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Hauling the Big Prize Home?


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#1 venkelos

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Posted 13 June 2012 - 10:52 PM

So, I want to run a scenario past you, and see what a good solution might be…thanks.

So, in this hypothetical scenario, I and my group, feeling that letting even a mostly demolished battleship just go into oblivion is a terrible plan, have retained the Light of Terra, found during Lure of the Expanse. For the purposes of the campaign, we left a ship to watch it, finished the Dread Pearl, and, now fattened up with a nice chunk of cash, are ready to spend it on recovering the real prize, an Emperor-class Battleship, ripe for the taking. Now, upon finding it, you realize that this hell of a prize is sitting, adrift in an empty region of space no one cares about; that's why no one else encountered it before you, and thus it is still there. One might think that it being in an effectively uncharted region of space could assist in your future endeavors to refurbish it for your fleet; no one else knows it's out there, so they won't contest your prize, hopefully till it's repaired enough to be defensible (how many Rogue Traders regularly travel with a fleet big enough to engage a battleship, and you have ships, too.) However, you might also say "yeah, but we're in the middle of nowhere, with no readily available resources to pour into this money pit of a prize. Bringing that stuff takes time, risks warp losses, and as soon as resources start diverting here, to this benighted emptiness, others will come to investigate, and then it's only us, against EVERYTHING that shows up to ruin our day." If you find yourself in this position, you could say to yourself "well, let's just move it to a safer locale, where all of our power and resources can be brought to bear to defend it."

So, say you like this plan, how might you go about that? Could you tow the behemoth to a port; say a planet or space station you own, or has loyalty to you? I seem to recall that in BFK, they describe when it was planned to transport Ramillies Base Metis to the Reach, in order to assist with the Achilus Crusade, they towed the station to the Jericho-Maw Gate, Maw-side, and then realized that the mighty starbase would not survive the Gate traverse. Numerous "geniuses" were executed for failing to figure out something so simple, ahead of time, and Fleet Base Metis was left on the Maw side of the Gate, as fleet base for the Koronus Battlefleet, and probably a last line of defense, should any enemies get past everything in the Reach, and pass through the Gate, threatening the Calixus Sector. Funny thing is, these tug ships seem to be one of the only few vessels NOT listed in a book, and I have RT, Into the Storm, Hostile Acquisitions, Battlefleet Koronus, and Lure of the Expanse. When they introduced the Planetbound for Millennia option in Into the Storm, I sort of felt they'd elaborate on these tugs, as an option to get your ship to a safe port for repairs, but no, they leave it to you to figure that out, along with getting it off the ground (I still like the space elevator plan), on your own. Would it be a relatively straight forward task to hire the services of a group of tugs, or sink in the cash early, and buy one or three, and pull the beastly battleship back to a port of your choice? The idea of ships pulling other ships through the Warp is a bit scary, but if the moved a Ramillies Star Fort, a battleship shouldn't be too hard.

Assuming this isn't as easy as I am thinking, could you effort to repair the engines, patch up some holes, and have your Navigator jump it to a safer place? I figure the Light's warp drive still works, so if you can fix replace the Geller field, her primary engines, and patch up enough holes to make sure the warp passage won't kill the command crew you have aboard, you should be able to get where you want, without the ship shaking itself apart, and if it does take a hint more damage, you were already going to fix it. Do battleships need battleship-specific parts, and can THOSE be purchased?

Any other options people have had? It seems from my readings that most people, like me, would rather try to keep the Light of Terra, and either bankrupt themselves trying to fix it, keep it in the background as a campaigns-long secondary quest line, and succeed, or return it to the Navy, for a nice profit, and possibly two free Talents and a to-be-determined favor later, rather than watch it speed away, into oblivion, knowing that it will either die, or be caught by Orks or Chaos, just to come back and haunt the Imperium later.

 

As a last silly bit, I know that a Rogue Trader can claim many things under his Warrant, but I am unsure on worlds. Can he claim a world in the Expanse in the name of the Imperium, and leave loyal retainers to administer it, thus possessing a whole world under his belt, or is he obligated to give it over to the Imperium, who will send Administrata out to take care of, increasing the Imperium's borders. I could see it being the later, sort of the RT's way of repaying the Imperium for his Warrant and first ship, but if his people do an okay job, and send tithes and taxes back to the Imperium, rather than keeping everything for himself, I can see the bureaucracy saying "just let him deal with the headache, until he becomes a headache." Buying a Space Station would be easier, I think, but other than above a planet, I'm not sure where you'd want to park it.

 

So, thanks for any help and ideas on this topic you feel like sharing. I look forward to reading them.



#2 Plynkes

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 12:28 AM

venkelos said:

 

 Can he claim a world in the Expanse in the name of the Imperium, and leave loyal retainers to administer it, thus possessing a whole world under his belt…

 

 

 

Houses Winterscale and Chorda have both clearly done this, carving out small empires of their own in the Expanse, so the answer must be yes. In the case of Grace, I'm not even sure about the "in the name of the Imperium" part, because it was set up as a haven for wanted criminals who wanted to get away from the Imperium.

 

The books don't  go into too much detail about this and seem content to let us GMs figure it out, but I would say you could register a claim of ownership of a world or system with the Administratum, and that might be helpful to have if someone else came along and claimed it too. But clearly, the Empire isn't going to be sending the Adeptus Arbites out into the Expanse to enforce any settlement of a land dispute that the Administratum adjudicates. In the Expanse, something is only yours if you are strong enough to hold on to it yourself. A formal deed of ownership is just nice window dressing that goes on top of that. One could see land claims being argued in the Imperial courts for centuries as both sides try establish their legal claim. But if they can't shift your troops off the ground I think the best thing they can hope for is monetary compensation, and even getting that could be a very problematic and drawn-out affair, possibly lasting for generations and creating a permanent atmosphere of bad blood between the houses involved. It would make for a nice in-game atmosphere of dynastic conflict, both physical and legal, reminiscent of the Dune saga.

 

The other option is just to take the planet, and not say anything to the Administratum, which may or may not be what happened with Grace. Alternatively, a formal claim may have been staked, and it's just that they didn't tell the Imperium what they were actually doing there.

 

It seems from "The Frozen Reaches" that the Calixis Sector's ruling elite isn't particularly interested in governing or protecting worlds in the Expanse that claim allegiance to the Imperium. Damaris gets invaded and they sent what, a single Light Cruiser. An empty token gesture, as it has secret orders to get the hell out of Dodge at the first sign of trouble. So out in the Expanse, whether you declare your new-found world part of the Imperium, aligned with Imperium or just your own personal fiefdom, it is clear that you are really on your own.



#3 Alasseo

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 01:39 AM

 Well, the old article Conquest of Obzidion (originally from Inferno! magazine, possibly still available on the GW/BL site) included the Minotaur class tug. It wasn't of a size to pull a full on battleship anywhere, but they had them used for assembling a "flat-pack" station based on the hexathedral design (also detailed in that article, and featured in the Gaunt's Ghosts series).

I will note, however, that those tugs weren't what were used to shift Ramillies class star fortresses around; according to the article introducing them, shifting one such starfort took six Emperor-class battleships, and a team of 17 senior Navigators.
Of course, when you want to move something that big and it doesn't have it's own drive, you have to start grabbing tugs. And 40k being the kind of setting that it is, said tugs probably need to be able to defend themselves (warning bells should start ringing soon- it's typical MilBu logic ahead). And since warships should have a load of spare power and acceleration in hand, and the capability to defend themselves, why not use warships as tugs?
The problem is, a tug has some rather specialised design requirements- you can't just tie a bungee cord through the bumper and gun the engine. It has to have plenty of engine power to spare, be capable of transferring delta-v along the desired axis even though it is virtually never going to be thrusting through the centre of mass and (and this is a biggie), have a structural frame capable of withstanding massive torsion and shear stresses.
Even with typical Imperial over-engineering, that's not what a warship is built to be able to do.
And yet, when they want to move a Ramilles around, what do they get to act as tugs? Emperor-class BBVs.

Most of those design parameters mentioned just now were with regards to travelling in real space (pulling it from one orbit to the next), but they should hold true for towing stuff through the warp. Only there, there's another requirement- between the tugs and towed, there should be sufficiently expansive Geller Field coverage to protect every part of all ships, towed stations and whatever is being used to attach the towed to the various tugs.
Otherwise? Bad Things™ happen.


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#4 UberMutant

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 02:21 AM

I was trying to work out a similar Warp capable tug type ship, my players seem far keener to be salvaging wrecked ships and ancient technology rather than trying to carve an empire.

They will be encountering the Light of Terra very soon although not as part of Lure of the Expanse as written. I imagine something that intact will be taken by them in a heartbeat and the hardwired captain dealt with in the usual fashion. The feral descendts of the crew will be slave labour or just vented into space. Our Captain has so far used this as a response to capturing ships and space stations and is getting a reputation.

I was thinking of starting with a large and slow moving hull at minimum, light cruiser sized, with salvage claws and other facilities, very powerful engines and a large bank of chains/cables/magnets etc to grapple the ship its towing, topped off with some macrobatteries for point defence.



#5 crisaron

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 02:23 AM

1 - You are looking at an endeavor that should spawn a few rogue trader generations.  Building a Battleship is in the order of century, repairing a near hulk will be very long probably  something like 50 years is a good minimum…

2 - The ship is still able to fly / enter the warp from the adventure, it could in theory fly to a nearby world already, where you could start to strip mine the entire world to fix it.

3- Keeping a project this big secret is near impossible, a Rogue Trader Dynasty and ship have thousands of humans, scums, etc in it. Each one trying to cut a living for themself, the location of a weak BS is like billion gold to anyone…

4 - it's probably a PF factor sink of 100+  if not more, just to repair it…

5 - It's probably going to be a big issue with the Navy to even try to keep it. Navy will want to claim it just because it's a battleship. You would probably need to establish yourself as the next Macarius / Super sacro Saint guy… After frozen series, after a lot of claiming in the name of the Empire, saving the Navy a few times, then maybe they will think about letting you keep it that is a big maybe… especially with the Jericho Reach, any ship of might will be claimed and sent to fight of the nids. (alto if you pledge a war fleet there, there may be an opportunity to either make you the next Koronus Sector Governor or the next beggar in Foot Fall).

6 - Battleship require huge loads of resource just to stay put, the amount of PF to upkeep it should be visible to the players.

7 - ORKS, CHAOS and all those nasty will try at any cost to claim it… ANY COST.

8- It should always be surrounded by at least 6 cruiser and a dozen frigates/raider class. BS on their own are quite easy  to out maneuver. They need the small ship to protect their weaker haft. And if the DM does not hunt it as a prize loot for any denizen, then he is way too nice. All the other dynasty will try to steal it or cripple your dynasty. 

9- this is not a cruise ship. You can;t just jump a battleship for fun here and there… This behemoth requires loads of resources, it should have a constant supply fleet. A few trader class for food, parts and plasma for the engines.

 

It should be a mighty challenge, an endeavor that can cripple a dynasty. We are talking about the flag ship of a sector fleet, it massive, powerful, huge, expensive, impressive and so hubber cool!!! The players should be abel to easly conquer the Expense with such a fleet and with that done, the Dynasty is sure to be named Sector Governor should they succeed in pushing back all the nasty.

 

 



#6 crisaron

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 02:36 AM

UberMutant said:

 

I was trying to work out a similar Warp capable tug type ship, my players seem far keener to be salvaging wrecked ships and ancient technology rather than trying to carve an empire.

They will be encountering the Light of Terra very soon although not as part of Lure of the Expanse as written. I imagine something that intact will be taken by them in a heartbeat and the hardwired captain dealt with in the usual fashion. The feral descendts of the crew will be slave labour or just vented into space. Our Captain has so far used this as a response to capturing ships and space stations and is getting a reputation.

I was thinking of starting with a large and slow moving hull at minimum, light cruiser sized, with salvage claws and other facilities, very powerful engines and a large bank of chains/cables/magnets etc to grapple the ship its towing, topped off with some macrobatteries for point defence.

 

 

The physics of space don't require that… since there is no local gravity, any decent sized ship will be able to tow it, but it will be super slow to accelerate and decelerate. You can strap rockets to it as long as you are able to turn it around to used them to decelerate/accelerate the ship, using vector trusters, etc.



#7 venkelos

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 05:18 AM

crisaron said:

 

1 - You are looking at an endeavor that should spawn a few rogue trader generations.  Building a Battleship is in the order of century, repairing a near hulk will be very long probably  something like 50 years is a good minimum…

 

 

The way I look at it, you AREN'T building a battleship; you are fixing it. Much of the superstructure is there, even if it might need some patchwork. While it certainly won't be a quick build, it should be doable, I would think, in a decade or two, so long as resources don't dry up, and no opponents sabotage your efforts.

crisaron said:

 

2 - The ship is still able to fly / enter the warp from the adventure, it could in theory fly to a nearby world already, where you could start to strip mine the entire world to fix it.

 

 

While I know that the ship's warp engine still functions, because LC Roth makes it blind-jump, I am not certain that her primary propulsion drives are still viable. Also, Roth is nuts, and doesn't truly care about the degenerates on his ship. I don't think he'd care if the crew died from depressurization, or were exposed to a warp passage with no Geller field. Hence, I included the quandary of needing battleship parts, and them being buyable. Without a warp-capable method, either via tugs or her own power, it would take lifetimes to reach a port under conventional movement, being where the Light currently is.

crisaron said:

 

3- Keeping a project this big secret is near impossible, a Rogue Trader Dynasty and ship have thousands of humans, scums, etc in it. Each one trying to cut a living for themself, the location of a weak BS is like billion gold to anyone…

 

 

Very true, that's why I would want to move it. Hopefully, no opposition would have an easier time doing it, so you can get it to a "safe port" intact. From there, you can array more of your power against any comers.

crisaron said:

 

4 - it's probably a PF factor sink of 100+  if not more, just to repair it…

 

 

I doubt that. Fixing up a ship doesn't cost as much as building it, anymore than rebuilding a car, and here, you have slave labor. Think of how much money you pay just some fat guy to scratch his ass, while ignoring your car. Most of it is "service/labor fees", but here, you can get much of your workforce for nothing, and even the tech-priests will be almost as excited to get to work on the ancient ship as they are greedy for money. The spendiest part is the hull, and you got that for free, in a manner of speaking. If I follow Prof. Kylun's strategy, it should be about -10 Profit Factor, not including all of the extra components. That might not seem like a lot, but it is a time-consuming process, and while I can't find it right now, with the optional rule to burn PF to bump up the role, burning 10 might allow you to make the role for even a BS, if you were affluent enough.

crisaron said:

 

5 - It's probably going to be a big issue with the Navy to even try to keep it. Navy will want to claim it just because it's a battleship. You would probably need to establish yourself as the next Macarius / Super sacro Saint guy… After frozen series, after a lot of claiming in the name of the Empire, saving the Navy a few times, then maybe they will think about letting you keep it that is a big maybe… especially with the Jericho Reach, any ship of might will be claimed and sent to fight of the nids. (alto if you pledge a war fleet there, there may be an opportunity to either make you the next Koronus Sector Governor or the next beggar in Foot Fall).

 

 

I brought this very point up some time ago, and the general consensus was that the Navy has no choice. The Warrant allows the RT to salvage and claim. If he didn't attack the ship, murder the crew, and steal the ship from its assigned mission, only the signature on the Warrant can challenge the Trader, and that signature is either of a High Lord of Terra, or the Emperor, himself. They may want it, but they didn't try to find/reclaim it, and they probably can't afford to fix it, either.

crisaron said:

 

6 - Battleship require huge loads of resource just to stay put, the amount of PF to upkeep it should be visible to the players. 

 

 

Agreed. While I'm not sure exactly how that Upkeep would roll down, it would be felt.

crisaron said:

 

7 - ORKS, CHAOS and all those nasty will try at any cost to claim it… ANY COST.

 

 

Again, I do agree. Problem is, if it jumps under Roth, the BEST outcome is the trip just blows it up. Otherwise, with little power and no weapons, it'll fall to those same forces, anyhow. Better to be actively in the Imperium's hands, protected by someone with the resources to mount a defense.

crisaron said:

 

8- It should always be surrounded by at least 6 cruiser and a dozen frigates/raider class. BS on their own are quite easy  to out maneuver. They need the small ship to protect their weaker haft. And if the DM does not hunt it as a prize loot for any denizen, then he is way too nice. All the other dynasty will try to steal it or cripple your dynasty. 

 

 

Holding it would be very difficult, true. Way back, my original plan was to rebuild one as a big space base, surrounded by defensive ships, and carrying plenty o' guns. If it did fall, with no engines/warp drives, it wouldn't be going anywhere. As for a defensive Battlegroup, I'd probably halve that; not because I think you're wrong, but because most enemies don't travel in fleets, so a group of 1 BS, 2 cruisers, an assortment of others, and their fighters (I am rather partial to carrier vessels, even if the Navy frowns on them) would be able to defend against most threats.

crisaron said:

 

9- this is not a cruise ship. You can;t just jump a battleship for fun here and there… This behemoth requires loads of resources, it should have a constant supply fleet. A few trader class for food, parts and plasma for the engines.

 

 

I didn't want to just "jump it for fun", but to get it to said resources, either a small team of tugs, of the Light herself, need to make a jump, or two, in order to reach inhabited space, and take up orbit over said "safe port". I'm not sure what a warp jump would do to the Light, in its current condition, so the tugs might be a better option.

crisaron said:

 

It should be a mighty challenge, an endeavor that can cripple a dynasty. We are talking about the flag ship of a sector fleet, it massive, powerful, huge, expensive, impressive and so uber cool!!! The players should be able to easily conquer the Expense with such a fleet and with that done, the Dynasty is sure to be named Sector Governor should they succeed in pushing back all the nasty.

 

 

I want to, really want to believe that you might be overestimating the strength of a battleship. The Light might be a beast, but the BFK have several BS's, ones more devoted to firepower, rather than detecting and fighters, and they don't rule the Sector. It can still only be in one place at a time, and I wouldn't expect the group to have enough additional ships to amass the fleet you envision, so they wouldn't be conquering everything. If they did start pot-shotting planets, I would play the d-bag card; if a warning or two failed, a Callidus would be revealed aboard their ship, and she would start killing troubl-makers. If I wanted to be a bit less d-bag, I'd arrange for them to lose it, probably to the Navy. Luckily for me, while I'm currently not running any game, the people who would probably play it are more of the personality of "help, protect, and make prosper the Imperium, so they wouldn't become evil, piratical ****-tators, and they do know that I, as a GM, am not against punishing them for poor behavior choices, if they don't fit with the overall personality of the team and game, so they wouldn't be surprised. All that could be part of why they might just sell it back to the Navy, for a hefty profit. If they did keep it, I would certainly make it as difficult to keep as they benefit from its presence. If they did happen to get to become Sector Governor, or be really good friends with that individual, should it ever become a Sector, kudos points to them.

 



#8 venkelos

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 05:21 AM

@ Crisaron

Also, thank you for the in-depth thoughts. While I'm not running a game, many of the seemingly pointless things I bring up here are for the eventual one I might, and it's a good chance to take notes. In games past, I've been notorious for not planning ahead, and while I don't like in-depth planning, due to the clever factor my friends often seem to bring to the table, certain bits it's just good to know.



#9 crisaron

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Posted 15 June 2012 - 04:21 AM

venkelos said:

 

@ Crisaron

Also, thank you for the in-depth thoughts. While I'm not running a game, many of the seemingly pointless things I bring up here are for the eventual one I might, and it's a good chance to take notes. In games past, I've been notorious for not planning ahead, and while I don't like in-depth planning, due to the clever factor my friends often seem to bring to the table, certain bits it's just good to know.

 

 

 

Hey man that is the point of throwing ideas aroudn and debunking them!

 

Yeah I was very interested in running a similar one. I usualy have a much have a stricker stence on claiming ships. Navy alsways as the right to claim the prize (for a resonable fee), it's the Imperium after all. (Unless the Rogue Trader was canny enough to ask for a specific line in the warrent)

Also since ships are huge, major outerhull repaire can be done relatively fast ~ 1 year if in a proper dockyard and available resources and inner work refitting is much longer since depending on what iti is, the hull as to be cut out, etc..

 

it's just a different approach. I try to mkae the game on a longer time scale. During ship refitting they have to use another one. So my crew had 3 ships 1 trader, 1 firgate and 1 cruiser. They used the cruiser very sparely because they kept upgrading it… but still went into the expense with the frigate.



#10 HeavensThunderHammer

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Posted 15 June 2012 - 05:28 AM

 Another point in all this is that there have been some very good threads about this in the past. I recommend doing a search and looking them up.



#11 Nameless2all

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Posted 16 June 2012 - 03:29 PM

Page 71, Hostile Acq. (HA) has a Grapple Cannon.  Maybe you can modify it a little in order to be utilized for this endeavor.  Alas, there is no listed range for it, so I'm thinking it must be targets within 1 VU or less.  Best of luck to you and your players.


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#12 Trader Austin

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Posted 16 June 2012 - 03:36 PM

 you might also consider that the holds of the light were packed full of treasure. the players got to ****** 1 piece each and run as written. but a battleship is huge with equally huge cargo holds. some of it is probable ruined with time or plundered by the crew, but most is still good. what's there would offset the cost of salvage.



#13 venkelos

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Posted 17 June 2012 - 01:55 AM

Trader Austin said:

 you might also consider that the holds of the light were packed full of treasure. the players got to ****** 1 piece each and run as written. but a battleship is huge with equally huge cargo holds. some of it is probable ruined with time or plundered by the crew, but most is still good. what's there would offset the cost of salvage.

Without it having been said, I suspect that might be another of the naysayer's arguing points. If you paid the money, you'd have free stuff to kit out an army with, AND a big ship to carry them in, while if you pawn all the goodies, and make nice with the Navy by trading much of the usable munitions in the holds (tanks, ammo, guns; things they can always use more of, and don't even have to wait for these to be made) you are almost NOT having to pay to get a Battleship, and keep it. I'd look past this, in my game, because the way I'd run it, it probably still wouldn't be too big a thing, and much of the cargo would probably be spoiled. What was there could be salvaged or sold, and I just don't see the people in my gaming circle running to amok with it; shame I am not running a game, at the moment.



#14 venkelos

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Posted 19 June 2012 - 10:48 PM

So, dumb quandary time. Say you beat all the odds, you find the Light, make some piece with the various natives, even convince Roth that his ship can be all it once was, and still serve the Imperium, satisfying the crazed Captain into waiting. Then you leave, with a small extra force of your Dynasty watching over the site, you do the rest of Lure, survive, and come back to make good on the reclamation of the battleship. You are now past many of the hurdles, but you have a few more to go. I assume that battleships, being their own ship type, use battleship-specific components. Yes? Assuming that this is the case (something I got from Darkreign seems to back this up for me), could you Acquire battleship components? On the one hand, buying a battleship is the hard part (can't do it), while parts are just parts, but on the other, battleships are rare, expensive, and such, so I doubt that they build surpluses of such massive bits. Could you get the parts, assuming you have a battleship chassis to mount them in?

As a dumb second, starships in 40k are different than many other RPGs; there aren't a bunch of available ones around, and civies don't buy them, so there aren't dealerships around. In an average game, even with more mundane craft, where do you go buy ship guts, where you don't have to sit there, waiting for them to be machined from scratch. Silly little question, I'm sure, but when regular people don't own starships, like they would in say Star Wars, where do the elite go to find what they need?



#15 Plynkes

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Posted 19 June 2012 - 11:17 PM

If it were anything other than a battleship, I would say your options were varied. There are several ship and repair yards in the asteroids around Port Wander, the largest of which is jointly run by the Navy and House Krin, and it serves both military and civilian clients. Ship components could be purchased and fitted here, I fancy, and the fluff mentions that while they don't churn them out in any great numbers, ships are built here too. In the Expanse you also have the breaking yards, which could serve a similar function (though not shipbuilding).

 

I do not know if these places could manufacture battleship components, though. Perhaps for that you would need to go to a forge world, like the Lathes in the Calixis Sector. Then you would need some contacts and influence with the Adeptus Mechanicus, and as a GM I would be tempted to turn this into a quest in itself. In addition to payment I would have the Admech wanting a bunch of favours done (go recover this, find out what happened to these explorators, etc..), and/or to have the permanent option of calling on the PCs whenever they need some task carried out.



#16 crisaron

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Posted 20 June 2012 - 01:30 AM

Also unless the players are very good never loose a second, etc. They may not be the only one who know where the light of terra is as per game event.

 

No spoiler here but there is a good chance if the DM did is job correctly that you have another RT there too.






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