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Voyage to Terra!


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#1 lurkeroutthere

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 01:34 AM

So a little bit of backstory here.

 

My groups Rogue Trader was recently revealed to have psychic powers for reasons of plot. After mulling it over and taking the counsel of an NPC cousin of his who is an Inquisitor (and also a psyker). She advised him to travel to Terra either in his own ship or wait around for a black ship to make a circuit. Now based on her own experiences with the black ship's he advised him that since he is essentially turning himself in and has a ship at his disposal he go himself. He had originally planned on taking one of the fleets minor vessels and heading out and playing another character for a bit. However having mulled it over in character and out of character with the party they've decided to take their flagship (a light cruiser) and head to Terra. Now I need brain storming help just to pitch some ideas and see what sticks. I see this as kind of an epic oddessy and hope to play it that way.

 

What sort of preperations will they need to make before leaving. - For starters the tthought occurs to me that they will need provisions for a long journey, and then will need to tie up any loose ends on their local business. Lastly they will need to secure documents and backing. While the Warrant theoretically allows free travel in the imperium Segemntum Solar especially Sol is a whole other ballgame. I figure at the very least they will want to get powerful people to sign off on their journey. Cardinal's sector and segmentum governors, that sort of thing.

What sort of route will they need to take. Maybe it's just my personal image of 40k but I see intersegmentum traffic as kidn of rare so theere will likely be only a few plotted warp routes. Deviating from these risks great trouble and problems.

How can they make money along the way. The most obvious idea i had was passengers, powerful and wealthy pilgrims interested in making the journey.

What sort of difficulties might they have. - Really this is a place for all kind of long voyage fun, pyrates, space hulks, any of that sort of thing. Jumpy imperial patrols and the like can be fun too.



#2 Lynata

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 04:53 AM

 

Taking on pilgrims to make money would be an excellent way to make money. Terra is (unsurprisingly) a major religious site, although you probably want to avoid the extra time to make the full tour along Ophelia, Chiros and Gathalamor. Perhaps you could even pick up a few Sororitas novices scheduled to take their vows in the Ecclesiarchal Palace. All of this nets you a chance to score some points with the clergy of the Imperial Cult, which in turn could potentially pull a few strings to ease passage into Sol. After all, agents of the Ministorum can be found on every single capital ship of the Navy and in almost every greater noble's household, the Ecclesiarchy has a seat in the Senatorum, and lastly, all those other pilgrim vessels normally travelling to Terra would face the same means of scrutiny as you would.
 
Another idea, perhaps in addition to the above, would be to import exotic goods to trade, ranging from precious minerals to livestock to true collector items such as various tokens of local manufacture from half across the galaxy. Depending on the monetary situation, the players could sell it en-route or even try holding out until they reach their final destination to make one big sale - with the tricky thing being that they already need something to barter whilst being en route, yet the further they get away from the original starting point of their journey, the more valuable the stuff in their cargo hold becomes (potentially).
 
These two suggestions also include interesting hooks for the difficulties you mentioned, though. For example, taking on so many pilgrims from different worlds could result in unrest between multiple groups, considering that worship of the Emperor, albeit Ministorum-guided, is usually a very local matter, differing in rites and practices from world to world. Although the Preachers themselves should be instructed regarding the Ecclesiarchy's policies in this matter, the worshipers themselves could very well regard each other as "heretics" and, in the worst possible situation, attempt to wage a holy war right in the bowels of your ship. Needless to say, this could also negatively impact any relationship you might attempt to forge with the Ecclesiarchy at large.
 
If the players already have some experience with transporting passengers, they might manage to alleviate this issue somewhat, especially if they think of segregating the people somewhat based on what planet they're from. If the command crew includes a cleric (player or NPC), he or she might advise them of such potential troubles and maybe even offer to coordinate things; an excellent opportunity for a player Missionary to play their role!
 
Another difficulty with passengers, at least if the players wish to maximise their income and try to get some very rich people as pilgrims, is that people could start making demands regarding their accomodations. The various nobles would probably be used to be treated like kings on their respective planets, but when you have hundreds or even thousands of them jammed together in a shoddy cargo hold, then things should get interesting. Ongoing or long-suppressed feuds being brought up, new ones being made, obnoxious arrogance directed at the players … in many cases, it would be a similar, yet totally different situation than just having to deal with poor pilgrims, for although there might be an obvious hint of antagonism in the air, any incidents would revolve not around huge fist-fights but rather political scheming, backstabbing and duels with pistols and sabers. This here might be the territory of a good Seneschal.
 
Lastly, the import of exotic goods could throw up possible issues with Imperial customs policies, or whatever the IoM has in place regarding interstellar trade. Animals being regarded as a threat to people's health, the local ecosystem or even just spiritual purity, any artifacts coming under scrutiny for "xenos taint", et cetera.
And then there would be the uncertainties of travelling an entirely unknown/unestablished trade route, for when visiting various worlds along the way, the players may very well find that some items in their cargo hold are worth only marginally more or, in some cases, even much less than the price they have paid to originally acquire them!
There's some more potential for good roleplaying and dice rolls in this one as well, for careful investigation and chit-chat with fellow traders or Imperial officials could confer some knowledge of what to expect in the next star system.
 
On a sidenote, is the Rogue Trader aware of the dangers that could await him on Terra? I'm going to assume that you wouldn't "lock down" or even kill the player's character, even though this risk would exist within the setting - depending on the Trader's psychic skill and willpower. The Inquisitor could very well be biased, regarding it as her duty to nudge anyone to take the tests. But if the Rogue Trader himself does not know a lot about stuff like the evaluation, training, soulbinding and the sacrifice, perhaps you could intersperse a few rumours that the crew picks up along the journey, making for uncertainties and doubt come up right when the ship is already underway, the Rogue Trader getting more nervous the closer he gets to Terra…

current 40k RPG character: Aura Vashaan, Astromancer Witch-Priestess
previous characters: Captain Elias (Celestial Lions Chapter -- debriefed), Comrade-Trooper Dasha Malenko (1207th Valhallan Ice Warriors -- KIA), Sister Elana (Order of the Sacred Rose -- assassinated), Leftenant Darion Baylesworth (Rogue Trader Artemisia -- retired), Taleera "Raven" Nephran (Hive Ganger & Inquisitorial Assassin -- mindwiped)

#3 Fresnel

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 05:40 AM

Little to add to the above, but would Terra security forces allow a cruiser captained by an unsanctioned psyker into the system? This assumes the RT is being forthright concerning his business in Terra of course.

However it is done, once you are at the mercy of the Scholastia Psykana only a fraction emerge. The majority go to the hollow mountain. Best case he is judged strong enough to become an independent sanctioned psyker, like some Inquisitors. Normally this would mean becoming an Inquistor, but I could imagine a RT being an exception or perhaps both?. This would be the only way he would be allowed back in charge of a warp vessel, as I see it. 

Still, how long are you going to say the training takes? Years? decades? Rather a lot of downtime for the other PCs.



#4 Alox

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 06:15 PM

You know that the inquisition has some power to "sanctify" psykers they think they need to, without sending them to Terra? Of course there should be some special reason for this, as it is not exactly following protocol. :-)



#5 Wincent

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 10:53 PM

Long time lurker now says hello:)

I think there're two "sactifications": first - legal one - can be done by inquisition and second - only by the big E. and if this is true, than I don't know the diffrence between big E ones and soul-binding. Guess it'll be up to GM.

Aside with that…. there's whole Sol System - the most important place in the Imperium. You've got Terra and Mars with AdMech and Jupiter with Navy and Saturn with Grey Knights and Inquisition HQ. Lots of plot hooks and potential BIG aquisition:).

How about changing the offical date of necron raid on Mars by about 250 years? Maybe your RT got something that attract Necrons?



#6 Fresnel

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 12:34 AM

The Scholastia Psykana sorts the passengers from the Black Ships. Most are sent to fuel the Astronomicon, the rest are sent to further training - and many fail and are sent to the Astronomicon.

Inquisitors can ignore the rules if they wish, but the such a Psyker would normally be an acolyte, wouldn't they? So the Inquistor is here to keep them under control/training. Could an Inquisitor train the RT and sanction him? If this is possible, why go to Terra?

I assume PC-glow will mean the RT in question is strong willed enough to qualify as trainable - but he would need to be trained imo. If he goes the Terra this would naturally fall to the Scholastia Psykana.



#7 susanbrindle

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 12:37 AM

Since RTs are equal in power and suchlike to Inquisitors, I'm reasonably certain that they could do the whole "I'm way too cool to follow the official process!" gig for themselves.

 

What I'd be concerned with is how long it takes to get to Terra. If you go by one pile of 40k fluff, time and distance are totally unrelated in the Warp, and a journey to Terra should take as long as any other journey. If you go by another pile, a journey across half the galaxy is incredibly slow and arduous and perilous.



#8 lurkeroutthere

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 12:44 AM

Thanks for the inputs all. A few things I'm working off.

 

1) The voyage will take some time, at the very minimum a year but very likely more. A large part of this will be making various stops along the way to get the necissary introductions for the next leg of their journey. For example, the party has already have a good enough rep in the Calixus sector that with some very minor wrangling they could probably impress upon Governor Hax to his boss the Lord/Lady Segmentum. Now that person won't really know them from Adam so in order to get that personage to do them an introduction for someone in the Segmentum Solar they will likely need at least a favor. From there they will eventually presumably be sent on to Terra having misadventures along the way. Time consuming certainly but probably still faster and more pleasant then waiting in a witch containment facility for a black ship to come by on one of it's circuits.

2) THe presumption is publicly the captain is making a pilgramidge to Terra and is taking on passengers for same. Privately the captain will be letting the right people know his status and why he's making the journey. Publicly if it came out that he was an unsanctioned psyker the Inquisition would have to act. Fortunately having familial ties to the inquisition and being of a RT Dynasty with a bent for selfless service to the Golden Throne does occasional have it's upshots. However at least in the Calixis sector their activities have made them minor heroes as of late so many in positions of positions of power are at least open to the idea of offering a certain amount of leeway.

3) In regards to Alox and WIncent I'm not sure either of you are correct to be honest or at the very least you might be reffering to a one off or special case. In the Imperium all psykers go to Terra and from there they are doled out into their variosu roles. This has bothered me in the past as it seems like an uneccisary logistical hurdle but it's the way things work. Any cases where the Inquisition allows a psyker to operate without heading to Terra is usually meant to be a very short term and likely fatal situation. So in any case if you want to be a sanctioned psyker (little s not big) you head to terra to get your bonafides.

Other stuff about psykers depends on who's writing them. While many Inquisitors are psykers not all psykers who are not astopaths are inquisitors. The various arms of government, and presumably even some civilian concerns do employ psykers in various functions. Astropaths (and Grey Knights, but their their own ball of stupid) are the only that I'm aware of actually get Sanctioned by exposing their minds to the power of the Emperor. This has certain negative side affects though so it's reserved for Astropaths to protect them against the mind crushing nature of their job. Everyone else probably get a lot of training on harnessing their willpower to keep themselves from becomign demon chow or worse.

Finally as far as once on Terra i've hinted to my PC that while it wouldn't be very good storytelling were he got go all the way to Terra and then wide up as a sacrifice nothing is guaranteed. I've kind of resolved to burnt hat bridge when I come to it.



#9 Fresnel

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 01:10 AM

You're are forgetting the Imperial Guard Battle Psykers. Also the youngest male Psykers might be suitable for standard Space Marine chapters.

Only the Astropaths are Soul-bound to the Emperor. All the rest are simply trained.



#10 susanbrindle

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 03:48 AM

I also seem to recall reading somewhere that if a Psyker is deemed "safe" by a representative of the Adeptus Astra Telepathica, he can just get his sanctioning on the spot without a trip to Terra.



#11 Fresnel

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 04:02 AM

Sounds too easy. I have the impression that the Imperium is paranoid (with good reason) about Psykers. Can you point to any reference for these 'licences' being granted?



#12 lurkeroutthere

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 04:21 AM

Vis a vis space marines and battle psykers,I didn't forget them they would fall under "other arms of government" I too am skeptical on this "licensing" angle. If there is one thing the Imperium absolutely doesn't screw around with is psykers, in large part because they've seen in a very real way what a danger unsanctioned psykers area. The only special dispensation my group's Rogue Trader is getting from me/the imperium is the ability to make the trip himself instead of cooling his heels in an inquisition facility. I'm only really making that available to him because 1) He self identified 2) He's blood related to a Inquisitor who's also a psyker his family produces a fair number of psykers who usually powerful enough and stable enough to train 3) He's a Rogue Trader 4) He has strong ties of his own to imperial government due to heroic actions. Anything beyond that he's gotta earn.

 

 



#13 Wincent

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Posted 30 January 2013 - 07:04 PM

W40k is always about interpretations. I don't have any specific source about Inquisitor giving sactifications just like a Emperor can give. It's just things like a http://wh40k.lexican...nt#.UQoTqGfHqM8 or Ravenor traing of Petience Kys gave me a idea that Inquisitor can point specific psyker and say: "that one is with me, he's cool, ok?" and it'll be in most of cases valid (just like sanctified xeno from ItS). But again - w40k is everybodies to interpretate and I absolutely won't argue about paranoid behaviour on psykers.



#14 Cheddah

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Posted 30 January 2013 - 07:49 PM

lurkeroutthere said:

So a little bit of backstory here.

 

My groups Rogue Trader was recently revealed to have psychic powers for reasons of plot. After mulling it over and taking the counsel of an NPC cousin of his who is an Inquisitor (and also a psyker). She advised him to travel to Terra either in his own ship or wait around for a black ship to make a circuit. Now based on her own experiences with the black ship's he advised him that since he is essentially turning himself in and has a ship at his disposal he go himself. He had originally planned on taking one of the fleets minor vessels and heading out and playing another character for a bit. However having mulled it over in character and out of character with the party they've decided to take their flagship (a light cruiser) and head to Terra. Now I need brain storming help just to pitch some ideas and see what sticks. I see this as kind of an epic oddessy and hope to play it that way.

 

What sort of preperations will they need to make before leaving. - For starters the tthought occurs to me that they will need provisions for a long journey, and then will need to tie up any loose ends on their local business. Lastly they will need to secure documents and backing. While the Warrant theoretically allows free travel in the imperium Segemntum Solar especially Sol is a whole other ballgame. I figure at the very least they will want to get powerful people to sign off on their journey. Cardinal's sector and segmentum governors, that sort of thing.

What sort of route will they need to take. Maybe it's just my personal image of 40k but I see intersegmentum traffic as kidn of rare so theere will likely be only a few plotted warp routes. Deviating from these risks great trouble and problems.

How can they make money along the way. The most obvious idea i had was passengers, powerful and wealthy pilgrims interested in making the journey.

What sort of difficulties might they have. - Really this is a place for all kind of long voyage fun, pyrates, space hulks, any of that sort of thing. Jumpy imperial patrols and the like can be fun too.

My group traveled to Holy Terra at the start of the latest campaign but most of the traveling was done in the background and the adventuring was done on Holy Terra itself. They did stop off at Armageddon to help flush out remnants of ork forces planetside and in the general system. The Cadian system and the Eye of Terror are also along the way so you could throw some chaos shenanigans at them.

If you were to follow my take on it, the 40k RPG settings are years away from the Solar Sector (since Calixis is considered a sort of frontier space and Koronus even moreso) . The Eye of Terror distorts the warp to a great distance around itself and quicker, reliable warp routes around it are generally the sole 'property' of Battlefleet Solar. Thus your party will need to make friends along the way to share knowledge and warp charts to make the trip go by faster. Nothing too different from a typical session of Rogue Trader. When they finally get to the system be sure to drive home the power that guards the imperium's core worlds. The ships and firepower the imperium can fully bear should make them feel insignificant even if they come from a powerful rogue trader dynasty. In my campaign the High Lords of Terra and the greater movers and shakers have hundreds of profit factor. An 80 PF dynasty is nothing to them.



#15 Cheddah

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Posted 30 January 2013 - 08:02 PM

Wincent said:

W40k is always about interpretations. I don't have any specific source about Inquisitor giving sactifications just like a Emperor can give. It's just things like a http://wh40k.lexican...nt#.UQoTqGfHqM8 or Ravenor traing of Petience Kys gave me a idea that Inquisitor can point specific psyker and say: "that one is with me, he's cool, ok?" and it'll be in most of cases valid (just like sanctified xeno from ItS). But again - w40k is everybodies to interpretate and I absolutely won't argue about paranoid behaviour on psykers.

I'm sure alternate ways to sanction psykers have come up in the 20+ years the setting has been around. Isn't Games Workshop's official stance on lore is that "Everything is cannon and nothing is cannon."? I agree that the GM interprets the setting however he pleases.



#16 van Riebeeck

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Posted 30 January 2013 - 10:19 PM

Considering the logistics of concentrating all the psykers of an Imperium of 10,000 and more worlds spread across our galaxy back to Terra, every modern human would assume that efficiency and ease of operation would have produced 'subsidiary treatment centres' by now. But the Imperium of Man is far from logical, or at least, has its own logics. The Lords of Terra see an ever increasing harvest of psykers every year, and fear  and wonder what this will mean for the future of the human race. And right they are! While the idea of a 'new man' is tempting, psykers form a terrible link with the chaos of the warp and we all know what happened to the last galaxy spanning psychically active civilisation…the remnants of the Eldar are not even a shadow of their former glory. Considering this terrible threat to the continued survival of humanity, even the most extreme, costly and inefficient measures to control the danger are fully justified and necessary, while doubting or questioning them is akin to heresy! 

How the Black Ships are organised is another matter. There are few exact data availiable, but the few unofficial attempts to portray the Black Ships give us craft ranging in size from a light cruiser to a grand cruiser. Considering the resources needed to build and maintain these craft, it seems, even considering the above, unlogical that each Black Ship will be of maximum size. What is needed is a fast, strong ship that can operate independently, with enough speed to throw of heavy pursuers and the firepower to defeat fast enough hostile craft. In Imperial terms, this will mean they use technology that is usually limited to Space Marine craft rather than 'ordinary' Fleet technology. They have too, as the Black Ships will be prime goals of every self respecting chaos champion: is there a juicier target to capture than a ship filled with tens of thousand of psykers? That being said, nothing precludes different ships from harvesting psykers and other ship collecting most of them for the long and arduous trip to Terra. Just as more settled systems might themselves concentrate most psykers found in their system, in stasis or not, too limit the danger between Black Ship visits. As with most WH40k, it is limited to our fantasy bound within the logic of the system.

The enormous amounts of time this will cost the individuals in question is however of no importance to the Imperium. Considering the danger psykers represent and the resources used in dealing with them, demanding a decade (or more, as needed) from a psyker's life is inconsequential. It is not as they have rights! And considering the capabilities of the Imperium to extend the life of its more valuable assets through rejuvenation, losing 10 or 20 years of a life is not comparable to what it would mean in our age.

But I am quite interested in how you will handle it, especially as our Arch Militant got psychically active. 

 

Friedrich van Riebeeck, Navigator Primus, Heart of the Void



#17 Wincent

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 01:39 AM

van Riebeeck said:

(…)

But I am quite interested in how you will handle it, especially as our Arch Militant got psychically active. 

 

Friedrich van Riebeeck, Navigator Primus, Heart of the Void

 

I see few ways: 1. Go to Terra.

2. Screw it and stay hidden/unlegal but loyal to humanity and moraly pure.

3. Screw it hard and go all Chaos.

4. Strangest one: go soul-bound with something/someone diffrent than Emperor or Chaos. In the description of soul-binding it says "bound to a higher purpose or being", so if you don't care about being cool with Inquisition, yet still want some kind of protection. Few examples I can think at the moment are: Kaelor Inner Circle, Processional, maybe Witch-cursed world. Bit wicked, I admit :D.



#18 Lynata

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 04:13 AM

Since Armageddon and Cadia have been mentioned - it depends how close you want to stick to GW material and in which timeframe you play, but FFG's RPG seems to take place before the 2nd and 3rd War for Armageddon as well as the 13th Black Crusade. Also, if you play after the First Season of Fire of the 3rd Armageddon War, note that the Imperium projects the area to remain a warzone for several decades more (meaning way into M42) - the many Orks still in the system won't be routed just because a single RT comes along, especially since most Space Marines have currently withdrawn as the current phase of the campaign is "trench warfare" which doesn't suit well to Astartes Blitzkrieg tactics and shock strike capabilities. Unless of course you do something legendary, depending on what style of gaming one would be aiming for. ;)

 

Cheddah said:

Isn't Games Workshop's official stance on lore is that "Everything is cannon and nothing is cannon."?
From all I've read so far, GW never really had any official stance on "canon" - it's just that a lot of fans simply assumed things to work like they do in other franchises and then created an urban myth from it. But yeah, several former GW designers and current BL authors have commented on the subject to explain the amount of contradictions between the various sources:

"With Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000, the notion of canon is a fallacy. […] Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000 exist as tens of thousands of overlapping realities in the imaginations of games developers, writers, readers and gamers. None of those interpretations is wrong."
-- Gav Thorpe

"It all stems from the assumption that there's a binding contract between author and reader to adhere to some nonexistent subjective construct or 'true' representation of the setting. There is no such contract, and no such objective truth."
-- Andy Hoare

"There is no canon. There's a variety of sources, many of which conflict, but every single one is a lens through which we can see the 40K setting."
-- Aaron Dembski-Bowden

What you are referring to is probably the "everything and nothing is true" line from BL editor/publisher Marc Gascoigne. ADB was so kind as to repost it here.

In the end, 40k is what we make of it - that's pretty much the essence of Gav Thorpe's entire blog post linked above. GW seems to want us to "make the setting our own", which might explain why there are so many gaps we can fill with our own ideas:

"The back story presents questions, enigmas, problems, and conflicts. Gamers explore and solve these issues by playing games and developing armies. In short, the background provides the beginning, but the players provide the end. What is Cypher up to? Well, he's up to whatever you need him to be up to for your games and campaigns. What does the cult mechanicus have to do with the dragon? Whatever you want that relationship to be.
The background should be like Schrodinger's Cat - nothing is defined until the players look into the box by playing games and determining the outcome for themselves. Backgrounds should be full of possibilities to be exploited and expanded by players, not answers that limit the potential of the game and its setting."

- WD #302


current 40k RPG character: Aura Vashaan, Astromancer Witch-Priestess
previous characters: Captain Elias (Celestial Lions Chapter -- debriefed), Comrade-Trooper Dasha Malenko (1207th Valhallan Ice Warriors -- KIA), Sister Elana (Order of the Sacred Rose -- assassinated), Leftenant Darion Baylesworth (Rogue Trader Artemisia -- retired), Taleera "Raven" Nephran (Hive Ganger & Inquisitorial Assassin -- mindwiped)




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