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Explorators and the Cold Trade


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#1 BlueLlama777

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Posted 02 June 2013 - 05:42 PM

I have a question about the relation between an Explorator and a party getting into the Cold Trade.  How do you think an Explorator would react to illegal smuggling of Xenos goods, probably including technology?  Should the player try and keep his character oblivious to the group's activities, or is there a way for him to "look the other way" without being deemed (too) heretical?  I remeber reading somewhere that the Disciples of Thule were so single minded in persuit of archeotech that they would discard Xenos things, and a Rogue Trader escorting them ended up making a fortune, but I'm not sure, and its a whole seperate group, not a closely connected associate.  Anyway, what are you thoughts on this kind of development?



#2 gatherer818

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Posted 02 June 2013 - 06:53 PM

The Cold Trade can involve selling it to Mechanicus interests…  also, they really probably don't much care if it's xenos, they'd probably just burn that anyway…  as far as archeotech, give the Explorator a chance to study it and make notes to bring back to the Machine Cult later, and he should be ok.  I mean, he got some research in on it before the RT passed it along, that's sort of what he's there for, right?  Honestly, most of the archeotech that the Cult would want the most, the stuff they've never seen before, they're probably going to be the top bidders on anyway.  Their resources are massive and they have presence on both Footfall and Port Wander for exactly that reason…

Were I the RT, I'd probably use the Explorator as my contact for selling the stuff.  "Hey, Doc Ock, you know if the other Tech-Priests would buy this Dark Age stuff?  You think so?  Can you get them to meet us on Footfall, because…" *glances at Eldar Warp Relic installed in the Navigator's Well* "Port Wander and this ship don't get along so great, you know?  Awesome."



#3 BlueLlama777

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Posted 03 June 2013 - 04:53 AM

Yes, thank you for that.  The I'm sure Mechanicus have a Xenos branch dedicated to studying, and finding the weaknesses of, alien technology to help better destroy them.  That would be a good way for me to divert the heretical tech into the right hands, while still making big money for the group.  Thanks.



#4 Erathia

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Posted 03 June 2013 - 02:54 PM

Keep in mind that the Mechanicus has an outpost in the Furibundus system called Altar-Templum-Calixis-Est-17 that has the slight tendency to probably kill anyone approaching unannounced, but if you had a sufficiently juicy piece of Xenotech or had built up a relationship with them they would be more willing to allow you entry. 

As for persuading your Explorator although it is good to find ways to work with them, keep in mind that if smuggling of Xenos artifacts is discovered then the Inquisition will get involved and they'll stomp through the ship and probably tear it apart to find the secret holds, and any true Priest of Mars would have a case of the vapours assuming their lungs were still functional. Which they wouldn't be.


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#5 BlueLlama777

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Posted 03 June 2013 - 07:12 PM

I was wondering about this since I am the Explorator player, not the GM.  I'm not sure how strict my character should be about Xenos stuff.  A (puritan) Tech-Priest in Dark Heresy would be all about purging it with fire and whatnot, but Explorators are a whole different breed of tech-priest, I'm wondering where other players have stood on this kind of conundrum.  Not just the Cold Trade, but say other characters embracing Xenos weapons and gear.  I'm pretty sure upgrading the ship with Xenos components is a huge line most Explorators will not cross.  In short, I'd like to find out how far into the "grey area" other Explorators go without becoming Hereteks.



#6 Adeptus-B

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Posted 04 June 2013 - 08:56 AM

According to the teachings of the Machine Cult, using the unsanctioned technology of xenos- or encouraging others to use it- is tech-heresy, plain and simple. Unless the Explorator is a hard-core Radical on the verge of being declaired a Heretek, dealing with xeno technology is akin to a Missionary trading in Chaos artifacts…



#7 Decessor

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Posted 04 June 2013 - 02:09 PM

Marcellus Lucian, my first rogue trader character was a Magos Militant with…unconventional views. He was from a tiny sect who had a more radical interpretation of the Ninth Universal Law ("The alien mechanism is a perversion of the True Path.") They believed that the Omnissiah left pieces of techlore in the hands of various xenos. The idea being to test mankind as it butchered xenos to retrieve tech-lore. While not technically a heretek, his sect were very much a fringe element. Hence his "seconding" to the ranks of the explorators where he might actually find some archaotech or at least gun down some xenos in the process.

The funny part? He *hated* hereteks. Those who misused technology or those who dared to meddle with it outside the strictures of the Adeptus Mechanicus.



#8 WilliamAsher

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Posted 06 June 2013 - 01:48 PM

It really depends on the Tech Priest and the tech itself.  The Ad Mech is one of the biggest buyers of xeno tech.  They study it for a variety of reasons, depending on thier faction.  Some of it is best destroyed anyways, so let the Explorator be in on that.  Our RT is a Heretek himself (about to take Arch-Heretek, but looking normal).  He and the Tech Priest are trying to recover technology for Mankind to try and stave off ruin.  They freely study and use xeno tech that is not warp corrupted and doesn't violate any other major rules of the Ad Mech or Imperium.  They hide a lot of this activity from everyone else, and even help the Inquisition out with rooting out the Cold Trade by selling distinctive pieces to brokers and letting the Inquisition track where those pieces end up.  They have a list of tech they destroy on sight (Yu'vath and Egarian for instance), but carefully judge the risk of of any other gear before they decide what to do with it.  If there is any real risk, it is destroyed.  If it is not technically dangerous they study what seems possible to learn from and sell or trade the rest outside of the Imperium.  They also sell a lot of the 'safer' xeno tech to the Ad Mech.



#9 Amazing Larry

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Posted 07 June 2013 - 09:44 PM

A devout Explorator would probably have more qualms about using xeno tech than he would about selling it, just also keep in mind that a Rogue Trader's retinue (while in the expanse) are acting under a general concept of "the rules don't apply to us because the rules say that the rules don't apply to us". Aside from as others said purposes of study an Explorator might also deal in the cold trade as a means to an end, that being getting the money he needs to further his own proper investigations into the devine workings of the Machine God.



#10 Chopper Greg

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Posted 11 June 2013 - 11:57 AM

WilliamAsher said:

It really depends on the Tech Priest and the tech itself.  The Ad Mech is one of the biggest buyers of xeno tech.  They study it for a variety of reasons, depending on thier faction.  Some of it is best destroyed anyways, so let the Explorator be in on that.  Our RT is a Heretek himself (about to take Arch-Heretek, but looking normal).  He and the Tech Priest are trying to recover technology for Mankind to try and stave off ruin.  They freely study and use xeno tech that is not warp corrupted and doesn't violate any other major rules of the Ad Mech or Imperium.  They hide a lot of this activity from everyone else, and even help the Inquisition out with rooting out the Cold Trade by selling distinctive pieces to brokers and letting the Inquisition track where those pieces end up.  They have a list of tech they destroy on sight (Yu'vath and Egarian for instance), but carefully judge the risk of of any other gear before they decide what to do with it.  If there is any real risk, it is destroyed.  If it is not technically dangerous they study what seems possible to learn from and sell or trade the rest outside of the Imperium.  They also sell a lot of the 'safer' xeno tech to the Ad Mech.

 

If you don't mind someone fairly new to the 40K universe asking, what is the 'Ad Mech'?



#11 Wincent

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Posted 11 June 2013 - 08:20 PM

ADeptus MECHanicus



#12 BlueLlama777

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Posted 12 June 2013 - 09:11 AM

After discussing it with my group's GM, saying that my character would mostly be OK with selling Xenos artifacts, so long as we sell only to the Inquisition or Mechanicus, he asked me a simple question;

"Do you have Scrutiny?"  
I replied "No, and it is not avalible for Explorators at all"  
GM said "Yea, ok, then they are only selling to Inquisition or Mechanicus."

Ahhh, lying.  The solution to all life's moral quandrys.
 



#13 Chopper Greg

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Posted 12 June 2013 - 11:46 AM

Wincent said:

ADeptus MECHanicus

Fair enough - the way it was being used, it sounded like a specialized group within the Adeptus Mechanius, that was kind of doing their own thing.



#14 WilliamAsher

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Posted 12 June 2013 - 12:56 PM

Sorry for the shorthand.  I am so used to using it in game it crept into my writing. 



#15 Chopper Greg

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Posted 12 June 2013 - 03:42 PM

BlueLlama777 said:

After discussing it with my group's GM, saying that my character would mostly be OK with selling Xenos artifacts, so long as we sell only to the Inquisition or Mechanicus, he asked me a simple question;

"Do you have Scrutiny?"  
I replied "No, and it is not avalible for Explorators at all"  
GM said "Yea, ok, then they are only selling to Inquisition or Mechanicus."

Ahhh, lying.  The solution to all life's moral quandrys.
 

 

Hmmm…….

It sounds like someone forgot that in the absence of training in a basic skill or talent, you can default to untrained use at half the controlling characteristic - thus scrutiny can be used untrained with a roll at 1/2 the Perception score.

In theory as time goes by and more transactions occur, each transaction should have a chance ( how ever small ) for your TP to be suspicious that something is wrong, even defaulting to 1/2 Perception - sooner or later the odds will catch up with them ( unless your TP chooses to look the other way ). 

 



#16 BlueLlama777

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Posted 13 June 2013 - 04:57 AM

Chopper Greg said:

Hmmm…….

It sounds like someone forgot that in the absence of training in a basic skill or talent, you can default to untrained use at half the controlling characteristic - thus scrutiny can be used untrained with a roll at 1/2 the Perception score.

In theory as time goes by and more transactions occur, each transaction should have a chance ( how ever small ) for your TP to be suspicious that something is wrong, even defaulting to 1/2 Perception - sooner or later the odds will catch up with them ( unless your TP chooses to look the other way ). 




We generally treat Scrutiny is a skill you have to actively use when already trying to find stuff out (I set the precedent for that running DH).  If they tell me they are trading to Inquisition and Mechanicus, I will have no reason to scrutinize that, they are my trusted friends and crewmates after all.  Plus, my Explorator has way more important things (in his opinion) to deal with then the petty financial transactions.  Money is nothing, Knowledge is everything.



#17 Wincent

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Posted 13 June 2013 - 10:03 PM

Chopper Greg said:

Wincent said:

 

ADeptus MECHanicus

 

 

Fair enough - the way it was being used, it sounded like a specialized group within the Adeptus Mechanius, that was kind of doing their own thing.

 

Nay, it's just warhammerish;).

I've found that (imho) Stars of Iniquity imply that Mechanicus dabble in xenotech on a larger, quite offical scale. I mean - there those Mechanicus Stations which get productivity bonus when digging xenotech - without any specyfication that they're from some xenophilius sect, etc. (but maybe I'm just reading too much into it)



#18 gatherer818

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Posted 14 June 2013 - 08:51 AM

The most important things to remember are a) in the game, you are an Explorator, NOT a Tech-Priest.  Sure, you can make the argument that an Explorator is just a different kind of Tech-Priest (and you'd be right), but their entire purpose is specifically to go out and find new (old) tech that can be adapted, exploited, or (in only the worst cases) destroyed.  On top of that, this Explorator decided to sign on to a Rogue Trader's crew.  Rather than stick with his like-minded fellows, he intentionally joined the one class of person most likely to find and use every kind of tech he can get his hands on, and then sell it to the highest bidder regardless of who they are.  You knew all this when you signed on - and likely decided that the benefits still greatly outweighed the drawbacks.  After all, your function is not the destruction or control of already-discovered tech - there are other Tech-Priests who already perform those functions - your function is the discovery of new (old) tech.  To that end, the Rogue Trader is your greatest ally, no matter who he is selling his xenotech to.

b) Out of game, Rule Zero-point-five of gaming is "Don't be a ****."  Unless all the players and the GM understood that your Explorator was rather specifically NOT going to get along with one of the game's most basic premises (arguably the point of the game is to find rare archeo/xenotech, exploit it, and sell it to the highest bidder - certainly most Rogue Trader games assume that you'll do so at least occasionally) before play began, having your Explorator suddenly also be a form of Tech-Inquisitor out to punish the party for dealing in technology you don't approve of is simply not cool.

Related to a), I can only liken your Explorator being surprised or appalled when the others use questionable technology to joining the army then freaking out when they hand you a rifle, or joining a book club and advocating burning the books.  The question "what did he expect to happen?" comes to mind.  As far as b), I find it most likely the kind of Explorator I described there will shortly find himself on the wrong side of an airlock, possibly in the Warp….  don't be that guy :P

(and as usual, on a reread I seem quite a bit harsher than I intend to be.  This is MEANT to be a lighthearted pointing-out of a few basic things it's easy to lose track of the more you know about the setting, not me blasting people that did so T_T I'm really not sure why I always do that…)



#19 BlueLlama777

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Posted 14 June 2013 - 01:55 PM

gatherer818 said:

The most important things to remember are a) in the game, you are an Explorator, NOT a Tech-Priest.  Sure, you can make the argument that an Explorator is just a different kind of Tech-Priest (and you'd be right), but their entire purpose is specifically to go out and find new (old) tech that can be adapted, exploited, or (in only the worst cases) destroyed.  On top of that, this Explorator decided to sign on to a Rogue Trader's crew.  Rather than stick with his like-minded fellows, he intentionally joined the one class of person most likely to find and use every kind of tech he can get his hands on, and then sell it to the highest bidder regardless of who they are.  You knew all this when you signed on - and likely decided that the benefits still greatly outweighed the drawbacks.  After all, your function is not the destruction or control of already-discovered tech - there are other Tech-Priests who already perform those functions - your function is the discovery of new (old) tech.  To that end, the Rogue Trader is your greatest ally, no matter who he is selling his xenotech to.

b) Out of game, Rule Zero-point-five of gaming is "Don't be a ****."  Unless all the players and the GM understood that your Explorator was rather specifically NOT going to get along with one of the game's most basic premises (arguably the point of the game is to find rare archeo/xenotech, exploit it, and sell it to the highest bidder - certainly most Rogue Trader games assume that you'll do so at least occasionally) before play began, having your Explorator suddenly also be a form of Tech-Inquisitor out to punish the party for dealing in technology you don't approve of is simply not cool.

Related to a), I can only liken your Explorator being surprised or appalled when the others use questionable technology to joining the army then freaking out when they hand you a rifle, or joining a book club and advocating burning the books.  The question "what did he expect to happen?" comes to mind.  As far as b), I find it most likely the kind of Explorator I described there will shortly find himself on the wrong side of an airlock, possibly in the Warp….  don't be that guy :P

(and as usual, on a reread I seem quite a bit harsher than I intend to be.  This is MEANT to be a lighthearted pointing-out of a few basic things it's easy to lose track of the more you know about the setting, not me blasting people that did so T_T I'm really not sure why I always do that…)



Ouch, yea that was pretty freakin' harsh.  And thus, by Internet protocol, I must accept the challenge and defend myself. (light hearted sarcas)

In response to:
a) Not all, or even MOST, Rogue Traders are described that way in the game setting.  There is a reason Cold Trade is part of the Hostile Acquisitions book…  they tend to be more anti-hero or even villanous characters, which if that's your group's style go with it.  More of the example Rogue Traders are described as conquistidors or legitimate merchants than smugglers.  My explorator character's motivate is essentially Curiosity,  which is why he was sperated from the standard priesthood for Explorator training, and also his reason for exploring the Koronus Expanse with a Rogue Trader crew.

b) No ****.  The group I am refering to, including myself, has been playing various pen and paper games together for over 10 years.  You play that long together, you do end up with games that the characters have conflicts. (A particular epic game of Dark Age Vampire comes to mind where the party split in two and destroyed each other trying to accomplish seperate but intertwined goals)
Also, none of us are new to the setting of 40k, we have been playing since 3rd edition (I'll always miss you my Word Bears Lost and the Damned army)

Related to B) The "most basic premise" of the game is not selling Xenos tech.  If that is your group's take on it, go for it.  But don't sell the setting short.  The basic premise could just as easily be founding colonies, converting heathens to the Imperial Creed, creating a series of reliable trade routes, conquering Chaos and/or Xenos planets in the name of the God-Emperor, and many more "good guy" stories.  On the other hand, yes, it could be setting up a Cold Trade Xenos ring, or it could be a tale of daring and suave pirates, or merciless tyrants, or it could be a tale of spiraling madness and megalomania, or it could be a story of the perils of the warp and the temptations of Dark Gods, or many other "bad guy" stories.

And to your "OMG!!1! Xenos tech I'M FREAKING OUT!!!1!" part… seriously  no need to be insulting.  I can most connect an Explorator reacting to xenos tech, it to a Missionary joining a Rogue Trader crew, and then the Rogue Trader using sorcery, or having Kroot or Orks in his crew.  Suffer not and all…

 



#20 gatherer818

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Posted 14 June 2013 - 09:04 PM

Ow, damn, I suppose I deserved that.  Only a few points I'd like to clarify before I limp off to lick my wounds…

Reading the Rogue Trader corebook, it very much feels like the "point" of the game is to explore the Expanse, and in doing so you will encounter the xenos who live there.  Exactly what you're doing when you meet them can easily vary, depending on campaign, player choice, etc. - spreading the Imperial Creed, establishing colonies, fighting (or engaging in) piracy, searching for lost archeotech (or xenotech) and more - but if you play through more than a few Endeavors without ever encountering an alien race, your Explorers are either very cautious, or very lucky (…or unlucky, depending on your point of view).  Assuming you end at least one of those encounters with negotiations or violence, suddenly there is an avenue for your Explorers to have a chance to acquire xenotech - and, as I'm sure you know, the average RPG player, when told "look there is a super-rare item there, laying next to your fallen foe's body / being offered to you in trade / waiting to be salvaged from that space hulk", will claim said item if at all possible, especially with a broad protection like a Warrant of Trade making sure they don't suffer significantly for having done so.

That's not to say the "point" is specifically selling xenotech to unauthorized buyers, but in a much broader sense, meeting xenos, killing them or talking to them, and leaving with their stuff is what Rogue Traders do.  It's one of the core reasons the Warrants of Trade were written to begin with, which is why I called it a basic premise of the game.  An Explorator should expect some of that, as long as they're not using the worst of the worst - known Yu'Vath or Chaos stuff, say.  I'd compare the RT being a sorcerer freaking out the Missionary to the RT using Yu'Vath Warp tech freaking out the Explorator - that should cause them to flip, for good reason.  However, picking up a discarded Eldar Shuriken Catapult, and even selling it when he gets a cooler gun later, or going so far as to install Eldar relics on the ship shouldn't bother the Explorator any more than failing to convert every human on every world or allowing a death-cult (or, for that matter, Omnissian Priests) to thrive among the crew should bother the Missionary - they both have their eyes set on higher prizes, and are capable of leaving the lesser evils behind to get at the greater good.  That's one of the things that set them apart enough to make them PC Careers, especially in Rogue Trader where that ability to get along with things you might not quite agree with is of paramount important.  A Dark Heresy character could (or more likely, should) raise more of a fuss and take more action against allies who violate the two main religions of the Imperium, but Rogue Trader characters are expected to that in stride as long as they don't actively work against the Emperor and Omnissiah.

And yeah, when you've been with a group that long, you have quite a bit more wiggle room to make characters that won't necessarily get along great, which makes pretty much all my points matter much less or not at all.  Still, usually best to at least mention it at character creation - the possibility of PvP tends to change the entire tone of the game, so it's typically a good idea that everyone know what they're getting into at the start.

I hope my tone was a bit more acceptable this time around, I tried at least.  Sorry about before, I was an ass.






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