Thursday, November 18, 2010

Fourteenth Session - The Tau Arrive

Investigating the system of Lucin's Breath
After winning the bidding war of being able to investigate Lucin's Breath, the crew traveled out to that system and jumped out of warp in the shadow of one of the large moons of the system. There, to the Explorer's surprise, they discovered that the vast majority of the system's ships had been destroyed by the Tau. And indeed, there were still a dozen Tau ships in the system surveying it.

Hadarak Fel's betrayal
Of course, no good scouting mission is as good as one with a side order of betrayal. As the Explorers were taking scans of the area, Hadarak Fel (who had been running silent) powered up his own vessel and took a few pot-shots at the Ferral Wolf. And then proceeded to flee.

The nearby Tau vessel immediately turned and sped towards the coordinates of the disturbance. The Explorers pursued Hadarak Fel's ship - The Fel Hand - and fired upon her. By sheer blind luck, the crew landed a critical upon the Fel Hand and disabled her warp engines, preventing her from leaving the system.

But just as the crew of the Ferral Wolf threw up their arms in celebration, Fel responded with his lance batteries, cutting their hull integrity by half and damaging one of their macrocannons. Then, a second ship belonging to Fel appeared on their scopes, hiding until an opportune moment to attack them from the rear. Meanwhile, the Nihontu, Lady Kitsune's ship, engaged the Tau and began taking fire from a far off distance.

As the Tau closed in and sent out their own bombers, the Explorers engaged in evasive maneuvers and plotted in the solution for a short Warp jump to the edge of the system. They safely made it along with the Nihontu, although Lady Kitsune's ship took heavy damage from the Tau bombers in the process.

The Plot Thickens
At the edge of the solar system, the crew waited for what they were sure to be an impressive light show as Hadarak Fel's ships were destroyed. However, it was not to be. Strangely, Fel's two ships were largely ignored by the Tau, leading the Explorers to suspect that their new nemesis might be in league with the xenos.

From the relative safety of the far reaches of the system, the crew did some deep scans and discovered that five remaining small ships were hiding out at the edge of the system as well. These last few surviving vessels were in a defensive formation, protecting just two ships that were Warp drive incapable.

After some negotiation, it was decided that one of the disabled ships was to be evacuated while the other stayed behind. Essentially, that final ship refused to evacuate. What followed next was an interest moral dilemma. Should the Ferral Wolf attempt to recover the evacuated ship while it remained unmanned? The rescued crew was coming aboard with the expectation of being able to get their abandoned ship back. But in the wilds of space, where no law exists in any event - could the Holocene dynasty claim that ship as their own? Could the dynasty coerce the rescued crew to join the dynasty? And even if they could do these things - would it be right?

Another Battle?
But before such moral quandaries could be explored, the crew discovered something alarming. The ship's Navigator was able to detect a small fleet awaiting them in the Warp itself, just outside of Wake.

After delivering a warning to the governess at Wake, the Ferral Wolf dropped out of Warp, soon followed after by 10 ships from the Null Fleet. A climactic space battle then erupted, with Wake's planetary defenses, the Ferral Wolf, the Nihontu, and their rescued vessels battling with the 10 chaos ships. Then, with a rousing speech, the Rogue Trader rallied the numerous unaligned vessels in the Wake system to their side. With the combined efforts of all of these forces, the chaos vessels were sent running. Four of the ten invading ships were destroyed.

And with that, the Explorers won an historic victory against the Null Fleet.


  1. Man, your games sound so awesome. My group is only at session #4 of our RT campaign, hoping it is going to get epic.

  2. Wow, lots of space combat! Thanks, everyone, for your suggestions last time, but I'm still trying to make the system run a little more smoothly for me. I'm sure it's just my mental capacity for remembering rules, but I find the experience just doesn't flow as well as I would like it, for both space combat and regular combat.
    So, WfG, did you use a battle mat and the BFG-lite rules as presented in the RT book for these encounters? So far I've been improvising with one set of BFG frigates but no battle mat. Needless to say, something is lost in the process. I want it to be crunchy but cinematic at the same time. I can't seem to get that Age of Sail/Submarine warfare feel that I think the game should have during space engagements. Any further suggestions would be most welcome! As for the person-to-person combat, I've picked up a copy of Space Hulk for the tiles (it's expensive to get that lovely Dwarven Forge stuff shipped over here) and I'd love to get some nice Hotz Artworks mats to go with it for the space stuff.

  3. Tallforadwarf - thanks man! Appreciate the compliments.

  4. Jon, I have a post scheduled to drop on Saturday that explains a bit more how I do space combat. However, since you've brought this up, I might do a post -specifically- on space combat in RT and how I do it. We pretty much do it by the book, really. But perhaps a step-by-step might be helpful.

    I will say that a battlemat is pretty much necessary for our space combats, because we are using the rules presented in the main book. If I wanted to do combat without a battlemat, I don't think I would use those rules at all.

    The reason a battmat is so key is because what makes the space combat dynamic is that all of the ships (just like in BFG) are constantly moving. In normal miniature combat, a figure can stop on a dime. No big deal. But in RT ship combat, the craft all have to move forwards somewhat. Sure, a PC Void Master can make the party's ship stop on a dime. But all of the opposing forces aren't usually as good. So you have ships sailing past each other, trading broadsides, that kind of thing. And then, you have ships whose weapons will get damaged or destroyed, so they have to pivot to get their working weapons to bear, etc.

    When we play, it very much feels like to me, an Age of Sail/Submarine combat. It's very tense. And just -one- critical roll on your ship can pretty much doom you. Any RT ship is just a single crit roll away from complete disaster.

  5. One of the really interesting things about RT is the ability to be morally ambiguous. WfG mentioned this, but the players spent between 30 minutes and an hour discussing whether it was right to claim the other ship. There really is no law, no Imperial authority to come crashing down on you for acting a certain way. You just have to deal with the consequences. Playing the Rogue Trader, I found the character to really be torn between doing the right thing and doing the profitable thing, and had the group felt differently, we might very well have ended up with another ship in our fleet. It's just really amazing to play a game that allows you to be so free, without even the strictures of society or civilization.


  6. Just wondering, how did you explain the Tau being in the Koronus Expanse? If memory serves me correctly, the Tau are on the far side of Segmentum Ultima, and the Koronus Expanse is in the Halo Stars on the far end of Segmentum Obscurus. On top of that, the Tau method of travel only "skims" the Warp, so their empire is very clustered together and expands outwards slowly in a distinct "shell", unlike the Imperium which is at the mercy of the fickle nature of the Warp when it comes to surveying new worlds.

    I'm not saying the Tau shouldn't be used in Rogue Trader games, but for the Koronus Expanse,
    I don't think they fit the background without some sort of good explanation for how they wound up there.

  7. Wonderful question! I will answer it in a few posts. Stay tuned!

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