The second session of actual play started with a quick rundown of the status of the ship. Between sessions, the rogue trader's player wisely emailed me with a series of ship's orders. This helped expedite play and actually helped accomplish two of the objectives of the Explorer's first Endeavour.
Getting Things for a Colony
Upon landing at Footfall, I had the party make some choices. They had earlier indicated that they wanted to establish a colony on a distant planet. I ruled that they had the equipment and personnel to do so, but it would be a bare-bones operation. I gave the group a list of settlement "upgrades" similar to what a rogue trader ship might get.
For basic defense, I ruled that they had enough las guns and flak armour to give to the colony guards, but only the colony guards. They had to pick and choose from the following upgrades.
- Las-guns for All Colonists
- Armor for All Colonists
- Orbital Defense Weapons
- Nerve-Gas Defense
- Holo-Stealth Screen
I ruled that they had enough equipment for the colony to farm and be self-sustaining. They could pick from the following upgrades. Each one would produce products over and above what the colony needed to sustain itself.
- Mining Facilities
- Farming Facilities
- Manufactory Facilities
The party ended up picking point defense weapons (which we made up on the fly), orbital defense weapons, as well as mining and farming facilities. What was neat about this was that the whole group could sit down and talk about what they wanted and I could just sit back and watch. This is my favorite kind of role-playing - one that requires as little GM input as possible.
I also liked this encounter because it's something that you just don't see in other game settings. You're negotiating and discussing equipment that may save lives. And you're working on a grand scale. You're talking about colonizing a planet.
Thereafter, negotiations were made and an Acquisition Test was made for each item they selected. Because their role-playing was so good, I ruled that they got their items no matter what, but a failed Acquisition Test would mean that their buying power would be crippled for a while and that they would have to wait a while until another purchase of any kind. Again, by stating these stakes up front, I was trying to create both tension and a sense of impartiality.
Also while on Footfall, the party had a run in with two of the other rogue trader houses - The Naraghast and the Ontiverous. The group blew off an alliance with the Naraghast, looking down their noses at their piratical activities. Meanwhile, they did agree to an information exchange with the Ontiverous.
The group decided to look for yet another dedicated crew member to add to their roster - an individual who excels and exploring and encountering alien life. By consulting the local psychic oracle, they were pointed in the direction of someone known only as "Ishi".
Just as they went to go recruit another member onto their ship, the Ferral Wolf contacted the Explorers to alert them to a potential problem and opportunity. Mysteriously, a ghost ship pulled into port at Footfall and then proceeded to drift about, powerless and lifeless. All three rogue trader clans met to discuss how the ship should be divided. The whole table also gave a cheer when the local admiral of shoreleaven Imperial vessel spoke on their behalf. After all, it was the Holocene dynasty's sacrifice which saved a large portion of the Battle Fleet Calixis in the flashback of the first session. Finally, the party's rogue trader made an impassioned speech about how their dynasty should be awarded the ship.
Interestingly enough, the Naraghast dynasty acquiesced to this proposal...in exchange for a non-aggression pact with the Explorer's rogue trader dynasty. Which is precisely what the Naraghast Dynasty wanted out of the party in the first place. Again, another great example of why I like this game. It's all about deals, double-deals, and courtly intrigue. Unfortunately, I have a feeling that this deal will come back to haunt the party.
More on the derelict ship later!