I'd be quite curious to see what the context is and the plot hooks themselves. It sounds quite inspirational actually.
Okay, but it will probably go on a bit.
To begin with the main plot hooks available will simply be stuff from published adventures, I really like the ideas in some of them, though I will probably cherry-pick the bitsI like and alter the rest to taste. We have an NPC Seneschal, and to he will be presenting options for money-making, depending on the kind of thing the players want to do. I plan to give them multiple opportunities and let them choose which to follow: Treasure hunt, salvage, procuring xenos creatures for the Beast House, charting unsurveyed systems, etc.
The background that came up during character creation has now been fleshed out a bit:
The dynasty itself is one in crisis. A once-great house that was beset with troubles and has fallen on hard times, though some would say they brought it on themselves. Over the centuries the dynasty acquired a reputation for dabbling in tech-heresy, and for a love of tinkering unbecoming to those not of the Machine Cult. The dynasty has a long-standing feud with House Winterscale, its origins lost in the mists of time. The PC dynasty's borderline renegade nature made it easy for their rival to gather allies against them, and so as the Winterscales rose to prominence, the PC dynasty fell into ruin.
The last calamity was the mysterious loss of their single remaining warp-capable warship, the Jezebel, along with the Rogue Trader's father, somewhere in the Expanse. Caligos Winterscale now views his family's long-standing rival to be finished, but he won't consider the matter totally over with until the last heir is dead. Thus while concentrating mostly on other affairs (such as House Chorda), a small corner of his mind is still fixed on wiping out the PCs once and for all.
As a last throw of the dice, the head of the dynasty (the PC RT's grandfather), has sold off almost the entire remaining family holdings in the Calixis Sector to finance the refurbishment of a wrecked ex-navy light cruiser, and has retired to an asteroid fortress mansion to oversee the dynasty's remaining asteroid mines. He is handing over the torch to the next generation, tasking them with reclaiming their family's destiny out among the stars.
Player character back-stories as as follows:
While serving an apprenticeship on a small dynasty vessel on an unknown mission in the Expanse, he turned up on Footfall dressed in rags, babbling and raving like a madman. He had no recollection of what happened to himself or his ship. Now he finds himself plagued by dark dreams and brooding thoughts: A machine world, implants, pipes and tubes in his body, strange experiments and a deep, dark fear of something he does not wish to remember but at the same time longs for. He has resolved to find out what was done to him, and who it was that caused him this torment. The answer, should he find it, is that whatever exactly happened, he did it to himself, quite willingly. But somewhere out there at the very edge of the galaxy among the dead Halo Stars, he discovered some terror so deep and unfathomable that it snapped his mind. Someone partially wiped it, possibly to protect him, possibly for other reasons.
Due to the dynasty's somewhat outcast nature, they have been forced to recruit from some less-than-ideal quarters:
Belongs to a heterodox sect called the Lucidian Appendicists. They venerate Saint Lucidian, supposedly a contemporary of Drusus. Unfortunately, the Ecclesiarchy takes a dim view of this, and consider the folk tales about Lucidian to be apochryphal. A particularly zealous agent of the Ordo Hereticus took it upon herself to cleanse the sect our Missionary belonged to. His entire family apart from himself and his sister were killed. He now burns with a desire for revenge, but also seeks his sister. It transpires that she has embarked upon a pilgrimage to locate an extant copy of the lost Lucidian Appendix, a tome that if found, might validate the Appendicists' teachings in the eyes of the Ministorum orthodoxy (but I wouldn't bank on it). Last he heard her search may have taken her into the Expanse, so he has signed up as Ship's Confessor on the Rogue Trader's vessel in the hope of finding her, and hopefully the book too. Getting out of the Calixis Sector isn't a bad idea either, as that over-zealous Inquisitor is still sniffing around.
An old navy hand, but with a dark and troubled past. Recruited as a feral tribesman on a Death World by underworld crime elements to serve as muscle, he eventually rose through their ranks and educated himself in the ways of the wider Imperium. Seeking to gain inside men in the Imperial Navy for the purposes of perpetrating fraud, the criminal organisation had him join up. The resourceful fellow quickly gained promotion here too, serving first as a hotshot pilot and later as a junior bridge officer. The fraud involved syphoning off the pay of phantom voidsmen who only existed on paper, leaving the ship dangerously under-manned. Eventually he decided his loyalty actually lay with the Navy, rather than his erstwhile confederates, and so he blew the whistle on the conspiracy. But as some quite high level and well-connected officers were being paid off to look the other way, the whole thing was covered up. Our voidmaster was kicked out on a fake medical discharge with a small pension. But the crime lords were not so forgiving. As revenge for his treachery they attempted to have him killed, but he managed to slip away. His wife was not so fortunate. They caught her and she met an excruciating end in a Footfall torture pit, while decadent paying spectators looked on.
As the game goes on a "friend" will contact our player offering him two lists. One of those involved in the actual torturing, and the other a list of those who paid to watch. Whether he acts on this information is up to the player, but among the names will be people the party will run into in the course of their adventures, some of them allies or potential allies (such as Aspyce Chorda), which could make things interesting.
I'm thinking of introducing a twist where the "friend" is using our man as a dupe to rid himself of his own enemies. How the Void Master reacts if he discovers he is killing people innocent of this crime could prove interesting too.
Interestingly, the dynasty's new ship is the same the Void Master served on in the Navy, last seen by him from a saviour pod, on fire and plunging into an ice field, presumed lost. It was in an engagement with Karrad Vall's pirate fleet, and the VM has nursed a burning hatred of Chaos Reavers ever since.
The Arch Militant is the young-ish son of another of the players, who has never role-played before. Right now I think he just wants to shoot things so I don't want to overwhelm him with too much backstory at the moment, but if he gets into the role-playing we can flesh him out further at a later time. As he is noble-born we have decided he is a child of the dynasty, a younger sibling of the Rogue Trader character.
Again, not totally fleshed out yet. This player is a more casual, drop-in player. Keen to play but perhaps unable to attend every session. As the dynasty is somewhat in the bad books of the Adeptus Mechanicus, we've decided the tech-priests on board will be part of some near-break-away, splinter faction, something along the lines of the Disciples of Thule (possibly them, possibly some new sect made up by me). Based mostly in the Expanse and pretty much out of contact with the Imperium at large. In return for their help, they will expect the players to occasionally provide aid in their mysterious undertakings (and the Rogue Trader may discover they were involved in the incident that led to his bout of madness).
Oh, and he's a mutant.
All this simply emerged from the character generation process. I really like how it does that. The Seneschal, Astropaths and Navigators will be NPCs and I'm still in the process of fleshing them out.
I like to start In Media Res so rather than them meeting up to join the ship as they are expecting, the first outing will be something unexpected. I was rather taken with the way the introductory adventure to another FFG 40k game starts, so I have stolen the seed of an idea from there. As the game starts they shall find themselves emerging from stasis tubes on an Inquisition Prison Barge. Thanks to the machinations of Winterscale agents our Missionary's pursuing Inquisitor was tipped off as to their travel plans and they were intercepted, captured, and put in Stasis to be taken to Scintilla for a public show trial. But what has happened? Why have the stasis tubes powered down? Where are the crew of the barge and the Inquisitor? Why is the ship out of control and why are there dead bodies everywhere? Why are some of these bodies in voidsuits decorated with blasphemous symbols? Why are the mutated and heretical inmates of the barge out of their cages and running loose? Why are there Murder Servitors roaming the decks and killing at will? Who was the prisoner in Special Stasis Cell Seven, and where have they gone? And most importantly, can our heroes escape from the ship before it plunges into the fiery embrace of the red supergiant Rubycon Majoris?