Monday, May 3, 2010

Fourth Session - Battle Aboard the Angevin's Blade

The third session of play found our rogue trader crew inside of their newly found derelict ship, battling the orks on board, trying to purge it of the green plauge, and claim it for their own.

This session was our first real and true exploration of the combat system in Rogue Trader. Mind you, we were pretty familiar with it from before - when we played Dark Heresy. We did have one player for whom the system was new, so I had to remind myself to go over the system with him once we got started.

One thing that this session held for me upfront was a surprise. When we closed out the previous session, the crew was fighting their way to the bridge, where an ork warboss was waiting. Matt shrewdly wondered if it were possible to get to the engine room instead and vent the whole ship from there, bypassing the whole warboss thing in the first place.

Thankfully, Matt proposed this idea ahead of time, so I had time to prepare for this eventuality. But what was neat was that this one decision altered the game significantly. Instead of a big climatic fight on the bridge, it was a more large-scale rout of the engine room. There were still orks there, but fighting a bunch of weird boyz wasn't as hard as fighting a warboss and his guard. So, I did my best to reward the players for their ingenuity and it was a great example of how a game master can always be surprised in the campaign.

One of the Explorers went to the bridge with a support team member to trigger the safety that was on the bridge. (I figured it wouldn't be too easy.) Anyhow, after a pitched battle in the engine room, they triggered the vents on the ship and the lone PC flipped the safety switch on the bridge.

To add a little drama to the session, the oddboyz in the engine room were powering up the ship and the warboss on the bridge was about to fire the ship's weapons into Footfall. Outside of the ship, the Imperial Navy fleet that the Explorers met earlier were prepared to fire as soon as the Angevin's Blade did. This added a time factor to the crew's efforts.

After the battle, the crew successfully shut things down before they were blown out of the sky by the Imperial Nay. And things got a bit more interesting. The Explorers found the ship's Navigator, who is not entirely sane after being on board the ship for so long with orks. She managed to survive the plague, but her mind is jarred.

And that's where we left off!


  1. Yeah, I'm the newbie. I really enjoyed the drama of the scene and how the events unfolded, but I did get a little bogged down in the combat system. Hopefully that'll get smoother as I go.


  2. The player that's portraying the Rogue Trader in my group hates the idea that the Orks in the current fiction are "fungoid" so I've been avoiding them so far. Plus, I'm not sure I can do that wacky "Orky" accent with any certainty. They might just end up sounding like the British equivalent to trailer trash (Chavs), which isn't precisely right. In case anyone is interested, and pardon me if this is already patently obvious, but culturally the Orks seem to have been inspired by what Americans might call "Soccer Hooligans"-- "'Ere we go, 'ere we go, 'ere we go" seems to be sung to the tune of what here is a Football chant for one of the major teams. Ironic that it's also "Three cheers for the Red, White and Blue" (incidentally, that's the same colors as the British Union Jack). Anyhow, loving the running commentary, and am glad you seem to be taking up the thread again.

  3. What I did with my orks is to gloss over the comedic, soccer-hooligan parts and focus on their mystery. I had a cutscene where the orks break out of their fungal pods and start fighting each other. Then, one of them picked up a las gun and immediately understood how to use it. With expert precision, he started mowing the others down. That's how I've run them. Strange, semi-intelligent beings with extremely complex genetic programming. They are born knowing how to use certain weapons and equipment. Also, their strange latent psychic power thing. An oddboy hits a panel with a wrench...and all of the sudden it starts working. That kind of thing.

  4. I love that idea, and it's exactly the kind of thing I should be doing more of to help immerse the players who maybe don't know that much about the world. I used to use "cutscenes" when running the old D6 Star Wars and they worked reasonably well, but so far I haven't been able to present the same atmosphere in this game (though the mood and themes be different).

  5. Incidentally, I created a slightly larger Endeavour card. Peep it here:

  6. I love the new cards! I'm printing some up tonight!

  7. Awesome! I'm glad you like them. I actually had fun making them, so if you think of anything else player aid-wise, please clue me in.