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Lies, cheats and thievery, the aquisition of a Warrant of Trade for the everyman


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#41 Chaki

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Posted 04 April 2014 - 05:49 PM

Colonel Commissar Darrius Augustus Wolf received his Warrant of Trade after leading his Regiment through a campaign against a Chaos Lord of Tzeentch. His troops were the first to breach the station and they are known for single handedly cleaning it in mere minutes (warp shenanigans were involved).

For defeating the Lord and surviving it, he was granted the Warrant. He does not know why and it leaves a sour taste in his mouth as he doesn't feel qualified. Also, an Inquisitor forced him to take an Ork aboard his new Lunar class Cruiser for reasons unknown to him with only one order: "Take him into the Expanse and if he acts strange, inform me at once."



#42 ranoncles

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Posted 09 April 2014 - 01:51 AM

 

We all know the official channels for acquiring a Warrant of Trade but are there other ways? Is it viable to win a Warrant of Trade from someone else in a bout of gambling or to give away your Warrant of Trade? Any and all ideas, ideally cannon however all are welcome, would be appreciated. On a related note, does the holder of a Warrant of Trade have to be a Rogue Trader or could an Arch Militant, Missionary etc. hold one?

The core rulebook points out that if someone in a ship shows up and starts acting like a Rogue Trader people are likely to assume that he is one. Some will not dare to say no to someone who can bomb them from the orbit, others might be willing to do business with him if they feel they will benefit from it.

 

Furthermore, as far as Imperium is concidered, if that person acts like a RT and the Imperium benefits from his actions the officials might not even bother to check his background. (Depends on the faction of course. Arbites for example might be more interested in the legality of the RT's warrant, though as the RT is not likely to spend much time in Imperial space they might be able to avoid Arbites attention. The inquisition on the other hand is way more interested in the actions of the RT and their loyalty than the paperwork.)

 

 

I think you are making a fundamental mistake with this assumption. The Imperium of Man is not a permissive society in which ‘everything is allowed unless specifically prohibited’. It is an absolute bureaucracy in which ‘everything is prohibited unless specifically allowed’.

 

It also operates on a galaxy of paperwork. So there is no chance in hell (or the warp) that a merchant prince could show up within the Imperium and claim to be a Rogue Trader without having to prove it consistently with the correct paperwork/credentials/gene coded key/choir of adminstratum approved cherubs. Nor could huge amounts of goods or riches be funnelled into the Imperium without the proper paperwork. Let’s not forget that the setting constantly mentions billions of scribes/clerks working on… paperwork…

 

If anyone could impersonate a RT or an Inquisitor within the Imperium without too much trouble (although operating a void ship would be difficult without the necessary resources), quite a few people would be trying this as it allows for a much nicer life….nor would the actual Warrants of Trade be such a big thing.

 

Obviously you can run your game as you want it but I’d argue strongly against cheapening the impact of a Warrant of Trade. The game setting sets a very clear hierarchy of trade, from system trade ships to chartist captains to free captains etc. to finally rogue traders. That hierarchy shouldn’t be easily ignorable or capable of being side stepped, certainly not in the rigidly feudal and bureaucratic Imperium. And don't even get me started on rival RT's who'd be eager to ascertain the credentials of trade rivals and just what restrictions there are placed on their opponents's specific Warrant of Trade....


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#43 Lightbringer

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Posted 09 April 2014 - 05:08 AM

This raises an interesting point: verification of Warrants of Trade. How is this actually done in practice?

 

I would imagine that most citizens would have no idea how to go about spotting a fake Warrant of Trade. Not being an expert in these matters, I would struggle, for example, to spot a forged passport from my own country, let alone one from another country; and a passport is a relatively simple document.

 

Warrants of Trade in contrast are (often) incredibly complex documents. They can take a variety of forms from single sheets of fraying vellum to ancient decaying books kept in stasis to software kept on a ship's mainframe. They can be tiny, covering a couple of paragraphs, or vast, filling whole dataslates or libraries. They can also have been issued at any time in the last 10,000 years.

 

Given the scope and size of the Imperium, proving that someone is not a Rogue Trader when they say they are is actually a very difficult exercise, when you think about it.

 

Let's say you're an Inquisitor and an odd figure turns up in your area of operation within the Imperium. He claims to be a Rogue Trader. He claims his Dynasty is 5,700 years old, that a Warrant of Trade was issued in a different Segmentum under the authority of a long dead panel of High Lords of Terra. He says he has been operating for 100 years outside the Imperium, and that prior to this his dynasty has skipped along the Halo stars at the edge of yet another Segmentum trading and warring on behalf of the Imperium.

 

How do you go about proving/disproving all this? This would be a hugely involved detective exercise (quite a fun idea for a DH/RT crossover campaign, actually). It would involve research across a number of fleet registries, Astropathic communications to a number of Administratum worlds, messages to Terra...all of these requests for information may take years to be processed, given the speed at which the Imperium tends to deal with matters bureaucratic.

 

Perhaps there have been at different times attempts to create central registries of Rogue Traders? One imagines that these would be incomplete, damaged by war etc etc, as indeed are most Imperial libraries. Perhaps there are verification codes encoded into many warrants: I always imagined that the wax seal embossed on the special edition rogue trader warrants contained some kind of memory stick accessible by the Inquisition which contained the terms and history of the warrant. However, one imagines not all Rogue Traders' warrants would contain this kind of information.

 

Even if Warrants of Trade are verifiable by some kind of central database or techno arecane wax seal, who is capable of verifying them? Inquisitors, probably, but who else? Planetary Governors? Do they have wax seal readers? Or devices like passport officers which shine ultraviolet light on warrants of trade to look for hidden writing, allowing them to check for forgeries? Some might...equally, many may not. If someone turns up unannounced in the orbit of your poor frontier world piloting a massive Grand Cruiser and claiming to be a Rogue Trader from a dynasty you've never heard of, is it even a good idea to ask too many questions? 

 

When you think it through, it's a wonder there aren't more fake Rogue Traders. Indeed, forged warrants of trade would seem to me to be a potentially very common problem.       


Edited by Lightbringer, 09 April 2014 - 09:23 AM.


#44 bzro

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Posted 09 April 2014 - 05:20 AM

Well, maybe it is. Think about it, if your great-great-grandfather pretended to be a rogue trader, and no one challenged him on it, how would his legacy be different from that of any other Rogue Trader dynasty? For all we know, a significant portion of dynasties might be false, but have existed for so long that they might as well be real.

Plus, the fluff implies that even when the Trader has the warrant on his person (unlikely) then it's effectively permanently sealed in stasis.

#45 ranoncles

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Posted 09 April 2014 - 06:01 AM

This raises an interesting point: verification of Warrants of Trade. How is this actually done in practice?      

 

Indeed.

 

The most logical answer would be to put the burden of proof on the would-be rogue trader.

It´s not enough to appear at an Imperial world and claim rogue traderness….

 

One has to prove it with a sector-wide accepted document/gene-proofed key so each local planetary governor will be able to recognize it. Not with a crumbling document which might or might not have been signed by someone who once knew someone who slept in the same bed as the emperor or a reference to a document allegedly held in stasis on Terra (please direct all inquiries there…).

 

This way, rogue traders must first get the necessary ID’s from the sector authorities before being able to trade their ill-gotten loot in that sector (and face verification of their claims) and the local authorities get to have a handle on the RT (who is just an imperial citizen in their space, albeit a very privileged one). It also encourages RT’s to keep in touch with home base and stay updated on required documentation etc.



#46 RogalDorn01

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Posted 09 April 2014 - 07:20 AM

The huge issue that a fake Rogue Trader would run into would be this.  When a rogue trader founds a colony that needs to be signed off on by the Adeptus Terra.  So its one thing for a guy with a huge ship to run around doing awesome rogue tradery things in a shiny hat.  But the very fact that the Adeptus Terra has to sign off on colony creation implies that they have a means to sign off on the legitimacy of the dynasties warrant of trade.  

 

If your warrant was false, I think your reply would come back from the Imperium hand delivered by an inquisitor.  Or perhaps with a friendly request (demand) that they present themselves to the authorities so that they can clear up an error with the application.

 

My guess as to the means of doing this is that there would be different places where Warrant records are stored, and that when you send the request to found a colony the admin checks with the referenced office for Warrant verification.  So maybe you could do a DH campaign where you are trying to become a rogue trader.  The have a mission where you actually have to infiltrate the warrant office and plant the records for your fake Warrant there.  Then boom, you are essentially a rogue trader!


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#47 Lightbringer

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Posted 09 April 2014 - 08:37 AM

One has to prove it with a sector-wide accepted document/gene-proofed key so each local planetary governor will be able to recognize it. Not with a crumbling document which might or might not have been signed by someone who once knew someone who slept in the same bed as the emperor or a reference to a document allegedly held in stasis on Terra (please direct all inquiries there…).

 

This way, rogue traders must first get the necessary ID’s from the sector authorities before being able to trade their ill-gotten loot in that sector (and face verification of their claims) and the local authorities get to have a handle on the RT (who is just an imperial citizen in their space, albeit a very privileged one). It also encourages RT’s to keep in touch with home base and stay updated on required documentation etc.

 

 

 

The huge issue that a fake Rogue Trader would run into would be this.  When a rogue trader founds a colony that needs to be signed off on by the Adeptus Terra.  So its one thing for a guy with a huge ship to run around doing awesome rogue tradery things in a shiny hat.  But the very fact that the Adeptus Terra has to sign off on colony creation implies that they have a means to sign off on the legitimacy of the dynasties warrant of trade.  

 

If your warrant was false, I think your reply would come back from the Imperium hand delivered by an inquisitor.  Or perhaps with a friendly request (demand) that they present themselves to the authorities so that they can clear up an error with the application.

 

My guess as to the means of doing this is that there would be different places where Warrant records are stored, and that when you send the request to found a colony the admin checks with the referenced office for Warrant verification.  

 

I think you chaps are showing a touching faith in the efficiency of Imperial Bureacracy here...faith that isn't really borne out by the background! The setting is repeatedly shown to be one where regiments, worlds, whole sectors are lost because of administrative errors or lost files.

 

Ranoncles, a Sector wide procedure for identifying Rogue Traders is all very well, but what happens when they leave the Sector? Rogue Traders are highly mobile, and can conceivably move from Sector to Sector. In another thread I attempted to nail down how many Sectors there might be in the Imperium...and hit on an arbitrary non-canonical figure of 5,000-6,000 sectors. It's all well and good to have your papers in order in the Calixis Sector, but what happens when you want to move to the Ixaniad sector? Or do a bit of business in the Jericho Reach? Or what happens if your Sector falls to the forces of the archenemy - like the Sabbat worlds or the Jericho Reach? Does this invalidate your Warrant? I would argue no, as it's theoretically issued under the authority of the High Lords rather than a Sector Governor.Warrants last for thousands of years - indeed, many Rogue Trader dynasties active in the setting predate the Calixis Sector.  

 

My point is that it seems unlikely to me that the procedure for ID'ing Rogue Traders would be a purely local, Sector wide operation. Don't get me wrong, I'm sure that there may well be such local procedures, and local databases contaiing details of Rogue Traders...but these would only be Rogue Traders registered in the individual sector, not Imperium-wide. And searching them wouldn;t be much use if a Rogue Trader crops up from outside the Sector. 

 

Rogal, you're right that a fake Rogue Trader would face difficulties if he tried to found colonies that he wanted to be supported by the Adeptus Terra. Equally though a real Rogue Trader might face the same problems given the apparant difficulties in proving one holds a genuine warrant. And the idea of a central registry of Rogue Traders is a nice idea...but I wonder if it survived the Horus Heresy? Or the Reign of Vandire (when it may well have moved to another worldif it had previously been based on Terra)? Or the Novus Terra Interregnum (when it was presumably split in two again)? Or what happened to the updating of that/those database/s during each of those periods? Could one really be confident that it contains all of the Rogue Trader Dynasties across the Imperium, given that Imperial records are generally so fragmentary and contradictory?

 

But founding colonies is not the only potential source of income for a theoretical fraudulent Rogue Trader, anyway; he need not ever have his bona fides checked by the Administratum. Piracy, fraud on an epic scale...all of these things will make money for a criminal bearing a forged warrant without ever potentially troubling the Adeptus Terra.

 

Like everything else in the setting, I suspect that there isn't a single, simple process for ID'ing Rogue Traders, and that in fact this leaves plenty of opportunities for interesting fraud and associated endeavours! :)



#48 ranoncles

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Posted 09 April 2014 - 08:57 AM

Actually, that is exactly my point. Stiffling bureaucracy getting in the way of making a quick buck.

 

The Warrant of Trade allows a RT to venture beyond the Imperium and trade. Why?

Because the Emperor wanted cheap, self-maintaining scouts and explorers to expand his borders. And they best way to acquire these was to appeal to their self-interests (and helping the imperial bottom line at the same time).

 

But the warrant is not a patent of great efficiency….RT’s still have to circumvent the Administratum when doing business in the Imperium. They don’t get to deal in 6,000 sectors without red-tape.

So expecting each RT to register within a sector he expects to do business (similar to ships being required to register with the sector fleet HQ so their profile can be recognised) is not farfetched IMO. It also prevents strangers showing up and trying to trade with imperial planets, thereby wrecking other feudal arrangements which had precedent.

 

In my view of the Imperium, their incredible inefficiency does not prevent the bureaucratic desire to have everything neatly arranged and ordered. Even if it takes a few centuries. The fluff seems to support this.


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#49 Lightbringer

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Posted 09 April 2014 - 09:18 AM

Fair enough. That makes sense. A desire on the part of local sector authorities to register Rogue Traders in their database/s is indeed plausible. :)

 

I think however that the underlying problem is still there: how do the Sector authorities satisfy themselves that they are actually dealing with a real Rogue Trader in the first place, assuming one they haven't previously registered turns up in their jurisdication?

 

The standards for granting Warrants of Trade / personnel who grant Warrants of Trade have likely changed so much over the millenia, the types of warrant are so different (often unique to each dynasty) and the "official" records are likely so fragmentary that it seems to me that the exercise is potentially a very difficult one.  


Edited by Lightbringer, 09 April 2014 - 09:19 AM.


#50 Nameless2all

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Posted 09 April 2014 - 10:33 AM

What Ranoncles is stating is in the fluff. Each Sector has some kind of mass data base/world/etc that has all the information of all the void ships, their routes, who last captained them, maybe who owns them, to include planets, the last known governor, last gave a tithe, etc etc. In one of the books (I think it's in HA, though I could be wrong), it mentions how a ship that could not be identified through the correct transponder signal/code is immediately listed as hostile by the local authorities until it could be proven to be safe. Either through Navy Ships or PDF ships boarding actions or meeting the "Captain" in a regal manner, etc etc.

 

So, if a RT moves from Sector to Sector, someone need only to contact the Sector their Warrant was authorized in and verify it is who they say it is. Obviously, it's much more complicated than how I just made it sound, but therein lies the meat of the potato. It could be Warrant only allows them to travel with so many sectors. Or the Warrant allows them to travel to any sector. The Warrant will either explain these stipulations, or it won't.

 

As someone else mentioned, it’s the duty of the RT to prove that he/she is the heir of the warrant, or someone else will try to claim it sooner or later. One step of it is to get with the local administration in the sector and update the Warrant. This is also one of the misfortunes in the game.

 

Now of course, mistakes do happen. Files get deleted/omitted/corrupted (maybe on purpose), Sector capitals can be attacked/destroyed/under civil disobedience, or their ship was listed as a pirate ship in this new sector (because 1,000 years ago it was a pirate ship), and now they are under arrest until they can prove themselves not pirates. This is probably why in most of the fluff, when a ship scans another ship information is displayed on the classification of it, the "Captain," and possible faction alignment, etc etc.

 

Given that the Expanse or any outlying sectors do not have the capabilities to contact the Sector capital(s) and verify it is who they say they are, most will probably take a ship and his captain at their word (and actions).


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#51 DarkSnowy

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Posted 09 April 2014 - 09:24 PM

Warrents of Trade have evolved over the centuries and not all are created equal.
It is one to three pieces of paper (extreemly valuable ones may be signed by the God Emperor himself) which makes several refrences to other legal documents.
e.g. Ensuring the loyalty and saftey of all plantes outlined in "Planetary Management and Responsibilities Contract 9182631" as well as fulfilling all other responsibilities of said contract.
This way you can be vague on the paper you supply your party with while making up responsibilities (endevours) for the 'planetary management' as the game progresses.

Warrents issued much more recently are tied to a specific person and even their own children would need to apply for a new warrent, to take over the dynasty, should the owner no longer be able to fulfill his duties.

'Into the Storm' has a whole 'Warrent Path' section, including differences for which 'Age' the Warrent was issued during. The book is worth getting as it adds tonnes of content.

'The Death of Augustus Killian' on page 15 of 'The Koronus Bestiary' paints a picture of a warrent of trade small enough to be carried on the Rogue Traders belt but also that many people have died trying to recover the warrent, "which would allow them to establish their own dynasty" (quote from mentioned chapter)



#52 Nameless2all

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Posted 10 April 2014 - 09:12 AM

....
It is one to three pieces of paper (extreemly valuable ones may be signed by the God Emperor himself) which makes several refrences to other legal documents.
....

It's not always papers my friend.  Though I do like your idea that the Warrant wil refer to other clauses in other documents for reference in certain matters.  Makes it that much for easier for the Imperial Administrators to sneak something in there for future ploys/favors/demands/endeavors.  ;)

 

I haven't seen any set guidelines on how a Warrant is specifically written/documented within the Imperial. Just as you and everyone else mentioned, it changes year to year, Sector to Sector, Warrant Issuer to Warrant Issuer.  Anyhoot, Happy Gaming people.


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#53 Askold

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Posted 10 April 2014 - 12:53 PM

OLD warrants, some of which were signed by the Emperor, offer huge liberties to the RT with very few limits. Newer warrants are likely to have a thousand different clauses and limits to it.

 

The one fun thing about the warrant in my opinion is the variety of reasons why someone could get one. Some may have spent their life building up power and gaining favours to get the warrant. In some cases it might have been their family that strived slowly to gain power with the purpose of having one of their children be in position of gaining the warrant. For others it is an punishment...

 

Person X got too powerful in an organisation (inquisition, the church or navy/guard perhaps even administratum) so the warrant is given out as a way to eliminate them from the power struggle. In the guard for example, by the time someone can be considered as a contender for the position of warmaster they hold huge powers already. Besides, in a Warmaster vs Rogue Trader power comparison the RT is likely to lose in all but their amount of personal liberties.

 

Also I think somewhere in RT rulebook it is mentioned that the children of an RT are likely to be sent to the guard to serve as soldiers to gain the experience they need when they are older. You would assume that this means that they get a position in some generals staff or at least start out from the officer school but perhaps the RT wanted to get their child started out in the school of hard knocks. Or maybe daddy just didn't like the spoiled bastard and that is why he got sent into the 32nd Dugistan "mines tompers" as an regular guardsman. Then at some point he hears the sad news about the loss of their parent as well as of their older siblings (Perhaps someone used too much poison in an attempt to gain control of their dynasty?) and they get the warrant.



#54 RogalDorn01

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Posted 21 April 2014 - 11:42 AM

I would think that Children of a Rogue Trader would be more likely to either go to the Schola Progenium / Officer School OR just serve long enough in the household armed forces of the family that they could make a name for themselves.  But I can't see a rogue trader sending their ACTUAL heir apparent to the Imperial Guard, they are WAY too likely to die or go missing...


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#55 Tenebrae

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Posted 21 April 2014 - 02:45 PM

On the other hand, a classic character background would be something like

"Lt von Slinkoff, do you know why I called you here today?"

"Sir no sir!"

"Well, given the circumstances, I think we can dispence with some of the formalities lieutenant. Were you close to you uncle Alexandr?"

"Uncle Sasha? No sir, not really. He's a rogue trader. Married to my father's sister. Political marriage I believe. Only met him twice I believe. Can I ask why sir? Is there a problem with uncle Sasha?"

"Ah. Your uncle ... Sasha ... has died. With all of his closest family. And left you his Warrent of Trade. My orders are to get you safely to what remains of your family's ships. Also, you are hereby relieved of your commission."

"But sir! What about the enemy?!"

"Sorry, you've just been declared a higher priority. And please forget about the sirs. Oh, and while I have you here m'lord, could I perhaps enter a plea for the use of your ships to bombard our enemies from orbit m'lord?"

 

After all, a rogue trader is a peer of the Imperium. A mere imp guard colonel is (typically) not.


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#56 Erathia

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Posted 21 April 2014 - 02:50 PM

On the other hand, a classic character background would be something like

"Lt von Slinkoff, do you know why I called you here today?"

"Sir no sir!"

"Well, given the circumstances, I think we can dispence with some of the formalities lieutenant. Were you close to you uncle Alexandr?"

"Uncle Sasha? No sir, not really. He's a rogue trader. Married to my father's sister. Political marriage I believe. Only met him twice I believe. Can I ask why sir? Is there a problem with uncle Sasha?"

"Ah. Your uncle ... Sasha ... has died. With all of his closest family. And left you his Warrent of Trade. My orders are to get you safely to what remains of your family's ships. Also, you are hereby relieved of your commission."

"But sir! What about the enemy?!"

"Sorry, you've just been declared a higher priority. And please forget about the sirs. Oh, and while I have you here m'lord, could I perhaps enter a plea for the use of your ships to bombard our enemies from orbit m'lord?"

 

After all, a rogue trader is a peer of the Imperium. A mere imp guard colonel is (typically) not.

 

 

This seems more-than-less the backstory of Lord-Admiral Bastille the Seventh, who is one of my favourite Rogue Traders from the setting.


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#57 Radwraith

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Posted 21 April 2014 - 07:23 PM

I think Imperial Navy is more likely than Guard but either way it's possible. I think in the above setting the Colonel might also apply for a job though!



#58 Tenebrae

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Posted 22 April 2014 - 04:25 AM

It was actually quite close to the backstory of a RT (Homeworld: Battlefleet) that I wrote very soon after ItS came out.

Never did get to play that character though.



#59 WilliamAsher

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Posted 23 April 2014 - 06:09 PM

I think that a variety of answers is correct depending on the sector and the availability of the Warrant itself.  Some dynasties store theirs in stasis on vault worlds, some carry them in their pockets in stasis containers.  Note that the oldest Warrants signed by the Emperor can probably be verified by any Astropath, as his signature is supposed to be psychically identifiable.  For more recent ones I imagine that you would need to convince the Administorium or Inquisition of the Sector of its validity.  New sectors might only check with the old sector, or you might carry speically encoded messages from the previous sector. 

 

For our latest campaign, I ran the obtaining and verification of the Warrant as part of the game.  The Rogue Trader was the third son of a RT whom had been declared heretic by the Inquisition for helping the Tau convert a human world.  The PC had been in service to the Imperial Guard for almost 20 years.  He was captured and sanctioned by the Inquisition.  Due to his record as an Imperial Guard general against both Chaos and Xenos some internal politics, he was declared innocent of heresy but the Warrant was handed off to a cousin anyways.  While deployed on a passification campaign against a minor Chaos cult (only 5 regiments deployed) on a minor agro world, he came across a city based around an ancient ship partly burried in a hillside.  The vaults of the ship included the Warrant of the now dead house that once owned the ship, signed with a drop of the Emperor's blood.  The players arranged to sell the Teleportarium off the ship for sufficient funds and supplies to repair the ship and get it into orbit.

 

  The campaign started with the players trying to get the ship repaired and lifted while investigating a mutant underground that ended up being a genestealer infestation.  To make matters worse, the world had a hive ship from an long past Tyrannid fleet burried under the ice that the genestealer infestation had started to wake up.  They had to juggle a Tyrannid infestation, the collapsing government of the world, the Imperial Guard survivors, and repairing the ship to try and get offworld.  Help came in the form of an Inquisitor whose ship had been shot up in orbit by the local defense grid.  They gathered and screened survivors, repaired the ship, got the ship to lift off, and used the ship's teleportarium to get to the Inquisitor's ship to launch a Exterminatus Torpedo at the world.  It was an exciting little mini-campaign that ended up with the Inquisitor declaring the Warrant 'verified'.  The documentation he provided and the 'verified' copy is how they prove their warrant.  The original is locked in a armored vault in a Null Box.  When they have to prove thier Warrant the present the 'verified' copy and the documentation from the Inquisition to the asking party.

 

  A further note is that older Warrants have clauses that can cause a lot of problems.  When you are required to spread the 'Imperial Truth' or to 'Suppress any and all religious organizations on worlds brought into Imperial Compliance', you need to do some fancy talking to show that you aren't going to cause problems for the Ecclesiastiary.  Of course, you warrant doesn't even mention the Ecclesistiary...they didn't exist when it was written.  Newer Warrants often include duties and tithes to whatever Imperial organization is behind the Warrant.






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