Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Six Great Dynasties

I wasn't going to post this stuff this soon, but one of my players (and rightly so) requested it. When we sit down and create characters next week, the group will get to pick from one of six Rogue Trader dynasties. This will be the first thing that they do, before characters are ever created. The reason being, the dynasty they choose should alter the sort of characters they make and certainly make a difference in the backstories of the characters as well.

The reason I'm going to let them pick is that, from my experience, if you give 6 people complete and total free reign to design something, it usually gets locked up in committee. However, if they get together and make their own Rogue Trader dynasty, that'll be fine, too. It's a win no matter what, because the dynasties they don't pick become allies or rivals in the campaign.

Obviously, they won't be able to pick House Null.

House Dexen: The Negotiators

A once greatly respected line known for their diplomatic skills.

Brief History: The Dexen were founded by the honored Warmaster Matthais Dexen, who, after a lifetime of war, dedicated the rest of his life towards exploration rather than battle. His excellent negotiation skills forged accords with small factions within the Eldar and Tau, and his dynasty still enjoys access to rare xenos technology.

Notable Accomplishments: During the battle of Seven Suns in the Scarus Sector, Aria Dexen was able to halt the attack of both Tau and Eldar forces by uttering five words.

Edge: The Dexen line is rumored to cleave a little too close to xenos species. Many now look at this line of Rogue Traders as getting too distant from humanity.

House Holocene: The Defenders

A stalwart band of protectors of humanity and aggressive settlers.

Brief History: Founded by renowned Inquisitor Matthias Holocene, this line of Rogue Traders began their journeys into the wilderness seeking to purge Chaos and bring the word of the Emperor to settlers. As the centuries have passed, the Holocene Dynasty has moderated their tone, becoming protectors and settlers. However, their moderate tone has started to get them into trouble. Particularly with the Inquisition.

Notable Accomplishments: The Holocene are most renowned of their defense of Norn of the Calixis system. Against an entire Ork invasion fleet, they stood their ground, losing all of their ships in their fleet but one.

Edge: The Holocene are known to be defenders and champions without peer. However, their moderate view of the Emperor's Will allows open interpretation of His Law and any number of heresies and cults to the Emperor are on their ship. Some say that the Holocene teeter dangerously close to the path of the Radical.

House Naraghast: The Privateers

A militant group of pirates and freebooters.

Brief History: The Naraghast were once an ancient line of proud settlers and explorers. That was until their success caught up to them. Their entire fleet was raided by an alliance of lesser rogue traders, leaving a single smaller ship alive. With one last ship remaining, the Naraghast rebuilt its legacy over the next century and hunted down their attackers, burning them all. Today, they are a gritty and hard clan of survivors, just one step away from space pirates.

Notable Accomplishments: Besides hunting down the five other rogue trader lines that attacked them, the Naraghast are known for the daring raid of the death world of Woe, where they sent an entire fleet of Chaos ships to their doom, crashing down upon the surface of that world.

Edge: As a group of pirates who skirt the law, this is edge enough.

House Null: The Evil Ones

A Rogue Trader line corrupted by Chaos.

Brief Background: The Null fleet first began its journey amongst the stars when it acted as an agent of a number of noble houses from the ill-fated Hive Tenebra. However, when Tenebra fell, the entire privateer fleet became a series of vessels with no true home. They became Rogue Traders as Scintilla's consolation for losing everything. Matron Null piloted her large fleet out into the edges of space, making limited contact with xenos; trading with distant systems; and contacting outposts. Somewhere along the way, her and her entire fleet became corrupted by xenos forces. It is said that somewhere out in the Halo Stars, Null’s ill-fated fleet became entangled with an alien species of great power and knowledge.

Notable Accomplishments: The Null Fleet is one of the most feared threats in the Koronus Expanse and the Calixis Sector itself. Of all of their infamous deeds, the Null Fleet is perhaps most maligned for taking on patrols of the Imperial Navy and winning.

Edge: The Null Fleet knowingly and willingly associate with the forces of chaos and demons.

House Ontiveros: The Explorers

Once a dynasty of Tech Priests, over time this line has become ecclectic and diverse.

Brief History: This line of Rogue Traders was founded by Magos Silicant Ontiveros. His ship of tech-priests sailed into the void on a mission of discovery. However, as the millennia passed, the line began to die out, due to a lack of genetic diversity. Over time, the Ontiveros line has picked up crewmates from all over the galaxy, now sporting an extremely diverse and eclectic band of crewmates. Though different, all of the crewmates of the line share a common love of tech. Their ancient ship is always on the verge of collapse, but commands respect due to its antiquity.

Notable Accomplishments: House Ontiveros has discovered many things. But perhaps one of their most famous finds was the vault world of Bubo, which turned out to be an entirely artificial planet.

Edge: While out in space, this line has been known to unlock all manner of technology, some of it rumored to be not only heretical but blasphemous.

House Augurian: The Quest-Seekers

A dynasty founded by the daughter of Saint Tristesse who now seeks out the meaning behind a millenium-old prophecy.

Brief History: Long ago, an unknown explorer founded and forged the world of Norn in the Koronus Expanse. For millennia, the world was lost and forgotten. But just nine hundred years ago, the world was rediscovered by a single Rogue Trader, Tristesse, who was eventually sainted for her great deed. Now, two-thousand years later, her companion fleet, founded by her daughter, still exists. It continues its legacy into the void.

Notable Accomplishments: Aside from being guided by a saint, the Augurians are renowned for appearing in response to a massive prayer uttered by the pilgrims on Norn. In an hour of great need, the Augurians were able to save the shrine planet from destruction.

Edge: While many of their accomplishments have been indeed heroic, and their faith in the Emperor is unshakable, over time their search for an ancient artifact has become more and more fanatical. Some believe this line is slowly turning itself over to madness.


  1. This is a great idea, and I may very well pinch it the next time I start up a RT game.

    For my game, I came up with the Trader, and then let the players figure everything else out. So they decided whether they were part of his dynasty, or if they were hired in, and they designed the ship, even though it's technically not theirs. While there was an element of a committee to it, they actually enjoyed it; what I've found is that while all the subsystems in RT are a bit of a rules headache, they do make for a varied and interesting game.

  2. Heya, I've got your sketches/rough drafts done for these...

  3. For the record, you use House Ontiveros twice. Maybe it's just a popular name?


  4. Whoops! Sorry, Matt. Got that fixed for ya.