Rogue Trader Campaign Log – Session 18: RULES BREAKDOWN

I’ve been asked a couple of times to give more details about the actually rules, etc used during the sessions, but since I didn’t want to break up the narrative I thought that i’d separate this stuff out into it’s own post, let me know what you think.
The original post can be found here.

With the second wave of enemy ships approaching Lord Admiral Black looked around at the ragged remnant of his fleet and took stock of the force that he has to take on the encroaching heretics, his flagship, the Venerus, was largely untouched (aside from some minor cosmetic damage), the Lunatic Pandorawas functional but had sustained heavy damaged and the Rod Hant was currently fighting off boarders from the first wave of the enemy, and they had only a couple of days before the mainstay of Lorgar Khan’s fleet arrived.

Each of the ships used in this combat had a series of stress boxes worth 1 stress and no consequences; medium ships has three such boxes, with larger ships having four and extremely large ships having five. The ships broke down as follows:
Venerus (players flagship) [] [] [] []
Lunatic Pandora (players) [] [] []
Clan ships (including the Rod Hant + the enemy clan ships) [] [] []
Dark Omen (traitor space marine battle barge) [] [] [] [] []
The Venerus has been established as having an elite crew previously in the game so received a +2 bonus to attack/defence rolls, the Rod Hant was severely damaged in the previous combat and so received a -2 to attack/defence rolls.
The Dark Omen is also crewed by elites and so received a +2 bonus to attack and defence rolls.

Over the course of the first day Admiral Black helped Captain Pak repel the boarders on the Rod Hant and eventually they succeeding in killing the last one, although a lengthy check for sabotage and explosives did means that they did not have time to fully repair the extensive damage that the Rod Hant had sustained in the previous combat. Realising that, in their present shape, they could not hope to challenge the mighty Battle Barge of the traitor AstartedLorgar Khan they concocted a desperate plan whereby they would use the ancient teleportarium aboard the Venerus to teleport a fire-linked collection of krak missiles and other explosives into the engine room of the enemy vessel.

The players were offered the choice of thoroughly ensuring that the Rod Hant was free of sabotage, but in return not having time to repair it (and taking a -2 penalty in the fight) or repairing it but potentially having some saboteurs or explosives on board (that may have been used for compels later); knowing that the fight was going to be a close one they chose the former option.

As they readied themselves for combat on the second day, Admiral Black sat on the bridge watching the approaching fleet, his wife at his side and placed his head in his hands; suddenly he was no longer on the bridge of the Venerus but was standing in the royal chambers on his homeworld of Telec Prime, groups of panicked medical technicians were running down a corridor towards a room that he recognised as belong to his father Macharius Black, almost without thinking the Admiral followed them. In the room Macharius, looking sickly, his eyes yellowed and his face (which bore a striking resemblance to that of the Admiral) pale, he was railing against the med-techs who appeared to be informing him that his treatments were no longer proving effective; shouting that there was none to take his place leading the family if he died, Macharius ordered them to send for his sons, there must be other technology out there that could preserve his life. 

One of the established character Aspects of Lord Admiral Fortunus Black is that he suffers from blackouts; the player was offered a fate point to reveal some of the plot using this Aspect and accepted leading to the above scene unfolding.

A voice called out to Admiral Black and he jerked awake in the command chair, his wife Lady Dominique Decusis-Black was shaking his arm and looking at him in a concerned manner, but he waved away her concerns saying that he was fine. Captain Pak had finished adapting one of the damaged murder servitors from the Lunatic Pandora and had wired it into the trigger mechanism of the bomb that they had constructed, as the first enemy ships entered range and began to open fire with macro-batteries Pak began to have the teleportarium chamber prepped for dispatch; Navigator York Benetec had been psychically scanning the area and relayed the coordinates for the likely location of the engine room about the enemy battle barge. 

The Venerus was discovered and salvaged in-game with an archeotech teleportarium aboard it, this has been modelled in Fate using a Stunt that once per game session allows them to teleport a small party (or the equivalent mass) from anywhere within the same system to the Venerus or from the Venerus to anywhere in the system (that they have the coordinates to). In desperation the players decided to use it to transport a large amount of explosives aboard the approaching battle barge, their tech (Captain Pak) was required to make some risky rolls to connect them all up without explosive results, but he easily passed them.

As his mind probed the area of space around them, Benetec felt another presence and, sensing that it was not hostile, allowed it to make contact with him; Benetec found himself on a prosperous world of fluted silver towers and happy people, the hazy psychic projection of the chaos sorceror Kantor Pilusfloating next to him. Pilus showed Benetec how his homeworld had been devastated by the Astartes after their leader had attempted to use forbidden sorcery to warn the Emperor of treachery from within, “although we were right, this was our reward” mocked the sorceror with a touch of sadness in his voice. Pilus attempted to persuade Benetec that if they just handing the ancient recording device to Lorgar that much bloodshed could be avoided, Benetec refused and broke off the psychic connection. 

York Benetec’s player was offered a fate point to reveal some of the plot (in a manner similar to the blackout earlier) and accepted; this scene was RP entirely sans-dice and was more about the choices that the player would make.

The space around Strive filled with escape pods and short range craft as the survivors of ruined ships on both sides sort to make their way planet side; the remaining enemy clan ship attempted to flee, laying mines to cover it’s tracks but it was destroyed by the Venerus, York Benetec was able to use his psychic powers to direct the ships mine defence lasers to target and take out the remaining mines. Meanwhile the Rod Hant had picked up a signal coming from an escaped enemy shuttle that was recognisably Adpetus Mechanicus in origin, moving to intercept, Captain Pak discovered onboard the rogue tech Vorl whom they had previously (on the insistence of the Vitanteur Syndicate) ferried to Footfall from Hiveworld Decusis; Vorl claimed to have been captured on an enemy raid and to have pretended to defect, in his gratitude at having been rescued he revealed Lorgar intended to use the ancient recording device to locate something in the system that would allow some sort of “rebirth.”

The actual combat was played out identically to a normal combat (using attack/defence rolls) with the two elite crewed ships going first and the rest following in no particular order (I generally went player ships first and then enemy ships), each point of stress taken ticked off one of the ships stress boxes. Players were allowed to spend their fate points to re-roll/boost their rolls for ships that their characters were on, as long as they had an appropriate Aspect; this mainly came into play with Admiral Black since his Aspects are mostly based around being a ship’s Captain and they pretty much allowed the Venerus to come through the combat unscathed.
Due to the speed of the vessels involved and the distances under consideration I did not use zones in this combat simply alerting the players when the enemy ships were entering range; the Venerus had moved to the other side of the moon to conceal itself, I had Admiral Black make a command roll against the command roll of Lorgar Khan, the players won and thus were not spotted until too late.
A fate point was offered for an additional complication and, when accepted, this lead to the pickup of the Adeptus Mechanicus signal from the rogue-tech Vorl and some additional information about Lorgar Khan’s goals being revealed. 

Relaying this information to Admiral Black, Captain Pak headed down to planet in a landing craft and began broadcasting a signal to draw any survivors from the Lunatic Pandora to them, as they began to arrive in dribs and drabs he was happy to see that Captain Polaris had survived (apparently after a crew member had knocked him out and put him in an escape pod); however the surface of the planet was rapidly coming a war zone as the survivors from both sides began to battle through the streets.

 Because it didn’t seem very interesting to just rule that everyone was dead (and as a lead in to the next session) I rules that a lot of people would have made it to escape vessels and would be heading for the nearby moon of Strive (where the player characters spent much of the previous session).
This nicely sets up a battlezone style scenario for the next game and allows for a more satisfying confrontation with the enemy other than just blowing up his ship (whilst still rewarding the players for their inventiveness with the teleportarium, since they have deprived Lorgar Khan of much of his mobility).

Rogue Trader Campaign Log – Session 18: Death in the Black

With the second wave of enemy ships approaching Lord Admiral Black looked around at the ragged remnant of his fleet and took stock of the force that he has to take on the encroaching heretics, his flagship, the Venerus, was largely untouched (aside from some minor cosmetic damage), the Lunatic Pandora was functional but had sustained heavy damaged and the Rod Hant was currently fighting off boarders from the first wave of the enemy, and they had only a couple of days before the mainstay of Lorgar Khan’s fleet arrived.
Over the course of the first day Admiral Black helped Captain Pak repel the boarders on the Rod Hant and eventually they succeeding in killing the last one, although a lengthy check for sabotage and explosives did means that they did not have time to fully repair the extensive damage that the Rod Hant had sustained in the previous combat. Realising that, in their present shape, they could not hope to challenge the mighty Battle Barge of the traitor Astarted Lorgar Khan they concocted a desperate plan whereby they would use the ancient teleportarium aboard the Venerus to teleport a fire-linked collection of krak missiles and other explosives into the engine room of the enemy vessel.
As they readied themselves for combat on the second day, Admiral Black sat on the bridge watching the approaching fleet, his wife at his side and placed his head in his hands; suddenly he was no longer on the bridge of the Venerus but was standing in the royal chambers on his homeworld of Telec Prime, groups of panicked medical technicians were running down a corridor towards a room that he recognised as belong to his father Macharius Black, almost without thinking the Admiral followed them. In the room Macharius, looking sickly, his eyes yellowed and his face (which bore a striking resemblance to that of the Admiral) pale, he was railing against the med-techs who appeared to be informing him that his treatments were no longer proving effective; shouting that there was none to take his place leading the family if he died, Macharius ordered them to send for his sons, there must be other technology out there that could preserve his life.
A voice called out to Admiral Black and he jerked awake in the command chair, his wife Lady Dominique Decusis-Black was shaking his arm and looking at him in a concerned manner, but he waved away her concerns saying that he was fine. Captain Pak had finished adapting one of the damaged murder servitors from the Lunatic Pandora and had wired it into the trigger mechanism of the bomb that they had constructed, as the first enemy ships entered range and began to open fire with macro-batteries Pak began to have the teleportarium chamber prepped for dispatch; Navigator York Benetec had been psychically scanning the area and relayed the coordinates for the likely location of the engine room about the enemy battle barge.
As his mind probed the area of space around them, Benetec felt another presence and, sensing that it was not hostile, allowed it to make contact with him; Benetec found himself on a prosperous world of fluted silver towers and happy people, the hazy psychic projection of the chaos sorceror Kantor Pilus floating next to him. Pilus showed Benetec how his homeworld had been devastated by the Astartes after their leader had attempted to use forbidden sorcery to warn the Emperor of treachery from within, “although we were right, this was our reward” mocked the sorceror with a touch of sadness in his voice. Pilus attempted to persuade Benetec that if they just handing the ancient recording device to Lorgar that much bloodshed could be avoided, Benetec refused and broke off the psychic connection.
Combat was erupting in the space around the moon of Strive, there was a series of explosions as the Lunatic Pandora buckled and then was torn apart amidst a hail of projectiles and lance fire; the teleportarium hummed aboard the Venerus and, as the large bomb disappeared, it looked for a moment as though the plan might not succeed and then a huge blast torn apart the rear section of the encroaching battle barge the explosion engulfing one of the other four clan ships that accompanied it. Macro-batteries from the Venerus made short work of two more but both it and the Rod Hant has taken serious damage.
The space around Strive filled with escape pods and short range craft as the survivors of ruined ships on both sides sort to make their way planet side; the remaining enemy clan ship attempted to flee, laying mines to cover it’s tracks but it was destroyed by the Venerus, York Benetec was able to use his psychic powers to direct the ships mine defence lasers to target and take out the remaining mines. Meanwhile the Rod Hant had picked up a signal coming from an escaped enemy shuttle that was recognisably Adpetus Mechanicus in origin, moving to intercept, Captain Pak discovered onboard the rogue tech Vorl whom they had previously (on the insistence of the Vitanteur Syndicate) ferried to Footfall from Hiveworld Decusis; Vorl claimed to have been captured on an enemy raid and to have pretended to defect, in his gratitude at having been rescued he revealed Lorgar intended to use the ancient recording device to locate something in the system that would allow some sort of “rebirth.”
Relaying this information to Admiral Black, Captain Pak headed down to planet in a landing craft and began broadcasting a signal to draw any survivors from the Lunatic Pandora to them, as they began to arrive in dribs and drabs he was happy to see that Captain Polaris had survived (apparently after a crew member had knocked him out and put him in an escape pod); however the surface of the planet was rapidly coming a war zone as the survivors from both sides began to battle through the streets.

Rogue Trader Campaign Log – Session 17: Changer of Ways

One moment York Benetec is standing in the crater when suddenly he is standing on a ship (that seems to be of Imperial manufacture) talking to a cruel, pale figure that he recognises from a previous psychic conversation as Lorgar; Lorgar tells him that he best not fail him and that they need to locate the holo-record, the information it holds could allow them to build anew. 
“You had best not fail me Kantor” – Lorgar Khan, Word Bearers Chaos Space Marine legion
In a voice not his own Benetec responds telling Lorgar that he won’t fail; looking down at his body York sees that he is clad in deep blue power armour with burnished golden trim, behind him stand five similarly armoured figures, motionless like automatons with no glimmers of a soul lurking behind the blak abyss of their helmet visors.
The vision changes and now he is in a fighter craft, looking out of the window he sees the guncutter piloted by by Jurgen shoot his fighter, pausing briefly to murder the all to human pilot by punching a fist through his chest York/Kantor jumps out of the falling fighter, mouthing strange words of power he conjures a mystical force field that protects him from most of force of hitting the ground. As the ground rushes towards him, York snaps back into his own body at the moment of impact.
“Besch├╝tze mich vor meinen Feinden Tzeentch” – Sorceror Kantor Pilus of the Thousand Sons Legion
As York Benetec recovers his senses Admiral Black begins running up the crater with his power sword drawn; there is a sudden gout of blue/pink fire and the twisted body of Jurgen is thrown through the air over their heads and disappears down into the crater; Captain Pak grabs a piece of sheet metal to use as a temporary shield and begins following. A burnt circle of smouldering trees surrounding the armoured figure attests to the fires that the sorceror unleashed on Jurgen.
Admiral Black lurks around using the smoke of the burnt trees as cover, he sees the sorceror conjure a small flcikering flame in his palm and stare into it; he talks to someone, confirming his survival and asking for an extraction. Baldur ask Admiral Black to help save his people if anything happens to him, he produces the holo-record guarded by his people and gives it to Admiral Black before him and his men scream and charge, throwing their spears at the armoured figure now standing in a circle of charred trees. The spears ping off the armour of the chaos space marine who seems to regard them as little more than annoyance as York Benetec begins laying down covering fire.
Chanting the sorceror causes fire to rain down from the sky scorching Admiral Black, Benetec tries to use his psychic powers to shield himself but the fire penetrates it, burning him with warp tainted flames; he continues to lay down covering fire as Baldur’s men rush the sorceror, forcing him onto the ground, stabbing at him with primitive weapons. A gout of flame blasts Baldur off the sorceror, throwing his spasming body to the ground whilst the sorceror throws off the warriors and begins rising to his feet.
Admiral Black blasts away at the mighty figure with his plasma pistol, the weapon growing hot in his hands as he fires; Benetec senses the sorceror attempting to teleport himself and take Admiral Black with him, although unable to prevent the sorceror escaping York Benetec is able to use his psychic powers to stop the heretic taking Admiral Black with him. With a blinding flash of blue/pink light the sorceror vanishes.
Captain Pak examines York Baldur, the tribal chief is severely injured and unconscious with a huge hole scorched in his chest and his right arm ruined, Pak says that bionics might save the chief but that he needs the facilities onboard ship. York Benetec senses a warp disturbance as numerous vessels enter the system.
“I think the sorceror’s extraction has arrived.” – Navigator York Benetec
Admiral Black suddenly remembers Jurgen and runs back into the crater, finding the twisted, unconscious body of Jurgen lying in a stunted tree growing from the side of the crate; with the help of Captain Pak he gets Jurgen down but the pilot is unconscious. Benetec sends a psychic signal out into space requesting help and a few moments later the comm-link crackles, it’s Polaris, the Lunatic Pandor has entered the system and has picked up Admiral Black’s signal, they are coming to extract him.
Admiral Black tells them to send guncutters to pick them up in the village, directing Baldur’s men through gestures they take the two unconscious men back to town with Captain Pak doing his best to keep them stable; York Benetec tells Admiral Black that the chaos space marines are seeking the Drodd clan’s holo-record for some unholy purpose. Black suggests that Captain Pak take rulership of Clan Drodd whilst Baldur is incapacitated, Captain Pak says that he should be able to effect bionic replacements for Baldur’s damaged flesh once they get access to the facilities on one of their ships. Benetec suggests that instead they don’t tell the tribe that Baldur is injured, saying that he is taking the fight into the skies; Admiral Black agrees.
They meet with the priest Deacon Kiril, Kiril agrees to take their message to the Drodd tribe, but says that without word from Baldur they may not believe him. Coming under heavy fighter fire the Lunatic Pandora’s fighters are pursued by small enemy craft into the atmosphere, despite the enemy destroying one of their guncutters a couple of them are able to land. Captain Pak and the guncutter techs hook their Rhino APC up to the guncutter, they dive inside it and are buffetted around as the guncutter takes off, jinking to avoid enemy fire as they burst through the atmosphere and dock with the Lunatic Pandora (itself under heavy fire) from hostile clan ships in high orbit around the moon Strive.
Polaris greets them on the ship, he says that they warped into the system recently, having only repelled the boarders at great cost and only due to the murder servitors on board (although many were damaged or destroyed), they weren’t expecting to jump into a fire fight quite so soon and are ill-prepared. Benetec receives primitive astropathic communication, he suspects from Sjomann Amelie Klok, that shows her face, a golden eye and the sun of the Endeavour System, however he doesn’t know what it means; Polaris and Admiral Black move to the bridge of the Lunatic Pandora.
Sensors pick up two enemy clan-ships inbound, Admiral Black recommends moving between the planet and moon both in an attempt to shield themselves and to locate the Clan Drodd ships they believe to be concealed there; the med-techs are able to wake Baldur temporarily, long enough for him to order his ships to assist the Lunatic Pandora before he passes out again.
York Benetec goes to the navigator chamber where he finds Passacaglia Belisarius, looking extremely strained and worn out from continually broadcasting psychic static to make enemy ships unable to locate them; he requests that he be allowed to use the equipment in the chamber, greatful for a respite Belisarius staggers from the chair and allows York Benetec to take control. Benetec uses his psychic senses to perceive the surrounding areas and picks up on three incoming hostile clan ships.
Admiral Black orders fighters deployed and, although the small vessels are able to damage one of the enemy ships, they are quickly destroyed by the firepower of the larger ships, Polaris orders his ships to engage. As salvoes of macro-battery fire flash across the black voice one of their ships is destroyed, whilst the Lunatic Pandora and another of the clan-ships are damaged, with one escaping unharmed.
Captain Pak begins working on replacing the damaged lung of Baldur and his right arm with more efficient technological alternative; a comm-link sounds and they are relieved to hear that the Venerus has arrived, Lady Decusis-York Black is pleased to hear that Fortunus is well, but informs him that there are more enemy ships incoming. Admiral Black and York Benetec relocate to the Venerus (taking Baldur and Jurgen with them), Captain Pak heads aboard the Rod Hant ready to command his warriors in battle.
A fierce space battle erupts as three enemy clan-ships arrive, behind them floats a strange asteroid like ship with numerous silver towers rising from it, oink and blue fire crackles from the towers striking their vessels.
“It has been a pleasure serving with you York Benetec” – Admiral Fortunus Black, Rogue Trader
During the combat, the Lunatic Pandora is crippled and forced to withdraw, another Drodd clan-ship is destroyed along with the Solv Tann, whilst the Rod Hant is boarded although it continues fighting. Enraged by his ship’s inability to influence the fighting Admiral Black has the Venerus pour all of it’s firepower into the tower and the remaining enemy clan-ship destroying both in a conflaguration of plasma, although a small craft is detected fleeing the tower ship.
Benetec informs them that more enemy ships are approaching from the centre of the system but that it will take them a day or two to reach their position, things look grim as the various Captain’s begin consider their options, aware that the battle fortress of Lorgar Khan speeds towards them like onrushing death.