So my group is starting Rogue Trader again with me as a GM. One of the dangling plot threads from our last arc that was never explored is finally being looked at. I'm jotting things down here as much to get my own mind in order but would love any inputs people have.
Brief History: In the course of getting their first ship, the players found out that their houses Administrator assigned to Port Wander had been siphoning vast sums of thrones off the books and then co-mingling them with funds from other parties to fund something going on out in the expanse. Digging a little deeper they found it appeared to be some form of pocket empire of renegades, heretics, and other free thinkers. From the sums of money their seneshal was able to track through the now deceased subordinates ledgers they determined that the pocket empire was likely a bit more then they could chew at the moment. But under Imperial Law anything funded with stolen money is their property, under expanse law though they'd need more 'daka in order to take it. Plus there was the potential for lots of chaos types and other unsavories that they'd need to cleanse.
Well when we last took a break from RT in part due to GM burnout and some player turnover they'd amassed themselves a decent portions of ships. Two well appointed light cruises, a modified merchantman troop transport and a couple of refitted pirate raiders. They've decided it's the perfect time to go kick over that ant hill.
So now I'm looking at both setting up the pocket empire as well as some endeavors related to it.
So Endeavors, I've divided this into seperate phases of the operation with individual endeavors as part of their accomplishment:
Anything worth taking in the bubble empire is presumably defended. The explorer's will need to prepare themselves for anything and everything in order to be successful. There are little better preparations for this sort of endeavor then lots and lots of fighting men and women. The group recently won a planet in a game with other rogue traders and while it produces exceptional soldiers currently it isn't capable of the numbers they need. The options i'm going to suggest to them for filling out their troop levy are as follows. I'm also open to other schemes they might come up with. Almost all of these are going to come with varying levels of either aquisitions tests or if those fail favors owed or promises made to people.
1) Fraternis Militia - There's always a plethora of these guys hanging out at footfall waiting for a good opportunity to die in the name of the Emperor. They even come "war ready" although they don't have anything beyond basic infantry tech. Still they are cheap and plentiful. Of course the players might have their own reasons for not wanting a bunch of zealots crawling around their ship.
2) Imperial Guard/PDF/Mercs - Find someone with an already formed fighting force pay/negotiate for them to turn that force over to you. Impossible for most, but these are Rogue Trader's we're talking about, they buy planets on occasion, guard regiments should be well within their scope. It's just a matter of dealing with people powerful enough to have regiments just sitting around idle and then coming to an agreeable price.
3) Pressment and armament: Manpower is cheap in 40k and the house has a core of mercs to call upon to act as cadre for any follow-on forces. Using their authority as Rogue Traders they can recrurit or press at any Human Hive world or place like Port Wander and begin the training process. Of course they will need to outfit these units for combat which will mean a trip to a major trade hub or forge world. These buying expeditions could also be used to plus up forces aquired in other ways, providing better armaments for Militia or Heavy Tank forces to Augment IG or PDF forces.
Siegebreakers: Planetary Invasions sucks from a Rogue Traders standpoint, a long grinding affair that can take months if not years for a single planet. The Tactica Imperialis is pretty clear that if you actually want to take a planet rather then blow it in mounds of rubble or free floating balls of rock your going to have to spend some time doing it. Siege breaker forces could dramatically speed things up. The problem is you can't just go down to your local forge world and requisition a group of Astartes or a Titan detachment. Your going to have to deal with these people not only at a peer level, but with people who arn't directly motivated by wealth. I'm going to need to come up with what forces might be available, what it would take to even get an audience/consideration from them, and what they'd want in return.
Recon and Intel:
This is a chance for my more intelligence and intrigue focused players and characters to shine. First off they have massive stacks of data held by their former traitor under lock and key at their holdings on Port Wander waiting for a detailed examination. Secondly given the size of this operation there has got to be someone whose heard of it in the various transit hubs and hives of villiany like Port Wander and Footflall. Skulking around dives or reading through tomes checking for intel could save a lot of annoyance later.
Another possibility is taking a ship out, presumably one of the raiders and jumping to the target system to do as stealthy a flyby as possible of the planets and other interesting phenomenon within.
Establish Space Superiority - Simply put it's presumably kind of hard to bring 5 or more ships into a system completely unnoticed especially if said system is off the beaten path and kind of insular. Presumably soon after their arrival in system the PC's flottila will find themselves involved in a space battle with whatever ships their enemies can muster.
Deliver Terms/Undermine the Opposition - At some point the Explorer's will want to reach out to the opposition and offer terms for surrender of their choosing. If they've discovered intel on any factions within the system they may want to tailor their approach to those factions.
The final stage fo the operaton and meta-endeavor. The explorer's enemies will not go quietly into that good night and will need to be cleansed by force of arms. The players will have to decide what planets to invade and with what and will presumably participate in some of the battles either in tip of the spear perspective or accompanying and leading small groups of special operators on lightning strikes.
Thanks for taking the time to read the whole yarn, any inputs are welcome.