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How many Naves, Astropaths and priests are on your ships?


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#1 DigitalRedneck

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 04:12 AM

It would seem to me that in order for a ship to run smoothly and with happy, non heretical crews you would need a certain ammount of Navigators, tech Priests, echlisiarchal priests and Astropaths. I usually give each player control of the contingent that's within their area of expertise. On average the Explorators in my game can expect to lead about half a dozen Tech Priests from DH, while the missionary can count on a similar number of followers. But the Navigator and Astropath each got two other members of their order to act as relief drivers and whatnot as we as two attendants such as acolytes or body guards.  

 

I figure the Trader gets a ship, Warrent and everybody on the ship. And the Senchal gets to be the power behind the trader so it's not at all unfair to give the other players some underlings in my estimation. 

I was wondering what everyone else does and what sort of numbers of specialized staff you guys have on board a starting RT ship. 

 


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#2 TiLT

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 04:25 AM

I try to be vague as much as possible about this kind of thing, for the same reason that Profit Factor is a vague term that describes a lot of things without going into details. I only mention specifics when it's important, or when the numbers are low. 

My group's Dauntless Light Cruiser has 5 astropaths in total (making a full choir), and 3 navigators (one of them a player character). It has a larger quantity of Adeptus Mechanicus agents than usual because of the Archeotech in the ship, but I never mention specifics. The same goes for missionaries and their flock. My group has picked up a lot of faithful throughout the game. If they need someone in particular, I make a judgment call (or roll the die) to see if someone like that is available to them. It makes their contacts stand out more, encouraging the players to build relations with those middlemen they deem important instead of maintaining dialogue with all of them. That's what the peasants are for.

When my Seneschal wants to use his agents, I just refer to them as "his agents" without mentioning specifics. It's the same for everyone else, pretty much. Keep the details vague instead of getting lost in minutia, and focus on keeping the story flowing. You don't want to paint yourself into a corner where a specific, new NPC is incredibly important to the plot, but no free "slot" is available because anyone he could be is already accounted for. 


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#3 susanbrindle

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 06:02 AM

I generally figure something like three Navigators (I seem to recall hearing something about the number three concerning navigators. I feel like it'd be really neat if they had three specific posts, sort of like how with witches there's the Maiden the Mother and the Crone) and then between 1-20 Astropaths, depending on how wealthy your ship is and how far abroad it likes to range. Past three, though, the majority of them should be extremely specialized and weak- only good as part of a choir, essentially.

 

"Hundreds" of techpriests seems appropriate, considering. I wouldn't be surprised if something like 10% of the crew wore the red robes, considering that the vast majority of maintenance and complex work would have to be done by them.

 

As for priest-pirests? Given that it's 40k, well, let's just say that on a ship of 10,000, there could be anywhere from 1-10,000 priests onboard.


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#4 TiLT

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 06:25 AM

susanbrindle said:

"Hundreds" of techpriests seems appropriate, considering. I wouldn't be surprised if something like 10% of the crew wore the red robes, considering that the vast majority of maintenance and complex work would have to be done by them.

I follow this line of thought as well. On my players' ship, the tech priests have exclusive access to the plasma drive, with the only exception given to the Lord-Captain, and even then only reluctantly. They can be found almost everywhere, though that doesn't mean they hold high ranks in their order. It got particularly interesting when the players thought they were going to reward one of the tech priests for services rendered. Their "reward" was to invite him over to an ancient ship to assist in their exploration of it, and he was allowed to bring two other tech priests along with him. He was to choose which two. The poor guy almost threw himself at the floor to beg them to withdraw their "reward", but instead became part of a power struggle among the upper echelons of tech priests on board the ship, each trying to force, threaten or coerce him into bringing them along. He got a lot of enemies that day since he could only bring two of them. ;)

 



#5 DigitalRedneck

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 06:37 AM

Susan. Great point about the necessary pervailance of tech priests aboard a starship. It's sounds very logical to me. It's my new standard now. Same goes with you Astropath numbers. I like your thoughts on each Navagator having a slightly different role in their cabbal. The coven roles of maiden, mother and Crone were a perfect example to me. 

One thing I like to do is have the pcs come up with standard procedures for what their people do at diferent times. Fore example the priests are supposed to be making rounds blessing the ship throughout a warp jump and also do sermons more frequently, etc  hoping this thread will get me more solid on what needs to be done. 



#6 DigitalRedneck

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 06:59 AM

TiLT said:

susanbrindle said:

"Hundreds" of techpriests seems appropriate, considering. I wouldn't be surprised if something like 10% of the crew wore the red robes, considering that the vast majority of maintenance and complex work would have to be done by them.

 

I follow this line of thought as well. On my players' ship, the tech priests have exclusive access to the plasma drive, with the only exception given to the Lord-Captain, and even then only reluctantly. They can be found almost everywhere, though that doesn't mean they hold high ranks in their order. It got particularly interesting when the players thought they were going to reward one of the tech priests for services rendered. Their "reward" was to invite him over to an ancient ship to assist in their exploration of it, and he was allowed to bring two other tech priests along with him. He was to choose which two. The poor guy almost threw himself at the floor to beg them to withdraw their "reward", but instead became part of a power struggle among the upper echelons of tech priests on board the ship, each trying to force, threaten or coerce him into bringing them along. He got a lot of enemies that day since he could only bring two of them. ;)

 

This has really got my wheels turning in regards to tech priests on board. I love the idea of the priests forbidding the unclean from entering the Sacred Plasma Drive Chambers, and the dilemma your tech priest faced was very evocative and really jump started some ideas for me. Too cool. 



#7 Alox

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 06:13 PM

You don't need to have tech priests to do all the maintenance, lots of minor tech work can be handled by skilled crew, so hundreds of tech priests is possible but not needed, imo.



#8 DigitalRedneck

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 03:58 AM

I've always agreed with Alox on the number of tech priests until recently. I'd say we (Alox and I) are dead on in that more short range merchants would have far less tech priests than Susan and I are peposing. But these guys are essentially traveling from one friendly and known port to another. So they can rely on repairs and maintenance that the ships normal crew can't perform being handled routinely at a friendly dock. A Rogue trader heading out into uncharted space would seem to me to need a much more repair and maintenance savy crew. I envision the average Traders crew to posses far more voidborn crew with long family ties to the ship as well as far more tech priests as part of being self sufficient in deep and unchsrted space. When your headed into the Outback you bring mechanics and spare parts for your vehicles. Right? I also see a Trader picking up a larger than average number of prisoners and other conscripts over time to act as laborers and whatnot.  It's probably hard to say "were headed into uncharted space for an undetermined length of time, Wanna come along?!" and get tons of volunteers who are not comfortable in space or in love with machines. I also picture lots of ex navy guys signing up with a trader as life aboard a ship would sound far more attractive to a guy like that than to a farmer from a pretty AG world. 

Void born clans that specialize in one specific ship component would also seem to be more prevalent on a traders craft than on a shorter range vessel. 



#9 TiLT

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 04:58 AM

Disclaimer: WH40k doesn't have a strict canon for how things work, so there's lots of room for individual interpretation.

DigitalRedneck said:

When your headed into the Outback you bring mechanics and spare parts for your vehicles. Right?

Right indeed, but my understanding of the 40k universe is that you don't have such a thing as "mechanics". The Adeptus Mechanicus would consider such a thing heresy. Instead, they have large amounts of Menials (the lowest rank in the Adeptus Mechanics, apart from servitors), people who aren't qualified for the technical stuff but who can handle the simple things. You have to go several ranks up before you get to the people who are even capable of repairing more complicated machinery, and a space ship is filled with that kind of thing. 

Technology is less about physics and more about religion in WH40k, and the sacred relics of old need to be handled by those who are ordained with the power to do so. If a Rogue Trader let the common crew fix and tweak the ship's machinery, the tech priests on board would probably get mutinous. 

The common crew is there to do the jobs that don't directly involve mechanical things. They'll push, pull, lift and shoot. If they're even allowed to touch something mechanical, there's sure to be a tech priest hawking over their every movement and possibly executing them for heresy. 

You can find a lot of interesting reading about the Adeptus Mechanics, including their ranks and functions, here



#10 TiLT

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 05:00 AM

Interesting. I managed to type "Adeptus Mechanics" at least twice in my last post. asustado



#11 Alox

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 09:05 AM

DigitalRedneck said:

Void born clans that specialize in one specific ship component would also seem to be more prevalent on a traders craft than on a shorter range vessel.

 

Adeptus Mechanicus has a harder time detecting and enforcing tech heresy on a rogue trader ship flying in the expanse, and often those tech priests that are on such a ship were selected because they didnt fit in well enough back home, so it is concievable that they would be more tolerant on tech heresies (after all they need a special state of mind to even look at the xeno tech that the rogue trader is allowed to get in contact with).

Void born clans are perfect for having some tech knowledge above what is normally accepted, and the tech priests will probably accept it if its kept as a guarded clan wisdom and it is rather specific for the ship part that they maintain.

So while I don't disagree with your assessment that tech priests in the hundreds may travel with a rogue trader, I still think that it is far from a requirement. :-)

 



#12 TiLT

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 09:28 AM

Alox said:

Void born clans are perfect for having some tech knowledge above what is normally accepted, and the tech priests will probably accept it if its kept as a guarded clan wisdom and it is rather specific for the ship part that they maintain.

Then again, they may not. A conflict between the crew and the tech priests could be an interesting challenge for the players. If poorly handled, the tech priests might try to get in touch with the Adeptus Mechanicus the next time they're in a civilized port, and that could really be a problem. Problems are fun. 



#13 susanbrindle

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 10:35 AM

All hiveborn characters get tech-use as a Basic skill, which suggests that techpriests don't flip out and kill people if growing up surrounded by machines helps you learn about machines.

 

It's really odd that Voidborn don't get tech-use as a Basic skill, but I guess they didn't want to give them more than they already get or something. Who can question FFG?



#14 DigitalRedneck

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 04:39 AM

TiLT said:

Alox said:

Void born clans are perfect for having some tech knowledge above what is normally accepted, and the tech priests will probably accept it if its kept as a guarded clan wisdom and it is rather specific for the ship part that they maintain.

 

Then again, they may not. A conflict between the crew and the tech priests could be an interesting challenge for the players. If poorly handled, the tech priests might try to get in touch with the Adeptus Mechanicus the next time they're in a civilized port, and that could really be a problem. Problems are fun. 

This does sound like a fun complication. Perhaps in tandem with the PC Priests underlings becoming discontented over the PC examining or even utilizing some Xeno tech. Once they start complaining about the tech it becomes … And another thing, those heretics manning the turrets doing their blasphemous matinence rituals…



#15 DigitalRedneck

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 04:44 AM

susanbrindle said:

All hiveborn characters get tech-use as a Basic skill, which suggests that techpriests don't flip out and kill people if growing up surrounded by machines helps you learn about machines.

 

It's really odd that Voidborn don't get tech-use as a Basic skill, but I guess they didn't want to give them more than they already get or something. Who can question FFG?

I agree it's odd. I don't see a down and out hiver being more likly to pick up tech use than a guy or gal who was born and raised on tech- the ship. But it's prob a balance thing, like you say. 



#16 HappyDaze

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 09:56 AM

My ship has five Navigators - a master that supervises and pulls off the hard bits, three journeymen that do most of the routine 'shift work' of navigating, and one apprentice that works directly at the master's side.

We also have six Astropaths - five that are part of the AAT and send/receive the usual info, and one Watcher of Dusk (PC) that stands outside them as the Lord-Captains personal psyker. There are some bad feelings both ways between theses groups, but the AAT do their jobs faithfully and the Watcher stays out of their way and keeps to the shadows.


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#17 DigitalRedneck

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Posted 04 February 2013 - 07:09 AM

HappyDaze said:

My ship has five Navigators - a master that supervises and pulls off the hard bits, three journeymen that do most of the routine 'shift work' of navigating, and one apprentice that works directly at the master's side.

We also have six Astropaths - five that are part of the AAT and send/receive the usual info, and one Watcher of Dusk (PC) that stands outside them as the Lord-Captains personal psyker. There are some bad feelings both ways between theses groups, but the AAT do their jobs faithfully and the Watcher stays out of their way and keeps to the shadows.

I really like this dynamic. Its full of the possibitly of tension and empowers each pc. But if the roles need to be fleshed out by NPCs it leaves and invites all sorts of plot lines and interesting drama. Love it. 



#18 Lohandria

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Posted 13 September 2013 - 01:19 PM

As many as the gm says.... my character often doesn't pay attention to navigators or astropaths (unless hew needs to get somewhere or message sent.). as for priests? umm my entire crew is a death cult soooo... more than RT thinks i bet.


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#19 Generaljimbo

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Posted 13 September 2013 - 03:30 PM

The question of how many Tech Priests is a very good one. Personally I'd say very few actual Tech priests (pos only 1) but potentially huge numbers (thousands) of low to mid level members of the cult mechanicus. If I remember correctly the fluff in the RT books seemed to suggest this and that an Exploritor is NOT actually a tech priest but rather a lower member of the cult mechanicus (though with obvious aspirations). There also seemed to be something about Captains Tech Bridge officer (pos the exploritor) being actually a fairly low (prob mid) member of the cult mechanicus, as high up members find it impossible to remove themselves from  the engine rooms and beating heart of the ship.



#20 SirFrog

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Posted 14 September 2013 - 03:24 AM

I'm pretty sure Explorators are rather high-ranked in the Mechanicus. You wouldn't let the charting of the galaxy and propagating the Quest of Knowledge be done by any low-ranking layman, would you?

 

According to Lexicanum, the Explorators are a subdivision of the Magos rank, which puts them rather high up in the chain of command. However, they are noted to be different to their fellow Magos. You need to have a certain amount of skill to become an Explorator, a more generalized skillset than all other Magos.

http://wh40k.lexicanum.com/wiki/Magos

http://wh40k.lexican...wiki/Explorator

 

What follows are conclusions I've drawn myself, so they don't have canon backing, so to speak.

I'd say that much like how a Navy ship has a huge amount of menial workers and only a few officers, an Explorator fleet has a huge amount of the usual tech-priests, Skiitari, enginseers and so on with only a few Explorators to guide them.






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