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Ship components, weapons, retainers and orbital bombardment.

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I dunno: those Rogue traders who's warrants are signed in the Emperor's own hand could in principal get a lot of leeway out of the Adepta.  It's hard to get around a direct command from your god.

 

Admittidly not everyone has that, but there it is.

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BaronIveagh said:

I dunno: those Rogue traders who's warrants are signed in the Emperor's own hand could in principal get a lot of leeway out of the Adepta.  It's hard to get around a direct command from your god.

 

Admittidly not everyone has that, but there it is.

 

They would probably see it as a test of faith and a sign that they can be pure to the path. Undoubtly making the sister who killed the traitor with the fake writ into a saint of her own. The Emperor giffeth and the Emperor taketh.

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BaronIveagh said:

I dunno: those Rogue traders who's warrants are signed in the Emperor's own hand could in principal get a lot of leeway out of the Adepta.  It's hard to get around a direct command from your god.

Admittidly not everyone has that, but there it is.

 

WARRANT OF TRADE (Centralised and in Capitals)

Resolved henceforth in the name of the Most Beneficient God-Emperor of Mankind, the High Lords of Terra grant this Warrant of Trade to:

(Insert Name here in big letters)

And to all of his line, from now until the end of time.

The Bearer of this Warrant of Trade is granted the inalienable right to go forth beyond the sacred borders of the blessed Imperium, to contact such benighted civilisations as he may encounter, and to make war for the glory of the Emperor as he deems necessary. By the authority of the Senatorum Imperialis, this Warrant places the Bearer as a peer to the great powers of the Imperium, inter alia: Imperial Commanders, Chapter Masters of the Adeptus Astartes, and the masters of the Holy Orders of the Emperor's Inquisition.

The authority this Warrant grants begins where the Imperium ends. Beyond the extent of Imperial rule, the bearer of this Warrant speaks with the voice of the Emperor Himself.

It is the bearer's right and his responsibility to claim whatever worlds, resources, or privaleges he may obtain in any manner he chooses.

By writ of Seal of Holy Terra

Assuming that all warrants of trade follow this format, there are no real requirements of an Adeptus Order to grant aid to a Rogue Trader. Labelling him as a peer to Chapter Masters of the Astartes and such seems to be something of a way to get around the issue of encountering each other whilst outside the Imperium's borders. You can't order someone around if they're on the same footing of power as you. That said, I can see the Sororitas being more than willing to aid a Rogue Trader in his endeavours whilst they were in the Expanse, so long as he acted according to the Imperial Creed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Errant:

The authority this Warrant grants begins where the Imperium ends. Beyond the extent of Imperial rule, the bearer of this Warrant speaks with the voice of the Emperor Himself.

 

This is the key line in the Warrant. Once a RT passes outside the borders of the Imperium he is the incarnate voice of god. He is no longer just equal to the list of  Imperial Commanders, Chapter Masters of the Adeptus Astartes, and the masters of the Holy Orders of the Emperor's Inquisition, he is their better.

Even within the Imperium a RT is still of much higher station than any member of the Sororitas.

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ItsUncertainWho said:

Errant:

The authority this Warrant grants begins where the Imperium ends. Beyond the extent of Imperial rule, the bearer of this Warrant speaks with the voice of the Emperor Himself.

 

This is the key line in the Warrant. Once a RT passes outside the borders of the Imperium he is the incarnate voice of god. He is no longer just equal to the list of  Imperial Commanders, Chapter Masters of the Adeptus Astartes, and the masters of the Holy Orders of the Emperor's Inquisition, he is their better.

Even within the Imperium a RT is still of much higher station than any member of the Sororitas.

I read it that the warrant starts where the borders of the imperium ends. From that point on he is considered equality. I am certain that Inquisiters, Astartes and even the Adaptes Sororitas speak with the choice of the Emperor Himself. Difference is that they do so INSIDE the Imperium, the RT authority starts at the Imperial borders.

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ItsUncertainWho said:

Even within the Imperium a RT is still of much higher station than any member of the Sororitas.

An Inquisitor bears the absolute and unquestionable authority of the Emperor, and is answerable only to the Emperor Himself. He's a step above a Rogue Trader within the bounds of the Imperium. Outside, the roles reverse - an Inquisitor cannot draw on the resources his authority permits, while a Rogue Trader's authority begins outside the Imperium.

As for the Adepta Sororitas... yeah, you just try bossing around the Abbess Sanctorum of the Adepta Sororitas. That is, the supreme commander of all the Adepta Sororitas, and a High Lord of Terra in her own right. And that's before you consider the Prioresses (of which there are two, one on Terra and the other on Ophelia VII, each commanding half the Orders of Sororitas in the Imperium), the Canonesses Superior in charge of individual Orders who command thousands of individuals Sisters. In many of those cases, you'd dealing with individuals capable of wielding equal or greater military might to any one Space Marine Chapter, amongst other things.

They're not exactly pushovers when it comes to political power. And that's before you consider the Conclave of Nephilim, which means that they're also the Chamber Militant of the Ordo Hereticus and thus have plenty of ties to the Inquisition as well...

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N0-1_H3r3 said:

As for the Adepta Sororitas... yeah, you just try bossing around the Abbess Sanctorum of the Adepta Sororitas. That is, the supreme commander of all the Adepta Sororitas, and a High Lord of Terra in her own right. And that's before you consider the Prioresses (of which there are two, one on Terra and the other on Ophelia VII, each commanding half the Orders of Sororitas in the Imperium), the Canonesses Superior in charge of individual Orders who command thousands of individuals Sisters. In many of those cases, you'd dealing with individuals capable of wielding equal or greater military might to any one Space Marine Chapter, amongst other things.

Also, aren't the Adepta Sororitas devoted to the ACTUAL Emperor?

I mean, yes the Adeptus Terra and most factions within the Ministorum would likely recognize the legality of certain warrants and "Inquisitorial permission slips" that declare the bearer to have "the authority of the emperor himself" or "speak with the voice of the Emperor himself" etc. etc.

And also the Administratum would certainly recognize this (Emperor knows they are hardworking enough to actually indulge in even more bureauocracy than usual). However, who says that the Adepta Sororitas actually recognize warrants and "permission slips" like these? They are supposed to be battle nuns devoted to the "actual" Emperor, ("Daughters of the Emperor" and all that). Would they recognize each single Ordo Hereticus Inquisitor and Rogue Trader as "their father" just because he's holding a piece of metal or has a paper saying that he speaks with the voice and authority of their father?

Personally, I doubt it. Granted it wouldn't be very likely that lowly or even important members of the Adepta Sororitas to flat out ignore someone bearing the authority comparable to the Emperor himself (unless that person has clearly proven him-/herself to be a heretic of course), but I'd say that the Sororitas would have more or less the same relationship towards Inquisitors and Rogue Traders as the Adeptus Astartes would (although the Sisters of Battle are more heavily affiliated with the Ordo Hereticus).

Meaning, you (the Rogue Trader) don't order high members of the AS around and make demands to get troops from them. They "grant" you these things if you make a good enough case or seem worthy (pious) enough in their eyes. Or they might lend you troops if you agree to help them ferry Sisters of Battle and Pauper Warriors across the voids to fight certain holy wars.

They are the Daughters of the Emperor after all, not "the daughters of Inquisitorial pendants" or "the daughters of Administratum permission slips".

 

Just some thoughts...

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N0-1_H3r3 said:

ItsUncertainWho said:

As for the Adepta Sororitas... yeah, you just try bossing around the Abbess Sanctorum of the Adepta Sororitas. That is, the supreme commander of all the Adepta Sororitas, and a High Lord of Terra in her own right. And that's before you consider the Prioresses (of which there are two, one on Terra and the other on Ophelia VII, each commanding half the Orders of Sororitas in the Imperium), the Canonesses Superior in charge of individual Orders who command thousands of individuals Sisters. In many of those cases, you'd dealing with individuals capable of wielding equal or greater military might to any one Space Marine Chapter, amongst other things.

They're not exactly pushovers when it comes to political power. And that's before you consider the Conclave of Nephilim, which means that they're also the Chamber Militant of the Ordo Hereticus and thus have plenty of ties to the Inquisition as well...

 

You're forgetting that there are hundereds (if not thousands) of ordos minoris that might only have a single convent with not much more then a canonness in charge, having broken away from thier parent orders.  Yes, ordering the leader of the order of our martyred lady is not going to be successful unless you have real pull, at which point you might as well go for the Space Marine option.  But how about browbeating the cannoness of the order of the gilded rose, who might only command a few hundred sisters?  Without serious political pull outside the immediate subsector and a Rogue Trader waving around documents in His own hand, it's more likely the Canonness will bow to pressure. 

 

However, she will expect some form of support to the order in exchange.  (Not nessicarilly meaning money.)  Also, remember that the Sororitas are loyal to Him on Earth, with thier own order a short hop behind that and the Rogue Trader perhaps a distant third or fourth down the line.

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0ddb411 said:

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

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.

D-Lasers, of Defense Lasers are not Lances and originally Laser Batteries onboard ships were comprised of 'Defense Lasers' identical in function to the ground based versions.  In reverse, of course. 

While perhaps not suited for mass destruction, they should be able to put the hurt on individual buildings or perhaps generate a 3" blast marker strike on a 40k battlefield.

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 All the posts about planetary bombardment are somewhat trivial. Essentially, the very very first post had it completely correct: the only thing which prevents us from believing that orbital annihilation is the most common and in fact ONLY method of warfare is the suspension of disbelief asked of us by the 40k universe.

Place it in an intellectual framework. Even now, infantry is less important for open warfare than are tanks, aircraft, long-range missiles, navy ships (their own laughable cost to benefit ratio notwithstanding) and the like. If it weren't for things like mutually assured destruction and persistent radiation holding us back, frankly even those things wouldn't be an issue. All open warfare would be nuke warfare.

This is a progressive truth: it is always easier to pack destructive power than creative or defensive power. Once upon a time, we hit each other with sticks. Practically anything blocked that. Soon we needed armor and castles. Beyond those levels, it became virtually impossible to passively defend anything to the extent that it was safe from the time-equivalent level of weaponry that could be used against it.

Now extrapolate those things to the future. Simply put, any full-scale engagement would be decided entirely by ship combat. As previously mentioned, with equations to back it up which I don't want to restate because Classical Mechanics is tiresome, there is no way any sort of ship weapon (designed to penetrate an armored hull without melting/defusing/etc and likely made of the fabled adamantium which is so hard/strong/high melting point) would burn up in a standard atmosphere. Even more amusing are laser based weaponry, which wouldn't even have to account for Coriolis shifting or frictional effects when hanging in orbit (why not make it geostationary? Your drives are certainly powerful and precise enough to put you in the right speed for your height above ground). Point your laser, it goes there. You think the targeting isn't precise enough to accomplish this? Nonsense. Satellites even now can track individual buildings/largish vehicles/etc from orbit, and auspex can target individual ship components from VUs away. Certainly technology has diminished since the Dark Ages but not below contemporary Earth levels.

Fine for targeted engagements. What about Exterminatus? The weapons for such are locked away in the hands of the most demanding authorities, right? Sure, unless you consider the fact that the "weapons for such" essentially boils down to any rocks big enough to kill a planet. Which isn't really that big, a few kilometers depending on the planet's atmosphere and what it's made of... heck you could even "fit" an asteroid to be a much more effective planet killer via some adamantine plating and/or a power source attached to a void shield array. And considering that there is next to no friction in space, most void-capable ships are capable of pushing or towing or what have you a hunk of space flotsam to murder any planet. Find an iron or otherwise denser/higher melting point asteroid and it can be even smaller.

I guess the point of this post is that the only thing keeping planets from being snuffed out continually is our own wishes as consumers. We don't want a realistic future, even in regards to it's own laws; the 40k universe is created with entertainment in mind. There is no scientific or logical explanation why, in the universe they've created, ship-to-planet combat isn't common and furthermore why there aren't only a handful of ground forces in the whole universe and even then for specific non-open-warfare objectives. The reason is otherwise, arising from a place which disregards science: Space Marines are beast, boots and glory makes us feel alive and involved, and a galaxy of tiny specks instantly destroying planets wouldn't last long and would (somehow) be even more depressing than 40k is now.

You want your space opera, and hell, so do I. You want to bring swords to gunfights (and tank fights, and space battles...) and still win them. Which is fine, close your eyes and enjoy it. If you're not able to suspend disbelief... your loss I guess. Why are you roleplaying?

Footnote: You will notice I repeatedly mention "open warfare". Yes, certain objective-based pursuits will require a smaller-scale, land based and individual approach.

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At Last Forgot said:

There is no scientific or logical explanation why, in the universe they've created, ship-to-planet combat isn't common

What makes you think that?

The eponymous wargame of the Warhammer 40,000 setting doesn't focus on starship combat, true, but that doesn't mean that it doesn't happen or even that it's uncommon... they're simply not the primary focus of the setting from that context.

The biggest reason that wars are fought on planets frequently in the 40k universe? Values... it's got little to do with firepower and everything to do with what value is placed on different things, and the methods each force uses. As it stands, few 40k battles ever contain more than a few dozen men and as likely represent skirmishes and raids as they do fragments of larger battles. Even Epic only covers a few companies of Imperial Guardsmen in a given battle. None of that specifically requires that starship combat be rare or ineffective.

The Imperium values planets and equipment more than it values human life - by a considerable degree.Planets are too valuable to obliterate them from orbit on a regular basis. Human beings are easily renewable and exist in vast quantities. From the perspective of the Imperium, it's often cheaper to hurl billions of soldiers into a messy, drawn-out conflict than it is to flatten a planet with orbital firepower and rebuild on the dust.

The Orks desire conflict above all else - that's their motivation. If there's fighting to be had, they'll be there. If you're fighting in space, they'll attack you. If you're defending something with troops, they'll attack you. They'll do this because it's fun and because it's their goal in life.

The Eldar seldom fight full-scale wars, instead relying on precision raids guided by prescient scholars and generals with centuries of experience, often bypassing any need to travel between the stars using starships (if there's a surface webway gate, they can march from their Craftworld to your planet, completely bypassing your orbital defences).

The Necrons are barely understood in terms of their goals and tactics, with a majority of early encounters with them being raids with unknown motivations, or defensive actions as outsiders disturb tomb complexes.

The Tyranids aren't an army. They're a force of nature that exists to consume everything in its path... conventional military thinking does not inherently apply to something that more closely resembles a galactic plague than an armed force.

And so forth...

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I think one other thing that is often forgotten is that civilized Imperial planets are made with the same technology as the starship are. From a military standpoint, a planet is nothing more then a 10,000km across space station. Hives and major cities will have ground mounted plasma and laser batteries or even lance sized weaponry plugged into the planets power grid. They’ll have their own void shield generators and armored bunkers. And even the most rural of agri-planets will often be dotted with scores of hidden, reinforced torpedo silos.

 

It’s not wrong to say that Open Warfare is all but obsolete. But it’s been obsolete since the Second World War, and that didn’t stop Korea, or Vietnam, or Iraq or Afghanistan. (and those are just the big American examples)

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 At N0-1 H3r3, you make some really decent points about a few of the armies. I do agree with the concept of planetary defense as the Imperium's foremost priority at least for the planets under its domain... but what about when they're the ones attacking? Less common I realize. If Eldar ever really wanted to wreck some **** they'd sling into orbit with one of their Holo-Fields and just obliterate planets, I'm sure they don't always want to do this kind of thing because they're generally apathetic about other races unless they're impacting themselves but it would happen (Dawn of War II for example... why does Idranel sabotage the forge world's power source? Nuke it from orbit.) Also, the Necrons, who at least from Codex ideals want to eradicate all life, wouldn't bother fighting a land war. It's likely that Chaos bent solely on eradicating the Imperium's holdings would also do so either unless they were trying to convert people and such.

Your points were pretty much all solid and I'm not trying to minimize them when I say I was primarily trying to focus on a Rogue Trader's access to Orbital attacks, and their lethality/accuracy. It's a little overwhelming when you realize anyone with a void ship has the possibility to commit mass murder on such a scale. My main point was "sure you can reduce a planet to a lifeless rock, or you could glass a specific building from orbit. But you're playing a game for fun and that kind of stuff makes the game less so."

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At Last Forgot said:

 At N0-1 H3r3, you make some really decent points about a few of the armies. I do agree with the concept of planetary defense as the Imperium's foremost priority at least for the planets under its domain... but what about when they're the ones attacking? Less common I realize. If Eldar ever really wanted to wreck some **** they'd sling into orbit with one of their Holo-Fields and just obliterate planets, I'm sure they don't always want to do this kind of thing because they're generally apathetic about other races unless they're impacting themselves but it would happen (Dawn of War II for example... why does Idranel sabotage the forge world's power source? Nuke it from orbit.) Also, the Necrons, who at least from Codex ideals want to eradicate all life, wouldn't bother fighting a land war. It's likely that Chaos bent solely on eradicating the Imperium's holdings would also do so either unless they were trying to convert people and such.

Your points were pretty much all solid and I'm not trying to minimize them when I say I was primarily trying to focus on a Rogue Trader's access to Orbital attacks, and their lethality/accuracy. It's a little overwhelming when you realize anyone with a void ship has the possibility to commit mass murder on such a scale. My main point was "sure you can reduce a planet to a lifeless rock, or you could glass a specific building from orbit. But you're playing a game for fun and that kind of stuff makes the game less so."

Eldar actions are informed by what their Farseers see of possible future events.  From future possibilities they choose actions that make the most Eldar beneficial outcome occur.  That is why you (as a Human) can't trust an Eldar...ever.  They are always manipulating the situation to their advantage.  If nuking the Forgeworld Genatorium doesn't make the future outcome they want a reality they won't do it.

Rogue Traders are special.  Really.  You remember kicking over anthills and burning ants with a magnifying glass as a kid?  Lots of us did that.  No real emotional baggage over murdering the ants right?  (I'm sure someone feels guilty but they won't get a Charter).  You are the RT, kicking over Xenos civilizations beyond they Light of the Astronomican.  Burn them with your Lances and watch them scuttle.  Or catch a few and make them dig for you to mine a mineral that is vital to the Imperium of Man.  That is your job.  Loot, pillage, et cetera.  And if the Xenos have some anti-ship weapons capable of reaching you in orbit you will be glad to have a Lance or two at your beck and call.  And I've had a lot of fun enslaving planets and forcing others to pay tithes and glassing others that were of little use to me (future colony worlds don't need all those pesky Xenos on them anyway).

 

 

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On the topic of space marines and Rogue Traders and references to the one having the other in old rulebooks, a point worth mentioning is that space marines have changed (a.k.a been retconned) quite a lot since then. Think of Starcraft terran marines, they're pretty much based on the original space marines: Convicted criminals press-ganged into service, put into power armour, and sent off on doomed missions into the ass-end of space. Light-years from the quasi-independent space knights that contemporary space marines are presented as.

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Quicksilver said:

I think one other thing that is often forgotten is that civilized Imperial planets are made with the same technology as the starship are. From a military standpoint, a planet is nothing more then a 10,000km across space station. Hives and major cities will have ground mounted plasma and laser batteries or even lance sized weaponry plugged into the planets power grid. They’ll have their own void shield generators and armored bunkers. And even the most rural of agri-planets will often be dotted with scores of hidden, reinforced torpedo silos.

Exactly. If a ship weapon can fire effectively through the atmosphere at a target on the surface, a weapon on the surface is equally capable of firing back at the ship.

The planetary defences have the advantage that their "10000km across space station" is practically impossible to physically shoot to pieces, unlike a spaceship. Well, or at least, requiring several orders of magnitude more firepower than the ship. That's an advantage to the planetary defences. The planetary defences would have to be taken out by directly firing at them, and they'd present a far smaller target than a whole ship (which is, remember, a whole platform for carrying guns of similar size as the planetary defences).

And then there's the whole economic aspect, that ship gun requires the rest of the ship to be able to function, what with warp engines, life support and all that. All that which whoever builds the planetary defences doesn't need, and can just use the same resources to build more guns, guns, guns.

A ship attacking a planet with planetary defences would be like a battle between a frigate and a coastal artillery battery - with both sides having comparable resources to put in, the coastal battery would severely outnumber and own the frigate.

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Which is why you'd be smart, as a RT, to invest in some snappy military forces capable of knocking out the coastal batteries in raids before you put your ship into orbit - a nice opportunity for the Arch-militants to stretch their dice muscles.

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Or approach the planet from the opposite side where the "coastal batteries" can't fire, land troops, and let the troops roll to the other side of the planet and take out the planetary defences.

Who said ground troops would be obsolete in realistic sci-fi? Continuing on the humongous-space-station analogy, landing troops on it would be equivalent to a boarding action.

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That's essentialy what was done on the Teros Campain  (and most 40k campains IIRC).  It's a modern verson of a seige.  Land troops and attack the walled... er, Void Shielded city to force it into surrender.

The other option if your low population and being attacked from orbit - scatter into the mountans/jungles/wastes, etc.  Gurrila warfare still works in M41.

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Konrad von Richtmark said:

On the topic of space marines and Rogue Traders and references to the one having the other in old rulebooks, a point worth mentioning is that space marines have changed (a.k.a been retconned) quite a lot since then. Think of Starcraft terran marines, they're pretty much based on the original space marines: Convicted criminals press-ganged into service, put into power armour, and sent off on doomed missions into the ass-end of space. Light-years from the quasi-independent space knights that contemporary space marines are presented as.

Yes.  The concept of 'space marines' in the original Rogue Trader was more akin to the modern Genehance soldiers.  Now an influential Rogue Trader could very likely get his hands on 100 Genehance soldiers in power armor.

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In response to Ship v. Planet combat:

The main reason ground warfare still occurs in the 40k universe is the fact that a habitable planet is worth more than the lives of 100,000 guardsmen.  Orbital bombardment on a large scale (taking a chunk out of a continent) would undoubtedly have harmful effects on the environment of the planet.  Smaller scale bombardment (destroying a military compound) is much more feasible.

Destroying a planet from space is reserved for mass chaos infestations and tyranids (by and large).

Also, if you are attacking an advanced civilization, they usually have surface-to-space defenses such as Laser Batteries and Orbital Torpedoes.  Hive cities and major settlements sometimes have void shields as well.  Of course, more commonly you'll run into orbital defense platforms.

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 This whole SM thing is rubbing me the wrong way. Pre-FFG Rogue Traders were not a dime a dozen, they were powerful movers and shakers performing an essential task. Now, with the Koronus Expanse drawing them in like moths to a flame, it being in need of so much exploration, they is now a MOVEMENT of new RTs. There are all different levels of power within the community. I can imagine Space Marines being in the employ of a very important RT for perhaps ONE important mission, but I just can't see them hanging out on the ship just because someone has money and power. They are not bodyguards. The only time I can see this being the case is for the "old-school" idea of an RT being tasked to go out to a certain place, explore it, and make it the Imperium's, but this is always something that the RT will do on their own, away from the support of the Imperium's resources, and with a considerable assumption of danger. The marines are there because it's important to expand and likely there will be xenos to destroy. In Koronus, there are just too many RT's to make it feasible to toss off that many SMs. 100 SMs is one tenth of a Codex chapter's fighting strength. There are only 1,000 or so chapters spread out through the ENTIRE FREAKIN GALAXY! 100 SMs is a VERY considerable allocation, and I would never dream of letting them on my group's ship unless the RT was on an extremely serious mission (like, commanded by an Inquisitor, who would actually be requisitioning the SMs) or doing something besides exploring Koronus like everyone else and their mothers. I don't know. Whether the book says it or not, it just doesn't sound right according to my guy instinct, having played 40K since 1st Ed back in, what, '88 or so (Rogue Trader, natch.) Back then, I got the impression there were like 50 RT's in the galaxy. Big, important people. Who knows, though?

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Well, be what may: with Deathwatch you can give your party space marines.  And since Rogue Traders command space marines in the new book and the old books, I suppose that it's par for the course.  But my party knows better then to ask for a dozen squads.

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