Rogue Trader Campaign Log – Session 7 : The Belly of the Beast

Thinking back to a more trouble free time, Enginseer Pak remembered a time when he ran with the gangs of his hiveworld home, bodging together tech for the local gangs ensured that he was largely left to his own devices. One day a local gang leader bought him a strange metal device that was like no human technology Pak had ever seen; as the ganger was explaining that his boys had jacked it from a supply train belonging to the notorious Vitanteur crime syndicate Pak’s home was surrounded by an Adeptus Arbites squad lead by the ruthless Proctor Erdman and shooting broke out.

During the gunfight, the strange piece of xenos tech was hit by stray las fire and began to pulse with a steadily brightening green light; a previously unseen figure in red techpriest robes who had been accompanying Proctor Erdman rushed to minister to the device. Rha-haz the techpriest called out for help stabilising the device in his strangely modulated voice and Pak dashed to his aid, between the two of them they were able to power down the xenos tech. With the crisis over the Arbiters began rounding up the gangers, but when it came to Pak the techpriest overruled Proctor Erdman, saying that the young man had some talent and might do well in the Adeptus Mechanicus.

Back in present day…

Navigator York Benetec landed on the planet (having shuttled down with the additional forces requested by Lord Captain Black) and quickly joined the others on their expedition into the underside. Arriving in a small settlement where they had arranged to meet Tomas Vitanteur to discuss purchase of armour they witnessed a group of thugs intent on beating a small blind girl; focussing the power of the warp Benetec unveiled his lidless gaze and struck down most of the thugs leaving their leader barely alive and swiftly dealt with.

Travelling to the tavern with whispers of “mutant” and “witchery” drifting after them following Benetecs display of power, they took the young girl with then; Pak was pleased to discover that the young Dana was cousin to Criute, the chef that he had got on so well with. Chief Confessor Cornelius noted with curiosity how some of the native, feral wildlife seemed to be very protective of Dana. Meanwhile the meeting with Tomas Vitanteur went ahead and Pak held his breath, would they recognise one of the men involved in the loss of syndicate xenos tech? Luckily the many cybernetic augments that Pak had undergone since joining the Mechanicus seemed to have sufficiently disguised his appearance and Lord Captain Black was able to purchase his armour in return for agreeing to smuggle Vorl a rogue heretek and his survivor offworld.

An alarm caused the group to rush outside where a tide of mutants from the hive sump were charging the settlement; Confessor Cornelius waded into the onrushing tide with only his faith in the Emperor and a Thunder Hammer to protect himself, however Benetec realised that the.mutants weren’t attacking but were fleeing something else.

The swirling dust clouds parted for a second to reveal a horde of shambling silhouettes with evil, glowing green eyes.

Rogue Trader Campaign Log – Session 6 : Hive World Scelus

Having secured a new navigator but still needing crew for his new vessel Lord Captain Black sets his sites on the industrial Hive World of Scelus, a world that processes and packaged nutritional supplements made from the Grox meat of the neighbouring Catan star system; Confessor Cornelius recalls that the system is ruled by the Imperial Noble House Decusis who have a reputation for decadence and an odd tradition of the nobility shaving their heads after the founder of their line was granted rulership of the planet and took monastic vows.

Arriving in orbit a small team takes a gunboat shuttle and follows landing coordinates from the Hive City control station where they are directed to land on a small private docking bay jutting from the shining pristine walls of the Hive Spire, rising many miles above the toxic smog of the planets surface. Lord Captain Black and his party are met by a slimey man known as Dorath Farah, who has been assigned by Lord Corith Decusis to be an envoy to the party and to ensure that their needs are met (also to keep an eye on them Lord Black suspects). Dorath tells them the stroy of how the founder of House Decusis boarded a space hulk with six men, set the fusion reactors to blow (saving the planet) and, by an act of divine providence, managed to get back to the planets surface by means of the only escape pod. Considering himself to be saved by the Emperor’s Grace the founder of House Decusis shaved his head and took monastic vows, every since then it has been the tradition of House Decusis (and those who seek to emulate them) to completely shave their heads.
The group are shown to a large mansion high in the hive spire which is to be their home whilst they remain on the hive world; Dorath tells them that he will arrange a meeting between them and Lord Decusis as soon as he is able to. Whilst the group orders a number of drinks (wine for Lord Captain Black, a 200 year old whiskey for Confessor Cornelius and a passable simulation of hive city grog for Enginseer Prime Pak) the Enginseer interfaces with the local city newsfeed and is surprised to find that portions of the local news updates appear to have been deliberately excised (and would surely have gone unnoticed were it not for his own technical expertise). They attempt to question Dorath about this and, whilst initially he claims ignorance, he eventually admits that there has been some small trouble in the underhive with local superstition running riot.
Meanwhile, in his search for some more honest answers, Enginseer Prime Pak is wondering the grounds and makes the acquaintance of one of the estate chefs, a bald, gruff man named Criute – the two instantly strike up an accord, having both raised themselve out of the murk of the hive bottom through their own talents and skills. Criute has been working in the hive spire for 10 years and has managed to get other members of his family (such as his second cousin Geron who works as a soux-chef in the kitchen) jobs in the Spire. During their talk, Criute pulls out a thick bottle of genuine underhiver grog that he cracks open with the Enginseer; he tells Pak that House Vitanteur are the real power behind the throne in the Hive and that they are a front for a pan-sector crime syndicate. Pak feels a chill as he hears the name, recognising the crime syndicate that has been hunting him ever since he joined the Adeptus Mechanicus.
Cornelius and Lord Captain Black have retired to their bed chambers where they find fully stocked wardrobes and are surprised to find exquisitely carved pleasure servitors, amalgams of flesh and intricately decorative precious metals, waiting to satisfy their every need whilst they remain guests of the ruling family. Instantly sober at the mere thought of such decadence, Cornelius makes a prayer for the Emperor’s mercy under his breath and dismisses the whirring servitor from his presence, secure that the Emperor keeps him free of such blasphemies of the flesh; Lord Captain Black is a little unnerved by the creature and leaves his chambers. Hearing about the servitors through their vox link, Pak sends his servo skull into his chambers and sees a similar creation waiting for him, realising that it could be used to spy on them he recalls his floating servo-skull to him.
The next morning Dorath visits the group to tell them that he has arranged a meeting with the rulers of House Decusis, Corith and his twin sister Dominique; Corith wishes them all the best and gives them free rein to recruit from the underhive although he says that he cannot spare any of his skilled hive city labour force, the noble is also concerned to hear about a potential desruption of the grox meat supply from Catan. During a lull in conversation the ruler of the system takes Lord Captain Black aside and presents a potentially intriguing offer to him before wishing the the party well and telling Dorath Farah to do his best to meet all their needs whilst they prepare to head to the underhive.

Rogue Trader Campaign Log – Session 5 : Monsters from the id

Realising his need to replenish his lost crew, and need for a second Navigator to help pilot one of the ships (since he plans on claiming the Venerus for his own), Lord Captain Black orders Navigator Benetec to take his ship back to the Imperial Station of Port Wander. As they travel through the warp strange incidents begin to occur throughout the ship, one of these being Maron, a low ranking crew member whose principal job is to clean out the murder servitor pens. Despite his low birth on hiveworld Fenk, Maron is a loyal follower of the Imperial credo and attends confession regularly; Cornelius listens to the mans tale of a dream in which he relives being sold, as a child to pay off debts, and his mother crying as he is lead away into a life of service aboard one void ship and another. Cornelius calms the man by relating to him that his mother’s tears are surely those of pride, that her son has grown to serve the Emperor beyond the stars, secretly however the Confessor wonders about the strange hush that has settled over the crew.

Meanwhile Lord Captain Black sleeps uneasy in his quarters, his rest troubled by strange visions of a metal skulled creature clad in the robes of an Adeptus Mechanicus techpriest. He awakes to find himself standing in the corridor outside his quarters. His senses returning, Captain Black is summoned (along with Confessor Cornelius) to the bridge, where they find the 1st Officer Commander Polaris standing over the charned body of one of the bridge technicians. Polaris relates how the man went berserk and began attacking the other crew which such ferocity that he was obliged to use his laspistol to put the rabid man down. Cornelius says a prayer to the Emperor for the man’s soul, during one of his later sermon the Chief Confessor feels as unseen and unclean presence circling his congregation although it cannot penetrate the aura of faith surrounding the chapel.
Meditating in his quarters, Navigator Benetec feels a strange presence attempting to possess his body; sensitive to the presence of the warp and its entities he opens his third eye and beholdsa fiery, emaciated figure, a demon of the warp – holding it steady within his formidable gaze, Benetec punches the vox transmittor and summons Chief Confessor Cornelius to his chamber. The faith of these two men drives the demonic entity from the ship, finally freeing the vessel of the strange influence that has plagued it.
Arriving at Port Wander the crew of the Lunatic Pandora find that the Feast of the Alignment is being celebrated and that the space station is full of navy personnel on shore-leave all keen to enjoy a much needed respite in the many tavernas on the port. Using his knowledge of Navigator Houses in the Expanse, Yorc Benetec is able to track down a navigator called Passacaglia Belisarius, a particularly humourless man whose pale skin shows a network of blue veins crossing his hairless head, providing a stark contrast against his deep azure robes. Meeting at the Blinking Eye tavern Captain Black employs Passacaglia to be the new Navigator on the Lunatic Pandora (sailing under Commander (now Captain) Polarius), since he plans to move his own command staff to the Venerus once it has been repaired and refitted.
Far across the sector on the Venerus, Enginseer Prime Pak is supervising the repairs to the Venerus when sensors detect a huge object leaving the surface of Caliban II – the large object resembles nothing so much as a gigantic pyramid and leaves the system rapidly; the Venerus still has most of its non-essential systems offline and the giant xenos vessel moves past seemingly without noticing it.

Rogue Trader Campaign Log – Session 4 : Into the Caliban System (Taint of the Xenos)

Ordering his men into position, forming a single line of auto and lasguns facing the huge, lowered blast door Chief Confessor Cornelius felt a bead of sweat drip down his face as the sounds of the creatures hammering on the door grew louder and louder; his faith in the Emperor remaining strong the Priest gritted his teeth and spoke calmly to his men “Hold steady men… hold… hold… fire!” At his signal the blast door hissed upwards revealing a hoard of misshapen and snarling mutations reaching out with grasping and gnarled claws; pinpoints of red light lanced out and autogun shells richocheted off the metal floors as salvo after salvo of fire was poured into the advancing mutations, reducing them to a red mist of twitching limbs and dancing corpses.
Meanwhile Captain Black leads his team of men on a tense crawl through the miles of maintenance and air ducts criss-crossing the ship; suddenly their is a scream from up ahead as only of his men Jones is grabbed by unseen hands and is pulled down the narrow corridor, his cried growing fainter as the unseen assailant drags the unfortunate into the distance. Following quickly the Captain’s team realises that Jones has been dragged by the mutations into the waste tanks of the ship, re-inforced tanks full of incredibly toxic and hazardous wastes; analysing some of the toxic effluence clinging to the ducts around it they quickly determine that Jones chance of survival is minimal. Speaking to Captain Black on the vox system, Enginseer Prime Pak is able, from his position at the controls, to isolate the sections of the ship containing the human life signs and vent the other areas into space, flushing the mutations out of the ship; a lifesign scan of the ship confirms that all signs of the mutations have been purged.
Confessor Cornelius makes his way to Captain Blacks positions, where he ministers to the chemical burns sustained by the Lord Captain and his crew whilst during their abortive attempt to retrieve Jones from the depths of the ships caustic waste tanks; a couple of the men are suffering from toxiemia and, whilst Cornelius is able to stabilise them, he tells the Captain that they need to be got back to the Lunatic Pandora quickly.
Whilst this is occurring, Enginseer Prime Pak and his team of junior tech-adepts have reached the fabled threshold of the legendary teleportarium, a piece of technology from the long lost past rumoured to be able to transport matter over great distances in the blink of an eye; a strange corruscating, flickering ball of red energy surges inside the glasscrete teleportarium chamber and a voice rings out chanting strange discordant pieces of dialogue
“…demons spawned of man’s iniquity and lust for power…
…protect the spirits of the crew…
…ghasts lurking in the lower levels…
…ordered by Itharius to transport them to another place when the time is right…
…mutations spawned by the failure of the Gellar fields…”
During his attempt to activate the ancient piece of technology, it malfunctions or some long forgotten subsystem is accidentally triggered causing the Enginseer to disappear in a flash of energy.
Rushing to the teleportarium chamber following the incident, Lord Captain Black orders the remaining tech-adepts to perform a system diagnostic and find out what has happened to his Enginseer; meanwhile Cornelius has been scanning the crew records and has discovered that the Venerus’ Chief Confessor was a redemptionist priest called Zane Cortex, listening to the strange phrases ringing out in the air he quickly reaches the conclusion that somehow the red energy is the remnants of Confessor Cortez who was lost attempting to use the teleportarium to transport as many crew as possible off ship. The tech-adepts have managed to work out that the teleportarium had sustained some damage when the Venerus’ crew overloaded it attempted to transport too many people, they have also managed to back-track it to the planet of Caliban VI where the believe Enginseer Prime Pak has been transported.
Moving back to the Lunatic Pandora, Lord Captain  Black orders the crew to prepare the ship for warpspace travel to Caliban VI; sensing the urgency in his Captain’s voice the Navigator York Benetec opens his third eye, staring into the Immaterium and commanding it to bend to his whim. Such is the Navigators power and the strange time warping effect of the warp that the Lunatic Pandor materialises with its ship cronometers showing that they have actually reached the planet of Caliban VI half an hour before the transport beam from the Venerus was due to hit the planets surface. As the Naviagator retires to his contemplation chambers, body wracked by the strain of his exertions, a team is assembled and loaded into a gunboat shuttle; exiting through one of the launch bays the team make their way towards the surface of the planet.
As they burst through the upper atmosphere a lush jungle canopy spreads out below them; they have no time to take in the scenery as a blast of strange energy jets from the surface of the planet, striking the gunboat and throwing it into a spinning dive. The pilot of the shuttle struggles with the controls as the consoles short out and explode infront of him, raking his body with fire and electrical charges, it is a testament to the elite skills of the Lunatic Pandora’s crew that he manages to land the shuttle, only then allowing himself the luxury of passing out from his injuries. Whilst Chief Confessor Cornelius ministers to the injured man, Lord Captain Black oversees the uncoupling of the (mercifully undamaged) Rhino APC from its underslung harness, beneath the shuttle; there instruments show a surge of energy nearby that corresponds to the signature of the teleportarium and so, with a growl of the Rhino’s power engines, they begin to plow through the jungle towards where they believe the signal to be originating.
As the Rhino rumbles into a clearing, the group are relieved to see Enginseer Prime Pak (apparently unharmed), however, they are more surprised to see a red cloaked figure wielding a flame-thrower standing next to him; Confessor Cornelius recognises the robes of a Redemptionist preacher and, using his knowledge of the secret tongue of the Ecclesiarchy, is able to calm the ranting priest. Over the next few minutes it emerges that the priest is none other than Zane Cortez who was the last person to attempt to use the teleportarium, but it malfunctionned, trapping him halfway between the planet and the ship; the passage of Enginseer Prime Pak seemed to have freed up the system block and resulted in Zane Cortez materialising at his original destination Caliban VI.
The group barely had time to take this in when one of their guardsmen was grabbed from above by a strangel predatory form of vinelike plant that dragged him screaming into the canopy; barely having time to think, Enginseer Prime Pak whipped out his pistol and fired into the canopy severing the strange vinelike limbs of the plant creature. Deciding to relocate rapidly the group piled back into the Rhino APC whilst Cortez and Cornelius cleared an area around it using their flame throwers, and began making their way towards higher group; eventually they arrived at a hill that was dotted with strange uprights, each bearing a gemstone of unknown composition, counting them, with mounting horror, they realised that there was one for every member of the Venerus crew that had escaped to the planet and that stood in the middle of some bizarre graveyard or memorial.
Setting up watch for the night, the group was thrown onto high alert when they awoke to discover that the two guardsmen who had been on the last watch had been killed, each with a small neat holed drilled through their heart, bearing the trademark cauterisation of lasgun wound. Determining not to be taken by surprise again, Lord Captain Black ordered the guardsmen to take the Rhino APC and clear the trees around the hill, denying their enemy the benefit of cover, this went well until the Rhino struck a particular tree that clanged with a resoundingly metal sound and refused to collapse before the overbearing weight of the APC. As Chief Confessor Cornelius began approaching the tree with his flame-thrower drawn, a single red dot from the treetops panned up his chest and paused where his heart was located.
Eventually a lithe figure wearing a strange covering that caused it’s outline to shimmer and ripple and that carried an odd, streamlined rifle of xeno manufacture emerged from the trees, its face (what they could see of it) appeared humanlike but more scupltured, beautiful and cruel; in halting Imperial tongue the alien explained that the previous humans had awoken an ancient sickness and that his people had caused the Sycorax warp storm to isolate the system. When the crew of the Venerus came to the planet the aliens had scanned them and realised that they had failed, since the Venerus’ crew were infected as well, to save them from a painful lingering death they had dispatched the crew cleanly and quickly, before burying them; when the gunboat had arrived on the planet the aliens had feared that another ship of infected people had arrived and shot it down – however, having scanned them, the aliens have realised that the crew of the Lunatic Pandora are not infected.
Communicating via long range vox with the Lunatic Pandora, Lord Captain Black has Navigator Benetec take the ship back to the Venerus and board the ship; he is then able to pilot the Venerus out of the system through the warp and use the teleportarium to transport himself back aboard the Lunatic Pandora in time to meet with Captain Black’s team who have returned from the planet. Enginseer Pak transfers to the Venerus planning to help with repairs on the teleportarium, whilst Redemptionist Zane Cortez also returns to the ship to help with re-educating the primitive descendants of those crew who were left behind during the original exodus to Caliban VI.

Rogue Trader Campaign Log – Session 3 : Into the Storm (Fate of the Venerus)

Prelude 806.M41

Planet Telec – Hive Primus (House of Black)
Ten years before the present day, five years before Fortunus Black would meet his cousin Polaris Black in a bar on the outlaw settlement of Footfall and offer him the first officer position on his ship…
Rising high above the toxic industrial clouds of the planet Telec, the gleaming spires of Hive Primus pierce the heavens and touch the void beyond the planet’s atmosphere; the noble House of Black, rules of House Primus have been celebrating the coming of Age of one of their youngest members, Fortunus with a week long display of wealth, celebration and debauchery. Heedless of the suffering of the lower classes engaged in back breaking labour in the darkness of the lower hives, sweating and toiling without ever seeing the sky or the sun above the toxic clouds created by the industrial manufacturing processes of the hive factories.
Still shocking by his father’s announcement that he was planning to retire from actively seeking the family’s fortunes, Fortunus is summoned to his father’s quarters and is escorted there by the House Black guards, carrying shock lances and clad in resplendent silver carapace armour; entering the chamber he beholds a mighty circular meeting table, emblazoned with the emblem of House Black – seating around it are several members of his family, some recognisable to him (his uncle Gillam Black sat silently nodding, his nervous tic causing his eye to flutter is seated next to him and, flanking his father, are his two cousins Tristan Black whose wide eyed visage and grey hair is rumoured to have been caused by warp exposure following a Gellar field failure and Darius Black whose eyes appear to move independently, taking in everyone in the room) and others that he has never met.
Fortunus’ father Macharius runs a hand through his grey hair and his yellowed eyes (a result of numerous quasi-legal longevity treatments) look out at his family members, “As you are aware, there are many of our enemies who envy our house and who would see us torn down; our youngest have always lit the way and have bought wealth and prosperity to our family, making us the undisputed rulers of this system.
I am no longer a young man, it is time for me to step aside and allow those younger than myself to step forward and make themselves known.” Fortunus nodded, his father was known to be 250 years old, although numerous chem treatments, artificial enhancements and xenos life extension treatments of questionable virtue (and legal status) mean that he appears to be in his 50s or 60s. Macharius continues to speak, sliding a data tablet across the table towards Fortunus, “If you sign your name on this document my son, then a request will be sent to the Adeptus Administratum adding your name officially to our Imperially granted Warrant of Trade; before you do this, know that, although it will grant you power and freedom undreamt of by lesser men, it also carries with it responsibilities and duties.”
Signing his name on the document, Fortunus slid it back across the table to his father saying simply “This is what I was born for father.”
Present Day – Into the Storm (Fate of the Venerus) 816.M41

Following their return from the Catan II sector the Lunatic Pandora sailing under Lord Captain Fortunus Black emerges from the warp on the outskirts of Port Wander and begins their final approach, thanks to the unfathomable skills of their Warp Guide York Benetec it seems as though virtually no time has passed for them since they entered warp space on the edge of the Catan star system. Still wary of the dangerous xeno tech that they have onboard (even though it appears to still be in a powered down/dormant state) their Enginseer contacts the local Adeptus Mechanicus on the station and, after explaining the situation to a functionary, they are ordered to remain at a distance from the station whilst the machine cult sends one of their people over in a shuttle craft to examine the technology.
Less than an hour later, a small shuttle exits the station and docks with the Lunatic Pandora, out of it emerges Magos Explorator Rha-haz, an imposing figure garbed in deep crimson, augmented with a large grapple arm mechandrite and flanked by four heavily armed servitors that move in lock step with him; Enginseer Prime Pak meets the Magos and leads him to Captain Black’s meeting chambers. Once esconced in there, the Captain explains how they came across the xenos technology, he also mentions that he has discovered a stable passage through the Sycorax warp storm to the lost Adeptus Mechanicus outpost in the Caliban system. Fortunus explains that he is planning to mount an expedition through the stable corridor to investigate what has become of the system and, in return for their help repairing his ship (and additional payment in equipment upgrades should they return) that he will turn over any recovered technology to the Adeptus Mechanicus, the Magos accepts, his voice echoing electronically around the chamber, face hidden by a voluminous red hood, save for some small tentacle like wires that emerge from the lip of the hood.
Magos Explorator Rha-haz makes arrangements for the Lunatic Pandora to dock in one of the Adeptus Mechanicus repair bays on Port Wander so that immediate attention can be given to the ship, he also has a number of mind linked servitor drones take the recovered xenos techonology to a safe distance from the port so that the contents can be examined remotely.
Whilst waiting for their ship to be repaired Lord Captain Fortunus Black meets with some of his contacts from House Ramirez, a merchant house who have had links with his family for centuries, he is able to strike a deal with Raz Ramirez and purchases three Calixis Pattern Fury Interceptors from the moustached merchant, who leaves after concluding the deal saying “We have always valued our lucrative ties with the House of Black, you will not be disappointed my young friend.” Enginseer Prime Pak has also used his own connections to secure three Gun Cutters and has arranged to have them shipped aboard, whilst York Benetec has been purchasing astronavigational charts and writings that he can use to improve his, already impressive skills at navigating through the Immaterium.
Unfortunately Fortunus’ appears to have deserted him as he fails to find any fresh crew to enlist and replace the casualties suffered during their battles with the Ork menace, no doubt this is partly due to the fact that word has got around about the mission he is planning to undertake, attempting to reach a system that the Adeptus Mechanicus, with all their vaunted technology and explorator fleets, had written off as lost; desperately needing additional crew, Captain Black approaches the local law enforcement on Port Wander and offers to take some of their more violent and scurvy criminals off their hands, press ganging them into service aboard his vessel, the Adeptus Arbites agree on condition that these crew be confined to the ship during it’s stay on Port Wander. Bringing the new crew aboard, vague murmurs of dissatisfaction circulate amongst the existing crew, who feel that their position as veteran, skilled crew is being tarnished by the introduction of murderers, thieves and thugs onto their vessel; Enginseer Prime Pak attempts to cow the crew into silence but is not successful, just when it looks like the situation might result in an attempt at mutiny, the ship’s chief Confessor, Cornelius steps forward and delivers a rousing speech, about how these criminals are being given a chance to return to the Emperor’s light by serving penance and that it is the duty of ever good Imperial citizen to help shepherd them in this attempt. He finishes with a promise that, should any of these people fall by the wayside, that he will deal with them in the same manner that the Ecclesiarchy deals with all those who have rejected the Emperor’s light; the crew seems pacified by the stirring words of the priest and a potential mutiny is avoided.
Unable to turn his crew loose on Port Wander due to Adeptus Arbite edict, the Captain waits until repairs have been completed on the Lunatic Pandora and then heads to the well known criminal outpost of Footfall, where he goes on a nostalgic drinking tour with his first mate and cousin Commander Polaris, the shore leave seems to do the crew some good and their morale is much improved by the time their ship disengages from the Footfall docks and gets underway to the Caliban system.
Emerging near the coruscating red and white energies of the Sycorax Warp Storm surrounding the Caliban System, the naigators use the flight trajectory and astral coordinates gained from the Ork vessel to locate the entrance to the stable warp corridor that pierces the storm; moving through it slowly they begin to map out the area ahead, their sensors being limited by the warp stuff surrounding the corridor, Navigator York Benetec assisted by Enginseer Prime Pak skillfully guides the vessel through the narrow corridor. Suddenly, ahead of them, their sensors pick up a garbled distress Imperial distress signal, although they are unable to make out many details due to warp distortion on the sensors, although Cornelius does hear snatches of a hymn in the background that he recognises as the Emperor’s Lament (an Ecclesiarchy officially sanctionned battle hymn). Moving slowly closer they are eventually able to identify the hulking shape of the Tyrant Class Cruiser Venerus stuck on the edge of the corridor, half in real space and the other half hanging in the warp storm surrounding the narrow stretch of normal space. Examing the sensor data coming in from the ship Enginseer Prime Pak is puzzled to see that the damage inflicted on the hull seems commesurate with that of a ship that has been derelict for hundreds of years, rather than the mere 50 or so that the Venerus has been missing for, with his knowledge of Imperial ships Chief Confessor Cornelius confirms his assessment, Navigator York Benetec warns about the warp’s potential for time distortion.
Keen to board the vessel, sensing the potential salvage rights, Captain Black realises that they may have to enter the ship via one of the sections exposed to space, however, he does not wish to risk exposing the crew unprotected to any ambient warp energies that they may encounter outside the protective Gellar fields of their own ship (especially considering that he does not know the state of the Venerus own shields; eventually he accepts a risky plan proposed by Navigator York Benetec where they plan to bring the Lunatic Pandora alongside the Venerus, coming in dangerously close and slightly overlapping the Gellar fields of the two ships, this would allow smaller vessels to pass between them with only a very small exposure to any ambient warp energies.
Lord Captain Fortunus Black, Enginseer Prime Pak and Chief Confessor Cornelius each take one of the recently acquired Calixis Pattern Fury Interceptors, each crewed by five junior tech adepts and an additional 25 soldiers from the Lunatic Pandora; Chief Confessor Cornelius is clad in his armour, girded by his faith, a thunder hammer strapped to his back and a flamer gripped in his hands, his eyes shine with righteousness as he contemplates the potential souls to be saved and begins leading his crew in stirring song, praising the Emperor and girding their souls against mankind’s fear of the void. As the three ships cross the narrowest point between the two fields a panicked transmission issues over the voxc systems from Enginseer Prime Pak’s ship to the others “We have a situation here.”
Low powered las-gun fire echoes around the crew compartment of the Interceptor as the soldier crew fire wildly at a flailing monstrosity that was once one of their crew before mutated by exposure to the stuff of the warp, features melting and forming into fang mouthed tentacles the creature lashes out killed two of the other crew even as concentrated lasgun fire and mighty thrusts from Pak’s power sword dispatch it, with a grimace of disgust the twisted body of the unfortunate is ejected from the airlock into the cold vaccuum of space. Circling the Venerus, it is established that there is no power to the docking bay and that it would have to be triggered manually; not wishing to send someone out in a vaccuum suit Enginseer Prime Pak loads his servo skull into the airlock and, commanding it mentally by the power of his will, sends it slowly across the void, using it to manipulate the manual controls and open the docking bay doors. After they have touched down, he used the skull to close the doors and repressurise the cabin before they all emerge from their craft.
Whilst Lord Captain Fortunus Black and Chief Confessor Cornelius prepare to explore the ship (all of them remaining in comms contact with Navigator York Benetec who has remained behind on the Lunatic Pandora) the Enginseer reroutes power to the instrument panels in the docking bay, using it to scan the ship, he picks up 800 life signs in total, 200 of them registering as human and the remaining as unclassified, the human life signs seem concentrated in the crew and mess quarters, whilst the majority of the unclassified readings come from the lower decks where the Gellar fields are at their weakest; he also discovers that the Bridge appears to have been sealed off and that, according to the date stamp recorded by the machine spirit of the Venerus, approximately 300 years have passed for those on board the vessel. The distorted echo of the Emperor’s Lament continues to play on loop, Chief Confessor Cornelius bows his head for a moment in contemplation or perhaps prayer and says solemnly “the Emperor is still with this ship… and with us all.”
Enginseer Prime Pak is at last able to isolate and play the full distress message:
This is Lord Captain Itharius of the Imperial Cruiser Venerus, calling to any ships that may be within range of the Caliban system; following the loss of the Adeptus Mechanicus outpost here and the rise of the warpstorm we were commissioned by Ordinate Adoplhus on behalf the Adeptus Adminstratum to investigate. We discovered what appeared to be a stable corridor through the storm but our Geller fields suffered a catastrophic failure and we have been cast adrift on the tides of the warp. Our Navigator is dead and I fear that without him we will not be able to free ourselves… we need help… this is Lord Captain Itharius of the Imperial Cruiser Venerus calling to any ships…
Chief Confessor Cornelius decides to explore the crew quartes; upon arrival he is met by a strange primitive human who speaks in an almost incomprehensible dialect that seems to be some debased form of ships dialect (according to York Benetec who is able to translate some of the primtive’s babble over the comm link, it seems that the person is from something called the Adeptus Itharius, he becomes quite excited when Cornelius mentions the Emperor (‘the Golden Father’ as he refers to it). Cornelius is able to convince the primitive (and his gathering comrades) that they are messengers from Itharius (the name of the Venerus’ Captain whom these people seem to venerate as some sort of messianic figure) come to lead them back into the Emperor’s light. The confessor is lead through a makeshift shanty town of lean tos and huts fashioned from shipboard detritus and salvage until they arrive at one of the few remaining intact crew quarters, he is introduced to a female albino with watery pink eyes called Yarni who is one of the tribes leaders; as he enters the chamber he notices the severed heads of what appear to be fanged mutants of some variety (he thinks back to traders tales of Hullghasts, lower deck dwellers mutated by engine radiation and warp emanations) mounted on sharp metal spikes and nods in approval, ‘at least these primitives know how to deal with the mutant’ he thinks.
Lord Captain Fortunus Black] and his squad have reached the sealed blast doors of the Bridge section, his junior tech adepts have the [[Enginseer temporarily reroute some additional power to the instruments up here, allowing them to bypass the system lockdown and open the door a few feet before the corroded circuitry gives out; the gap is sufficient for the boarding party to slip through in pairs. They find the bridge deserted save for the powdered, ancient remains of one of the crew seating at an instrument panel, a tarnished golden Aquila resting amidst the dust identifying the remains as belonging to Captain Itharius. Whilst scanning the ship, the tech adepts are shocked to discover a piece of archeotech known as a teleportarium, a device from the lost age of technology permitting the instantenous transportation of matter across space; voices verent with wonder they communicate the find to the Enginseer although they do say that, despite it appearing to be in working order, there is no power to that section and they would have to check the circuitry before restoring power to avoid risk of an overload.
Whilst considering this, they locate a ship log recording by Captain Itharius in his dying moments and play it, the voice of the long dead captain echoing once more around his Bridge:
Ship’s log 766.M41

The mutineers have killed the Tech-priest Ramain, and with it, any hope of repairing our damaged systems; we are now adrift without hope, our Confessor the Redemptionist Zane Cortez wished to remain and fight the mutineers in the name of the Emperor, I commend his fervor but our duty to our crew and our ship must come before our need for vengeance. I have ordered the last of our reserves shunted to the teleportarium chamber and have given the order that Cortez should evacuate any non-essential crew to the nearest life supporting planet before following them through himself; someone will be required to minister their spirtual needs, we have no idea how long a rescue may take.

I plan to set the engines to stabilise our position here, in the hope that someone may find this record and rescue our crew, returning them to the bosom of the Emperor’s light, I fear there is no hope for me but I will seal this chamber behind me, the mutineers will not take my ship damn them!

Ship’s log 766.M41 – additional

We’ve recently had a power spike, I pray that Cortez managed to get the rest of the crew to safety, but I can’t spare the power from the engines to check the internal cameras; some of the rebel scum appear to have begun to mutate, no doubt due to the fact that we have driven them down to the lower decks where the Geller fields first failed.

I fear that the wounds I suffered during the mutiny attempt are taking there toll, I can no longer feel my left arm and my breathing is laboured, my soul will soon be with the Emperor.

Abbas laudo meus animus sedeo praeter vestri rutilus per , in imperator nomen

The moment is cut short when Enginseer Prime Pak’s voice comes across the commlink, “Captain, there are multiple unclassified life forms moving towards our positions rapidly, impossible to accurately predict numbers; i’m attempting to close blast doors to slow them down.”
In the crew quarters hearing the announcment Chief Confessor Cornelius shouted to his men “You four, protect the tech adepts, the rest of you with me – I will protect these people and lead them back into the Emperor’s light!”
Lord Captain Fortunus Black ordered his men to set up a firezone in preparation; back in the docking bay Enginseer Prime Pak spotted the first of the hostiles, a long pale shape moving with a simian slouch, it’s face horrible human but distorted into a thing of bestial hate and instinct with needle sharp teeth and the forward facing eyes of a predator; the pale wormy flesh of the creature bought back vivid memories of the tentacled thing on the Interceptor earlier and, before he slumped to the floor, vomiting onto the deck, his grasping hand punched a button causing blast doors to come crashing down all over the ship.

Rogue Trader Campaign Log – Session 2 : Aboard the Xenos Vessel

Upon arrival on the xenos ship the initial boarding party (consisting of Lord Captain Black and six warriors from the Lunatic Pandora) discover a virtually empty ship apparently occupied only by the already dead bodies of the xenos scum known as orks; suddenly and without warning, the Pandora loses comms contact with the Captain’s squad.

Awakening lying on his back in one of the ship’s corridors the Lord Captain finds himself covered in blood and his, still active, powersword is lying nearby; recovering his weapon Lord Captain Black notices a strange silver piece of alien technology that appears vastly more high-tech than the robust but chaotic technology used by the orks. A few hundred feet beyond the strange half globe of silver lies the eviscerated body of one of the guardsmen who had accompanied him on the boarding party; re-establishing contact with his ship the Lord Captain requests the presence of his Enginseer Prime to examine the alien technology, two boarding pods are dispatched from the Lunatic Pandora contacting Enginseer Prime Pak, Navigator York Benetic, Chief Confessor Cornelius and seven guardsmen.
Quickly joined by the secondary boarding parties, Enginseer Prime Pak and his Junior Tech-Adept Ghedia examine the xenos technology and discover that it appears to have been damaged/de-activated by autogun fire, they begin welding together a crude containment device for the small beetle-like object. Whilst this is occurring Confessor Cornelius and Navigator Benetec make some unsettling discoveries whilst checking their Lord Captain for injuries; Lord Captain Black has some small holes around the edge of his skull and it appears as though his power sword may have been responsible for the death of the marine lying nearby.
Following the sound of gunfire they come under attack by one of the survivors of the Lord Captain’s initial boarding party, the crazed guardsman wildly firing his autogun down a corridor at them until Navigator Benetec summons the power of his Warp Eye, freezing their enemy into immobility allowing Captain Black to render the man unconscious with a weapon butt to the chin.
Sending his hovering servo-skull servant on ahead the Enginseer witnesses another survivor of the first boarding party open a door into the xenos command bridge, he is rewarded when a large, partially cybernetic ork fires a huge shell through the open door, obliterating the unlucky guardsman. Arriving on the scene and hunkering down besides the door out of the line of fire, the Lord Captain presses the button and, as it creaks open, Imperial Confessor Cornelius hefts his flamer and fills the room with the cleansing fire of the Emperor, quickly reducing the alien to a charred husk.
Whilst examing the scene, a metal device similar to the one discovered earlier, unfurls metallic legs and mandibles leaping on Junior Tech Adept Ghedia, sinking its appendages into his face in a similar pattern to the holes discovered on Lord Captain Black; reacting quickly Navigator Benetec commends the young tech-adept’s soul to the Emperor before firing his Inferno Gun at close range into the young man’s skull, explosively boiling and detonating his brain. A short chase then ensues with the crew chasing the fast scuttling metal beetle down a corridor before Lord Captain Black slices the glowing green silver beetle in two with his power sword.
Recovering what they believe to be a flight recorder from the Ork ship as they leave, the boarding parties return to the Lunatic Pandorab, isolating the wreckage of the metallic beetle using the containment facilities built by Enginseer Prime Pak and (the now deceased) Ghedia; as they leave the Ork ship and the Lord Captain commands his first office Commander Polaris on the Pandora to destroy it, Pak whispers a prayer, commending the soul of Ghedia to the iron bosom of the Omnissiah. Arriving back on the Pandora they continue their mission and begin shuttling the transported technology down to the colony of Catan II; they are met by the commander of the Imperial Butcher City on the planet Commander Hardecker.
The grizzled Imperial veteran thanks the explorers for breaking through the xenos filth and delivering their much needed supplies; after treating them to a lavish feast he accompanies them back to their shuttles promising that he may have some further business opportunities for them in the future.
Back on the ship, Enginseer Prime Pak has succeeded in partially decoded the flight recorder from the Ork vessel; it appears to be a flight plan showing that the Orks recently visited a world that the Enginseer recognises as Caliban I, an Adeptus Mechanicus outpost that was cut-off from the outside world 50 years ago by terrible warp-storms. Cross-referencing the charts with the help of York Benetec (ship’s Warp Guide) the two crew members come to believe that the Orks discovered a (reasonably) stable warp corridor that should allow access to the previously cut-off Mechanicus outpost; as they return to Port Wander to re-supply Navigator Benetec cautions them that with each passing moment the likelihood of the corridor remaining stable becomes less.

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.