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Don't Carpet-Bomb the Primitives

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So, as a Rogue Trader in the vast Koronus Expanse, you have at your disposal a powerful ship, potentially a regiment of troops, or more specialized forces, and an ego that requires a battleship, even though your mother only left you a light cruiser, as your flagship. Most of the planets in the Expanse are backwater primitives, with people who don't remember the God-Emperor, where the AdMech might be absent, et al.

 

Lets use Vaporius as a means to this silliness. I am playing Rogue Trader Lady Sun Lee, having just arrived on this little ball of sand. I am brought before the leader of this area, a Priest-King named Ansai; a man who believes himself to be a god, like he's a Gao'uld from Stargate. I'm rather used to getting lesser people to see my "divinity", as well, so I'll play this game with him. If I try to bandy words, he'll act tired and unimpressed. If I try to bully him, he'll not budge. If I attack, a flock of children will become as his shield; his troops will mobilize, and think to try and cut me down. In his own words, he's as a god, with the minds of all his people his to command, even to death. Still, I'm a goddess, too, and where he controls the people, I command the very skies; the earth itself trembles at my will. If I will it, the Nihontu can open fire, from orbit, and cause a pretty good earthquake. I might also disappear in a flash, and then my "holy light" will level his precious, glass city. The Priest-Kings of other cities will think twice before pitting their "divinity" against mine.

 

Well, what's to stop your players from derailing situations like this? A place like Zayth might certainly have resources able to defend themselves, as might Damaris (even on the far side of the planet from wherever the Bulwark might be, right then), but lots of those places might have no real tech, no gun emplacements, or void shields; if I leveled Ansai's city, there are several others, each as good as the last. Would these people, even the Priest-Kings, know of void ships? How do you make your players play ball, when they really can use "both barrels" diplomacy?

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Bear in mind: this is the 40k universe: Those priest kings might be worshiping the chaos gods (even unknowingly)

 

Fun things from the HH novels (wich Lynata will complain about ;) ) include a very literall "no fly" zone above a holy city where any aircraft that enters that part of airspace immediatly crashes. Possessed (hive) cities who can throw debris at ships in orbit and more of that stuff wich will come as a surprise for your players. And it doesn't need to be chaos it could be some archeotech mcguffin on the planet that stops the players from "nuking the whole site from orbit" as the easy option.

 

RT: "Lissen' up you primitive screwheads! I'm taking your stuff in name of the Imperium or your cities will be destroyed!"

 

Priest King: "Go away! We shall not bow to your wil! Our god is strong!"

 

RT: *smirks* "My god is stronger, he is the almighty Emperor of Mankind, and this is his Hammer of Wrath!"

 

RT *To gunner onboard the Hammer of Wrath * "+ Fire at preset cördinates on my mark. mark. +"

 

Gunner: "+ Sir all weapons are offline! Cause, unknown! Trying to reacti- Somethings wrong on the gundecks! The crew! What's going on th+" *static*

 

Priest King: "Now do you believe? Now you shall witness the full power of Bel-Shamaroth!"

 

RT: "So... Let's trade? I-I'll give you a good price..."

Edited by Robin Graves

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So, as a Rogue Trader in the vast Koronus Expanse, you have at your disposal a powerful ship, potentially a regiment of troops, or more specialized forces, and an ego that requires a battleship, even though your mother only left you a light cruiser, as your flagship. Most of the planets in the Expanse are backwater primitives, with people who don't remember the God-Emperor, where the AdMech might be absent, et al.

 

Lets use Vaporius as a means to this silliness. I am playing Rogue Trader Lady Sun Lee, having just arrived on this little ball of sand. I am brought before the leader of this area, a Priest-King named Ansai; a man who believes himself to be a god, like he's a Gao'uld from Stargate. I'm rather used to getting lesser people to see my "divinity", as well, so I'll play this game with him. If I try to bandy words, he'll act tired and unimpressed. If I try to bully him, he'll not budge. If I attack, a flock of children will become as his shield; his troops will mobilize, and think to try and cut me down. In his own words, he's as a god, with the minds of all his people his to command, even to death. Still, I'm a goddess, too, and where he controls the people, I command the very skies; the earth itself trembles at my will. If I will it, the Nihontu can open fire, from orbit, and cause a pretty good earthquake. I might also disappear in a flash, and then my "holy light" will level his precious, glass city. The Priest-Kings of other cities will think twice before pitting their "divinity" against mine.

 

Well, what's to stop your players from derailing situations like this? A place like Zayth might certainly have resources able to defend themselves, as might Damaris (even on the far side of the planet from wherever the Bulwark might be, right then), but lots of those places might have no real tech, no gun emplacements, or void shields; if I leveled Ansai's city, there are several others, each as good as the last. Would these people, even the Priest-Kings, know of void ships? How do you make your players play ball, when they really can use "both barrels" diplomacy?

 

Not too long ago, I had an endeavour concerning something similar, though I'd say the world wasn't as primitive as yours might be.  But there was a psyker down there pretending to be a god-king, and he was defiant, even when I brought my favorite Untouchable with me.  Even when his powers were gone, he was very defiant, and I got the distinct impression he didn't know who he was dealing with, in spite of seeing a city-sized Conquest Star-Galleon hanging in orbit.  

 

Rather than bombard the planet, which was my right, I decided to let my Arch-Militant handle it.  I only gave him the following parameters - Make it HURT.  He accomplished the mission with flying colors and some pretty interesting creativity. 

 

What's to stop players from bombarding a planet?  Well, nothing.  But, when I run a game, doing something like that could affect Achievement Points.  If you were, say, just going there to reestablish contact with the world to have them start delivering the Imperial Tithe, doing a carpet-bombing or planet-wide bombardment will prevent that ultimate objective for a few years, or longer, at the least, before the people get their infrastructure up enough (even with Imperial help, from missionaries and the Ad Mech) to make payments.  In such a case, I'd award half the Achievement Points, and then add another Objective - Restore the Planet's Economic Infrastructure.  

 

Orbital Planetwide Bombardment should be a last resort that has to be done only if there's nothing else that can be done, because this should affect the Explorer's Bottom Line.  However, just targeting some things, like the god-king's hunting palace or his spa with a Lance Cannon Strike is a good option.  I like the Corleone method, sawing off one of his thoroughbred's heads and put it in bed with him to wake up to.  Subtle, but gets the message across.  

 

Would the Priest-King know about void-ships?  Who cares?  This isn't Star Trek.  From your player's perspective, the god-king down there has to know who's the new boss, and it ain't him.  But, if your players are more inclined to shoot first and deal with the aftermath, fine.  Let them deal with the aftermath, because that will hurt in the long run, especially if they didn't get any Profit Factor added as a result.  Leveling a whole world's cities should make it harder for that world to do what it takes to be of service to your players and the Imperium.  

Edited by Wayfinder

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Bear in mind: this is the 40k universe: Those priest kings might be worshiping the chaos gods (even unknowingly)

 

Fun things from the HH novels (wich Lynata will complain about ;) ) include a very literall "no fly" zone above a holy city where any aircraft that enters that part of airspace immediatly crashes. Possessed (hive) cities who can throw debris at ships in orbit and more of that stuff wich will come as a surprise for your players. And it doesn't need to be chaos it could be some archeotech mcguffin on the planet that stops the players from "nuking the whole site from orbit" as the easy option.

 

RT: "Lissen' up you primitive screwheads! I'm taking your stuff in name of the Imperium or your cities will be destroyed!"

 

Priest King: "Go away! We shall not bow to your wil! Our god is strong!"

 

RT: *smirks* "My god is stronger, he is the almighty Emperor of Mankind, and this is his Hammer of Wrath!"

 

RT *To gunner onboard the Hammer of Wrath * "+ Fire at preset cördinates on my mark. mark. +"

 

Gunner: "+ Sir all weapons are offline! Cause, unknown! Trying to reacti- Somethings wrong on the gundecks! The crew! What's going on th+" *static*

 

Priest King: "Now do you believe? Now you shall witness the full power of Bel-Shamaroth!"

 

RT: "So... Let's trade? I-I'll give you a good price..."

Well, I suppose from one perspective, I'm letting the fact that this was a spelled out on paper encounter get the better of me; Lure of the Expanse never mentions any such things on Vaporius, whether the Priest-Kings served Tzeentch, Cthulhu, or the worms of Arrakis, nor did it mention any sort of DAoT marvel-tech protecting the world, as that would be just another thing for the party to then try and steal, and probably cooler than "slightly narcotic water". Without sort of deus ex machina-ing the whole thing, just because the party has a ship, it would seem that the leaders of Vaporius don't have much to hide behind, if they were to be threatened. Powerful psykers are also a thing, but lots of people whined at the ones from Ascension, who could "this one time, I crushed a Land Raider like a beer can with the Force", and they shouldn't be common. The Priest Kings aren't described as any such psykers, even were they united, and on. While you can certainly say your party is a more enterprise-oriented group, and I suspect that would be standard of Rogue Traders, that very book does list several "shoot first" Rogue Traders, any of which (Bastille, Scourge, maybe Feckward) might say "there are a dozen cities on this planet, scattered all around its surface. The loss of one, while inconvenient, would only minorly impact the production of the others, and the show of force would cow these backwards simpletons into realizing who's really in command here."

 

Now, without spoilers, yeah, the Priest-Kings MIGHT have a surprise, or two, waiting for any such RT, regardless of their methods (you might've done exactly what they wanted, and still), but it seems an easy option for many, and one with little obvious fallout. The shot that pings their city, even just a chunk, isn't any worse than the one they want you to take, so we aren't talking about environmentally altering the place. Ah, whatever, if I ever get to run this game with my friends, I'll probably just try to see if more places might have some planet guns, just to make the party think a bit, or not have anything amazing, that they can just smash and grab.

 

 

So, as a Rogue Trader in the vast Koronus Expanse, you have at your disposal a powerful ship, potentially a regiment of troops, or more specialized forces, and an ego that requires a battleship, even though your mother only left you a light cruiser, as your flagship. Most of the planets in the Expanse are backwater primitives, with people who don't remember the God-Emperor, where the AdMech might be absent, et al.

 

Lets use Vaporius as a means to this silliness. I am playing Rogue Trader Lady Sun Lee, having just arrived on this little ball of sand. I am brought before the leader of this area, a Priest-King named Ansai; a man who believes himself to be a god, like he's a Gao'uld from Stargate. I'm rather used to getting lesser people to see my "divinity", as well, so I'll play this game with him. If I try to bandy words, he'll act tired and unimpressed. If I try to bully him, he'll not budge. If I attack, a flock of children will become as his shield; his troops will mobilize, and think to try and cut me down. In his own words, he's as a god, with the minds of all his people his to command, even to death. Still, I'm a goddess, too, and where he controls the people, I command the very skies; the earth itself trembles at my will. If I will it, the Nihontu can open fire, from orbit, and cause a pretty good earthquake. I might also disappear in a flash, and then my "holy light" will level his precious, glass city. The Priest-Kings of other cities will think twice before pitting their "divinity" against mine.

 

Well, what's to stop your players from derailing situations like this? A place like Zayth might certainly have resources able to defend themselves, as might Damaris (even on the far side of the planet from wherever the Bulwark might be, right then), but lots of those places might have no real tech, no gun emplacements, or void shields; if I leveled Ansai's city, there are several others, each as good as the last. Would these people, even the Priest-Kings, know of void ships? How do you make your players play ball, when they really can use "both barrels" diplomacy?

 

Not too long ago, I had an endeavour concerning something similar, though I'd say the world wasn't as primitive as yours might be.  But there was a psyker down there pretending to be a god-king, and he was defiant, even when I brought my favorite Untouchable with me.  Even when his powers were gone, he was very defiant, and I got the distinct impression he didn't know who he was dealing with, in spite of seeing a city-sized Conquest Star-Galleon hanging in orbit.  

 

Rather than bombard the planet, which was my right, I decided to let my Arch-Militant handle it.  I only gave him the following parameters - Make it HURT.  He accomplished the mission with flying colors and some pretty interesting creativity. 

 

What's to stop players from bombarding a planet?  Well, nothing.  But, when I run a game, doing something like that could affect Achievement Points.  If you were, say, just going there to reestablish contact with the world to have them start delivering the Imperial Tithe, doing a carpet-bombing or planet-wide bombardment will prevent that ultimate objective for a few years, or longer, at the least, before the people get their infrastructure up enough (even with Imperial help, from missionaries and the Ad Mech) to make payments.  In such a case, I'd award half the Achievement Points, and then add another Objective - Restore the Planet's Economic Infrastructure.  

 

Orbital Planetwide Bombardment should be a last resort that has to be done only if there's nothing else that can be done, because this should affect the Explorer's Bottom Line.  However, just targeting some things, like the god-king's hunting palace or his spa with a Lance Cannon Strike is a good option.  I like the Corleone method, sawing off one of his thoroughbred's heads and put it in bed with him to wake up to.  Subtle, but gets the message across.  

 

Would the Priest-King know about void-ships?  Who cares?  This isn't Star Trek.  From your player's perspective, the god-king down there has to know who's the new boss, and it ain't him.  But, if your players are more inclined to shoot first and deal with the aftermath, fine.  Let them deal with the aftermath, because that will hurt in the long run, especially if they didn't get any Profit Factor added as a result.  Leveling a whole world's cities should make it harder for that world to do what it takes to be of service to your players and the Imperium.  

 

I'm not entirely certain about this aftermath. The planet in question isn't part of the Imperium, so you can shoot at it, like a pinata, and see if candy come out till you are out of munitions, and nothing will happen to you. Like I said, the loss of a city would be bothersome, but probably an acceptable loss, and they are far apart, so the others will only be morale-noticing. Since the people are zombies, I guess they won't even care. The planet is still worth something, so your bottom line won't REALLY feel it, and they'll rebuild, because they have a zombie workforce.

 

No this isn't Star Trek, but it begs the question of "have these people met other Rogue Traders, before? Do they know where these space men came from?" The core book referenced this world long before Lure of the Expanse was published, so other Rogue Traders might already be aware of it, its people, its perils, and its prizes, though you are presented s among the first to try and capitalize on them. I made a comparison to the Gao'uld because they, too, think themselves as gods, and a few even buy into their own lies, over time, but when they have to deal with others who are aware that they are really just mortal beings with "Arthur C. Clarke tech" they can take the difference in powers into account. If you know what a void ship is, at least a little, and that I can pulverize a city with it, and if you CAN'T do anything about that, you can choose to just be that bit more magnanimous, from the get-go, look like a more benevolent god, and not get blasted, where if you don't, and you think I can't do anything, you might be more arrogant.

 

It sort of seems a waste to take the time to fabricate anything up, if all the party might do is fly in, shoot the people, steal the STC machine (or anything else similarly portable, that isn't intrinsically connected to the planet, or dependent on something else there) they happen to be worshiping, and make their escape, without ever having to deal with, and possibly face, those people. Oddly, I now have this image of a group of Imperial TIE pilots, stuck out above Tattooine, getting clearance to fly down, and just blast the sandcrawlers for fun. Not sure if they'll get better prices on droids, though. ;)

 

Sorry to be making a big, weird point out of it, but it just seems that a lot of worlds would be easily pressed by the RT group, even though the combined Navy/Guard forces will hit a world, drop troops, and then proceed to ceaselessly fight for a decade, or four. It doesn't seem it should be that hard. Yay logistics?

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Well, what's to stop your players from derailing situations like this?

 

Perhaps the question should be: why should there be something to stop them? ;)

 

Rogue Trader is a game that thrives on the players taking the reigns, rather than getting railroaded (which they'd have to, in order to be de-railed) down a pre-determined path. So the challenge is to run with whatever the players come up, and craft interesting follow-ups and consequences as a (somewhat) realistic result of their actions.

 

People often compare Rogue Traders to the Conquistadores of ye olde Europe that ventured to the Americas and forcibly (and quite often rather brutally) suppressed the natives. So why not follow down that very same path? History can yield some good inspiration here in terms of likely consequences, such as the Adeptus Ministorum starting to file official complaints against this RT making it difficult for their Missionaries to operate (or even displaying an almost heretical disregard for Imperial ambitions over their "short-sighted personal goals").

 

What's to stop players from bombarding a planet?  Well, nothing.  But, when I run a game, doing something like that could affect Achievement Points.  If you were, say, just going there to reestablish contact with the world to have them start delivering the Imperial Tithe, doing a carpet-bombing or planet-wide bombardment will prevent that ultimate objective for a few years, or longer, at the least, before the people get their infrastructure up enough (even with Imperial help, from missionaries and the Ad Mech) to make payments.  In such a case, I'd award half the Achievement Points, and then add another Objective - Restore the Planet's Economic Infrastructure. 

 

Indeed. Reminds me of that fluff-blurb in the 3E Marine Codex, where an Inquisitor assessed the situation following some Marine Chapter's strike against a renegade governor. The Astartes basically nuked the planet's military infrastructure, then landed in front of the governor's palace and shot the guy before flying off again, and the Inquisitor was left complaining about this planet taking years to recover its arms manufacturing potential, leaving it exposed to the threat of alien invasion.

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I don't actively discourage my players from wasting worlds.  In the past I've simply let them bombard from above and count the profits afterwards.  Vaporius is an interesting example.  If the Rogue Trader doesn't get "the drop" on the Priest-King then the Priest-King might control the Rogue Trader's heart and mind.  Now who's in charge?  Players being the metagamers that they are, let's assume that doesn't happen.  The description of Vaporius tells us there are "hundreds of cities."  Each has thousands of inhabitants.  Even the largest probably couldn't have tens of thousands.  Desert worlds with no standing water whatsoever don't support large agricultural civilizations, and human don't generally live in groups over 2,000 without an agricultural civilization.

 

So, there are hundreds of thousands of people on Vaporius.  That's like the population of Neanderthal Earth, maybe not even that.  The entirety of Vaporius couldn't produce enough wealth to support a Rogue Trader operation.  It's just another stopping point, a trade station, not a destination in and of itself.  And your trigger-happy Dynasty just laid waste to one of those cities?  Oppressed people might work for their oppressers, but they don't work hard for their oppressers.  Shovels break more often, acqueducts misfunction, sluice gates need more repairs.  Efficiency goes down, and with it goes profits.  And your PCs want to decrease that?  I say let them.

 

I say the trade route that might have been worth 2 PF is now worth 1 PF, and it pretty much takes the RT with his/her gang of wonder-buddies to get the job done every single trip.  Forget detailing an NPC ship to this trade route.  That NPC is only going to stir up hostilities in the natives.  After all, they have the wonderful example of using brute force from their boss, and they use it in their turn.  Pretty soon there's a rebellion, so no, the PCs now have to bring their ship to Vaporius every journey into the Expanse or they lose that 1 PF.  Boy, that was a good idea bombing that city from orbit.

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Bear in mind: this is the 40k universe: Those priest kings might be worshiping the chaos gods (even unknowingly)

 

Fun things from the HH novels (wich Lynata will complain about ;) ) include a very literall "no fly" zone above a holy city where any aircraft that enters that part of airspace immediatly crashes. Possessed (hive) cities who can throw debris at ships in orbit and more of that stuff wich will come as a surprise for your players. And it doesn't need to be chaos it could be some archeotech mcguffin on the planet that stops the players from "nuking the whole site from orbit" as the easy option.

 

RT: "Lissen' up you primitive screwheads! I'm taking your stuff in name of the Imperium or your cities will be destroyed!"

 

Priest King: "Go away! We shall not bow to your wil! Our god is strong!"

 

RT: *smirks* "My god is stronger, he is the almighty Emperor of Mankind, and this is his Hammer of Wrath!"

 

RT *To gunner onboard the Hammer of Wrath * "+ Fire at preset cördinates on my mark. mark. +"

 

Gunner: "+ Sir all weapons are offline! Cause, unknown! Trying to reacti- Somethings wrong on the gundecks! The crew! What's going on th+" *static*

 

Priest King: "Now do you believe? Now you shall witness the full power of Bel-Shamaroth!"

 

RT: "So... Let's trade? I-I'll give you a good price..."

Well, I suppose from one perspective, I'm letting the fact that this was a spelled out on paper encounter get the better of me; Lure of the Expanse never mentions any such things on Vaporius, whether the Priest-Kings served Tzeentch, Cthulhu, or the worms of Arrakis, nor did it mention any sort of DAoT marvel-tech protecting the world, as that would be just another thing for the party to then try and steal, and probably cooler than "slightly narcotic water". Without sort of deus ex machina-ing the whole thing, just because the party has a ship, it would seem that the leaders of Vaporius don't have much to hide behind, if they were to be threatened. Powerful psykers are also a thing, but lots of people whined at the ones from Ascension, who could "this one time, I crushed a Land Raider like a beer can with the Force", and they shouldn't be common. The Priest Kings aren't described as any such psykers, even were they united, and on. While you can certainly say your party is a more enterprise-oriented group, and I suspect that would be standard of Rogue Traders, that very book does list several "shoot first" Rogue Traders, any of which (Bastille, Scourge, maybe Feckward) might say "there are a dozen cities on this planet, scattered all around its surface. The loss of one, while inconvenient, would only minorly impact the production of the others, and the show of force would cow these backwards simpletons into realizing who's really in command here."

 

Now, without spoilers, yeah, the Priest-Kings MIGHT have a surprise, or two, waiting for any such RT, regardless of their methods (you might've done exactly what they wanted, and still), but it seems an easy option for many, and one with little obvious fallout. The shot that pings their city, even just a chunk, isn't any worse than the one they want you to take, so we aren't talking about environmentally altering the place. Ah, whatever, if I ever get to run this game with my friends, I'll probably just try to see if more places might have some planet guns, just to make the party think a bit, or not have anything amazing, that they can just smash and grab.

 

 

So, as a Rogue Trader in the vast Koronus Expanse, you have at your disposal a powerful ship, potentially a regiment of troops, or more specialized forces, and an ego that requires a battleship, even though your mother only left you a light cruiser, as your flagship. Most of the planets in the Expanse are backwater primitives, with people who don't remember the God-Emperor, where the AdMech might be absent, et al.

 

Lets use Vaporius as a means to this silliness. I am playing Rogue Trader Lady Sun Lee, having just arrived on this little ball of sand. I am brought before the leader of this area, a Priest-King named Ansai; a man who believes himself to be a god, like he's a Gao'uld from Stargate. I'm rather used to getting lesser people to see my "divinity", as well, so I'll play this game with him. If I try to bandy words, he'll act tired and unimpressed. If I try to bully him, he'll not budge. If I attack, a flock of children will become as his shield; his troops will mobilize, and think to try and cut me down. In his own words, he's as a god, with the minds of all his people his to command, even to death. Still, I'm a goddess, too, and where he controls the people, I command the very skies; the earth itself trembles at my will. If I will it, the Nihontu can open fire, from orbit, and cause a pretty good earthquake. I might also disappear in a flash, and then my "holy light" will level his precious, glass city. The Priest-Kings of other cities will think twice before pitting their "divinity" against mine.

 

Well, what's to stop your players from derailing situations like this? A place like Zayth might certainly have resources able to defend themselves, as might Damaris (even on the far side of the planet from wherever the Bulwark might be, right then), but lots of those places might have no real tech, no gun emplacements, or void shields; if I leveled Ansai's city, there are several others, each as good as the last. Would these people, even the Priest-Kings, know of void ships? How do you make your players play ball, when they really can use "both barrels" diplomacy?

 

Not too long ago, I had an endeavour concerning something similar, though I'd say the world wasn't as primitive as yours might be.  But there was a psyker down there pretending to be a god-king, and he was defiant, even when I brought my favorite Untouchable with me.  Even when his powers were gone, he was very defiant, and I got the distinct impression he didn't know who he was dealing with, in spite of seeing a city-sized Conquest Star-Galleon hanging in orbit.  

 

Rather than bombard the planet, which was my right, I decided to let my Arch-Militant handle it.  I only gave him the following parameters - Make it HURT.  He accomplished the mission with flying colors and some pretty interesting creativity. 

 

What's to stop players from bombarding a planet?  Well, nothing.  But, when I run a game, doing something like that could affect Achievement Points.  If you were, say, just going there to reestablish contact with the world to have them start delivering the Imperial Tithe, doing a carpet-bombing or planet-wide bombardment will prevent that ultimate objective for a few years, or longer, at the least, before the people get their infrastructure up enough (even with Imperial help, from missionaries and the Ad Mech) to make payments.  In such a case, I'd award half the Achievement Points, and then add another Objective - Restore the Planet's Economic Infrastructure.  

 

Orbital Planetwide Bombardment should be a last resort that has to be done only if there's nothing else that can be done, because this should affect the Explorer's Bottom Line.  However, just targeting some things, like the god-king's hunting palace or his spa with a Lance Cannon Strike is a good option.  I like the Corleone method, sawing off one of his thoroughbred's heads and put it in bed with him to wake up to.  Subtle, but gets the message across.  

 

Would the Priest-King know about void-ships?  Who cares?  This isn't Star Trek.  From your player's perspective, the god-king down there has to know who's the new boss, and it ain't him.  But, if your players are more inclined to shoot first and deal with the aftermath, fine.  Let them deal with the aftermath, because that will hurt in the long run, especially if they didn't get any Profit Factor added as a result.  Leveling a whole world's cities should make it harder for that world to do what it takes to be of service to your players and the Imperium.  

 

I'm not entirely certain about this aftermath. The planet in question isn't part of the Imperium, so you can shoot at it, like a pinata, and see if candy come out till you are out of munitions, and nothing will happen to you. Like I said, the loss of a city would be bothersome, but probably an acceptable loss, and they are far apart, so the others will only be morale-noticing. Since the people are zombies, I guess they won't even care. The planet is still worth something, so your bottom line won't REALLY feel it, and they'll rebuild, because they have a zombie workforce.

 

No this isn't Star Trek, but it begs the question of "have these people met other Rogue Traders, before? Do they know where these space men came from?" The core book referenced this world long before Lure of the Expanse was published, so other Rogue Traders might already be aware of it, its people, its perils, and its prizes, though you are presented s among the first to try and capitalize on them. I made a comparison to the Gao'uld because they, too, think themselves as gods, and a few even buy into their own lies, over time, but when they have to deal with others who are aware that they are really just mortal beings with "Arthur C. Clarke tech" they can take the difference in powers into account. If you know what a void ship is, at least a little, and that I can pulverize a city with it, and if you CAN'T do anything about that, you can choose to just be that bit more magnanimous, from the get-go, look like a more benevolent god, and not get blasted, where if you don't, and you think I can't do anything, you might be more arrogant.

 

It sort of seems a waste to take the time to fabricate anything up, if all the party might do is fly in, shoot the people, steal the STC machine (or anything else similarly portable, that isn't intrinsically connected to the planet, or dependent on something else there) they happen to be worshiping, and make their escape, without ever having to deal with, and possibly face, those people. Oddly, I now have this image of a group of Imperial TIE pilots, stuck out above Tattooine, getting clearance to fly down, and just blast the sandcrawlers for fun. Not sure if they'll get better prices on droids, though. ;)

 

Sorry to be making a big, weird point out of it, but it just seems that a lot of worlds would be easily pressed by the RT group, even though the combined Navy/Guard forces will hit a world, drop troops, and then proceed to ceaselessly fight for a decade, or four. It doesn't seem it should be that hard. Yay logistics?

 

 

 

Well, actually, blasting away at the planet like a pinata will hurt their bottom line.  At least, it should.  

 

Operating a void-ship is tremendously expensive, and so a Rogue Trader's (usual) number one priority is making money.  Every voyage has to count for something.  While he can go joy-riding all around the cosmos, he won't be doing that for very long if he doesn't make such joy-rides pay. 

 

For instance, when your players left wherever with at least six months to a year's worth of provisions and ammo for the ship and crew, the clock is ticking.  They spend 5-10 days (when the Navigator doesn't mess up his roll) in Warp, and appear outside the system, which means it can take that ship anywhere from one to four weeks to reach their intended planetary destination.  So now you have a month gone, at least, and they've only just arrived!  

 

As GM, you determine what Endeavours and/or Objectives your Players want to try for.  If their goal is to return the planet to the Imperium and have it resume tithing as soon as possible, then the goal is not to blast the planet.  They have to make that decision for themselves.  If they just open fire without bothering to do other things first that might resolve the situation easier, then don't give them the Achievement Points.  In fact, for that Endeavour, you can fail them for it, and give them a new Endeavour to try to achieve, which might be Colonize the Planet You Just Killed.  They get no PF for bombarding the planet, because they didn't accomplish the Endeavour.  That does hurt their bottom line because that was time wasted getting there.  

 

As Ben Franklin once quipped, "Time is Money."  Any time you're doing something that isn't making money is a waste for a Rogue Trader.  

 

If your players keep doing stuff like that, they're going to wonder why they're not making money, why their Profit Factor isn't going up.  Sooner or later it'll sink in.  

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As a GM, I would certainly allow my players the option of carpet bombing the natives or just fighting large, obsolete armies with their household troops. Players like an occasional killing fest where for once, they aren’t the main course. But I would still enforce likely economic and human consequences. Devastated planets provide little profit and abused, exploited humans tend to rebel frequently….

 

But that can get old pretty soon so how do primitive societies defend themselves from RT’s?

There are several ways IMO:

 

1. archeo tech from the time the humans originally settled there….maybe something like holy shrines with automated missile batteries that are to be used as a last resort with operating keys held by the various ‘priest kings’ of the planet. So no single priest king can attack a rival with these ancient weapons but if they all combine against an alien threat such as a RT, they can obliterate the threat….The holy shrines have been lovingly maintained by a special sect just for such an occasion. The crappy tech of the RT can’t discover these powerful archeo weapons as they are shielded by far more sophisticated sensors than the Imperium has after 10,000 years of technological decay.

 

2. the RT is not the first space pirate/merchant to appear to the primitives. They have made a deal to trade stuff for protection and goods with the earlier merchant. If threatened by another space pirate, the primitives will hand over a recorder with the voice of the other RT, promising retribution if they mess with his trade connections.

 

3. Aliens have visited the planet before and trade there regularly. Maybe the planet is a major stop on their trade route/lines of communication. Instead of a defenceless planet, the RT finds an alien task force, willing and able to pound him into space dust.

 

4. Asymmetric warfare. The RT has a voidship and high tech troops. The primitives have local knowledge and sharp sticks. They can easily make things too expensive for the RT with guerrilla warfare. And because 40k, the primitives might have exotic weapons….maybe they have trained killer bees. Or trained T-rexes…Or strange toxics which kill or mutate the invaders….As soon as the first RT troops start mutating, the RT will have a mutiny as troops and crews are not fond of fighting chaos….

Or maybe just legends about a time of fire which will destroy their cities. But if they stay true and keep on fighting, the space devils will disappear and a new golden dawn will occur for the people…

 

 

I do like the notion of the locals worshipping powerful entities which can provide protection. They need not even be the 4 major chaos gods. The warp is filled with lesser beings too, all of whom probably like worship (and souls?). Some are even beneficial. All would likely try to save their worshippers, cue spooky warp phenomena.

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1) For some reason, voidships need to enter low orbit to bombard targets. We have rules for pilot checks, I believe. So there's still a threat, though a small one, of the voidship crashing or damaging itself.

 

2) Archeotech can lay dormant for millennia and be activated by something catastrophic... like orbital bombardment.

 

3) Rival Rogue Traders who have interests on said planet or who've made a claim to it.

 

 

But I'm of the opinion that you shouldn't prevent this, other from those seemingly natural "defenses" against willy-nilly gunship diplomacy and empire building. I mean, that is the whole point of the game for some groups, right? If you want them to run a tight little adventure then they should know and agree to that. Otherwise you're not going to have fun.

 

In fact, the reason I became the GM of our group was that our former GM had this "epic" he wanted to play out and we were tightly railroaded. They developed their own things for the game that were discarded by the GM because it didn't fit what he wanted to run. I took over with a more sandbox approach and the group has cursed my name since I cherish the words "Be careful what you wish for" very much.

 

Have a convo with your group. What do they want? Or rather, what's fun to them? They may say one thing but feel differently after a while, so you need to test out the waters. I laced our sandbox with hooks for them for adventures and whatnot, just for the variety. 

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Hah

When my last group encountered an Warhammer-Fantasy-era civilization, they abductted the royalty, took them to the voidship, showed them around and then sat them down to discuss terms.

It didn't take long (read many decaptations) before the local government abandoned their polyteistic ways.

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Like I said, I'm sure it's part:

 

A. I'm whining when the book didn't just spell it out, railroad it for me when, as a GM, I would easily be able to "just make some s*** up", but Zayth says "the mobile hive spire have ship-based weapons, and CAN fire back. Dross has a field around it, like Kotor, that just crashes ships, and what not, while Vaporius says nothing. It's my biggest gripe of the set, and I admit it's little, and rather pointless, but as anyone whose played Star Wars can tell you, worlds fear Star Destroyers, and players are usually NOT on the Star Destroyer side of this equation.

 

and

 

B. I'm sort of talking like I DO want to control the players, when I admit it wouldn't be my job to. If they want to be jerks, no harm, no foul, accept the consequences. It just seems that Vaporius is a too-good an opportunity to be one, if you are interested in trade. Those cities have no identified torps, gun emplacements, or void shields. if Ansai ISN'T Anubis, and that palace ISN'T a Hat'ak ship, shooting his city will spell its doom, and I thought there were dozens of the glass cities, but if Errant Knight is right, and I forgot, and there ARE hundreds, they can't miss one, but it's a good show of force, if I don't just shoot next to it, and try to scare Ansai. Unless we started counting macroshells, which to a point is not done (that's part of their advantage over torpedoes, fighters, and other "limited quantity" ammo; you should be good till you run out of food, first, and then go refill both), hitting one city of hundreds with a few of them isn't going to hurt any bottom line.

 

Blah, blah, blah. This might also be why I'd suck at Eve Online; I don't think like a penny-pinching, corporate kingpin, nor plan economically to that degree. You've seen my two specced up Rogue Traders; a fun-loving, philanderer who occasionally saves a world (so Tenshi Musashi, if he actually realized what he could get away with) and old, powerful, "good-guy", who somehow prospers in a galaxy where everyone is mosnters, so I'm more likely to assume they'd be good, anyway, but I don't always trust my friends to be as altruistic/naive as I portray myself to be. This also assumes, of course, that the party CHOSE to be Death From Above, rather than Corporate Imperia, which is at least as likely, even for them (my friends, were we playing). I do see where some of this comes in, that if you don't want to have to personally deal with this little deal every time, you better leave it in a condition your NPC underling can handle, so I'll more leave it at that, and call it good. Thanks much ;)

Edited by venkelos

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One of the big draws of Rogue Trader as a GM is a sandbox where players can act and the consequences play out.

 

If the command crew want to bomb the primitives, then that's well within their power. But they get to live with the consequences, for better or worse. They might eliminate a potent witch, along with torching the profitability of the run.

 

In a campaign I'm running, the Scorpio dynasty found a high-gravity, verdant world that included a continent sized plain occupied by a unique sapient xenos race. They were naturally gifted at melee combat, had primitive but huge cannon, and had tamed ludicrously fast riding beasts. Their technology was mostly late medieval, apart from recovered archaotech and xenostech "relics". They were quite happy to send off regiments worth of "knights errant" type mercanaries.

 

The dynasty organised a ground war to kill the lot of them.

 

Less profitable straight away, but it left the planet open for colonisation and helped forge alliances that still prove useful.

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Spoiler Alert

 

 

 

 

 

So my two chavitos,  so according to the way it reads in the book “Lure of the Expanse”

 

1.      On Vaporis they have Keepers of ancient lore, where they are pretty descriptive of their own history, meaning the people of vaporis are very self-aware of them being from the stars and have a good understanding that they were technologically savy.

 

2.      Man landed in the desert and tried to turn the world green, ok so obviously they had some “terraforming technology “ they did not fail because they had crap tech, on the contrary they had some bad a$$ engineers and the tech to back it up.  They failed because they didn’t understand why the planet was a desert (which for me that means that it was something that was unquantifiable or unnatural because they being bad a$$ engineers with a few hundred years working at the problem could not figure it out) and then started to die off.

 

3.      First Priest Kings appear during the “age of death”, “Born of the first men” (implies that these dudes where born of the first settlers,  the really smart engineers, this also implies that there were either some long lived SOB's or they really kept themselves well educated, and maybe with some of that bada$$ tech) they looked different than their ?parents?, taller with distinctive features, some would describe feline with liquid blue eyes.  (that sounds like genetic manipulation or at least some kind of stable mutation with a purpose) they also had a “gift” to find water and call it forth (that’s some awesome shyt and it tells you that it’s not normal thing that people can do, so I wonder do they still have awesome tech and the knowledge to use it, or is it psionic or magic?).  From the very small description it makes me think of the classic water nymph (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naiad) GM’s read this it’s awesome, gives great ideas.

 

4.      The springs that they call forth don’t maintain themselves each requires a priest king to maintain it.  Also the priest kings maintain a carful lineages so they don’t lose the ability (so it definitely sounds like some type of genetic manipulation)

 

5.      It says that how and why this is possible is not remembered or asked about (meaning that there could be some group that suppresses this kind of thinking, can we say death cult). 

 

6.      Almost all the priest kings get along and probably related so they will back each other up

 

7.      There are these strange creatures that are seemingly, made of rock. (reminds me of the rock creatures from the plane of Elemental earth the opposite of the plane of Water)

Last but not least there is an active mission to the planet by the Ecclesiarch, these are major hitters, that have a vested interested in seeing these peoples brought to the holy light of the Emphra!!!   

 

Totally not to be wiped out be some jumped up a-hole that thinks he the shyt because he has a single ship or several (sorry got carried away).  

 

Ok so read it carefully there’s a lot of great stuff here in those few sentences to give the GM much to create with.  If your GM just threw it at you plain vanilla style then he missed a lot of good stuff this planet is a push over and it isn’t without the Priest Kings life on vaporize is just not possible. 

 

Also the book Lure of the expanse has the potential that each planet you come across can have multiple adventures and mini-campaigns in themselves.  Its a great book for adventures if the GM goes the extra mile (more like 20 miles) you can enjoy a year or more of gaming with this one product.  its well worth it only because finding the planet is not the adventure its everything in-between that is the real fun.

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One of the big draws of Rogue Trader as a GM is a sandbox where players can act and the consequences play out.

 

If the command crew want to bomb the primitives, then that's well within their power. But they get to live with the consequences, for better or worse. They might eliminate a potent witch, along with torching the profitability of the run.

 

In a campaign I'm running, the Scorpio dynasty found a high-gravity, verdant world that included a continent sized plain occupied by a unique sapient xenos race. They were naturally gifted at melee combat, had primitive but huge cannon, and had tamed ludicrously fast riding beasts. Their technology was mostly late medieval, apart from recovered archaotech and xenostech "relics". They were quite happy to send off regiments worth of "knights errant" type mercanaries.

 

The dynasty organised a ground war to kill the lot of them.

 

Less profitable straight away, but it left the planet open for colonisation and helped forge alliances that still prove useful.

 

In fact the "witches" of Vaporius are probably the best export to the Imperium, not the silly water.  And with a good Explorator along you won't need their cooperation.  Of course, you will need a brutal and uncaring Dynasty that is willing to lobotomize or otherwise disable the priest-kings in order to turn them into an eugenics experiment producing said psykers for the Imperial tithe.

 

Think grim.  Think dark.  Think big.

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The Navis Primer mentions a mechanically built psychic familiar from Vaporius. From the description it is able to fly although made of copper and glass and must be at least semi-intelligent. Tha sounds like they either have some serious sorcery going on or have a decent tech base. Maybe both.

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The Navis Primer mentions a mechanically built psychic familiar from Vaporius. From the description it is able to fly although made of copper and glass and must be at least semi-intelligent. Tha sounds like they either have some serious sorcery going on or have a decent tech base. Maybe both.

 

One of the books also has armor from Vaporous with like a 6 non-primitive armor rating. So they at least have good sorcery, armor, and probably at least have mono-weapons.

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