immensity of the scale is the size of the crew. On our ship, the Void Dragon, we're considered "cozy" and still boast a whopping 24,000 crew members. 24,000!

  2. One thing that might help is to realize how much xp is required to transform a Dark Heresy character into one from Rogue Trader. At the end of our campaign a few months ago, those characters would have been about the same power level as starting RT characters, with the campaign itself being just a piece of the characters' background.