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venkelos

Communication in 40K

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I've always assumed that a Rogue Trader, like any powerful and authorized individual in the Imperium, maintains a store of knowledge and records for themselves.  Because of unreliability of communication in the expanse, I'd assume that for many Rogue Traders, they keep in on their ship, in some kind of library or scriptorium.  (As I've argued in other threads, not having the component doesn't mean you don't have any books/records, just that you don't have an impressively large collection) So this is what your searching - stacks of data slates and digi-scrolls written by melenia of ancestors or secured from secreted organizations. 

 

But there is a good chance that in the case of particularly rare information, like the planets that was visited once by an exploritor team, you just don't have that information with you - but you might have an index that tells you who does.

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I limit the information, sure, but less so on ships with a Librarium component.  Can you imagine the size of one of those?  It's like the Library of Congress, cubed, in digital form...magnetic form?  crystallized form?  I don't think it's unreasonable to have the sum of all human knowledge of our current Earth stored on a ship that size.  Can you imagine finding what you want?  Google this planet.  What do you get?  A bazzilion hits?  Multiply that times a million inhabited systems, and millions more that have at least had a cursory exploration vessel visit them.  How do you sift through the layers of info to find what you want?  And is it all connected to begin with or do you have to go find a recordo-scroll and plug it in first since they don't want all that info accessible by the cogitators at all times lest they grow some sort of AI?  That's where the skill of the character comes into play.

 

As astropaths go, I highly recommend to my players to begin with a Choir component on their ship.  If they don't, then they can't use a choir even if they have 50 astropaths.  They'll get one as soon as they can after that first voyage, I guarantee it...well, at least they always have.  Without it they have a decreased chance of picking up signals (no dispersal scoops), and a Rank 1 astropath alone isn't going to be heard much of anywhere.

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Astropath transmissions should really be modified by local conditions - the Koronus Sector is full of warp storms which should render it pretty much impossible to get a signal out of the sector unless you are in the maw passage itself and when people roll 'warp storm' in the warp encounters table it should mean a dead halt to normal transmissions while the astropaths go whimper in the corner as they start picking up the tortured mental transmissions of those trapped in the warp...

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I like the idea of relay buoys too - it marries the whole technology to metaphysics together plus gives a GM options to spice up their tales and or inject some adventure! On that note  space is sooooooo vast - that finding said "device" could be nigh impossible especially if its "spitting" out psyhic energey not electric pulses or radio waves (in the case of the latter - that's when I could see malcontents messing with people's relays).

 

Needle in a haystack in the best of circumstances!

 

Heck dare I go so far as to say (lol):

 

Poor: The latest in development / rediscovery - this grade of relay was envisioned during darker more rigid climes when man has been stymied by dogma and the law. This grade Relay only transmits radio waves / electronic based signals, which is detectable by most standard forms of sensors.

 

Thus finding a poor relay - to me would still be a daunting task taking a minimum of a week and a maximum of several months to find physically - how big are these relays (well since discussing it - in my campaign say the size of a 4 burner stove... find a stove sized object in space, plus plsu - what if it only transmits when an actually message is passing through it, otherwise it's in a dormant state - yeah good luck  finding those relays, then again strategically someone out there would have some sort of reason to do so - thus again, ADVENTURE!)

 

Common - you decide as GM

Good - you decide as GM

 

Best: The oldest relays were built during a time when mankind's curiosity was unfettered by the machinations and will of it's blah blah blah

This type of Relay only transmits Psyhic-based energy... 

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They have Astropath relay stations. One was attempted to be founded in the Koronus passage but failed. Others in the Expanse are probably out there, but each void ship that has an Astropath on board acts a relay for messages. Where they came from and what they entail are probably encrypted though.

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And the buoys are always at risk. Between needing to guard it from marauding Orks, protect it from Chaos, looking to use psykers for terrible things, and observe it, to keep the astropaths on the up and up, as well as needing a plethora of capable individuals, I think that the Rogue Traders, having one or more astropaths aboard ship is probably the best buoy system the Imperium could use. Safe(ish), reliable(ish), and it brings the astropaths that the Rogue Traders need right to their door, so to say. So long as there are some on, say Footfall, who take messages for a fee, from your contacts, it works well, and since worlds need to stay in touch, I'm sure each one has several, even if they work for the Governor, or the Arbites.

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So, we've discussed "communication" on here, and the Internet in 40K, elsewhere, but how much information is stored, if you will, on a ship? Somehow, the Explorator, Seneschal, and other info-driven jobs learn and research topics, but if the party runs into something out in boonies Expanse, such the hulk of a once mighty Imperial vessel, or a strange planet that might have only ever had one Imperial team visit it, centuries ago, how do they "search for information"? I suppose I can accept that it's all stored in the core cogitator(s), but WHAT all gets stored in there, and by whom? If I want to know something about stuff I'm not familiar, I can hop on the Web, ask Google, query Wikipedia, or come here, and pick the brains of others, but what about the august lore-brokers of your dynasty? I argue it is very hard, based on presented fluff, for your "agents in the field" to get you possible leads ("the Seven Witches of Footfall are having an auction!"), with the only way being they find a random "commercial" astropath, somewhere, and have them start it off toward you, wherever your ship is, and, not to poke at E. Knight, but I seem to recall you being the one who is a bit more limiting on "just having some astropaths around, on your ship", but you have to have one, or get no message. So, whose managing what information font on your ship?

That depends on what sort of information you mean! Engineering data on the ship itself would be stored in the ship's cogitator. As would known threat recognition patterns of hostile vessels. Beyond that, you're going to be needing a librarium.

I tend to go with the idea that if your ship has a librarium, the explorers may research anything from an appropriate scholastic lore skill. Note that standard librarium components do NOT come with any " forbidden lore" material (its forbidden after all!) Unless they Upgrade!

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Isn't the Librarium an upgrade?  I'd assume any ship comes with schematics of its own innards, and general info about the Imperium at large.  There's still the question of sifting through the data, of course.  Just an observation, and not one I'd necessarily rule in favor of.

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From what I read, it seems as though each organizational branch of the Imperium has a level of access to the Adeptus Administratum official database on top of their own. The inquisition has the highest authority and removes anything they want from the offical Imperial database and places it their own protected archives. Whereas the Imperial Navy would have data on everything about naval personell, records of void conflict and wars, etc. 

 

I'd imagine each rogue trader has their own database as well as a relatively high level access to Adeptus Administratum database . Rogue Traders have also been described as an arm of the Imperium as well, so there may be a special database just for Rogue Traders to use, maintained by the top RT Dynasties, with esoteric information such as fringe xenos and expanses. Given Rogue Trader's freedom, I'd say their level of (relevant) knowledge is rivaled only by the Inquisition and Adeptus Mechanicus (although still dwarfed by them).

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Isn't the Librarium an upgrade?  I'd assume any ship comes with schematics of its own innards, and general info about the Imperium at large.  There's still the question of sifting through the data, of course.  Just an observation, and not one I'd necessarily rule in favor of.

The librarium is a component, not an upgrade. I certainly believe that a voidship carries Technical data on it's systems. There may even be enough data to do a credible job of scholastic lore (tactica imperialis) but not much else in a standard cogitator array. A librarium is significantly more involved! I would allow a character to research any scholastic lore project onboard if they so choose.

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Isn't the Librarium an upgrade?  I'd assume any ship comes with schematics of its own innards, and general info about the Imperium at large.  There's still the question of sifting through the data, of course.  Just an observation, and not one I'd necessarily rule in favor of.

No way, if that was the case then you'd not end up with situations where ships no longer are able to function because everyone onboard the ship responsible for making sure the plasma vents are functioning have died in the last battle (A thing that is specifically mentioned to happen on ships that give their skilled crew members too much lee-way in holding onto secret information about their hereditary jobs).

 

Something -like- a schematic probably exists, but I doubt any ship in the entirety of the imperium still has their original schematics unless they were only made within the last century or so. Dark Holds and whatnot after all.

 

Also I think we forget that the estimates on fleets are just warp capable ships, and plenty of fleets are mentioned as carrying around legions of 'support' vessels of greatly reduced size. Explorator fleets are mentioned specifically as towing **** around behind them constantly. It'd not surprise me if gellar field tech was a lot more accessible, or at least a lot easier to power and build and put into place, than warp drives were. If that's the case, you could have plenty fo vessels that are technically 'warp capable' but unable to breach the warp on their own, requiring that they be towed around by larger vessels. Or gellar fields from larger vessels might be able to be 'extended' down tow-chains somehow.

 

That enables quite sizable fleets of support vessels that are, all things considered, inconsequential for anything else because they're so much weaker than the warp capable flying cities that make up proper ships in 40k.

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I used the wrong the wrong word when I called the Librarium an upgrade.  I'd temporarily forgotten that "upgrade" referenced a particular acquisition type.  I was merely focused on the general definition of the word and not its particular connotation.  Yes, the Librarium is an upgrade in that it improves the ship.  No, the Librarium is not an Upgrade in that it's not listed under "Upgrades" in the books ItS or HA.

 

I wouldn't think a ship's schematics have deteriorated in its logic-banks.  Maybe, but not likely.  Most than likely, it just isn't known.  Knowledge gets passed along by word of mouth.  Most people aren't literate, and the few that are don't have time to educate another whole team every time a particular part of the ship gets hit in combat, devastating specialized crew in that section.  

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Sort of makes it funny, then, when the AdMech says they don't remember, or maybe don't have the technology to make these, anymore. Seriously, AdMech, you barely understood how it worked, anyway, and here's a working model. Just copy/paste, Ctrl+Alt+Sermonize, and make me another inferno pistol; they look just like this. I'm not sure how much info, even about the ship, itself, is inside the ship, when the AdMech want to make sure you will always need them to maintain it, and when they forget how, they go looking for "rare" copies of the plans, or an STD unit with it saved inside. I'm probably beating on the AdMech more than they deserve, I do that a lot with them, but if they can't even copy something they DO have working templates for (I'll use Executioner Plasma Cannons, just for an example; unlike my favorite inferno pistols, no miniaturization is required; it goes on a TANK!!!), and how many of them can really have 2+ "exotic" components they can't still fabricate? (I'm hoping those Ganymede plasma coils aren't THAT special), I get worried about "mundanes" having the complete plans/schematics on their ship. That's just me, of course.

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Executioner Plasma Cannons, just for an example; unlike my favorite inferno pistols, no miniaturization is required; it goes on a TANK!!!

 

Well, Executioner's plasma cannon essentially goes in between the ordinary plasma cannon (rather common design) and plasma blastgun (rather common for Imperial scout titans, also). Canon sources report, that Ryza posess technology for it's production and do mass produce Leman Russ Executioners in fact.

Mars should also possess the needed tech for it's production, however, the tanks are not in high demand.

The reasons are threefold.

First, while Executioner plasma cannon is powerful, it don't have the long-range anti-armour firepower of the Vanqisher cannon and it's photonic fuel cell don't last very long for a protracted firefight.

Second, field repairs could only be done by a techpriest, and not by Guard's own technicians.

Third, and the most of all - even light battle damage to the cannons mechanism could result in catastrophic meltdown and asbsolute loss of a tank with all hands.

About starship's schematics. AdMech surely posses a typical schematics for that class of staship. However, it becomes trickier with the schematics for a particular ships. The thing is, a starship could be in service for litarally millenia, going through multiply renovations, capital repairs and overhauls and countless "field repairs" so by the end it becames a city-size techno-maze. 

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A few things worth remembering with regards to knowledge retention.

 

In the Imperium, if knowledge is stored in a non-physical form, then the technology needed to access that information will be restricted only to a few. A cogitator doesn't have an efficient, user-friendly GUI like modern computers, and it may not even have a keyboard or screen - it's easy to imagine cogitators intended strictly for Mechanicus use that will only function if you've got the right implants - pumping raw binary into your brain through an electrograft or noospheric link - because it keeps knowledge out of the hands of the uninitiated. And that's before you get to the knowledge in the Techpriests themselves - whatever secrets their memories, and the implants that expand their memories, contain.

 

Consequently, a lot of information on a ship will be strictly the preserve of the ship's cadre of Techpriests. And that's before you consider what knowledge a given Techpriest is permitted to have - the highest-ranking priests will know more than the lower-ranking ones, because the lower-ranking ones aren't permitted to know as many of the secrets of the machine. Of course, even the lowest-ranking members know more than a lay-person, but their particular field of knowledge might not be immediately useful to you, or they may be physically unable to communicate the concepts to you (they know how to describe it in binary, but the concepts don't translate to Gothic, except as pseudospiritual nonsense) even if they are willing to explain it.

 

The rest... well, that'll be stored in forms that can be more easily accessed - books and scrolls, indentured memory-thralls (trained from birth to memorise and recall particular information), cantor-servitors (rebuilt to retain knowledge and recite it on command), and whatever technology the Mechanicus have set up that heathens can access.

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