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Disturbed Sanity

Some GM advice please.

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I'll be GMing a Rogue Trader game not far in the future and I just know my players will be getting into all sorts of trouble, so I was wondering if some experienced GMs could help me out with a few things.

How to you handle planetary events? Such as colonising, hostile take overs through war or buying and selling of planets and assets. Do you just do it through narrative? or do you have a detailed method requiring the players to gather up specialists, equipment etc. I think I remember a brief description for this in the core rulebook but would like to here your ideas.

Personal Armies, I'm sure my players will be wanting to requisition a personal army to do some of the dirty work. The ship they have has something like 25,000 crew population. I know most of that would be required to run the ship, but does that number already include some form of fighting force? I would imagine so since they would be needed for boarding actions and such. If that number does already include an army, what sort of rolls would be required to upgrade their equipment? Say they have 5,000 Imperial Guard equivalents, all equipped with Flak armour and Lasguns, what would be involved in outfitting 1,000 of those guards with heavy weapons such as heavy stubbers, flamers etc. MY best guess would be just do an upkeep test with various modifiers and if they fail they lose profit factor.

Same question for vehicles, I know there are rules in Into the Storm that have availability for  vehicles. But what about getting a small armoured company of chimera's and Leman Russ?

And if the 25,000 does not include a fighting force, is there room on the ship for one? without having to take out components to make more crew quarters?

Last question for now. How do you handle the players having multiple ships. Do you write up an NPC for them to be the captain of the other ship and make the rolls for the players based off their commands?

 

I know as GM I can do these things however I want, but I would like to here how other people handle it.

 

Edited by Disturbed Sanity

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"Planetary events" is a little vague. Rules for starting colonies can be found in the Stars of Inequity book.

Buying and selling planets probably falls under "burning profit factor" unless the planet isn't worth much. A better option might be finding a new, unclaimed (by anyone Imperial at least) planet that suits your needs, planting a flag, and registering it in your name with the appropriate bureaucrats back on terra. Looks like it's an endeavor to me.

Conquering a planet would be a military endeavor, the size of which depends on how big and tough of an army both you and the enemy bring to the game. If it's just a couple of tribes of primitives then all it takes is a couple of macro-cannon shells to give the natives a taste of the grape and deal with those left over. If it's an entrenched and equipped army then you're probably going to have to send down your own army to locate and defeat them unless they hole up in a nice big convenient city for you to bombard into rubble. If you don't have your own army then yes, you need to do the things to gather and equip a sufficiently large group of fighting men.

 

Speaking of which. Most Imperial ships have about 5-10% of their crew listed as armsmen. These guys are crew that are trusted to go about armed in their day to day life and enforce the rule of your particular brand of law, and lead the charge when conducting hit and run operations and other such things. They may have other "normal operation" duties when you don't currently need folks shot up and bullied, like a millitia sort of.

Under normal circumstances they won't be a match man for man for an Imperial guardsmen, both in training and in equipment. They tend to be armed and armored fairly lightly, flack coats and shotguns being the norm, and you can expect their quality to be about the same as your crew rating. The problem with gathering up your contingent of armsmen and sending them off to conquer a planet in your name is that you've just removed your entire police force and have no-body to keep order on your ship. You're also running with a reduced crew percentage. Most likely things will run amok in fairly short order unless you've got a very well liked captain who rolls well.

 

For equipping your group of 5000 theoretical men you can do it the same as any purchase (see page 271 of the core book). At the scale rating of significant (2,000-5,000) you're looking at a penalty of -20 to your profit factor, adjusted by rarity as per normal. So if you're looking to outfit 5000, you're probably going to need fairly cheap weapons unless you've got a very high starting profit factor (sorry no bolters). You can also use the same rules for hiring soldiers.

Another option is for them to buy an entire kit instead of buying each las gun and micro bead individually is the rules in Battlefield Kronus for purchasing and equipping large bodies of troops. It is somewhat maligned, but I've never actually tried to use it myself, so I don't really know.

 

Vehicles aren't well detailed in Rogue Trader, some scattered here and there, but if you're looking for lots of Imperial Guard equipment I would suggest the Only War game, which is dead easy to convert over to Rogue Trader. Buying them is simply rarity, +scale, +quality, -10 for vehicles.

 

Upkeep tends to happen when a purchased resource stressed, say the shiny new military unit you bought engages in a difficult campaign and suffers serious losses and damage and such. Then it's appropriate to call for an upkeep test to see what you've got left at the end.

 

The thing is, Rogue Trader is probably best when you don't get that granular about which squad has a heavy stubber or which has a chimera with a flamer versus an auto-cannon.

An off the top of my head of how to eyeball it. Call it a mechanized armor squad with a power level of +20 for light armor, a scale of -10 small, and a quality of +10 good and say that's what the armor squad is worth +20 to whatever roll controls their fate. Meanwhile the infantry company of 100 men has a power level of 0 for standard infantry, +0 for scale, and +0 for quality of common. Put the two head to head and the less numerous but far more powerful and better trained armor squad is 20% more likely (more since that good quality probably results in a bonus to appropriate skill roll) to win than the more numerous but not terribly well armored infantry group. Roll an opposed command test with the modifiers and the winner wins while the looser looses. If they have time to plan let them roll up some tactical imperialis to give them a bonus to command.

 

If you want extra space on your ship for either extra crew or soldiers I would suggest the Barracks component, that's exactly what it's for, and if you have fighting men it gives you some nice bonuses.

 

As for who captains what ship I leave that up to the players. If they want to assign one of the PC's as a captain sure, if they want to go find a skilled NPC to take the role then they go do that, otherwise it's left up to the crew rating.

Edited by Spatulaodoom

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I'm going to start by saying that there is (nearly) an entire book dedicated to colonies and planetary endeavours, called 'Stars of Inequity', which I would highly recommend if your players decide to focus on those types of adventures. Likewise, 'Battlefleet Koronus' has some good rules for waging ground wars and mustering troops.

 

When you say a 'personal army', that somewhat depends on the scale. You could certainly raise a small company as a sort of personal guard, perhaps 50-100 armsmen, just from the crew alone. Too much more than that and you risk not having enough left over to maintain discipline in the crew. After that, I would require my players to acquire more soldiers by some other means, the most obvious being to just buy them. Everything is for sale in the Expanse, and there is no resource less valuable than people.

 

On the note of actually holding an army, I imagine it would start to get a bit cramped at around 500 standing troops (at least for something frigate-sized). Having a barracks on board would be ideal, and allow you to hold closer to 1500-2000 troops as additional compliment to the ship's usual armsmen. Barring that, cargo holds make good make-shift quarters for large groups.

 

As for outfitting the men, see the acquisition modifiers for scale on an item. For your example, the Orthlack Heavy Stubber has average(+10) rarity, and 1000 units would fall into the Major(-10) purchase category, for a total modifier of +0 to profit factor. Same applies for tanks, armour, flyers, and people. Battlefleet Koronus also talks a bit about an idea of 'kits', where you would make an acquisition test for some number of sets of gear, and people to wear it would be thrown in as an after thought. Sort of a "Buy a lasgun and flak jacket, get a free person!" type sale.

 

And finally, allowing players to have multiple ships... the short answer, in my opinion, is "don't". But since they will often insist, remember a few things:
-Ships are really, REALLY expensive. Getting a new one is a grand adventure, not a trip to the market

-Building even a small warp-capable ship from scratch takes decades at least

-Getting a hulked ship repaired and running again, while slightly less expensive than building one from scratch, is still years of work, assuming you can secure the facilities and specialized workers needed to do it

 

All this means the most likely way they're going to get a ship is to steal it, or finding intact somewhere. The first involves pulling a fast one on 25,000 souls, and the second requires the grace of the Emperor (aka you gave them one). Once they DO end up with a ship, however, its really up to them if they want an NPC to fly the ship and follow orders, or split the PCs between the ships and fly around together.

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There is really no good answer for the personal army size, of course there are some MP's etc. But armies are there for fluff unless you make the players create a whole army according to the rules.

In my opinion: an army equal your barracks. a Barrack takes up space in the ship so unless they don't have one, they don't get a lot. How many soldiers do you get for one barrack? I would say around 5000 or less. Maybe more if they have a grand cruiser made for combat. 

Big combat: depends on how you want to do it, narrative is fine, but combat is the time for the players, they want to use their toys so let them. Give the some rolls, say: The ork ship is heading straight towards you, what do you do? let them roll etc.
It all really depends on the players, but if they want a ship or an army, let them create it because you as a RT have enough to do already. If it isn't important enough, use a premade ship and a fluff army.

Several ships: Of course, but don't expect me to come up with a dashing narrative for your NPCs, they will get a report, this report might be fun or interesting, but no grand "cinematic" unless I want to

Vehicles: of course they should have some sort of vehicles, but unless you are a "forge" ship with components that allow for grand production, they are going to have to make acquisition tests to obtain tanks and the rest.

In the end, it all depends on you and the player, I started out with banning stuff that was OP etc, because they would rush to every book finding the most broken stuff. It became very tedious for me, so now I let them balance themselves. If they want 14 arco flaggelants armed with power axes and wearing power armour. Go ahead, kill the boss, kill everyone, just gonna be pretty boring for them though when they realize that I am not balancing the game based on their OP ****. (of course, RT is also about experiencing freedom and power, so you gotta let them have that too ;) )
-

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I've been playing for about two years now and I dont even pretend I'm close to remembering everything. look up what you need, have the players look up what they want, make up what you want. everything is up to your discretion.

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