This session began one of the things that I was most excited about in Rogue Trader, the dealing with the operation of a large number of crew members. Mainly because it's like the drama of ruling a kingdom...only you're in space.
The session started out with two crew members who had become infected by the Warp and whose conditioned had worsened dramatically. Way back at the second session, two crew members became infected by the Warp. A chance encounter caused by a failed roll by the Navigator. However, the Explorers ignored this little incident so I had it come back to haunt them.
Now, months after the incident was reported, bleeding runes appeared on the crewmen's skin and they were now crawling up the walls and across the ceiling. The Rogue Trader and the rest of the Explorers gathered in the ship's sick bay to discuss what to do about the incident. Unfortunately, the crew members who had any knowledge about the Warp were involved with other duties (their players were not present).
Faced with no other option, the command crew resolved to put the infected men out of the air lock. They assembled a number of armed guards to do so. As the two men were facing their long walk to the airlock, Sitara, the Explorer's former Astropath appeared before them, pronouncing a number of cryptic messages.
The Rogue Trader, playing true to form, cried out and actually broke out a bit in front of the men. Fortunately, the Arch-Militant was able to keep the guard in line and they were eventually able to get the two poor Warp-tainted souls out into the vacuum of space.
What followed then was the real meat of the session - dealing with the rest of the crew. By this time, of course, the general crew populace were becoming panicked with the news of warp-tainted crewmen. And once news of their fate started circling, wild speculation began to spread. How many people on board were warp-tainted as well? Who would be shoved out of the air lock next?
Thanks to the quick thinking of the Explorer's Seneschal, the rumors were quickly quelled and the men who saw the Rogue Trader in his moment of weakness were made to keep silent. Because not all of the rolls the Seneschal made were perfect, I ruled that instead of the whole entire crew thinking that they were Warp-tainted, it was mainly the crew of the Lucien's Folly who believed that they were somehow cursed.
This, too, was abated by the Seneschal, who was able to rally the former crew of the Lucien's Folly with a heroic speech about his own trials and travails and the sacrifice of the former Rogue Trade who led their small fleet.
What I really liked about this session while the game was mainly about the crew dynamics, it was as serious as any other life-and-death RPG session. Here was the crew of their fleet, starting to panic, starting to loose morale. It raised those great questions in a Rogue Trader game - how do you keep tens of thousands of souls together through space, the Warp, and other planets? How do you keep the whole thing from falling apart?
Thereafter, the Seneschal began to receive visions from the deceased Astropath - vision about the rest of the lost Rogue Trader fleet...and it's possible location near the Undred-Undred Teeth. But before they could do anything about these visions, the Rogue Trader ship came across something very unique...a Space Hulk. But that's for next time!