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Decessor

Useful house rules and advice?

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I ran Rogue Trader for a single campaign, starting before any of the supplements had come out.

 

I'm considering starting a second campaign and I hope to draw from people's experiences.

 

I'm looking at the Mathhammer tweaks to ship combat, no idea how they work out in practice.

 

What house rules have you found useful in your own campaigns?

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My house rules:

  • Math-hammer - makes ship combat dangerous and also better balanced.
  • Critical pass/fail - rolls of 00 to 04 and 96 to 100 are considered auto pass and fails respectively. Doesn't override tests with too many penalties being auto-failed and too many bonuses being auto-passed, but allows for cinematic epic moments.
  • Number 9 - it is the number of Tzeentch and thus worries all my players. Ive modified things like the Void-Born's ability to not spend a fate point on a roll of a ten to be a roll of a 9. Similarly any time i have to randomize between players i discount those with Charms and then pick on anyone who rolled a 9, or simply allocate a number to each player and then roll. If all have charms then it goes back to whoever rolls a 9 etc.
  • Funky chicken - Not so much a house rule but when i ask my players to roll and tell them their degrees of pass or fail i ask for degrees of pass by holding up X fingers, and fail by holding X fingers to your forehead. Speeds things up and removes players yelling over each other.

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You'll need to do something about profit factor.  If your players are good, then they'll find a way to game this system.  It's a great idea, but...

 

There are some ship components that are no-brainers, so you might want to consider how to regulate them.  Examples include Miloslav engines, murder servitors, and tenebro mazes.

 

They aren't house rules, but you'll probably want to use the teleportarium limiting factors in Into the Storm (p. 150)

 

Beware players wanting to play aliens, suspicious career combinations (e.g. witch-born missionaries), and crossover characters (especially psychic ones).

 

I found home-brew navigation rules a necessity.  The core rulebook is too vague and the Navis Primer is too onerous and time-consuming.

 

Good luck.  Great game.  Lots of broken bits.

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My house rules:

  • Funky chicken - Not so much a house rule but when i ask my players to roll and tell them their degrees of pass or fail i ask for degrees of pass by holding up X fingers, and fail by holding X fingers to your forehead. Speeds things up and removes players yelling over each other.

We do something very similar

 

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Copypaste from advocating Rogue Trader to a friend:

 

GMing Rogue Trader is less like running a game and more like tapdancing on an avalanche. Players have the ability to literally go anywhere and do anything they want. The trick is to keep things rolling; encourage them to build their own railroad tracks while you fill in the scenery. As long as they're not changing their mind about what they want to do every half an hour, you should be golden. An impossible goal is better to strive for than a dozen effortless ones. Profit Factor and Fate Points make for excellent carrots, especially if you can get them used to burning them to acquire stuff or do awesome ****. A player saying they want to burn fate to kick-flip a melta into the warboss' throat and shoot off the pin should be rewarded, because that is awesome. Throw it around like candy in a playground.

The rules are only as good as your ability to ignore them. Don't stress too much about making enemies that have statblocks like PCs do; just make them consistent in what they can do. On that note, PCs are far more specialised and powerful than most standard NPCs are statted as. This is most notable in ship combat; I recommend that you use http://community.fantasyflightgames.com/index.php?%2Ftopic%2F47672-mathhammer-making-ship-armour-count%2F to balance things out a bit. Otherwise, use and abuse ship squadrons from Battlefleet Koronus. Completely ignore the mass combat rules. They're slow, clunky and worthless. You'd be better off stealing the rules from Frozen Reaches, that super neat 'defend the city from all the things' endeavour. Colonies are in a similar boat, but there are some convoluted ways to fix them. 

One house rule I've found really useful is the easy-dos system. When making a d% test, the Degrees of Success are equal to the value of the 10s die. Similarly, the Degrees of Failure are equal to the test decimal value minus the value of the 10s die. For example, rolling 37 on a 40 test gives 3 DoS. Rolling 51 gives 1 DoF. Saves a lot of time and math. GMs hate math.

There's probably more that I haven't thought of, but ultimately it boils down to the avalanche thing. Don't try to control what the players do, just guide them towards the things that sound more interesting.

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Ok I know Decessor and likely be one fo the players if he runs Rogue Trader again. He'll know most of what I'm saying here anyway but for others of interest for running games. Yes half the points are on psykers, they are fine to start but their power curve quickly gets silly... but that's my opinion and I get other people don't necessarily have this problem in their games.

 

1. I had some players complain that buying stuff has too many damnable rolls involved. So I cut the time down with a simple method. The degrees of success for finding are applied as a modifier to the profit factor roll to buy the item. Basically every degree of success past finding gives you a +2. However I don't do the opposed commerce check... if you have a skilled character at commerce they'll always go for that bit anyway so you are reducing the rolls by a third. I have found this makes buying more common things a little easier but but very limited in number items arguably a little harder to find.

 

2. Possibly incorporating legacy weapons from Tome of Blood. Obviously the Explorers don't have infamy (for now...) so perhaps treat it like the profit factor the group has at the start is not counted. Something worth considering. But the weapon has to be one of the starting weapons. Chain weapons in the long run have a problem with power weapons just breaking them but one of the fringe benefits of a legacy chainsword would be a much reduced chance.

 

3. Reduce power weapons breaking others to 25%, it makes power weapons too essential... a bit more variety amongst player gear would be nice. Make non power melee weapons more viable is an option.

 

4. Psykers... urgh they hurt my brain. Too safe combined with too powerful for my tastes as a GM and Player (if you want them more powerful in your games go nuts of course!), its the combination that goes too far for me. I have considered reducing the rate at which they get psy rating so when they hit the final rank they'll have six or maybe seven psy rating not ten.

 

5. Psy Rating of course adds to accomplishing psychic powers, but this is one I have considered more lately. Do not have the psy rating bonus count towards additional degrees of success... I remember being in a game with a GM who always advocated Psykers were fine. When a player astropath rolled 87 and the defender with a good willpower rolled 03 and the psyker still beat him hands down he started to get what I meant. You hit a certain point where unless you are a psyker them only thing that can save you is if the astropath or psyker using a power rolls 91-00.

 

6. Theomancy... demons are meant to be scary. Just ban this power. Astropaths can mind control most stuff but not demons, but with Theomancy with a roll of the dice all but demon princes are washed away. Sure it's mostly only good versus demons, but it just makes including them in adventures a moot point and means the GM will be less inclined to do interesting stories... horde of demons, screw the Grey Knights we've got Bob the Astropath... of course if a GM includes this and finds it's a problem well they are meant to be rare and wont it be worrying when a Demon Prince puts a bounty on Bobs heads that'd make an Emperor's Children sign.

 

7. Astropaths and Ship Combat... the shiny new rules they introduced in supplements to let astropaths start knocking enemy ordnance out of the void? etc. They don't need shiny special stuff, there's the augur array, there's put your back into it, there's firing the guns... really you can do a lot with the augur array and astropaths can get fantastically good at it. Some of the stuff they add in seems more on a scale with Primaris Psykers than should be coming up with Astropaths.

 

8. Psykers again- but with a twist... the one thing Astropaths actually aren't good at is sending astropathic messages. The table for Psy Rating and sending means that for the first half of the campaign you aren't sending messages to anyone outside the solar system you are in! Hear I say give the bastards a break and take about two or three off the numbers needed on that chart.

 

 

9. A lot more of it is actually attitude. I'm keener on using the Stars of Inequity rules to set up colonies and investing profit factor, but keeping the number crunch of it away from the gaming table. Just sort it out on google docs between sessions. I for one if in this game will be pushing for arboreatums and extended supply vaults. I've done the swimming in money crap. Let's explore again. Set up one or two agri colonies and stay out as long as possible. Leave Footfall a rare experience, become the urban legends on the far side of the expanse or whereever the game is set.

I think the game actuall sets you up in the wrong mindset. You get some nice weapons but there are an awful lot of utility stuff you suffer for not having early on, basic stuff.

So this is what I suggested to Decessor. Before character generation everyone contacts the GM and gives them a list of three types of item they think a ship should have quantities of outside the common quality gear. The GM reviews these if they are reasonable he might say the players have inherited the gear, if it is unreasonable he moves down the list. What I am thinking of as reasonable are things like auspexes, those flat pack landing facilities from into the storm not ripper pistols and power armour. Also it might give you an idea of who has more unreasonable experiences. By saying if something is rejected it encourages them to think, "Wait I get more stuff starting off if I am reasonable? I'm going for three useful things I know he'll find reasonable and I'll use!" Hopefully sets the trend towards not being focused on gear and shopping.

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Rightious Fury Adjusted

Rightious Fury can only proc once per turn, only with a melee attack, and only for players and important named NPCs who also have at leat one fate point.

 

I'm not saying this isn't warranted, I'm just saying that I don't understand why it would be.

What's the rationale behind this House Rule? Personally, I've always found Righteous Fury to be underpowered, if anything, and muchly prefer the way it works in Black Crusade/Only War, where it just flat-out causes Critical Damage.

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As it's written they forget to address things like Tearing, Storm and semi-auto/full auto fire. It basically just says "hey if any damage dice land on 10 roll another identical attack!"

 

Figure you make an arch militant with a BS of 50 which is already conservative, you get him bulging biceps and a heavy bolter and you strap that thing with a motion predictor. Now most fights are going to be at less than half the listed effective range with such a weapon so our full auto roll is now 90. So now about half the attacks he makes he's going to roll somewhere around three degrees of success which with tearing means he's rolling nine damage dice per turn before discarding the crappiest of each individual hit. Statistically he's now hitting rightious fury every turn and can potentially stack three full auto bursts per the written rules. ******* BROKEN!

 

That's the most extreme example but it already illsutrates a pretty obvious problem in a game where everyone who wants a bolter of some kind probably has one. The other problem I see that my way fixes is that non-xenos melee focused characters are kind of gimpy in RT. Most well constructed RT characters rank3 and up dodge like Max Payne and so do their enemies, meanwhile the poor bastard who buried a mountain of xp in his WS can't parry bullets so he finds himself getting murdered by duel wielding pistoleros who are also potentially surpressing him with their MIU mounted uzis.

 

So that melee guy kind of needs all the help he can get, and so making rightious fury his domain makes him a bit more viable. That and it also means chain weapons become more viable since they'll proc more often than the power ones which leads to more strategy potentially when the swordsman has to decide which swords to take on a particular outing.

 

As for limiting it to one proc per turn it's kind of a safety thing, I don't want Haderak Fel killing a player during the introductory adventure in one turn because he got a lucky roll just to give an example.

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As it's written they forget to address things like Tearing, Storm and semi-auto/full auto fire. It basically just says "hey if any damage dice land on 10 roll another identical attack!"

No.

"roll another d10 and add to the damage". Very different.

Yes, you still have to pass an attack roll, but so what?

As for limiting it to one proc per turn it's kind of a safety thing, I don't want Haderak Fel killing a player during the introductory adventure in one turn because he got a lucky roll just to give an example.

I do.

Rightious Fury Adjusted

Rightious Fury can only proc once per turn, only with a melee attack, and only for players and important named NPCs who also have at leat one fate point.

I've tended to go the opposite direction.

Everyone gets to have Righteous Furies.

Because I'm old, and can't be bothered to remember when I'm rolling for an NPC who wouldn't have that rule, so I'll just go straight to resolving the Fury.

Kinda like we did back in WHFRPG 1st edition.

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Yeah to clarify Righteous Fury is like critical hits in D&D - if you get max damage on a d10 during a successful attack, roll to hit again with the same modifiers used before. If this is also a hit roll one more d10 and add it to the damage. This can occur as many times as you roll a 10 and then roll to hit again.

It does NOT mean you get a Single/Semi/Full Single/Swift/Lightning attack again and add in all of the weapon, strength and bonus damage, because that WOULD be broken :P
 

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I had never before seen an interpretation that RF resulted in an entire full attack (lightning attack/full auto/etc). At most, the damage from a single hit per RF (as pre-errata Rogue Trader).

 

Food for thought in the thread, cheers folks.

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I had never before seen an interpretation that RF resulted in an entire full attack (lightning attack/full auto/etc). At most, the damage from a single hit per RF (as pre-errata Rogue Trader).

 

Food for thought in the thread, cheers folks.

 

Well tehn it's not written very well, but I'd argue that's still pretty broken when you bring tearing and storm into it.

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Well tehn it's not written very well, but I'd argue that's still pretty broken when you bring tearing and storm into it.

 

 

No, it isn't written very well and yes, it still breaks with storm and tearing (looking at you, storm bolter).  I think it's only in errata v1.3 or v1.4 that the righteous fury rules are changed to +1D10 instead of +full damage.

Edited by Decessor

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Well tehn it's not written very well, but I'd argue that's still pretty broken when you bring tearing and storm into it.

 

 

No, it isn't written very well and yes, it still breaks with storm and tearing (looking at you, storm bolter).  I think it's only in errata v1.3 or v1.4 that the righteous fury rules are changed to +1D10 instead of +full damage.

 

 

Correct, and before it was my players were acquiring xeno-filament grenades and rolling 4d10+4 (with Tearing) and regularly scoring Righteous Furies to tear enemies apart.

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