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ExoSaeptus

Might be running RT soon...

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Depending on whether the people I used to play with are interested.

 

So I was thinking I'd start off with the adventure ("Into the Maw") in the core rulebook

 

but I gave it a read

 

and welllll...

 

First off, what in the seven hells is Hadarak Fel thinking? Rogue Trader or not, what is the man doing with a rogue psyker in his employ?

 

Second off, how does he figure out where to go so quickly after having his pet psyker briefly scan the mnemolith, when the **** thing is so ridiculously vague as to force the PC's to run around and find someone who's pretty much seen the place in person to identify the place?

 

Third off, what is the point of the Warp Eddy (more specifically, the punishments inflicted, because I do admit it adds some nice flavor)? 1d5 Morale is fairly negligible and easily survivable for a prepared crew, and the -10 to WS and BS for 1d5 days is entirely meaningless when the trip takes a week or so.

 

Fourth off, if you're racing with Fel to Magoros, why would you ever really consider a detour to Footfall (if you choose to rescue the pilgrims, you might as well drop them off after looting the Righteous Path)? More importantly, why does doing that not actually matter, since things apparently are supposed to proceed in exactly the same way whatever you do?

 

Fifth, how exactly does Lady Ash survive the Orks if you leave her and the armsmen to their fates? It's explicitly stated that she's overcome, and the Orks survive to attack the party later, so how did she survive?

 

Sixth, why does the special rules for fighting among asteroids not apply to the pirate fight, when that engagement was set in an asteroid belt too? It can be chalked up to an oversight, and is easily fixed, but...

 

And seventh, the reward is outright lacking in imagination. Like, just Profit Factor feels really lackluster, and while the book says you can add stuff to the Path's holds, it still feels a bit cheap to just have Profit Factor as a reward.

 

I'm honestly thinking of taking a lot of inspiration from the AAR " Into the Maw: or How I Became Incredibly Wealthy" instead of running it as written.

 

Anyway, for anyone who's run the adventure, thoughts on it?

 

Also, any other tips to be had for someone GMing RT for the first time?

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Depending on whether the people I used to play with are interested.

 

So I was thinking I'd start off with the adventure ("Into the Maw") in the core rulebook

 

but I gave it a read

 

and welllll...

 

First off, what in the seven hells is Hadarak Fel thinking? Rogue Trader or not, what is the man doing with a rogue psyker in his employ?

 

Second off, how does he figure out where to go so quickly after having his pet psyker briefly scan the mnemolith, when the **** thing is so ridiculously vague as to force the PC's to run around and find someone who's pretty much seen the place in person to identify the place?

 

Third off, what is the point of the Warp Eddy (more specifically, the punishments inflicted, because I do admit it adds some nice flavor)? 1d5 Morale is fairly negligible and easily survivable for a prepared crew, and the -10 to WS and BS for 1d5 days is entirely meaningless when the trip takes a week or so.

 

Fourth off, if you're racing with Fel to Magoros, why would you ever really consider a detour to Footfall (if you choose to rescue the pilgrims, you might as well drop them off after looting the Righteous Path)? More importantly, why does doing that not actually matter, since things apparently are supposed to proceed in exactly the same way whatever you do?

 

Fifth, how exactly does Lady Ash survive the Orks if you leave her and the armsmen to their fates? It's explicitly stated that she's overcome, and the Orks survive to attack the party later, so how did she survive?

 

Sixth, why does the special rules for fighting among asteroids not apply to the pirate fight, when that engagement was set in an asteroid belt too? It can be chalked up to an oversight, and is easily fixed, but...

 

And seventh, the reward is outright lacking in imagination. Like, just Profit Factor feels really lackluster, and while the book says you can add stuff to the Path's holds, it still feels a bit cheap to just have Profit Factor as a reward.

 

I'm honestly thinking of taking a lot of inspiration from the AAR " Into the Maw: or How I Became Incredibly Wealthy" instead of running it as written.

 

Anyway, for anyone who's run the adventure, thoughts on it?

 

Also, any other tips to be had for someone GMing RT for the first time?

I'll give these a try, and then we'll see if someone more in the know cares to come by, and extrapolate, or correct me. ;)

 

First, psykers can be cheese. If you flip through a number of threads here, you'll read about how people don't like them, because they are unfair. If you go to the Only War threads, people constantly whine about how they don't like them, as PCs, because they aren't "just grunts", and because they can make Guardsmen seem pointless. You can read about how "they aren't normally with a grunt squad", but it's just cover-talk for "what good is my grunt with a lasgun, when Bob can read their minds, turn them against each other, turn invisible, or fire a melta-like blast?" Astropaths aren't worthless, but a battle-psyker is good, and RT gives you NO way for one; you either have a Rogue Psyker, or you have an Astropath, and they are good at other things, first and foremost. I'll get corrected on this, about Awakened Psykers, or something, but they aren't the same, and optional, in another book. Also, Fel is a Rogue Trader, as you said, and part of that means flouting the rules, when you can. His ship might be littered with xenotech, and he might have treasures from the depths, but he can, and so can you. It's part of what makes you special. If much of his resources are in the Expanse, he'll only rarely return to Imperial space, the only place he can really get into trouble for it, and Lady Ash IS NOT an Astropath, so her appearance doesn't betray her duty for certain; she could blend in with his entourage, or remain aboard his ship.

 

Second, if we just skip "plot convenience", maybe she saw something in the warp, or maybe the warp told her (she's a Rogue Psyker, after all, not protected by the Emperor). Perhaps he had other sources, not described. At the risk of slightly spoilering Lure of the Expanse, just a wee bit, you have over a half dozen competitors, and, for the most part, none of them follow the path the way you do. You'll see them, possibly run into them, and if you run it again, later, those won't be automatic repeats, but they'll all get where they need to, unless stopped by competition. If you are the GM, I'll let you read the ways each does, and be you a player, have fun finding out. A spy aboard your vessel might tell him, or any of several other "wait, what happened?" possibilities.

 

Third, travel times in the Expanse are usually NOT short. Long warp voyages, to the edges of systems, followed by a week/month long trip to the planet, a week loading/unloading/replenishing crew, same trip back to the edge, and another dip into the warp; depending on the trip, and the skills of your crew, it can possibly add up. Consider if you don't have a PC Navigator. That means all their checks are Crew-based (30-50, at best). If you don't have weird tech to boost them, your trips can be very long, and fraught with peril, and in the beginning you might not have Runecasters, Warp Sextants, or a Milosav drive. If worse comes to worst, it doesn't really hurt you, and then you just shrug.

 

 Fourth, the point of Rogue Trader is making profit. In almost every other thing your GM sets up, there will be little optional endeavors. You visit this planet, looking for the Star Forge chart (hi KOTOR), but while you are there, you find out about this water with drug properties, or this ship graveyard, ripe with components-plunder. If you leave it now, you might come back to find someone else had beaten you to it, or it is no longer available. Also, you never know what your opposition is doing, or when the warp might give you back some time. While you need to weigh options, certainly, any opportunity to increase your profit margins is an opportunity knocking, and you should take those, to have more access to better stuff, whether by just having all the moneys, or finding that book that the Ecclesiarchy would consider giving you Sisters of the Order Belly Dancerai, in exchange for. You never know when you might find some holy treasure, or techno-marvel, and either could put some great organization in your debt. You ALWAYS want the Astartes, Inquisition, AdMech, or others in your debt.

 

Fifth, Lady Ash is sort of monstrously powerful. She might've used a large TK blast to clear them off, and run, letting her armsmen cover her escape. She might slow time, and get out. She might have a power, or two you don't see in the book, as she's very accomplished, and possibly in the service of Chaos, at least a bit. I could keep going, but if you think about it like Austin Powers, if you don't see her die, rest assured, some convoluted escape plan is possible.

 

Sixth, maybe they are far enough apart, or maybe the book wanted this first adventure to be a nice training exercise, but without every rule. One of the flaws with RT books you might find is a lack of published escalation. Every adventure is worried that it might be "baby's first endeavor", and assumes you have maybe done the one at the end of RT core, and nothing else. Because of it, in my opinion, they frequently leave things easy, and you can quickly outstrip the NPC opposition, as you get better crew, stats, and parts. Here, at least, they wanted it to be simple, as it IS first endeavor. A thought, anyway. Otherwise, certainly, it could have been an oversight.

 

Seventh, PF is the most important thing in the game, be it money, debts of the [ORGANIZATION], or what have you; it allows you to get better stuff, get better people, do these things more quickly, call in favors, or rub the opposition's nose in it, and then other adventures can show you alternative rewards to money. You defeated a rival, and captured a treasure ship, I'm not sure what else you might want out of it.

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I'll give these a try, and then we'll see if someone more in the know cares to come by, and extrapolate, or correct me.  ;)

 

First, psykers can be cheese. If you flip through a number of threads here, you'll read about how people don't like them, because they are unfair. If you go to the Only War threads, people constantly whine about how they don't like them, as PCs, because they aren't "just grunts", and because they can make Guardsmen seem pointless. You can read about how "they aren't normally with a grunt squad", but it's just cover-talk for "what good is my grunt with a lasgun, when Bob can read their minds, turn them against each other, turn invisible, or fire a melta-like blast?" Astropaths aren't worthless, but a battle-psyker is good, and RT gives you NO way for one; you either have a Rogue Psyker, or you have an Astropath, and they are good at other things, first and foremost. I'll get corrected on this, about Awakened Psykers, or something, but they aren't the same, and optional, in another book. Also, Fel is a Rogue Trader, as you said, and part of that means flouting the rules, when you can. His ship might be littered with xenotech, and he might have treasures from the depths, but he can, and so can you. It's part of what makes you special. If much of his resources are in the Expanse, he'll only rarely return to Imperial space, the only place he can really get into trouble for it, and Lady Ash IS NOT an Astropath, so her appearance doesn't betray her duty for certain; she could blend in with his entourage, or remain aboard his ship.

 

Well, you know, you can still play a Psyker in RT if your GM allows you to. DH has rules for Sanctioned Psykers, after all. More importantly, crunch =/= fluff. The fact that there's no option in the rules for getting (or being) a sanctioned psyker in RT doesn't mean it's impossible for a Rogue Trader to get their grubby hands on one lorewise.

 

The thing is, psykers are not wizards, which appears to be the thinking applied to Lady Ash. A rogue psyker isn't just an issue of "whoop-de-doop, the Imperium doesn't know about their existence", it's a ticking time bomb and harboring one is usually something that nominates you for a Darwin Award. Additionally, the slightest rumours of harboring an unsanctioned psyker is going to bring the Inquisition down on your behind like a sack of bricks when you're coming back to Imperial space, regardless of the fact that Imperial law does not apply in the Expanse. As for your last point that she might stay on the ship, well, that's quite false given how she's out wandering on Port Wander, where the chances for detection are significantly inflated, and it's noted in one of the sidebars that she serves as Fel's right hand, presumably using her powers in such a role. You are aware that psykers can detect other psykers, yes? It's a thing you can do with the psyniscience skill mechanically, even. Additionally, it's obvious she's not an Astropath since she's not, you know, had her eyes burnt out, and Navigators have this very distinctive feature called a third eye. Need I say more?

 

Second, if we just skip "plot convenience", maybe she saw something in the warp, or maybe the warp told her (she's a Rogue Psyker, after all, not protected by the Emperor). Perhaps he had other sources, not described. At the risk of slightly spoilering Lure of the Expanse, just a wee bit, you have over a half dozen competitors, and, for the most part, none of them follow the path the way you do. You'll see them, possibly run into them, and if you run it again, later, those won't be automatic repeats, but they'll all get where they need to, unless stopped by competition. If you are the GM, I'll let you read the ways each does, and be you a player, have fun finding out. A spy aboard your vessel might tell him, or any of several other "wait, what happened?" possibilities.

 

I'm more or less chalking that one up to the entire thing being poorly written. No need to think of complicated in-story reasons for why it's written that way when Occam's Razor exists, really. Sure, if you're running it, you can come up with one, or you can just change that part. Also, if something in the Warp told her, well, that just confirms my point about Rogue Psykers being time bombs and Fel being a viable candidate for the Darwin Awards given that he relies on her as his right hand. Listening to voices from the Warp is not taking your first steps on the slippery slope, it's jumping straight off the thing.

 

 

Third, travel times in the Expanse are usually NOT short. Long warp voyages, to the edges of systems, followed by a week/month long trip to the planet, a week loading/unloading/replenishing crew, same trip back to the edge, and another dip into the warp; depending on the trip, and the skills of your crew, it can possibly add up. Consider if you don't have a PC Navigator. That means all their checks are Crew-based (30-50, at best). If you don't have weird tech to boost them, your trips can be very long, and fraught with peril, and in the beginning you might not have Runecasters, Warp Sextants, or a Milosav drive. If worse comes to worst, it doesn't really hurt you, and then you just shrug.

 

Are we talking about the same thing? Because I'm noting that the possible consequence (provided you botch the Perception roll) for crossing the Warp Eddies in the Koronus Passage is meaningless given the travel times involved, and that the consequence for waiting is rather negligible as well. That's why I'm wondering what point there is to the mechanical part of it, even though the Warp Eddies are, fluff-wise, a nice touch.

 

 

Fourth, the point of Rogue Trader is making profit. In almost every other thing your GM sets up, there will be little optional endeavors. You visit this planet, looking for the Star Forge chart (hi KOTOR), but while you are there, you find out about this water with drug properties, or this ship graveyard, ripe with components-plunder. If you leave it now, you might come back to find someone else had beaten you to it, or it is no longer available. Also, you never know what your opposition is doing, or when the warp might give you back some time. While you need to weigh options, certainly, any opportunity to increase your profit margins is an opportunity knocking, and you should take those, to have more access to better stuff, whether by just having all the moneys, or finding that book that the Ecclesiarchy would consider giving you Sisters of the Order Belly Dancerai, in exchange for. You never know when you might find some holy treasure, or techno-marvel, and either could put some great organization in your debt. You ALWAYS want the Astartes, Inquisition, AdMech, or others in your debt.

 

You failed to actually address the point here, though. If you're in such a hurry to find the Righteous Path before Fel, why would you be taking a detour to Footfall and not delivering the pilgrims afterward, for example, since it shouldn't be too hard to house them for a bit in your ship while looting the Path. More importantly, why are things meant to proceed exactly the same way whether you do so or not, given that the detour to Footfall would take days at the least?

 

 

Fifth, Lady Ash is sort of monstrously powerful. She might've used a large TK blast to clear them off, and run, letting her armsmen cover her escape. She might slow time, and get out. She might have a power, or two you don't see in the book, as she's very accomplished, and possibly in the service of Chaos, at least a bit. I could keep going, but if you think about it like Austin Powers, if you don't see her die, rest assured, some convoluted escape plan is possible.

 

Lady Ash vs the Orks... yes, let's say two armsmen with pistols hold off a dozen orks (because her written profile doesn't have any Telekinesis psychic techniques beyond the basic telekinetic one that comes with taking the discipline, which can't be used offensively, nor any other powers fit for fighting the Orks, making the other options implausible at best, and I'm not willing to grant that she has more powers than in her profile). She escapes. Or we can apply the same Occam's Razor as before, going by the assumption that the adventure is poorly written and that this was an oversight.

 

 

Sixth, maybe they are far enough apart, or maybe the book wanted this first adventure to be a nice training exercise, but without every rule. One of the flaws with RT books you might find is a lack of published escalation. Every adventure is worried that it might be "baby's first endeavor", and assumes you have maybe done the one at the end of RT core, and nothing else. Because of it, in my opinion, they frequently leave things easy, and you can quickly outstrip the NPC opposition, as you get better crew, stats, and parts. Here, at least, they wanted it to be simple, as it IS first endeavor. A thought, anyway. Otherwise, certainly, it could have been an oversight.

 

I'm inclined to chalk it up to an oversight, as I said, given the general state of the adventure. It's easily rectifiable, but still supports my point that the adventure is rather poorly written. Then again, it's a prewritten adventure. Maybe I shouldn't expect so much.

 

 

Seventh, PF is the most important thing in the game, be it money, debts of the [ORGANIZATION], or what have you; it allows you to get better stuff, get better people, do these things more quickly, call in favors, or rub the opposition's nose in it, and then other adventures can show you alternative rewards to money. You defeated a rival, and captured a treasure ship, I'm not sure what else you might want out of it.

 

As for the reward... What do I want? Well, some ideas for actual loot that isn't an abstract number would be nice. Yes, PF is important, but just declaring that "you get extra PF from selling your loot" feels cheap, and it would be really nice to have some ideas for actual items and loot to give the Explorers. There's a vague statement to "look at the legend about the Path for inspiration". Said legend is practically useless for that, seeing as it has one line that mentions the Path might have lots of minerals, or archeotech, and that's it...

 

I like the underlying idea. I like the setting (Magoros and its Pulsar in particular is rather cool). I don't like the plot because, as it is, it's a poorly-written mess.

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Sorry if I didn't quite cover things the best. Like I said, we can hope another soul comes along, and improves upon my commentary.

 

Lady Ash IS a wizard, though, in the sense that she can be a powerful edge, and a profit-obsessed man like Fel, or probably most any "grimdark" Rogue Trader will want any of those he can get. To say she is a ticking time bomb is quite accurate, as even Sanctioned Psykers, or Soul-bound Astropaths will eventually go boom, and remind us all that psykers are rightly feared, to some degree, but till she blows, she's great, and  somewhat no different than trusting any piece of xenotech to not wreck your ship, for instance. In the game of ultimate profits, one must take ultimate risks, and Fel is willing to risk his prosperity, and the souls of all his people, to make a profit, and possibly further the influence of the Imperium (it depends on how you run him, and what his underlying goals are). For Ash's powers, I remembered her brimming power level, but not her specialty. She's not an astropath, so I ignored, Telepathy, and assumed she was a Telekine expert; I was wrong, and it appears she DOES like Telepathy, so perhaps she defused the battle that way. As for her bringing consequences, Fel is a Rogue Trader, and can do lots of things. He CAN tell an Inquisitor to space themselves, and in no way have to answer for it, under the right circumstances. Who he might know, and where he might go can have a huge impact. Also, the Inquisition would need to learn of it, and they are weak, way out there, so someone else would need to bring it to their attention. She's a WITCH, but one with a powerful patron. "On the ship" meant to attending Calixis parties, and the like. As for detection, we've chatted before on it, and it's not very easy, so she'd almost certainly go undetected on Footfall. Detecting is obvious, active, and you'd need a reason. At least, that's how we discussed it when I brought up probing people at parties with your own "pet psyker". The Emperor's Tarot are those voices, too. Guardsmen, generals, governors and more plan things based around what their own psykers hear from the warp, and see in their dreams.

 

The thing with time is, in this game, they WANT you to do side endeavors, so I suppose they try to make sure you can, and not have it all blow up in your face. Why do you have time to ferry the survivors? Because it is a nice deed, and could net you a little reward. Any amount of time you might spend MIGHT get eaten away from the opposition, as they traverse the warp, so it isn't entirely impossible, possibly just poorly written.

 

A problem with "loot", in my mind, is that this game doesn't use money; it uses "Profit Factor", and all that that encompasses. If I tell you that you find a Best Quality suit of Power Armor with hexagrammic wards, what do you do? You either wear it, store it with the other three suits of PA you have, or pawn it, but even that suit might not equal PF 1, so weighing down the book with loots you might not want is just page filler. They leave it a bit vague, and you can fill it in, as needed, to fit with the kinds of stuff your group might want. It does get better, of course, later along the line. One chunk in Lure has a great opportunity for loot, if you can get a bit you actually WANT.

 

And now, it's time to relax a bit. Have a good one. ;)

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