Rogue Trader Campaign Log – Session 1 : A Mission of Mercy

Arriving on the Imperial port of Wander, last bastion of firm Imperial control before entering the wild frontier of the Koronus Expanse, the Lord Captain of the Lunatic Pandora immediately began searching for a way to make a profit; seeking to leave his past and the rumours about his family behind, Fortunus Black immediately sort out the local administratum station within the port. After showing his credentials to the local administratum scriptorum the Lord Captain was notified that the agri-world of Catan II required additional machinery (armoured quads) to herd their Grox; due to the depredations of raiders they were sorely depleted and their next official equipment dropoff by the Imperial Navy transports was not for several weeks.
Meanwhile the hunched deformed, pasty skinned hulk of a navigator York Benetec visits the Tower of the Emperors Contemplation, a huge observation tower with the exterior resembling a golden statue of the Emperor his hand reaching out towards the expanse, signifying the will of the God-Emperor spurring his subjects to explore the vast frontiers in his name.
The lower levels of the tower were studded with ornate statutery praising the Emperor, it became increasingly minimalist and bare as the navigator climbed the spiralling staircase, reaching a prestine observation dome where he met the tall, pale, skeletal figure of another member of House Benetec named Siegfried who warned him about disturbances in the Immaterium.
A short time later, setting out for the Catan II system York Benetec, the navigator of the vessel was able to safely steer the Lunatic Pandora through the shifting, deadly tides of the warp and bring them out near their destination a mere few days later; however, they had barely been in the system a few hours when long range sensors bought news of three ramshackle Xenos vessels bombarding the surface of the planet.
Attempting to sneak up to the xenos vessels using silent running the Lunatic Pandora was spotted by alien sensors and was forced to engage in a brutal shortrange firefight with them, eventually triumphing (although sustaining heavy damage and crew losses) thanks to some daring shooting and almost insane boarding actions lead by Lord Captain Black. During the attack, the aliens attempt to broadcast a powerful vox signal and override the Lunatic Pandora’s comms system – only quick thinking and action by Enginseer Prime Pak enables them to lock the intruding signal out of the ships vox system and prevent further harm.
As the final xenos vessel is disabled and begins to drift, Lord Captain Black takes a contingent of marines to board the vessel in an attempt to discover the xenos motives for the attack.

The Original Idea

At the start of 2012 I decided, after having taken a break from running any RPG games following a two year stint as the Head ST of a live-action Hunter: the Reckoning game that the time was right to get back to running a tabletop game, probably something on a monthly basis since finding time to prepare and run a session isn’t quite as easy as it used to be; so I rang up a few of my friends who I hadn’t role-played with for some time and asked them whether or not they’d be interested.

The original idea, oddly enough, was to run a World of Darkness Vampire: the Requiem game set in New Orleans and we started off running that, however, after a couple of months I started to struggle to come up with ideas for the game; whether it was writers block or just a slight burnout on the World of Darkness left over from running my Minds Eye Theatre game I don’t know, but rather than attempt to struggle on month after month I sat down with the players, laid out my problem and suggested that we switch to a different genre of game in order to give us a bit of a break from the modern day horror style games that we’d all played so much of in the past. Looking through my collection of RPGs I decided that it might be nice to attempt some kind of dark futuristic setting, and having always been a fan of the background of Warhammer 40,000 (if not the current ludicrously priced iteration of the actual wargame) I decided to go for once of the 40K RPG lines from Fantasy Flight games.
After speaking to the players we decided on the Rogue Trader game, the piratical game of spaceship trade and noble houses amongst the Imperium of the 41st millenia appealed to the player and myself. Characters were reasonably quick to generate although a goodly amount of book flipping was involved, the delay lengthened slightly by the fact that the rulebooks were so expensive and so we didn’t have one copy per person.
Eventually we had our party though:

  • Lord Captain Fortunus Black: Young member of an ill-omened Rogue Trade dynasty called the House of Black, despite several run-ins with the Inquistion the family (ruled from the shadows by the aged and secretive Macharius Black) had managed to avoid the revoking of it’s Trade Warrant.
  • Navigator York Benetec: The twisted, hulking form of the jaded navigator guided Lord Captain Black’s ship the Lunatic Pandora through the shifting tides of the Immaterium.
  • Chief Confessor Cornelius: Zealous member of the Ecclesiarchy ministering to the bodies and souls of the Lunatic Pandora’s crew and bringing the zealous fires of purification to the alien and the heretic.
  • Enginseer Prime Pak: Once a lowly hive ganger on a polluted industrial world, through his technical ability and the patronage of the Adeptus Mechanicus, Pak had raised his lot in life and become a devoted follower of the Omnissiah.
If the character generation had been fairly quick, the ship generation to create the Lunatic Pandora took far longer and bogged down a good part of the generation session, this was partly because my players couldn’t decide what sort of stuff they wanted on their ship and partly because the rules weren’t very clear regarding the effects of certain shipboard components. Eventually however we got everything sorted and we ready to start gaming.