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Grand Vizier

Ship components, weapons, retainers and orbital bombardment.

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Like most people I find the enhancements listed in the book woefully lacking, also I thought having some personal touches to the ship would be cool. The only thing I've come up with so far is facilities to implant cybernetic implants / improved medical bay. Any ideas for new components?

I'll rig up some numbers myself but to give me some ideas, how difficult is it to recruit soldiers/retainers and at what level of training/with what gear. Any ideas on cool retainers, types of retainers?

The torpedo and shuttle/bomber/fighter rules were awesome, but any additional ideas? From the canon?

This never makes any sense in sci-fi, but what's stopping you from bombing everything from orbit, the accuracy issue doesn't make any sense to me, they can hit a moving ship in the vastness of space, a pinprick in the void from vast distances, but can't be used as artillery like support from orbit because they're too inaccurate? I realise that they best one can come up with is a suspension from disbelief, what's the warhammer 40k standard excuse?

Plasma bombs for planetary bombardment? What would one use for attempting to purge a planet of all life?

Thanks in advance, sorry about the disorganised nature of the post, I really should be asleep now!
 

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I'll rig up some numbers myself but to give me some ideas, how difficult is it to recruit soldiers/retainers and at what level of training/with what gear. Any ideas on cool retainers, types of retainers?

That's explicitly covered by the acquisition rules.

 

 

This never makes any sense in sci-fi, but what's stopping you from bombing everything from orbit, the accuracy issue doesn't make any sense to me, they can hit a moving ship in the vastness of space, a pinprick in the void from vast distances, but can't be used as artillery like support from orbit because they're too inaccurate? I realise that they best one can come up with is a suspension from disbelief, what's the warhammer 40k standard excuse?

Firstly, most ship weapons are designed for void-use, that is, use in an environment where you don't need to worry about silly stuff like an atmosphere. Secondly, void ships are about a kilometre in size, which is about the size I'd imagine ship weapons would be accurate to on a planet. Yes, bombing everything from orbit is an option when your mission parameters are "Bomb everything from orbit". When they're "Retrieve item X", not so much.

 

 

Plasma bombs for planetary bombardment? What would one use for attempting to purge a planet of all life?

Depends on how thorough you want to be. Simple orbital bombardment is distinct from Exterminatus. The latter is usually accomplished either by virus-bombs reducing all life on the planet to sludge, crust-buster torpedoes cracking the planetary crust and cyclon torpedoes burning up the atmosphere. All of those require rather expensive and very restricted equipment.

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Macro-cannon rounds burn up on entry.

The optics in a laser battery are not designed to cope with atmosphere and the beam attenuates before it reaches the ground.

Plasma rounds have their containment field disrupted by the planets magnetic fields - can be used to create nice light-shows for the natives, however.

Lance-strikes, your only real option before you reach torpedos, are pinpoint weapons which I intend to allow my players to use as orbital strike weapons.  Deviation will be 1d100m from the specified target, or 1d10 if a becon is used (ie you snook in, had a gander, ponied yourself and left a 'blow this up' marker).  By the time the lance has traveled through the atmosphere it has the same stats as a Lascannon, but with Blast(5).

My personal fave exterminatus is the Cyclonic Torpedo.  It has more drama than virus bombing a planet, I think.

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The problem with Macro-Cannon rounds burning up in the atmosphere is one that could easily be countered by using special munitions. Rounds with less explosive payload and more armour and heat-shielding, or simple solid rounds relying on kinetic impact (add the fall from thousands of kilomatres from high orbit to the surface to the muzzle velocity = BOOM). Presumably there are also ways a laser or plasma battery could be modified to make it more effective in atmosphere.

 

These aren't the sort of thing that most trading vessels would carry as standard, though. Personally I'd say that a ship can use Macrobatteries for Orbital Bombardment only if the ship has a Munitorium fitted.

 

I'd also stress that while Lance weapons are probably pretty accurate for pin-point attacks, Macrobatteries are not. While missed shots just sail of into the void in space combat, in ground attacks they're going to hit something. So the maximum strength damage pool of an attack is fired, and every dice of damage that doesn't hit the target should be rolled instead for some sort of collateral damage. So if a Sunsear Laser Battery with a Strength of 4 is fired with two degrees of success, that's three dice of damage against the target and one on some random nearby area.

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If the ship has sustained any kind of stable orbit around a world, there is no way the macrocannon shells will burn up on impact as their total speed will only be, at most, the diffrence of: ((2Pi*R(1))/T(1)) and ((2Pi*R(2))/T(2))

 

Where R is the radius form the planet's gravitic center, and T is the time to complete one full orbit around that center.

 

That gives up a realistic maximum speed in the tens of Mach, not nearly enough to cause something the size of a macrocannon shell to burn up.

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For a lance strike, I would have my players roll against a very difficult aiming modifier and use the scatter diagram for failure. Regardless of the fact that atmosphereic interference degrades the intensity of the beam, orbital lance strikes are very common and usually result in megaton to pedaton blasts. I would describe this in narrative with a traditional nuke effect. 

Since lances are focused beams and not omni-directional bombs, they likely still have a massive blast radius from all the expanding heat, but most of the energy pierces deep into the ground, flashmelting everything and throwing matter up into the air and making a mess of the weather. Prolonged bombardment (such as against Terra durng the Horus Heresy) boils away oceans and buckles the planets crust.

Regarding ballistic munitions, I'm sure that actually bombing the surface requires special rounds capable of surviving atmosphereic entry. I have read GW material  involving the deployment of actual orbital bombing platforms that can soften up the planet's surface with some accurracy.

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By the way , what's to stop the players from flying their ship at least into the upper atmosphere to try dropping some macro shells at a lower atlitude? They could have to roll at least 1-2 degrees of success for a SINGLE hit in order to represent most of the shells burning up before finding their target......

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Except the shells wouldn't burn up if the ship was in any form of stable orbit. Burning up on reentry is only caused by the diffrence in the relative speed of the macrocannon shell vs. the relative speed and density of the atmosphere it is traveling through. If the player's ship is in a stable orbit (especially low orbit) then the friction caused will not be anywhere NEAR enough to cause the shells to burn up.

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Exoviper said:

By the way , what's to stop the players from flying their ship at least into the upper atmosphere to try dropping some macro shells at a lower atlitude? They could have to roll at least 1-2 degrees of success for a SINGLE hit in order to represent most of the shells burning up before finding their target......

 

Absolutely nothing. Battlefleet Gothic even has a section in the advanced rules that covers ships entering Low Orbit to engage planetary targets, so I'd say that this is the standard answer in the 40K universe for how ships get around the atmospheric problems mentioned at the start of this thread.

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What about acquiring Astartes?

I suppose you'd have to have an obscene PF to even try it, but according to the background fluff it was quite common for Rogue Traders to obtain the services of Space Marines who swore alliegence to the RT and wore his/her colors.

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Maxim C. Gatling said:

What about acquiring Astartes?

I suppose you'd have to have an obscene PF to even try it, but according to the background fluff it was quite common for Rogue Traders to obtain the services of Space Marines who swore alliegence to the RT and wore his/her colors.

WH40K:RT says it's typical to have up to a company of Space Marines. Also typical to have up to a regiment of Imperial Guard.

Some 'round here think it's been retconned away.

 

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Thanks for the typically great answers, any more ideas on "user made" ship componments?

This got me thinking, how does terraforming work in warhammer 40k. What would a ship carrying a shipment of colonists to a new world be carrying in its holds? Some good sci-fi books cover this kind of thing, might be fun for a adventure.

I suppose they launch some drone to the planet, start terraforming and come back a thousand years later when some half forgotten files pops up saying it is ready, then a colonly ship is dispatched without checking the actual state of the planet?

Also, what kind of defenses does a imperial planet have, or alien ones for that matter. What's stopping someone from just unleashing a barrage onto a world's cities when the ship is in orbit for a trading mission or whatever. Planetary shields?

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Taking a page from Lois Bujold's Vorkosiverse...

For "not quite right" but still habitable worlds....

Manure and compost. Lots of it. It's bacteria rich, and sustains that bacteria for an extended time. Plus, most terrestrial crops will grow in it. And, mix it with sterilized local soil, and you'll create a much larger volume of useful cover. And, on top of all that, if it's been allowed to build up for a bit before loading, it's going to pick up bugs, too. Burn out and deep rotate the surface, then shallow rotate with the manure and compost, then seed with edible grasses (wild wheat and rye), and you should be having a useful biome in a few years, from which to generate more compost. And as you unload the compost, you cover localstuff deep, then slowly expand out. You only get a small expansion per year, but a major holdful would be enough for a farmstead or two.

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aramis said:

Maxim C. Gatling said:

 

What about acquiring Astartes?

I suppose you'd have to have an obscene PF to even try it, but according to the background fluff it was quite common for Rogue Traders to obtain the services of Space Marines who swore alliegence to the RT and wore his/her colors.

 

 

WH40K:RT says it's typical to have up to a company of Space Marines. Also typical to have up to a regiment of Imperial Guard.

Some 'round here think it's been retconned away.

 

Actually, I don't think the RT book says it's "typical".  I think it says something about a few well-connected RTs might even have use of a company of Space Marines.

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dvang said:

aramis said:

WH40K:RT says it's typical to have up to a company of Space Marines. Also typical to have up to a regiment of Imperial Guard.

Some 'round here think it's been retconned away.

 

 

 

Actually, I don't think the RT book says it's "typical".  I think it says something about a few well-connected RTs might even have use of a company of Space Marines.

The retinue paragraph on p 170 of WH40K:RT reads as follows:

  • Retinue: Rogue Traders do not take to the empty voids of space alone - each commands a small fleet, a contingent of warriors, settlers, and all manner of support personnel. With them go supplies to last for several years, vehicles, prefabricated research stations, housing , transport, weaponry, etc. A typical retinue would be an entire company of Space Marines (100 warriors) plus two companies of ordinary imperial troos all with standard vehicles and auxiliary equipment. These can be generated in the normal manner should you wish.

2 companies would be a battalion, not a regiment, mea culpa. But it says a company of marines is typical.

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I would say that might be correct of the typical EXTREMELY wealthy and uber-powerful Rogue Trader...

Seeing as ALL the pre-FFG references to Rogue Traders mention that Rogue Traders have the ability to command Space Marines, you can't say it's been "retconned away".

I'm not saying GM's should be handing out UltraMarine companies like lho-sticks at smoke break, but if they've got enough PF there should be a way.  I'd make a huge Endeavor out of it and make them work for it.

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Maybe not all, but Marines were part of the last official Army List for RT's in Book of the Astronomicon.  So by saying SM's working for RT's have been "retconned" away, you're essentially saying Rogue Traders themselves have been "retconned" away, as they literally haven't existed in 40k terms since the early 90's.

Did I mention that the Book of the Astronomicon specifically states that Marines swear alliegence directly to the Rogue Trader, wear HIS colors and fly HIS banner?

This can be hard to swallow.  It's hard to imagine a situation where the Space Wolves are just going to give up an entire Company to some upstart punk Rogue Trader.  A couple here and there to Deathwatch, sure, but to some jerk pirate who thinks his bio-waste don't stink?!?

I admit feeling some "GM Jealousy" and would be reluctant to allow my PC's such power.  However, if they want this, have built up enough Profit Factor and generally have earned it, I would be willing to pit them against several deadly adventures to get it.  It'll cost them, you can be assured....heh heh.

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Seriously folks you are using the original RT game as a justification for a Rogue Trader bossing around space marines.   Despite the fact that most of the book has been reconned.  Despite the fact that this flies completely in the face of any Space Marine fluff in the last decade or more.  You are claiming this despite the only mention of SM in the FFG RT book is on page 330 (black box).  The SM were attached to his command not his personal SMs. Which goes on to clearly state that the RT in question had very limited authority over the SM, and had to get their agreement to aid him in further.  When he attempted to track the Xenos threat back to it's home world.

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Maxim C. Gatling said:

I would say that might be correct of the typical EXTREMELY wealthy and uber-powerful Rogue Trader...

Seeing as ALL the pre-FFG references to Rogue Traders mention that Rogue Traders have the ability to command Space Marines, you can't say it's been "retconned away".

I'm not saying GM's should be handing out UltraMarine companies like lho-sticks at smoke break, but if they've got enough PF there should be a way.  I'd make a huge Endeavor out of it and make them work for it.

The way to do it would be to convince the current chapter master of any given chapter to gift you with a contingent of his men. In my opinion, succeeding with such an endavor is not a matter of profit factor, it is a matter of impressing and befriending a Space Marine chapter master (which is not an easy task considering that most space marines consider normal humans to be weak and useless children that they have to "babysit" and keep safe from all manner of alien monstrosities), and convince him that your cause is a just one and that it would bestow a measure of honor to the chapter if some of his men were part of this particular Rogue Traders retinue.

If a Rogue Trader were to succeed in that, then he might be able to "boss around" a couple of marines aboard his vessel. Not because he's superior to them, but because being of the Adeptus Astartes, they would be the most professional soldiers that humanity has to offer and their honor would demand that they follow his orders.

Of course no Chapter Master in his right mind would ever order his men to unquestionably follow the orders of a human, and there would be exceptions (like actions that would stain the chapters honor).

In my opinion, being priviliged with this is not a matter of rolling a difficult aquisition roll but a scenario in it's own right. Anything else would just be plain wrong (and I don't care for what "Warhammer 40.000: Rogue Trader" has to say about it. That publication is outdated and obsolete and even Games Workshop themselves acknowledge this.)

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Well, in the RT:RPG book I find no evidence of Space Marines being commonly gifted.  There is a nice passage describing the trappings a RT often gets (pg 329) and it talks about Imperial Guard regiments, though, and auxiliary units to support them. 

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nick012000 said:

What happens when a Rogue Trader has his ship shoot at a planet?

.

Bear in mind that the ship seen firing at the planet was an Astartes Battlebarge using it's Bombardment cannons (extra-heavy macrocannons designed for planetary bombardment, but also pretty damned effective against ships - imagine guns that combine the best traits of Macrocannons and Lances, and you'll get the idea), and likely Exterminatus weaponry (Astartes capital ships carry such devices as standard). It'd probably take much, much longer for any other ship to manage it, as most craft aren't equipped for killing planets

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Someone should write a conclusive index of Retroactive Continuity to tell us old greybeards what is and isn't allowed to be cool anymore.

To clarify my point, the very words "Rogue Trader" were dropped from the very title of the game in 1993 when it became impossible to legally field a "Rogue Trader" in a 40k game due to them not having any valid army lists or stats.  This is still the case. 

So, according to the obscure rules of Retroactive Continuity, from 1993 to 2009, there effectively are no Rogue Traders in Warhammer 40k, other than minor background mentions mostly in novels which are considered authoritative but non-canon and their military importance to the wide galaxy nil.... 

So Rogue Traders in and of themselves had been effectively "Retconned away" for 16 years.  As far as the game Warhammer 40k goes, they still are.

But now, thanks to RT the RPG, they're 'back' as a potential military force.  In 40k, they're still gone, but we have RT and a wealth of previous material to draw upon for the ambiance and background material necessary for a deep and satisfying RPG game.  Or do we just stick with what's in RT?

Sure, I think it's absurd that the Ultramarines would just give a Company to a Rogue Trader.  But they donate to DeathWatch and DW marines swear allegiance to Ordo Xenos...

The Ordo Malleus has an entire Chapter sworn to them.

I know, you're saying they're Inquisitors...but wait...it's possible for Rogue Traders to become Inquisitors...

If their Profit Factor is 150+, the RT says that's the equivalent of power to a High Lord of Terra.  ...and some Rogue Traders are High Lords of Terra or could become one if powerful enough and have the right familial ties...

If, and I'm talking the big IF here,   ...IF my players ever get to PF 150+ and IF they have a goal to get some Astartes uber-troopers, I will be happy to design a grand and highly lethal mini-campaign to give them an opportunity to achieve this goal.  It'll be some no-name largely forgotten Chapter as I'm not going to repaint my SM minis....

I certainly would never let them "buy" this with a PF roll.  But I see no reason to squash their dreams of Epic Conquest just because something cool about RT's was written back in 1990 and "doesn't count anymore".

Of course, as GM you can do what you like. It's your game after all.

 

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