I'd suggest reading the Mathew Farrer novella Legacy for a good impression of the rights, powers and limitations of a warrant of renown. To whit, while the Lord-Captain and his retinue have effectively unlimited power theoretcially equal to that of the High Lords of Terra outside the borders of the Imperium, they are still citizens of said Imperium. If they want to bombard some feral planet full of orks, that's their business and remit. If they want to try the same stunt on a Calixian hive-world, the Planetary Governor would be well within his rights to call in the Calixian Navy and have them destroyed. I've been using the following as my general go-to Warrant for the players, with assorted changes based on their lineage and my whims at the time of planning the campaign; credit goes to… someone on these boards for originally writing it up, I believe it's based on a West Indies trade charter from the 1700s. Plainspeak description is highlighted like this, as it's a bit dense to read and understand at first.
The Terran High Lords and the Senatorum Imperialis of the Imperium of Mankind, to all who shall be allowed to see these writings, or hear them read, or be told of their contents and meanings in ways they are able to comprehend, Greetings.
Be it known,
that we understand that the prosperity of the Systems of the Segmentum Obscurus and the welfare and safety of their inhabitants and tithes depend principally on reliable navigation and substantial trade, which in all former times by the said systems were carried on fortunate and with a great blessing to all worlds and sectors under the benign and benevolent watch of our gracious God-Emperor.
Be it known,
that we desire that the aforesaid systems and inhabitants should not only be preserved in their actual state of subsistence and quantity, but also that their well-being and protection from the enemies and dangers within, without or beyond the domains of Mankind, shall be increased as much as possible in special conformity to the agreements, treaties, contracts, pacts, alliances, leagues and covenants made with all concerned worlds, Adepta and people – which we give them to understand must be in all parts punctually kept and adhered to, under the punishment of death or worse by all authorities credited with the vigilant vanguard and safe-keeping of the Imperium of Mankind.
And we find by experience, that without the common help, assistance, and interposition of Imperial Men and Women, the people designated for the tasks of navigation, traffic and trade cannot be profitably protected and maintained in their great risque from pirates, extortion and otherwise, which will happen in so very long a voyage.
We have, therefore, and for several other important reasons and considerations for finding resolution as not mentioned here, with mature deliberation of counsel and guidance from our advisers many, and for highly necessary causes, found it good, that all exploration, defense and Holy War against all that stands against the united strength of our Imperium of Mankind, all navigation, trade, and commerce, and not excluding but rather encouraging all other steps deemed vital and necessary to the preservation of the structure and magnitude of the Imperium of Mankind as it stands to date, especially in the rimward parts of the Systems of the Segmentum Obscurus, the so-called Fringe worlds and all that lies beyond the borders of our beloved God-Emperors holy domain of reign, including the newly found accessible expanse of Koronus and the Halo Stars, and other places hereafter described, should not henceforth be carried on any otherwise than by the common united strength of the Rogue Traders and loyal Imperial Men and Women; and for that end there shall be elected diverse Rogue Traders, and in especial, the Line of Clawface which we, out of special regard to the common well-being, and to keep and preserve the inhabitants of aforementioned places in loyality and orthodoxy, will maintain and strengthen with our Help, Favour and assistance as far as the present state and conditions of this Warrant will be accredited.
With these lines, signed by our name and blood, we furnish them with a proper Warrant of Trade as laid down in archetype on paper, stone and adamantium by the God-Emperor himself, including the following Priveleges and Exemptions, to wit:
I: That until this bloodline shall perish from the stars, none of the Natives or Inhabitants of these countries shall be permitted to sail to or from the said lands, or to traffic in the systems and worlds of Koronus from the Rifts of Hecaton to the warp storm known as The Cauldron, nor in the worlds of the Halo, or the Heathen Stars, beginning at the fourth world of Phainal, by the streights of Benetek, Nostromo, or any other streights and passages situated thereabouts to the straights of Anais, as well on the north borders as the south borders, nor on any worlds situated on the one side or the other, or between both; nor in the western or southern sectorari reaching, lying, and between both the meridians, from the God-Emperor’s Scourge, in the South, to the Galactic Rim, in the West, inclusive, but in the Name of a Rogue Trader of this Imperium of Mankind. And whoever shall presume without the consent of these Peers, to sail or to traffic in any of the Places within the aforesaid Limits granted to said Trader or Traders, he shall forfeit the ships and the goods which shall be found for sale upon the aforesaid coasts and lands; the which being actually seized by the aforesaid company, shall be by them kept for their own Benefit and Behoof. And in case such ships or goods shall be sold either in other systems or havens they may touch at, the owners and partners must be fined for the value of those ships and goods: Except only, that they who before the date of this charter, shall have sailed or been sent out of these or any other worlds, to any of the aforesaid regions, shall be able to continue their trade for the sale of their goods, and cosine back again, or otherwise, until the expiration of this charter, if they have had any before, and not longer: Provided, that after, 499621.M39 the day and time of this charters commencing, no person shall be able to send any ships or goods to the places comprehended in this charter, although that before the date hereof, this Company was not finally incorporated: But shall provide therein as is becoming, against those who knowingly by fraud endeavour to frustrate our intention herein for the public good: Provided that the ore trade at Iniquity may be continued according to the conditions and instructions by us already given, or that may be given respecting it, any thing in this charter to the contrary notwithstanding.
For as long as the Rogue Trader's line exists, they shall enjoy a transit monopoly within a specified boundary, excepting those who have been granted similar benefits prior to this document. In effect, they're the only Imperials permitted to travel into the Koronus Expanse and other such areas.
II: That, moreover, the aforesaid Trader may, in our name and authority, within the limits herein before prescribed, make contracts, engagements and alliances with the limits herein before prescribed, make contracts, engagements and alliances with the princes and natives of the worlds comprehended therein, and also build any forts and fortifications there, to appoint and discharge Governors, people for war, and officers of justice, and other public officers, for the preservation of the places, keeping good order, police and justice, and in like manner for the promoting of trade; and again, others in their place to put, as they from the situation of their affairs shall see fit: Moreover, they must advance the peopling of those fruitful and unsettled parts, and do all that the service of those countries, and the profit and increase of trade shall require: and the Company shall successively communicate and transmit to us such contracts and alliances as they shall have made with the aforesaid princes and nations; and likewise the situation of the fortresses, fortifications, and settlements by them taken.
The Trader may act as the Imperium in this region, and is permitted to make contact with other races and nations in this capacity. They are also allowed to appoint planetary governors, raise fortifications, or anything else that a Peer of the Imperium may normally perform in the pursuit of profit. They are required to communicate back to the Imperium any such contracts or constructions they accomplish in this capacity.
III:: Saving, that they having chosen a Paterfamilias, and prepared instructions for him, they shall be approved, and a commission given by us, And that further, such paterfamilias, as well as other deputies, commanders, and officers, shall be held to take an oath of allegiance to us and also to the Rogue Trader.
The Trader and his family must swear an oath of loyalty to the Imperium, and the Trader’s crew to the Trader.
IV:: And if the aforesaid Trader Lineage in and of the aforesaid places shall be cheated under the appearance of friendship, or badly treated, or shall suffer loss in trusting their money or Goods, without having restitution, or receiving payment for them, they may use the best methods in their power, according to the situation of their affairs, to obtain satisfaction.
If anyone cheats or tricks the Trader, he is entitled to seek restitution by any means necessary.
V:: And if it should be necessary for the establishment, security and defence of this trade, to take any troops with them, we will, according to the dicatates of the Ministorum of this Imperium, and the situation of affairs furnish the said Trader with such troops, provided they be paid and supported by the Trader.
If the Trader needs troops, he may requisition Imperial soldiers, but is responsible for their care and feeding. (Standard acquisition test rules apply, before you think to get clever and make a trip to Cadia)
VI:: Which troops, besides the oath already taken to us and to His Imperial Majesty, shall swear to obey the commands of the said Trader, and to endeavour to promote their interest to the utmost of their ability.
These soldiers will be loyal to the Trader, excepting when it contradicts their loyalty to the Emperor.
VII:: That the provosts of the Trader in a gravity well may apprehend any of the military, that have enlisted in the service of the aforesaid Trader, and may confine them on board the ships above whatever world, station, or jurisdiction they may be found; provided, the provosts first inform the officers and magistrates of the worlds and stations where this happens.
The Trader has the right to imprison any of his sworn men, taking them from a planet to his vessel. (Can be useful if the Explorers manage to get nabbed by the Arbites, although the Arbites also have jurisdiction to board any Imperial vessel, including the Explorers'.)
VIII:: That we will not take any ships, ordnance, or ammunition belonging to the Trader, for the use of this Imperium, without Need.
The Imperium will not seize your guns, money, or soldiers unless we need them.
IX:: We have moreover invested this Trader, and favoured them with privileges, and we give them a charter besides this, that they may pass freely with all their ships and goods beyond the reach of these Lords; and that they themselves may use their liberty in the same manner as the Great Lords of this Imperium enjoy their freedom, when beyond the pacified borders of this Realm.
The Trader speaks with the Emperor’s Voice when beyond the purview of the High Lords of Terra.
X:: That all the goods of this company during the eight next ensuing years, be carried out of this Imperium to the parts of the Koronus and Halo, and other places comprehended within the aforesaid limits, and those which they shall bring into this demense, shall be from outward and home convoys; provided, that if at the expiration of the aforesaid eight years, the state and situation of these worlds will not admit of this Freedom’s continuing for a longer time, the said goods, and the merchandises coming from the places mentioned in this Charter, and exported again out of these countries, and the outward convoys and licenses, during the whole time of this Charter, shall not be rated higher by us than they have formerly been rated, unless we should be again engaged in a Crusade, in which case, all the aforesaid goods and merchandises will not be rated higher by us than they were in the last list in time of war.
We will not raise tariffs for this Trader for the next 8 years, unless there’s a major war, in which case we won’t raise them higher than they were during the last major war. (Useful for justifying why acquisitions fail.)
XI:: And that this Line may be strengthened by a good government, to the greatest profit and satisfaction of all concerned, we have ordained, that the said government shall be audited every ten years, Terran, by the Adeptus Administratum, with all records and returns opened to their perusal, as requested to make a good and complete accounting.
The bureaucracy of the Imperium has the right to audit the Trader’s books.
XII:: That the accounts of the furniture and outfit of the vessels, with their dependencies, shall be made up three months after the departure of the vessels, and one month after, copies shall be sent to to us, and to the respective chambers: and the state of the returns, and their sales, shall the chambers (as often as we see good, or they are required thereto by the chambers) send to us and to one another.
The Rogue Trader will create an inventory of his fleet within three months of departure from port, and submit this inventory within one month after this. We reserve the rights to see your receipts at any time.
XIII:: That every six years he shall make a general account of all outfits and returns, together with all the gains and losses of the company; to wit, one of his business, and one of the war, each separate; which accounts shall be kept secret from the wider throng of Humanity, but open to those appointed by this Body; and if by the expiration of the seventh year, the accounts are not kept in manner aforesaid, the Trader shall forfeit his commissions, which shall be appropriated to any use seen fit by this Body, and they themselves be held to render their account as before, till such time and under such penalty as shall be fixed by us respecting offenders. And notwithstanding there shall be a dividend made of the profits of the business, so long as we find that term per Cent shall have been gained.
The Rogue Trader will turn his books over to the bureaucracy every six years for this audit, and if by the end of seven years, they have heard no word, this Warrant of Trade is revoked.
XIV:: The ships returning from a voyage shall come to the place they sailed from; and if by stress of weather the vessels which sailed out from one part shall arrive in another; as those from Port Wander, or Scintilla, in Koronus, or in the Halo; or from Malfi, in Calixis; or those from Footfall, with the city and station, in another part; each chamber shall nevertheless have the direction and management of the vessels and goods it sent out, and shall send and transport the goods to the places from whence the vessels sailed, either in the same or other vessels: Provided, that the managers of that chamber shall be held in person to find the place svhere the vessels and goods are arrived, and not appoint factors to do this business; but in case they shall not be in a situation for travelling, they shall commit this business to the chamber of the place where the vessels arrived.
The Rogue Trader’s vessels must return to their home port, and if they end up at another port, all profits and materiel must be shipped TO that port for audit and taxation. (Largely irrelevant, another acquisition description type deal, assumed to be handled in the background.)
XVI:: And if any of the Sector Governors think fit to appoint an agent to collect the tithe from the inhabitants of worlds brought into our embrace by said Trader, the Trader shall be obliged to give such agent access, that he may obtain information of the state of the disbursements and receipts, and of the debt.
If the Sector Governor sends someone to collect a tithe from any planet the Rogue Trader has claimed in the name of the Imperium, the Rogue Trader is obligated to provide access to this world.
XVII:: Those in vassalage to the Trader shall not deliver or sell to the Company, in whole or in part, any of their own ships, merchandise or goods; nor buy or cause to be bought, of the said Trader, directly or indirectly, any goods or merchandize nor have any portion or part therein on forfeiture of one year’s commissions for the use of these Lords, and the loss of Office.
Anyone working for the Rogue Trader may not start their own merchant venture as long as they are working for the Rogue Trader.
XVIII:: The managers shall give notice by advertisement, as often as they have a fresh importation of goods and merchandize, to the end that every one may have seasonable knowledge of it, before they proceed to a final sale, notwithstanding when the representatives of these High Lords, or the Holy Inquisition, shall deny this advertisement.
The Trader’s organization must let everyone at a port know that they have goods for sale, unless the Imperial Government or the Inquisition tells them that they may not.
XIX:: The governors of the respective worlds claimed by this Trader shall be responsible for their respective tithes as the Trader shall be responsible for the governors he elected for the aforementioned worlds.
The governors of the worlds the Rogue Trader claims are responsible for providing the appropriate tithes.
XX:: And when any ship in service to this Trader shall return from a voyage, the generals or commanders of the fleets, shall be obliged to come and report to us, via Astropathic transmission, the success of the voyage of such ship or ships, within ten days after their arrival, and shall deliver and leave with the Administratum a report in writing, if the case requires it.
After any journey, the Trader or his organization must file an Astropathic report with the Imperium, as well as a written log with the local Administratum.
XXI:: And if it happens (which we by all means expect) that any person will, in any manner, hurt or hinder the navigation, business, trade, or traffic of this Trader, contrary to the contents of the aforesaid treaties, leagues, and covenants, they shall defend it against them, and regulate it by the instructions we have given concerning it.
Reiterating that the High Lords expect people to **** with the Trader, and giving him permission to take ’em down for doing so.
XXII:: And if by a violent and continued interruption of the aforesaid navigation and traffic, the business within the limits of this Warrant shall be brought to an open war, we will, if the situation of this country will in any wise admit of it, give them for their assistance up to sixteen ships of war; with four good well patrol yachts, which shall be properly mounted and provided in all respects, both with lance and other cannon, and a proper quantity of ammunition, together with double suits of running and standing drives, fields, cables, anchors, and other things thereto belonging, such as are proper to be provided and used in all great expeditions; upon condition, that they shall be manned, victualled, and supported at the expense of the Trader, and that the Trader shall be obliged to add thereto matching ships of war, and four yachts, mounted and provided as above, to be used in like manner for the defence of trade and all exploits of war: Provided that all the ships of war and merchant-men (that shall be with those provided and manned as aforesaid) shall be under an admiral appointed by us according to the previous advise of the aforesaid Rogue Trader, and shall obey our commands, together with the resolutions of the Trader, if it shall be necessary, in the same manner as in time of war; so notwithstanding that the merchantmen shall not unnecessarily hazard their lading.
And if those people continue to mess with the Rogue Trader, the navy will send vessels and troops to help support the Trader’s forces, matching vessel for vessel.
XXIII:: We have moreover ordained, that in case of a war, all the prizes which shall be taken from enemies and pirates within the aforesaid limits, by the Trader or his assistants; also the goods which shall be seized by virtue of our proclamation, after deducting all expenses and the damage which the company shall suffer in taking each prize, together with the just part of his excellency the admiral, agreeable to our resolution of the 499621.M39; and the tenth part for the officers, sailors and soldiers, who have taken the prize, shall await the disposal of the managers of the aforesaid Trader; Provided that the account of them shall be kept separate and apart from the account of trade and commerce; and that the nett proceeds of the said prizes shall be employed in fitting our ships, paying the troops, fortifications, garrisons, and like matters of war and defence by void and land; but there shall be no distribution unless the said nett proceeds shall amount to so much that a notable share may be distributed without weakening the said defence, and after paying the expenses of the war, which shall be done separate and apart from the distributions on account of Trade: And the distribution shall be made one-tenth part for the use of the Imperium of Man, and the remainder for the members of this company, in exact proportion to the capital they have advanced.
This clause explains how the booty will be divided between the Trader and the Imperial Navy after such an action.
XXIV:: Provided nevertheless, that all the prizes and goods, taken by virtue of our proclamation, shall be brought in, and the right laid before the judicature of the counsellors of the admirality for the part to which they are brought, that they may take cognizance of them, and determine the legality or illegality of the said prizes: the process of the administration of the goods brought in by the Trader remaining nevertheless pending, and that under a proper inventory; and saving a revision of what may be done by the sentence of the admirality, agreeable to the instruction given the admiralty in that behalf. Provided that the vendue-masters and other officers of the Admiralty shall not have or pretend to any right to the prizes taken by this Company, and shall not be employed respecting them.
However, any booty must be inspected for heretical or illegal nature before being disbursed, and no official will claim the Trader’s rightful legal share.
XXV:: The paterfamilias of this Lineage shall solemnly promise and swear, that they will act well and faithfully in their administration, and make good and just accounts of their trade: That they in all things will consult the greatest profit ofthe Lineage, and as much as possible prevent their meeting with losses: That they will not give the principal members any greater advantage in the payments or distribution of money than the least: That they, in getting in and receiving outstanding debts, will not favour one more than another: that they for their own account will take, and, during the continuance of their administration, will continue to take such sum of money as by their charter is allotted to them; and moreover, that they will, as far as concerns them, to the utmost of their power, observe and keep, and cause to be observed and kept, all and every the particulars and articles herein contained.
The Rogue Trader will swear to uphold all the guidelines laid out in this charter.
XXVI:: All which privileges, freedoms and exemptions, together with the assistance herein before mentioned, in all their particulars and articles, we have, with full knowledge of the business, given, granted, promised and agreed to the aforesaid individual; giving, granting, agreeing and promising moreover that they shall enjoy them peaceably and freely; ordaining that the same shall be observed and kept by all the magistrates, officers and subjects of the Imperium of Mankind, without doing anything contrary thereto directly or indirectly, either within or out of these realms, on penalty of being punished both in life and goods as obstacles to the common welfare of the realms of Mankind, and transgressors of our ordinance: promising moreover that we will maintain and establish the Warrant in the things contained in this charter, in all treaties of peace, alliances and agreements with the neighboring princes, kingdoms and worlds, without doing anything, or suffering any thing to be done which will weaken their establishment. Charging and expressly commanding all governors, justices, officers, magistrates and inhabitants of the aforesaid Imperium of Mankind, that they permit the aforesaid Trader and managers peaceably and freely to enjoy the full effect of this charter, agreement, and privilege, without any contradiction or impeachment to the contrary. And that none may pretend ignorance hereof, we command that the contents of this charter shall be filed with the Administratum, as is proper; for we have found it necessary for the service of this Galaxy.
All Imperial citizens are required to abide by the strictures of this charter as they pertain to the Trader, and to ensure that they cannot claim ignorance, we will file this Warrant in the Imperial Archives.
XXVII:: In regard to the actions of Rogue Traders and their factors and agents, recognizing actions both the honourable and not, and deeds performed by them and their kin, and the actions of their lineage bearing this Warrant, we deem it necessary to decree, as to ensure continued development of the Imperium of Mankind as well as to allow the bearer of this Warrant to show his duty, devotion and loyality to Mankind:
XXVIIa:: That each new paterfamilias of the Traders lineage will have to undertake a Grand Endeavor of exploration outside the realms of which is known as the Imperium of Mankind, to broaden humanities knowledge of the realms of the without, and to bring the childrens of the Golden Throne, lost in dark ages of strife, far astern in time, back under the guiding light of the God-Emperors authority and rule.
A new Rogue Trader must undertake an Endeavour to prove his birthright to the Warrant of Trade.
XXVIIb:: That the tasks and objectives of said Grand Endeavour, as they are laid down individually for each Trader by the Adeptus Administraum, or by any other subject of our choosing suited for this task, but excluding all of those which are not blessed with knowledge of trafficing, shall be completed without neither haste nor delay, within the time of one and a half years (in consideration to the unfathomable rules regarding travels through or by the Immaterium) as recorded on the bridge of the ship of the Traders choosing, for all there to be seen, or any other place he places his foot and steps unto.
Said Endeavour must be completed within eighteen months shipwise time as recorded upon the ship’s bridge or any other particular location the Rogue Trader deems fitting for its completion.
XXVIc:: That the results of his exploration shall be compiled and send to us and our appointed representatives among the Adepta as, pending further notice, the Imperial Sector Commander of the Calixis Sector, the Administratum Master of the Calixis Sector and the Lord High Admiral of the Segmentum Obscuris, with no more time than two month elapsing after the finish of the Grand Endeavour.
The compiled reports of the Endeavour must be submitted to the High Lords and appropriate Adepta within two months of completion.
Given under our Great Seal, and the Signature and Seal of our Recorder, at the Imperial Palace, Holy Terra, 0499621.M38