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Spending big in the Imperium: Rules for buying entire planets

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Spending big in the Imperium – rules for mega value purchases

 

“It takes money to make money.”
-Ancient Terran truism.

Rogue Traders are amongst the richest individuals in the Imperium. They have access to staggering resources, beyond the wildest dreams of most Imperial citizens. Some Rogue Traders return from beyond the bounds of Imperial Space laden with gold, and seek ways in which to spend it.

Some Rogue Traders are so rich that they are able to buy entire worlds upon which to retire: others use their wealth to purchase mercenary armies, or new ships and weapons, before turning back to the Halo Stars and embarking upon new adventures.

Set out below are hard and fast rules for enormous value purchases for your player characters. The Rogue Trader rulebook sets out rules for the acquisition of items on page 271. These rules extend the scope of purchases to planets, and introduce rules for massive, costly, “one off” purchases.

Mega purchases and burning profit factor

From time to time, players may wish to invest in an item or resource of colossal value. Such purchases stretch the purse strings of even the richest Rogue Trader.

At the GM’s discretion, when players wish to make a single, huge purchase, they are allowed to “burn” profit factor points in order to increase their profit factor rating for the sake of a single test.

Before attempting a single high value purchase, the player must declare that they intend to “burn” some of their profit factor for the sake of a test. The player nominates a number up to one quarter (rounding up to the nearest point) of their total profit factor. The amount nominated is then added to the original, unmodified Acquisition Test for the purposes of that single test. As such, a rogue trader may increase his profit factor by up to 25% for the purposes of a single test.

Once profit factor is “burned” in this way, it is lost forever. This represents the player’s dynasty entering into complex and disadvantageous negotiations with interplanetary banking cartels, noble houses and other financial institutions. This will involved massive loans, high interest and repayments over hundreds of years, destroying the profitability of the dynasty for years to come.

Example: Rogue Trader Purity Lathimon wants to buy a paradise moon in the Madragora Sector. She has a profit factor of 73. She declares to her GM that she intends to “burn” profit factor for the sake of the test. She declares that she will “burn” 15 points. For the sake of the Acquisition Test to buy the moon, she is deemed to have a Profit Factor of 88. However, once the test is over, her Profit Factor is permanently reduced to 58.

 

Buying worlds

“According to some apocryphal stories, she is said to have purchased her own paradise world and in others to have met a far darker fate…”
                        -The legend of Purity Lathimon, Epoch Koronus

The practice of buying Imperial worlds is officially frowned upon, but unofficially tolerated. The Imperium accepts that there is a class of colossally wealthy and unscrupulous individuals capable of such purchases…largely because the Imperium is run by such individuals.

As long as a new planetary governor is capable of complying with the sacred obligations of his role – paying the planetary tithe, gathering pyskers for the black ships, suppressing heresy, protecting the planet etc – then the Imperium as a whole couldn’t care less how he came to hold his position.

As a result of this laissez faire approach, something of a market exists in the trading of worlds. Many of the hyper-rich Noble clans of the Segmentum Solar have turned the sale of planetary governorships into a lucrative sideline, politicking against weak and unstable governors, seizing power in coups tacitly backed by the Administratum, suppressing internal dissent and then selling the governorship of the newly pacified world to the highest bidder.

For this reason, (among others) most Carta Imperialis, (the charter of a planetary governor) allow the bearer to nominate a successor of his choosing, unlike most warrants of trade, which tend to be hereditary.

As a result, many Rogue Traders retire to the governorship of civilised Imperial worlds, after a series of protracted and discreet financial negotiations with the previous incumbent.

For the purposes of the Acquisition Modifiers table on page 272 of the RT Core Rulebook, imperial planets always count as Unique for the purposes of availability, and vast for the purposes of scale, giving them a cumulative modifier of -100. This would normally mean that the Acquisition Test would automatically fail: however, as there is no direct equivalent for “craftsmanship” when it comes to whole planets, alternative planetary modifiers are set out below:-

Governance                 Modifier     Commentary
Peaceful world             -25              The planet is peaceful, its populance happy, well fed and respectful of your authority.

Typical Imperial              0               Your rule is harsh and authoritarian, but the people expect little else. Crime is rife, and there are cults aplenty.

Fractious populance     +20           The people of the world are unruly and difficult. As governor you will spend much of your time suppressing

                                                               dissent, and you are only a few days away from being hanged in the street….

Civil War                          +30             A planetary scale war is being waged on the world against local human rebels, a war which you must win in

                                                              order to remain in charge. The rebels are careful to declare that tithes will be met under their governance, and

                                                               as such the wider Imperium does not wish to become involved in this matter.

 


Galactic Location         Modifier     Commentary
Well located                      -25           The planet is situated on several major trade routes, and is well placed to profit from these. It is situated

                                                              amongst a cluster of other Imperial worlds, with a strong military presence ready to assist in the event of

                                                                external attack.

Typical location                  0              There are some advantages to your world’s location, but these are cancelled out by certain disadvantages.

                                                              Perhaps you have good trade routes nearby, but also are in an area of major warp storms.

Off the beaten track         +10         The planet is located away from major planetary trade routes. This means that the planet is likely to be less

                                                             lucrative than other worlds, and as such a poorer place…

Strategically Isolated      +20          The planet is vulnerable, by dint of its location, to attacks from pirates, xenos and other extra planetary threats.

Beyond the Imperium     +30           The planet is completely outside the Imperium, and cannot expect its protection from external threats. Other

                                                             Rogue Traders would be totally within their legal rights to seize the world from you by force. As such the world 

                                                              is vulnerable in the extreme in the absence of your personal protection.

Type of World                 Modifier     Commentary
Rock                                     +50      The planet is uninhabitable. There is no atmosphere, and for people to live on the world they must reside in 

                                                            sealed shelters. Although hydroponic gardens can support the populance for some of the year, supplies must

                                                            be brought to the world on a regular basis, otherwise the colonists will all die.

Death World                     +30          The planet is a death world. In many ways the planet is a total hellhole: perhaps radiation renders the planet

                                                              uninhabitable during the day and freezing cold at night. Perhaps fierce native xeno-beasts prowl the world.

                                                               Perhaps it is riven with swamps which breed miasmic diseases. Your world is not really a nice place…

Imperial World                   0              This covers frontier worlds, mining worlds, agri worlds, and settled civilised worlds (short of hive worlds.)

Hive World                       -10              The world is one of the famous Hive Worlds of the Imperium. Massively polluted, overcrowded and rife with

                                                               crime and cults, the world is a bloated seething mass of humanity. There is a higher perceived status to

                                                                ruling one of these worlds, as you control so many of your fellow men, but they are often fractious and unruly

                                                                places.

Paradise world             -25               The world is one the rare paradise worlds, a gem in space, with utterly beautiful vistas, a clean and breathable

                                                               atmosphere, and no native xeno-species which can harm humanity.

Economy                  Modifier             Commentary
Parlous                          +30               The planet has no economy at all or it has collapsed completely. The inhabitants live hand to mouth, and the

                                                               planet is a vast drain on your resources. For every five years you hold the governorship, reduce your profit

                                                                factor by 3. Good luck selling THAT planet.

Average                           0                   The planet gets by in terms of its economy, but you don’t really see any of the benefit yourself. Perhaps the

                                                                tithe is particularly high, or the planet’s resources quite thin. It doesn’t actively drain your resources, but it

                                                                doesn’t make you any real money either.

Notable                         -10                  The planet generates a moderate income for you. For every ten years you hold the governorship, increase

                                                                your profit factor by 1.

Substantial                  -20                  The planet’s economy is a regional powerhouse. Perhaps it is a successful mining world, or a nice, safe agri

                                                               world churning out wheat by the megatonne. For every ten years you hold the governorship, increase your

                                                               profit factor by 2.

Massive                       -30                  The planet is one of the most productive worlds in the Sector, with a vast economy. It is a strategically crucial

                                                              world, and the lynchpin of local finances. For every ten years you hold the governorship, increase your profit 

                                                              factor by 3.

Planetary status     Modifier         Commentary
Sector Capital           -40                 The planet is the capital of the entire sector. With it comes the status of being Lord Sector.

Subsector Capital    -25                 The planet is the capital of the local subsector. With it comes the status of being Lord Subsector.

None                             0                  The planet is simply an Imperial world, for better or for worse.


Example: Purity Lathimon wants to purchase a paradise world to retire on. The base modifier is -100. She considers the planet Quaddis in the Calixis Sector: This is a paradise world (-25) that is off the beaten track (+10), with typical Imperial Governance (+/-0) As such its total acquisition cost is -115, well beyond her means.

Casting around for a cheaper alternative, she hits on the fractious world of Verdigria in the infamous Mandragora Sector. This is a paradise world (-25) that is strategically isolated (+20) and which is currently in the throes of a vicious civil war. (+30). Added to the base modifier of -100 for a whole world, she ends up with a profit factor modifier of 85 which is potentially JUST within her means if she decides to burn some profit factor…If she does, as set out in the example above, this increases her profit factor to 88. Applying the profit factor modifier of -85, she now needs to roll equal to or less than her modified profit factor of 3 in order to afford the world.

Example: The rather less ambitious Rogue Trader Eddrish Brown (profit factor 60) wants to purchase a world for the status of being an imperial planetary governor, in order to impress a woman he has fallen in love with. He has no intention of actually visiting the place, so is happy for it to be pretty unpleasant. He hits on Merdia, an isolated mining world. Merdia is a failing colony racked with civil unrest. Starting with a base modifier of -100, Eddrish adds +20 for fractious populance, +20 for strategically isolated, + 0 for Imperial world, and +30 for parlous economy. This gives a base acquisition target of -30 to his profit factor of 60. He needs to roll 30 or less on a D100 in order to purchase Merdia.


And finally, here is some suggested wording for a Carta Imperialis, the equivalent of a Warrant of Trade for a planetary governor…

Carta Imperialis
Resolved Henceforth in the name of the Most Beneficient God-Emperor of Mankind, the High Lords of Terra, by virtue of their power and authority grant this Carta Imperialis to
………
And to his chosen successor, from this day unto the end of time.

The bearer of this Carta Imperialis is granted Lordship and dominion over the world of….., holding such planet as his personal fiefdom and property, subject always to his Holy obligations to the God Emperor and the wider Imperium.

Such obligations shall include primarily the payment of the Imperial Tithe, at such interval and in such quantity as shall be determined in the absolute judgement of the Adeptus Terra, with whose Holy Works the bearer of this Carta shall not interfere, on pain of Excommunication.

The bearer is also obliged secondarily to comply unquestioningly with the directions and requirements of the Adeptus Astra Telepathica and its agents, the League of Black Ships, who shall visit his world at such interval as they in their absolute discretion deem fit.

Thirdly, the bearer of this Carta shall comply in all regards with the letter and spirit of the Imperial Law, as determined by the Adeptus Arbites, with whose Works the bearer will not interfere or impede. He shall spread the Holy Word of the Emperor, as embodied in the teachings of the Divine Ministorum, and shall not suffer the witch, heretic or apostate to live. He shall ensure that the foul wiles of the Archenemy are frustrated, and that the insidious xenos is crushed. He shall maintain order and control over the inhabitants of his world, and shall be responsible and accountable for its protection from all external threats, subject to his right to request assistance from the wider Imperium if threatened.

Finally, the bearer shall comply with the Holy Order of the Imperium, respecting his position in the Master of Mankind’s wider plan: for whilst a Peer of the Imperium, the bearer shall observe his place in the Glorious Imperial Hierarchy, owing fealty serially and sequentially to his Lord Subsector, Lord Sector, Lord Segmentum and the High Lords of Terra. He shall respect and obey senior Peers of the Imperium -including the bearers of full Inquisitorial Rosettes - in the fulfilment of their role.

Subject to these obligations, none shall gainsay his mastery of this world. All resources and inhabitants of the world are the property of the Bearer to dispose of as he sees fit. All who serve the Emperor acknowledge that the Bearer of this Carta speaks with the voice of the Emperor Himself.

By Writ of Seal of Holy Terra

 

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Fair point!

I guess it's like saying "why buy a house in London when you can get one in Somalia much cheaper?" There are advantages to the cheapness of a house in Somalia...but because it's a failing state, you have to sit on the porch with an AK and a bunch of your friends to stop it getting burned down!

Planets conquered in the Korunos Expanse are outside the Imperium, and as such are not eligible for its protection. This means once you conquer a planet in the Expanse, you are solely responsible for defending it. Which means as soon as your back is turned and you go exploring again, a bunch of xenos/warp worshippers/unscrupulous other rogue traders will sweep in and steal it off you.

SPOILERS: GM SCREEN ADVENTURE

In the GM screen adventure, the players visit an Imperial World in the Koronus Expanse. The world is falling apart because of an insidious Xeno threat. Had the world been in the Imperium, Inquisitors, Astartes and the Imperial Navy would have swept in and sorted out the threat. Because the world is outside the Imperium, its inhabitants are totally reliant upon passing Rogue Traders to help them out.   

END SPOILERS

Having possession of a world within the Imperium grants you status and power within its boundaries in a way that you don't get for owning a planet in the wilderness of the Halo Stars.

(although I've included rules for buying worlds outside the Imperium too....)

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I would hope my Senceshal could negoiate a better deal if I am selling my holdings than that.

I have a trade route carrying a rare spice that steadily provides me with N thrones in profit in a certain amount of time. I'm not going to sell that for N thrones unless I'm really desperate, (I'm talking paying the ransom on my heir, rather than I'm thinking of buying a world.) I would be looking for a far more substancial sum to compensate for the lose of a income source. The worth of that trade route is going to be vastly more than N thrones it brings in a unit. 

Similarly with loans, my resources bring in N thrones a year, I want a loan of N thrones paying that back even with substancial interest is going to be a temporary commitment. Each point of profit factor is representing a steady flow of income, and as such is worth much more.

From a gamist point of view I also can't see why you would ever do it:

Either you have no chance of acquiring the item, in which case congratulations you have just wasted vast amounts resources getting at best a 1 in 10 chance

Or you already have the chance at acquiring the item, in which case it makes more sense to just keep making requistion roles whenever the GM allows with a steadily increasing profit factor gained by a campaign. Than burn the profit factor for a percentage increase.

To be honest what you are describing sounds like it should be covered by overstretching n points of profit factor reducing it by that much till the next increase not burning them.

If you really want rules for burning profit factor on acquistions I would suggest making it a modifier to a dice roll after the dice is rolled (I'm not going to liquidate resources on an off chance something may come up.) Then it should add something in the region of +5 to +10 per point of profit factor. 

That being said personally I would deal with planetary acquisition in the Imperium as an endeavour anyway, a different theme than the traditional acquire a planet one but still an endeavour.

 

The throne of Mandragora

A succession problem a few decades back has left Mandragora locked in a viceous civil war, a canny Rouge Trader to use this to gaina foothold within the the Imperium itself.

Objective 1: Establish a claim to the throne

Political, Criminal, Romance

Mandragora's is traditionally governed by a Monarch from the royal family, while the direct heirs to the throne died years ago  the people won't support a portential monarch who doesn't have a strong connection to the old royal family. The Rouge trader either needs a puppet governor to rule in his place or though marriage and trickery convince the population that he has a tie to the royal family.

Objective 2: Defeat the other factions

(Military,)

There are a number of other factions each lead by an individual who claims kinship to the previous king. Even if the capital is held and a king crowned while these factions exist the planet will still not be completely gained. The players must though open confronation or assasination destroy all others with a stronger claim to the throne.

Objective 3: Restore stability to the world

(Military)

While the Imperium is unlikely to protest the new rulership as long as the Tithes start to flow from Mandragora again the Inquisition will soon be watching it carefully to see it's stability is retained. In the years of war a cult has gained significant power on the world, and beneath their support of the emperor as a Warrior lurks something with worrying familarity to a blood cult of Khorne. This cult must be ellimanted from the planet least the Inquistion find out, for their interferance could risk all that the rouge trader has acquired.

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McGonigle said:

I have a trade route carrying a rare spice that steadily provides me with N thrones in profit in a certain amount of time. I'm not going to sell that for N thrones unless I'm really desperate, (I'm talking paying the ransom on my heir, rather than I'm thinking of buying a world.) I would be looking for a far more substancial sum to compensate for the lose of a income source. The worth of that trade route is going to be vastly more than N thrones it brings in a unit. 

Similarly with loans, my resources bring in N thrones a year, I want a loan of N thrones paying that back even with substancial interest is going to be a temporary commitment. Each point of profit factor is representing a steady flow of income, and as such is worth much more.

Bear in mind that buying a world is likely to come with its own range opportunities for regaining that expended wealth - you do, afterall, at that point, have the resources of a planet to use and abuse, and so long as you pay the tithes the Imperium demands, everything else is yours to do with as you wish. It's not a matter of "hey, I've got a planet.. what now?", because while obtaining the planet was costly, few worlds are entirely lacking in resources to exploit.

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I take your various points, McGonigle. I wrote the rules up so that plantary acquisition is JUST possible within the Imperium for very wealthy Rogue Traders. And you're right, the endeavour system works fine for seizing power within the Imperium. The system presented here is a more civilised alternative, assuming that there exists an economic market for planetary sale...which the Epoch Koronus apocrypha clearly states.

I guess the Endeavour system presents a method for obtaining an entire world within the Imperium using normal Rogue Trader tactics, my system presents an approach for BUYING an entire world wholesale.

And yes, your system for "Liquidating resources" is an interesting variation, too. Perhaps they could be combined?

Liquidate resources: at the discretion of the GM, you may increase your Profit Factor by up to 10% of the total (rounding up to the nearest percentage point) for the purposes of a single acquisition test. The next time you take another acquisition test, however, your total profit factor is reduced by the same amount. This represents your Rogue Trader crash selling stock and resources at short notice in order to fund a short term purchase, which has an impact upon longer term profitability.

Massive loans:  at the discretion of the GM, you may increase your Profit Factor by up to 25% of the total (rounding up to the nearest percentage point) for the purposes of a single acquisition test. However, after this test is taken, your Profit Factor is permanently reduced by the same amount. This represents your Rogue Trader committing to extremely long term loans from interplanetary banking cartels, which will bind his dynasty for hundreds of years, reducing profitability massively in the long term.

 

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Im not sure I agree with the idea of a Rogue Trader being able to "buy" a world or even "own" one in the traditional sense, because pretty much every writ of trade usually have some administratum clause which blatantly explains that all world s conquered and colonized by Rogue Traders technically belongs to the Imperium of Man and not the Rogue Trader himself. So while the Rogue Trader might have certain rights/priviliges to settle down and govern a world he or she conquered and might be able to build and own his personal estates, factories and fiefs, the world itself still isn't the Rogue Trader's "property" but rather a property of the Imperium of Man.

It was the Imperium of Man who gave the Rogue Trader the methods to go out and conquer worlds in the first place and they would not be very likely to just "give up" their owning rights to all worlds conquered by human hands and let upstart Rogue Traders claim actual ownership of the resources of an entire planet.

Still, that's not to say that a Rogue Trader could'nt "buy" a planet off of the hands of a population or minor Empire who don't belong to the Imperium of Man, and thus save himself the headache of having to use military might to conquer the world in question.

 

But Rogue Traders buying and proclaiming themselves as the actual owners of planets just don't synch well enough with the setting in my opinion. Rogue Traders have "rights" to certain worlds, but not rights of ownership. It's the Emperor's planets and you can't have them! lengua.gif

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There is something of a precedent where RT's can own their own demesne's which are outside of imperial law, because they are representative's of imperial law directly from the high lords of terra... meaning even arbites would fear to tread without a complete knowledge of what that rogue trader's writ entitles them to do in the emperor's name.

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It's beneficent - a single letter I, utterly unrelated to efficient.  Nitpicking over.  :¬)

 

Excellent stuff, especially the wording of the charter and clearly some thought given to the modifiers and what not.  I'll point my GM at it when the time comes for my RT to buy herself a planet or two... ;¬)

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So what about if you want to "purchase" various adminstration and or government bodies for the world you buy? Say you want a PDF force, or an Arbites force, etc? I think you should add the ability to spend your profit to secure the world with these things. You could get a religious order to even split costs with you, or the Mechanicus, whomever can help populate the world and administer it in the name of the Emperor with your line as fief holders.

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Grand Inquisitor Fulminarex said:

So what about if you want to "purchase" various adminstration and or government bodies for the world you buy? Say you want a PDF force, or an Arbites force, etc? I think you should add the ability to spend your profit to secure the world with these things. You could get a religious order to even split costs with you, or the Mechanicus, whomever can help populate the world and administer it in the name of the Emperor with your line as fief holders.

errrr...I hadn't thought of that. But it shouldn't be impossible to sort out. Cool idea!  

I guess what I kind of had in mind with this set of rules is purchasing established Imperial worlds, mostly within the Imperium. Mainly as a means of showing off how wealthy you are! What you're talking about is more along the lines of colonising a world. This is something I'm sure will be expanded upon in future RT supplements.

Having said that, yes, I'm sure there are ways to cover these points... I'll have a think...

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I would have thought that writing rules for scratch settling planets is a bit too much, no?  Isn't that pretty much slap-bang in the realm of endeavour, in a way that "planet as accessory to match my eyes" isn't?

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