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Scope of this Game…


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#1 GalaxyUC

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 06:01 AM

I own this game…in fact, I own a collector's edition of the core book. I keep picking this game up, getting into it, and then realizing that the scope for it is insanely epic. There is SO much information to absorb, one would have to have an amazing group of player that are in LOVE with the canon. This game appears to me that it was never meant for a casual player. There also seems to be a lot of inventory tracking and numbers crunching? Is this true?

I keep trying to get into this game, but keep getting ovewhelmed…and this is just the Core book. I've always been a casual fan of WH40K, but I've never read one of the lengthy novels, or have I actually even played the tabletop game. But, I have played Epic 40K and Battlefleet Gothic. We have also played WH RPG 3rd edition also by FFG. I guess I just dont' get this game…but I want to.

 



#2 Alox

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 07:12 AM

The number tracking is not that bad - you don't have to track everything just go along with common sense.

The immensity of Rogue Trader comes from the players being powerful characters right from the start. It has it charms - but also means that both the GM and to some degree also the players need to know the lore and the world they interact in. They have quite a bit of influence commanding a ship with thousands of people on board with huge guns to boot.

You could start out with Dark Heresy or Only War (which is released soon) for a low power setting. It will be easier to get an inexperienced group eased in to the W40K lore through those games.

I have played a Dark Heresy campaign for a couple of years, and recently the characters have become so strong that they have been given command of one star ship. They are still not dynasty building, but Rogue Trader certainly has the rule set to bring even this old campaign to a new level. So I am with you when you say Rogue Trader has an epic scale.



#3 Alasseo

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 12:27 PM

 You're right about the scope. Rogue Trader can certainly bring the epic. It can also do lower power games- what I like to think of as "starting Traveller" level, if not quite as low as Firefly; but where it excels is in grand sweeping campaigns.

Unfortunately, that does mean it benefits most from a fairly dedicated group of players who can and are prepared to do the involved game time. Quick and episodic, it is not.
That doesn't mean a group playing it casually won't have fun, or that it's impossible to play like that, but it is one of those systems and settings where you lose a large part of the experience doing so.

I'd also disagree about needing a group who loved and really knew the lore and fluff. I've run it for a group of casual 40k players, and I've even run it for people who've never played 40k in any incarnation but Fire Warrior and Space Marine and knew nothing of the setting. As long as they have some guideline to the general aesthetic and tone (plus firmly putting the mighty, mighty changes out of reach, or at least dealing with the consequences*), it's fine to let people mess around and do stuff that would give GRIMDARK fluff-nazis heart attacks.
Not to say that it doesn't help having players who know and love the setting really well, just that the game can work well without. It just takes a little more open-mindedness and/or babysitting from the GM.

Inventory tracking- not really a big thing unless you and your players want it to be. As long as people don't get too silly with what they want to carry around, then the most you need to keep track of (as a player) is maybe 3 mags of ammo per gun and 3 of each grenade type. And with several of the guns, if you need to reload, something has gone Horribly Wrong™ .
Because of the way Acquisitions are set up, if you can get the gun, you've effectively got an unlimited supply of ammo, maintenance supplies and spare parts for it waiting on your ship, so no penny pinching and working out how much you've got left/how much is needed. Same goes for grenades. Only one you actually need to track is torpedoes.

Number crunching- ok, some. Ship building is a pretty rare occurrence though, and that's probably the biggest. The others are Acquisitions (and yes, the acquisitions table looks daunting/slightly clunky at first, but you get used to it), and the Achievement Points system for Endeavours (which a lot of GMs believe is unnecessary anyway, if not easy to break by canny ship-builders; either way, the game works perfectly well if you modify or ignore it).
Acquisitions are the ones you aren't going to be able to avoid though. I'd recommend limiting players to one buying spree per session, if narratively appropriate (ie, they each get one Acquisition roll per session, if they're in a place they might be able to find what they want and aren't otherwise limited by narrative constraints); it doesn't get rid of the number crunching, but it does cut it right down.

Combat, despite what lots of people first think, is less about number crunching than one might expect from a glance at the rules. Very few combats need more than one or two difference range modifiers, and the other "crunchy" bit of it can be streamlined by lumping TB and AP together to find a single "soak". Sure, this does make really high Pen weapons better than they should be, but I've not found it game-breaking (had a player on his first ever RPG. Figured I should make things easier for him).

 

*Newby player, first ever RPG, first time in the 40k setting, decided that the Imperium was evil, and decided the best move would be to kill the Emperor and move the setting into a peaceful democracy. I didn't say he couldn't try, but I did persuade him not to, by the simple expedient of showing him the tyranids, and the Liber Chaotica, and pointing out that the Emperor, and current Imperium was all standing in the way of that.


There is no right, and no wrong, but having the bigger stick makes it so...


#4 susanbrindle

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Posted 13 November 2012 - 01:57 AM

Yeah, I find that compared to D&D 3.5, it's hugely streamlined. I particularly enjoy that "Test to see if you hit" and "Test to see if he dodges" are two seperate rolls- Oddly enough, "I hit. Do you dodge?" ends up being much faster than "Is a 32 a hit?"

 

 The real thing to get used to use the scope of the game in terms of setting. Players are a major influence wherever they go, actually capable of conquering entire planets with their armies.



#5 Warmaster Picklehauber

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Posted 13 November 2012 - 03:41 AM

The stumbling block might be that everyone (thanks to the LOTR movie trilogy) knows about elves, dwarves and orks, although this wasn't even the case 10 years ago! Few people, who aren't directly involved in dice and paper gaming, are familiar with Imperium.

I'm currently writing an meta endeavor / adventure designed to acquaint noobs with the WH 40k intellectual property. It's becoming quite a challenge, but an enjoyable one. One chapter of this entails a mini-endeavor in which the explorers are obliged to deliver Administratum tax assessor bureaucrats, and covert Inquisitorial agents, to the Death / Frontier World- Fortuna, which I have detailed in another thread: Gazetteer Depositorium! (Please contribute!) Here the explorers set the tone for the game and their relationship with the Imperium.

Any sane person's reaction to the Imperium, a theocratic dictatorship: not unlike North Korea, is that it's a terrible place, so getting people on-board as being agents of this mess is probably difficult. I've noticed over the years that players often have a difficult time being "evil" religious agents, although they seem to have no problem being indiscriminate, secular killing-machines! This might, however, be an issue only with the people with whom I play. To this end I spin the game, if they are familiar with D&D, as thus; the explorers are by definition "neutral evil" or "lawful evil". If they have no knowledge of dice and paper PRGs, I tell them they are essentially historic conquistadors: bad men who have been given license to do whatever they wish as long as it brings plunder to the crown. That doesn't necessarily mean that they can't fight for a democratic republic, in fact, rogue traders might be the only people in the WH 40k universe who  have the power and influence to do that (!), just that if other aspects of the Imperium brand them as criminals, pirates or heretics they will be treated as such pretty much anywhere they go. (But, hey, the Expanse is a long way from Terra, right? Kroot can run around Footfall without citizens batting an eye!) So I have plans for what to do with the game in the event they "go pirate.", most of which involve liberal usage of material from Hostile Acquisitions. It begins with a revocation of their Warrant of Trade, and the Rogue Trader's family distancing itself as from their scion a matter of prudent survival.

Immediately the explorers experience a precipitous drop in Profit rating, maybe half? Next comes the real fun. Purging their void ship of Imperial influence will itself be an endeavor. They might need to: 1) Expunge strong believers from the lower decks, 2) "retire" devoutly religious agents from the crew   (missionaries, commissars, confessors and Inquisitorial spies, etc.), 3) coerce their navigators, or acquire those only from shrouded houses, 4) acquire Heretekal or non-Adeptus Mechanicus technocrats for engineering and repairs, and 5) find a safe haven for respite from their now "criminal" endeavors. This is all without looking at a drop in crew morale, which comes from having a lord captain who is endangering your very immortal soul, and putting down any resulting mutinies! Instead of royal welcomes at Imperial worlds, the explorers must contend with sneaky meetings with corrupt Imperials at sleazy, unglamorous spots that, at any time, might be traps or betrayals by those who seek favor with the Imperium. Holding onto their void ship and eliminating Imperial influence is going to be a huge job. On the other hand, with the rate at which Imperium toils, it may be a few hundred years before news of their warrant's status gets from the Expanse to Terra and back.

If they are hot enough, even Footfall won't want them docking there, so I'll create a non-Chaotic pirate harbor (like historic Tortuga) where they may acquire crew, dock for repairs and the like without constantly looking over their collective shoulders. That is, if they want to avoid the influence of Chaos. They will be certainly welcomed at first, however, by Karrad Vall or the Saynay Clan. They may quickly discover that these are even more oppressive versions of the Imperium that will certainly lead to their, far more probable and quick, destruction. If they do that, then someone may have to buy a copy of Black Crusade! Even if they avoid planet Inequity's influence, Chaos will be a constant issue as the crew in its entirety has turned away from the Emperor's light.

In short, I say let them buck the Evil Empire ™ rather than force them to adhere to it, but make sure they feel it if they do!

 



#6 Macharias the Mendicant

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Posted 13 November 2012 - 04:33 AM

I agree with the others: RT is particularly well-suited to do Epic Space Opera, though that doesn't need to be the case for all campaigns.

As for number crunching: I have actually found that it's relatively light on number crunching. We play DH, RT, OW and DW and I take notes and track our party's stuff on all of our games. I almost never have to bother tracking anything besides grenades or my exotic ammo for my Tau Pulse Pistol (and even that stopped after I completed a side-mission to give me a secret and constant source of the ammo). Everything else just uses the rule of common sense: if it makes sense for you to have it, then you have it.

That's the truly empowering aspect of Profit Factor. And it's the main reasons all of the games after RT adopted a similar wealth system instead of the 'thrones' of DH. (In fact, I find DH to be the most demanding - until you reach Ascension - because you need to keep track of everything.) It is intended to reduce the amount of bean counting required. By reducing the amount of bookkeeping you increase the amount of epic: you no longer sweat the small stuff, so to speak.

If you're worried about the setting itself being too large, you can take advantage of your players' lack of knowledge about the setting. Start the camapign by restricting your travels within a pre-determined boundary. Start them off small, will missions that are as much designed to introduce the world as reduce the amount of preparation required. Set up a base and a few 'regular' stopping points that the PCs return to after their forrays into space.

Another consideration: 'assist' the players in the building of their ship so that the compoenents thay have are geared towards certain types of endeavours. With a clearer focus and purpose for this particular ship, you'll be able to 'restrict' the types of missions without actually outright prohibiting certain actions. What you need to do to keep your sanity is to limit the totally open scope of the sandbox-style game RT is predisposed towards. Set up limits on where the characters can go. It's actually not that hard and if you tell them it's to keep from going insane, they'll get it. As one of my fellow players says: "Sandboxes have borders."

(Side note: when we DO feel like heading out into the wild with RT, we have a house rule: we must send the GM an email at least a few days before game time explaining where we wish to go and why. That gives the GM time to plan something cool rather than feel all stressed out because he has to ad lib something he might not be happy with.)



#7 UberMutant

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Posted 13 November 2012 - 09:15 AM

The scope makes the game and is very difficult to get your head round the first few times. My players are veteran Dark Heresy and Deathwatch players and GMs and know the basics of the system and background. This is good :D Of course, they were still thinking like Dark Heresy players and on missions would only take themselves and Ensign Rickie.

After a good slapping by the orks and the burning of thier guncutter by Ork attack buggies, they suddenly realised that with the huge crew, army and spaceship they could do things they had never considered before, like, say, take 200 armsmen on a mission to handle the mundane combat.

PF is easy to manage, I have simply binned the entire Endeavour beancounting and streamlined it into a simple and sensible system, the same with mass combat and to an extent space combat. Space combat is the trickiest for us, but only because we tried using models and our table space isn't that large. Inventory management is easy, although by level 5 everyone has pressure carapace, conversion fields, grapplehawks and a backup inferno pistol for close encounters…..

My advice is give it a whirl and see what they do, keep it simple for the first few games, maybe use a PreGen adventure like the ones on the FFG website to break them in gently.



#8 Visitor Q

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Posted 13 November 2012 - 09:45 PM

Warmaster Picklehauber said:

Any sane person's reaction to the Imperium, a theocratic dictatorship: not unlike North Korea, is that it's a terrible place, so getting people on-board as being agents of this mess is probably difficult. I've noticed over the years that players often have a difficult time being "evil" religious agents, although they seem to have no problem being indiscriminate, secular killing-machines! This might, however, be an issue only with the people with whom I play. To this end I spin the game, if they are familiar with D&D, as thus; the explorers are by definition "neutral evil" or "lawful evil". If they have no knowledge of dice and paper PRGs, I tell them they are essentially historic conquistadors: bad men who have been given license to do whatever they wish as long as it brings plunder to the crown. That doesn't necessarily mean that they can't fight for a democratic republic, in fact, rogue traders might be the only people in the WH 40k universe who  have the power and influence to do that (!), just that if other aspects of the Imperium brand them as criminals, pirates or heretics they will be treated as such pretty much anywhere they go.

One way of Gming this to a group of people who don't know the detail of WH40K is simply to feed them the 'party' line.  Afterall as bad as the Imperium is (and it is awful by 21st century standards) none of the other races are much better, and certainly not from the propaganda that the Imperium produces about them.  The Eldar one of the few races that the Imperium has on occassion allied with have destroyed Imperial worlds with no warning and little provocation.

Even the Tau which at least espouse a reasonably civilised doctrine have no problem with rampant Imperialisim and totalitarian behaviour including the forced sterilisation of dissident populations.

To put it in D&D terms whatever alignment the Imperium is, to the Imperium everyone else is Chaotic Evil*

*I of course mean Chaotic in the D&D sense not in the Four Great Powers sense…..except for Chaos….you know what I mean.

 



#9 Warmaster Picklehauber

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 02:49 AM

Visitor Q said:

 

Warmaster Picklehauber said:

 

Any sane person's reaction to the Imperium, a theocratic dictatorship: not unlike North Korea, is that it's a terrible place, so getting people on-board as being agents of this mess is probably difficult. I've noticed over the years that players often have a difficult time being "evil" religious agents, although they seem to have no problem being indiscriminate, secular killing-machines! This might, however, be an issue only with the people with whom I play. To this end I spin the game, if they are familiar with D&D, as thus; the explorers are by definition "neutral evil" or "lawful evil". If they have no knowledge of dice and paper PRGs, I tell them they are essentially historic conquistadors: bad men who have been given license to do whatever they wish as long as it brings plunder to the crown. That doesn't necessarily mean that they can't fight for a democratic republic, in fact, rogue traders might be the only people in the WH 40k universe who  have the power and influence to do that (!), just that if other aspects of the Imperium brand them as criminals, pirates or heretics they will be treated as such pretty much anywhere they go.

 

One way of Gming this to a group of people who don't know the detail of WH40K is simply to feed them the 'party' line.  Afterall as bad as the Imperium is (and it is awful by 21st century standards) none of the other races are much better, and certainly not from the propaganda that the Imperium produces about them.  The Eldar one of the few races that the Imperium has on occassion allied with have destroyed Imperial worlds with no warning and little provocation.

Even the Tau which at least espouse a reasonably civilised doctrine have no problem with rampant Imperialisim and totalitarian behaviour including the forced sterilisation of dissident populations.

To put it in D&D terms whatever alignment the Imperium is, to the Imperium everyone else is Chaotic Evil*

*I of course mean Chaotic in the D&D sense not in the Four Great Powers sense…..except for Chaos….you know what I mean.

 

 

 

The Tau are worse than that! It's being Chaotic Evil while under the boot heel of Alien Xeno Scum! Gross!

I've had a chance to browse Black Crusade and the parts explaining the Imperium are interesting. It's definitely and outsider's viewpoint; it's very (almost comically) nuanced! Maybe I would point my players there for getting an education on the Imperium.

The people I have played PRGs with in the past seemed to have a sudden attack of morality when it came to serving religious roles (as in, "We don't want to be members of an evil cult!") they didn't entertain or ethically question when they were doing something like playing a band of blackguard mercenaries or muscle for some well-heeled, duplicitous businessman or merchant.

I have always thought that it seemed it would be more fun to play Cardinal Richelieu than any of the three musketeers. Maybe that's just me?

 



#10 susanbrindle

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Posted 14 November 2012 - 03:16 AM

It's also worth nothing that the players could very well be quite moral figures, even by their own standards. Bringing civilization to feral worlds, saving colonies from attacks by Orks…

 

Heck, most of the icky stuff the Imperium does (like executing everyone who dares to question the Imperium, violently hating every other alien race, etc) are things that Rogue Traders can get away with not doing.






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