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filliman

REALLY low PF

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So a thought came to me a few minutes ago, and I've thought about it a little but wanted to know what the forum thought.

 

What if a rogue Trader started with 0 Profit Factor?

 

Apart form being penniless and completely incapable of engaging in ANY sort of trade discussion, what are some other consequences/silver linings that could come about?

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They might have a slightly lower class of crew than normal (Say 25, to represent that they can't afford to attract specialists as well, when they need to, and more often pressgang the people they need?). And a lower level of maintenance on the ship's systems, since spare parts and other supplies are often acquired only when they are absolutely needed.

 

Basically, the way I see it, you're living 'paycheck to paycheck'. But if I were to GM (or play in) a game where the ship had PF0, I wouldn't want them to be entirely unable to do anything about it, if their ship broke down?

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This is why the good Emperor invented piracy. Or mercenary contracts. Plus, type warrant would have clauses or something. There's bound to be a merchant guild that'll pay for you to set up a trade route.

But you'll be a helluva target. You won't get good deals if they know you're broke.

Besides, as long as you have a ship you should be able to ferry colonists or pilgrims for some money.

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You should start the game with exactly what you have on your ship if your GM is being generous. 6 months of supplies, a full stocked crew, implausibly high morale and a specified number of macrocannon shells. And then you will not replenish any of that. Your money is so low that you can't bargain away future favours to replenish any of that, all the profit factor you make should go into keeping your crew populated. You'd actually need to calculate when to buy promethium to re-power your drive, and you'd need to focus on making allies quickly because you're not paying for anything.

 

Don't let news of that get out, or other Rogue Traders/powerful figures will know you're vulnerable and come after you to claim your Warrant.

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It's an interesting idea. When you start the game, you might have a PF of about 40 to 50, which may not always seem like a lot when you are rolling against it, and not always getting the goodies you want in failed Acq. tests, but it really is a fantastic amount of money and resources. When you are first minted as a Rogue Trader, and the Imperium gifts you with your first (and probably ONLY for a little while) ship, where is several world's budgets worth of resources supposed to be coming from, that they foist off upon you, that you can TRY to make Acquisition tests from the get go? At least with a painfully low PF, you don't wonder where the millions just happened to appear from, until you yourself make them.

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I would say the ways explained above is one way to take it, but not necessary what 0PF as to mean.  After all, one still had a good chance to make a roll to acquire a stub automatic and a life-time supply of bullets, not something that could be done by, say, a low level acolyte or a street commoner.  In theory, you could still successfully make acquisition checks even with negative profit factor.  This is essentially because Profit Factor doesn't measure money, it measures assets & income for what is essentially a major corporation. Look at Amazon, which for years made little to no profit as a company, but was still able to expand and acquire the materials they needed to operate.  The point being, if you wanted to, you could play Rogue Trader starting at 0 (or even negative) PF without actually changing the rules or imposing additional penalties.  It's also worth nothing that a Rogue Trader always has something to borrow against - at the very least, there's the ship.

 

I would also argue that a 0 PF situation is more likely to occur to an older Rogue Trader dynasty then a newly minted one.  Of the examples and methods we're given, its very hard for me to come up with a situation where someone who didn't have any kind of wealth generating holdings or inspired name recognition could legitimately acquire a Warrant of Trade and a starship.  On the other hand, it easy to think of a Rogue Trader family living beyond their means for a handful of generations until their wealth is depreciated to barely sustainable.

 

(also, with the "start with 6 months of supplies", I know the first thing my players would do is sell off 3 months for whatever it is they happen to need.  That's several million thrones just in food.)

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I love me some Black Crusade! The meta-lore surrounding my timeline even includes my group successfully conquering the Jericho Reach via Black Crusade rules in ToD (that was the biggest s**t-storm I have ever witnessed in a 40k RP, but was easily the coolest ever. Just imagine leading the charge into Watch-Fortress Erioch!). Hey, if GW won't advance the timeline, I will. That said, we felt it was time to return to RT, with a little twist. Instead of being fabulously wealthy, what if we were flat broke?

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The best way, I feel, would be to make you beholden to somebody.  Start at -20 PF, with an extra 10% accruing every year until they can get it to 0%.

 

Alternatively, put some heavy conditions on the warrant.  I've been considering running a "colonialists" game at some point where the Rogue Trader was provided their Warrant & Ship by the Administorum on the condition that

1) They found a new colony in the designated area of space no less than once per five years.

2) All colonies founded revert to Administorum control after 20 years.

 

This would generate the feeling of constantly having to battle an attrition of your resources, as well as the distinct need to get as much wealth out of founded colonies as quickly as possible, while still sliding in a few other endeavors if possible for more stable income.

 

Or, don't play a Rogue Trader, play a Free Captain in the Calixis Sector.  Without the legal privileges of the full Warrant of Trade, but the authority to pick up any cargo and transit along any established warp route, you can run along a game that's more of a 40k Firefly than 'normal' rogue trader.

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Okay, it reallly sounds like after a Monte Haul campaign you're wondering what the other side feels like.

 

Still you're looking for a workable way.  You might give the characters enough PF to operate with, but it's all borrowed funds.  They can't advance their PF until they pay off X amount, and even after that they have to continue paying Y percent until they reach goal Z.

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Start having them keep track of every shell their ship's weapons fire and have them have to roll to get more ( I know the rules effectively say unlimited ammo...but really?) Nothing says "broke rouge trader" than having to deal fairly with the competition.

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You might as well give the group a powerful ship right off the start. For example, the RT heard a story of a Kasserkratch, went into hell that is Screaming Vortex and claimed the venerable repulsive-class warship.

 

Now his finances are ruined by funding the expedition and subsequent attempt at maintaining the capital ship, his contacts no longer trust the guy who went into warpstorm and came back on board the ship with all-too-familiar brazen shapes which are firmly associated with damnation and ruin, and lots of questions with no easy answers arise.

 

Basically "put you capitalship to good use ASAP or die on a stake" scenario

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My first 40K campaign was like this. The RT had the clothes on his back,

a warrant, and some tickets for passage to any planet.

 

He had to scrape together everything, plus the wording of the warrant

said he could do whatever he wanted: so long as no-one else was already doing that.

 

So he had to also find a new product, new trade route,

new colony or whatever, something original.

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