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DM Variyn

Careless Rogue Trader and Council

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So in my game I started off with two Rogue Traders, a brother and sister that gained equal rule over their dead fathers small fleet. The fleet consists of two vessels both tweaked raiders. One bigger than the other with heavy weapons. The other is a smaller faster vessel.

Now that you all can see where the game started let me tell you where it is now.

The sister with the help of part of the Senior Staff  (the other PC's) murdered the brother. I as the GM didn't argue this due to the fact is a game made for the players so they should be able to do as they wish. Only problem is the young brother was more of the leading type but his negative he was demanding on the vessel staff. Basically he was like the higher ranking officer from the movie "The Patriot". If you haven't seen it think of what you would think a Red Coat would lead like.

The sister on the other hand is weak willed and a even weaker speaker. The Senior Staff (other PC's) walk all over her and their group ideas go through her to the crew. That is a bad problem of its own but that not my main problem. My problem is neither the Senior staff or the female Rogue Trader seem to care for any of the crew. Not the Captains of the vessels, the Imperial Priest, the non-PC Tech-Priest, the Armsmen, anyone... They would hands down let the crew die rather than themselves. The only time I've seem them care about a crew member was if they needs something from them or needed a meat shield.

My only reaction through the past 10 to 15 games was to lower moral. So now moral is at the point of open revolt. I even have had not only low ranking crew but Junior and Senior NPCs openly showing their distaste for members of the Rogue Trader's Council and herself.

What should I do? Have assassins kill the Rogue Trader and/or the Senior Staff? Who do I choose to attack because some are worse than other and other are personally not that bad just on their high horse? The biggest problem do I as the GM actually try to kill the PC? How hard do I make the fight?

Any ideas?

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I'd take this as a gift from your players to run a different sort of adventure.  1st figure out what sort of world you want to strand your players on.  Then map out what sort of adventures they can have there.  I'm fond of the you crash land on one side of the world and the adventures you have getting to the other side of the world where the only space port is.  (example http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/March_Upcountry)

Then all you need to do is stage a crew revolt where every hand is turned against them.  Don't pull punches.  The PCs will realize it's hopeless and abandon ship at some point.  It may mean a few lost fate points.  Then the fun begins.  The important thing is for the PCs to eventual return to being Rogue Trader and crew.  Maybe they will need to take a pirate ship with the help of the slaves of the lower decks. Of course 1st they'll need to convince the slaves they are worth following....

 

PS- Be prepared for the players to simply pout, and insist their characters would die rather than leave the ship.  In which case it's likely time to start a new game.

 

 

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 Your first solution should always be to explain the problem to your players, if you feel they're being unrealistic, and ask them to change the way they are playing. If you have done so, and they still aren't out of stubbornness or ineptitude, then you need to take measures. I'm going to assume you have done this much already.

I like Surloc's tough love approach, it's believable, exciting, and very likely to get the results you want.

Another thing you could try,if you haven't already, is to start giving very recognizable and lovable faces to the crew. Have one of the players who needs x,y,or z not just get it, but get it specifically from Stumpy the cigar-chomping mechanic, or Pip, the innocent, wide-eyed herald who is clearly in awe of the PC's, or the chatty quartermaster, or the grumbly doctor, or...

...and so on. The point is to get the PC's to form emotional attachments to specific NPC crew-members who are not crucial to the operation of the ship. If the PC's continue to  be cavalier with the lives of their underlings, mention how Stumpy got torn apart by a couple of Orc Boyz in the boarding party, or how Pip got snagged by the pirates and is on his way to a life of slavery and torment.

(It sounds like you may be past this point already. If so, perhaps you could do it next time. The crew shouldn't be faceless, otherwise they're just a number.)

Another thought for the conclusion of the mission described by Surloc would be to have them return to the spaceport to find their ship impounded by the battlefleet for operating beyond the borders of the imperium without a warrant of trade, thus giving the RT a chance to offer the crew mercy for their mutiny and get a fresh start.

Just musing.

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Dalnor Surloc's idea is quite a good one, though not the one I'd go for in this case.

 

I'd go with having someone pretend to be (or actually be) either the dead brother or maybe a child of his or half-brother/sister to the existing rogue trader.

 

Then you can have the crew have to take sides, do they go with the callus current rogue trader or the new/old guy?

Harder for the non-pc officers as they will have met the people involved (the brother or both the RT's father/mother) and so will probably have more of an idea of if it's a lie or not, if it is a lie it could be a group of senior officers who dislike the new order plotting together to oust the current RT.

It could range from sabotage and general ill feeling to outright warfare, maybe one of the ships choses the pretender and suddenly opens fire on the other, maybe the crew mutinies in part at least and the senior pc officers must try to put it down.

 

You may want to look at Lambert Simnel http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lambert_Simnel who was involved in something similar.

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In addition to advices already given (which are both quite good and would provide a wealth of roleplaying opportunities), you could try "rewarding" PCs with Corruption Points for certain actions.

Murdered crewman in cold blood? 1 CP

Sold crewman into slavery? 1 CP

Used up that innocent-looking 15 year old astropath-girl as a daemon-snack in exchange for a safe warp jump? 2d10 CP...

In a few sessions PCs would be on the verge of damnation, and let me tell you, nothing cools down a "better-than-thou" officer's head more than a danger of a horrible mutation looming on the horizon. demonio.gif

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I am not supporting the "dump them on a planet" idea. While it is "stylish" and part of many pirate stories, RT is heavly about "having a ship" (in my opinion)
I am even more not supporting the "CP for for amorale behavoir", because CP are for warptaint, not for "moral taint".

My advise: A mutiny which takes over one of the ships & the ship excaping. The faster one. Ony pc left on the faster ship will either have to flee or will be left in lifepods for the bigger ship. "Let´s see if the bastards are at last helping each other!"

This way, the actions of the pc (lack of leading quality) leads to consequences.

And afterwards, the pc will likely not ignore "the moral question" any longer.


But did they tried anything to keep the crew under control? Even a rule of terror is a rule, after all. If those wouldn´t work out, the whole Imperium would be into rebellion.

 

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Perhaps a civil war on the ship?  During a time-sensitive event.

The ship is functionally disabled while the crew splits into three factions: hostile, neutral and loyal. . 

Either an enviornmental or hostile force that slowly builds up in strength.  The pressure builds as the situation deteroriates.

 

The players either resolve the issue, one way or another or they die - being utterly incompotent leaders.  Utterly incompotent:  if you cannot convince a crew to save themselves from an outside threat, you don't deserve to be in command.

 

 Or make them a public laughing stock - that causes penalties to the wealth of the dynasty. 

Namely, the players dock at Port Wander, and the entire crew walks off the job.  They refuse to reembark, until the situation is improved.  To maintain the vessel the RT has to pay through the nose to hire temporary works to keep everything working (and each day/week, take some wealth away).  Once the issue is resolved, the party takes a penalty on endevours because of the loss of faith and prestige of their house.

Also, having them mocked by the scrub crew of other RT vessels, and being refused entry to any prestgious social events, because of  their inability is also nice.

Nothing like shame.

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I am actually relieved that other people are having the same Issue that I am: namely, the PCs are big fat jerks.

I had a case where the PCs came back to find their guncutter shuttle missing from the airlock. The NPC that they had left on board to "guard" the shuttle (while they went and looted, because why would they bring an NPC to share the wealth, right?) was specifically told that if he went into the cockpit, he would be shot. He was an old man in his 70's, and was a person that they were "saving" from a slave operation. He of course followed their orders and as such could not call for help, since the vox comms were located on the bridge demonio.gif.

Even worse, the pirates left the NPC in the airlock, alive (because who would kill an old man that gave up without a fight, he wasn't even left a weapon). When the PCs came back they were outraged to look through the airlock and see no ship, while the NPC begged for help. One Player decided that the NPC was going to pay for their bad luck, command skills, and fortune; he opened the airlock into space using a tech-skill hack (which had been allowed in the past), blowing him out into the black.

But, what can you do as a GM? I described in detail how the NPC died, blood boiling out of his frozen corpse and all that, but what can you really do to let the PCs know that outright murder is frowned on?

No corruption points can be awarded, because they are not "moral" corruption points, they are warp taint. 
I couldnt have the rest of the crew find out, because I do not play like "fable" where there is a universal consequence for every action; the PCs were the only witnesses and a in moral wouldnt be realistic.
I refuse to "punish" a group by forcing more and more bad things to happen when they "do something bad". I dont believe in Karma.

In the end, they "got away with it"... which is totally fine. They just never found their ship again, since the only lead got blown out an airlock as to who was responsible... Profit factor -3!!!

 

 

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Damnzig said:

In the end, they "got away with it"... which is totally fine. They just never found their ship again, since the only lead got blown out an airlock as to who was responsible... Profit factor -3!!!

 

 

 

Ouch!

While I do not know the significance of your game, Damnzig, this seems like a HUGE penalty to put on the players for something of this magnitude. Profit factor is the grand summation of numerous sector-wide investments and trading. The PC's can literally spend an entire session trying to increase their PF by this amount. To dock them so much for the loss of a Guncutter, which they likely have hundreds, if not thousands, of onboard, seems a little harsh.

Then again, like I said, I don't know the specifics. Perhaps it was a prototype, or something else that made its loss particularly significant... just musing.

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Just -3? You are nicer then I would have been. I would let them turn over their pockets and award them in thrones instead of profit. Their ship lost and they without their support base. No profit factor for them unless they managed to find their property again or contacts that somehow care enough for them now that they are bankrupt.

 

 

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I do agree -3 is a little over doing it. In my game I'd just let that one go. Its no so important you need to be on your players about one death in front of the Emperor and no one else.. However I don't agree with The Boy Named Crow as he states that ships have hundreds or thousands of guncutters. Heavens no  and if your PC's ships do then you have sucked the fun out of owning a guncutter. My PC group has two Raider sized Starships and I assume each one had from 5 to 10 guncutters or basically internal and external atmosphere capable ships. Now they have more than that amount of external atmosphere capable ships like transports for cargo and such. Due to Rogue Traders or at least mine aren't rolling around in Cruisers (which the RT book says almost openly to not give your RT that) with crew of Guardsmen and Fighter Pilots and cargo bays full of Leman Russes and Fighter Planes. You see my PC have blown up, wrecked, or lost in some sort of way Guncutters as the game has gone on. Now between 10-20 sounds like a lot but when you start losing them and are in the Expanse and can't just buy a new one the game gets dirty AND THAT! Is what RT and 40k is all about.

You see when your players get like mine you should worry. I have bigger problems where the RT will order crews death in front of other crew.

Ex: She showed up to a burned out building after a raid on a unknown planet she was trying to colonize. The burned out build was filled with 16 or so Armsmen (Her naval police on the ship that she seems to use as Guardsmen....Don't even get me started) and at least 10 of the men were wounded and unable to fight. They were laying bleeding with little medical supplies. First thing she says is "Why are these men injured!?" for which one of the Armsmen Officers replays "Mistress Commodore they were injured in the initial attack.". She out of character (Yes she is a female in real life as well) makes a face like the officer had physically slapped her and says "You and any man able to fight will come with me." A groan from the injured men sounds as the officer informs the RT that the men would be sitting targets for a counter-attack. Luckily one of the other PC out of character pointed out how the Armsmen would be little more than meat shields for them due to their lack in good weapons and armor compared to the RT and her PC group (I'm sure you have all noticed how the PC in your game rock face compared to any normal NPC).

Don't get me wrong I love my RT group just every game is another amazement. Tonight I'm running the game where I try to set my RT and her council straight. I'm sure it wont go as well as I have planned.

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The Boy Named Crow said:

Sister Callidia said:

 

Their ship lost and they without their support base.

 

 

 

 

They didn't lose their starship. They were given -3 PF for the loss of a guncutter. The loss of which, honestly, is quite largely inconsequential.

Only their guncutter? In that case, no profit loss whatsoever. However, a new acquisition roll is required to get a new one. Until then they will have to fly around in things like Aquila landers or civilian shuttles. Sure the ship has dozens of shutles but the guncutter is something special.

Also talking about corruption. This is more then just being exposed towarp stuff. The rot is insidious and slow and most of it comes from within. Things like lust, fears, greed and cruelty are all things that brings you closer to the ruinous power. A wp roll or gaining a corruption point per atrocity seems to me a valid way of expressing the dangers of being of less then moral stature in the dark world of 40k. There is a reason why so many nobility are corrupted and serve the ruinous powers.

 

 

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Also talking about corruption. This is more then just being exposed towarp stuff. The rot is insidious and slow and most of it comes from within. Things like lust, fears, greed and cruelty are all things that brings you closer to the ruinous power. A wp roll or gaining a corruption point per atrocity seems to me a valid way of expressing the dangers of being of less then moral stature in the dark world of 40k. There is a reason why so many nobility are corrupted and serve the ruinous powers.

And I take it every inquisitor ordering an Exterminatus, killing billions of semi-innocent people, at once goes over to the Chaos guys? Considering the massive amount of cruelty running rampant in the Imperium, corruption just can't work that way or there'd be no Emperor-worshippers left.

 

As for the Gun Cutter, I agree with the others. -3 Profit factor should be reserved for losing entire trading routes, a massive loss of renown or having a freighter or two captured by pirates. A gun-cutter should probably require an Acquisition test to get another, but there are likely quite a few still sitting in the hangar bays.

 

 

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Cifer said:

Also talking about corruption. This is more then just being exposed towarp stuff. The rot is insidious and slow and most of it comes from within. Things like lust, fears, greed and cruelty are all things that brings you closer to the ruinous power. A wp roll or gaining a corruption point per atrocity seems to me a valid way of expressing the dangers of being of less then moral stature in the dark world of 40k. There is a reason why so many nobility are corrupted and serve the ruinous powers.

And I take it every inquisitor ordering an Exterminatus, killing billions of semi-innocent people, at once goes over to the Chaos guys? Considering the massive amount of cruelty running rampant in the Imperium, corruption just can't work that way or there'd be no Emperor-worshippers left.

Ordering an Exterminatos is not something to be done lightly or just on a whim or that it sounded like a nice idea at the time. Killing people for fun or petty reasons however is tainting. Its the difference between a physician who must make a hard choice or a serial killer going to satisfy their next thirst for blood. The Physician will not be corrupted, the serial killer however.....

 

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Ordering an Exterminatos is not something to be done lightly or just on a whim or that it sounded like a nice idea at the time. Killing people for fun or petty reasons however is tainting. Its the difference between a physician who must make a hard choice or a serial killer going to satisfy their next thirst for blood. The Physician will not be corrupted, the serial killer however.....

So... how often do Commissars fall?

The Imperium is definitely too inhumane for your idea to work with its permanent preaching of hatred.

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The Commissar is doing his job, just like the Physician who lets a patient die so that others may live, just like the Preacher who has to burn the 9 year old child who has warp taint so it doesn't spread.  While the "Serial Killer", only kills for the enjoyment of it.  It even states it in one of the Campaigns created by Dark Heresy itself.  In Purge the Unclean, Page 34, when Elsergi Krin kills a begger he grabbed off the street on his stage, if front of a crowd the PC's are in.  It states, "If any of your players argues that their acolyte 'would not have been affected by such a display' or words to that effect - agree, they don't have to take a Test but give them one Corruption Point on the spot."  The test was to show repulsion toward the act, mind you, and Not to get corruption for witnessing said act.  Of course, if they committed said act, they would get Corruption.  It's a cruel world, yes, but it's still governed by a twisted sense of society perceptions.  A Commissar killing soldiers for desertion would feel remorseful, but wouldn't just go around killing soldiers just because he can.  He must do it to inspire fear/bravery/faith/ or whatever you want to call it, in the rest of the company.

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Nameless2all said:

The Commissar is doing his job, just like the Physician who lets a patient die so that others may live, just like the Preacher who has to burn the 9 year old child who has warp taint so it doesn't spread.  While the "Serial Killer", only kills for the enjoyment of it.  

So, where do you draw the line?

The job of the Rogue Traders is to explore beyond the bounds of the Imperium. They are empowered in that regard to do what they feel is necessary. If any argument can be made as to how sacrificing their crew aids in that goal, then they are doing their job and by your argument exempt from corruption points for the deed.

If you want to say that senseless killing nets corruption points, which I don't personally agree with, that's a personal choice every GM needs to make. But even if you do, consider how rare truly unmotivated killing is. Virtually all instances of PC violence are going to be in pursuit of some kind of objective, making them, an arguable exemption.

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The Boy Named Crow said:

Nameless2all said:

 

The Commissar is doing his job, just like the Physician who lets a patient die so that others may live, just like the Preacher who has to burn the 9 year old child who has warp taint so it doesn't spread.  While the "Serial Killer", only kills for the enjoyment of it.  

 

 

So, where do you draw the line?

The job of the Rogue Traders is to explore beyond the bounds of the Imperium. They are empowered in that regard to do what they feel is necessary. If any argument can be made as to how sacrificing their crew aids in that goal, then they are doing their job and by your argument exempt from corruption points for the deed.

If you want to say that senseless killing nets corruption points, which I don't personally agree with, that's a personal choice every GM needs to make. But even if you do, consider how rare truly unmotivated killing is. Virtually all instances of PC violence are going to be in pursuit of some kind of objective, making them, an arguable exemption.

It's a gliding scale and even doing killing just because you have to, will make you feel remorseful. The second you don't feel remorse anymore is when you are starting to glide towards corruption. Of course it is your call in your game. If you think that bombarding a planet playing Toccata & Fugue in d minor on your steam organ while chanting 'Khorne I purge this planet in your name' and cackling evily is not worth corruption then you are entitled to rule thus. I happen to disagree with you though.

In your case, I would have ruled. Make an aquisition roll for the guncutter AND gain +1 corruption point because you have pleased Khorne and he wants to bless you.

 

 

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Sister Callidia said:

 If you think that bombarding a planet playing Toccata & Fugue in d minor on your steam organ while chanting 'Khorne I purge this planet in your name' and cackling evily is not worth corruption then you are entitled to rule thus. I happen to disagree with you though. 

 

I said senseless, Callidia. The scenario you're describing clearly isn't. The dedication of the annihilation of an entire population to a ruinous power is clearly worth handing out corruption in chunks. I think anyone doing that has a very clear sense of what they're trying to accomplish.

Obviously morality has a sliding scale, I don't think anyone will debate that. However when you're dealing with corruption points, I think there is a very clear line of division, and that is when the warp gets involved.

Corruption is a measure of the distortion inflicted on a person by the energies of the warp. It is stated as much. Without the warp, there would be no corruption points, so in a situation where the warp is not involved at all, there can likewise be no corruption points. You can slaughter an entire planet with no repercussions, until the moment you utter the name of that chaos god. At that point, you've opened the door to the attention of the powers and corruption becomes possible. Likewise, you could get said corruption points if you attempted the same acts on a planet with a torn veil, where the energies of the warp are present. The lynchpin, again, is the presence of warp energy.

This is just my interpretation of the rules. This is how I run my games, but I don't expect anyone else to run their game like I do, I just thought I'd share my opinion on the matter, since it seemed to be confused.

 

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 I totally agree with you that's it up to the GM.  It always is, no argue there.  The rules even state that Corruption is caused by exposure to warp, dark rituals, cursed artifacts, and the like.  But why, in 'Purge the Unclean', would characters receive corruption points if they said they would not feel remorseful toward the senseless killing of the beggar?  For me, as a GM, that's how I looked at it. Senseless Killing = Corruption Points (or rolling for it, depends on the severity).  Yes yes yes, a PC can construe it anyway he/she wants that his/her character has "a reason" to kill someone, however misguided their logic may be.  But it's back to what you said.  It's up to the GM to have them roll for corruption, or not, of said action if you deem it worthy (or automatically give them corruption).  And it doesn't have to be "per person killed", but "per action of atrocity committed."  Just food for thought.  Maybe I should of started a new Forum instead of continuing the debate on here.  lol

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The Boy Named Crow said:

Sister Callidia said:

 

 If you think that bombarding a planet playing Toccata & Fugue in d minor on your steam organ while chanting 'Khorne I purge this planet in your name' and cackling evily is not worth corruption then you are entitled to rule thus. I happen to disagree with you though. 

 

 

 

I said senseless, Callidia. The scenario you're describing clearly isn't. The dedication of the annihilation of an entire population to a ruinous power is clearly worth handing out corruption in chunks. I think anyone doing that has a very clear sense of what they're trying to accomplish.

Obviously morality has a sliding scale, I don't think anyone will debate that. However when you're dealing with corruption points, I think there is a very clear line of division, and that is when the warp gets involved.

Corruption is a measure of the distortion inflicted on a person by the energies of the warp. It is stated as much. Without the warp, there would be no corruption points, so in a situation where the warp is not involved at all, there can likewise be no corruption points. You can slaughter an entire planet with no repercussions, until the moment you utter the name of that chaos god. At that point, you've opened the door to the attention of the powers and corruption becomes possible. Likewise, you could get said corruption points if you attempted the same acts on a planet with a torn veil, where the energies of the warp are present. The lynchpin, again, is the presence of warp energy.

This is just my interpretation of the rules. This is how I run my games, but I don't expect anyone else to run their game like I do, I just thought I'd share my opinion on the matter, since it seemed to be confused.

 

So saying the name will **** you but not saying it will not? Why would a deity who delights in slaughter and bloodshed attention not been drawed by the act that is basically his whole essence? 

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The Boy Named Crow said:

Yes.

For the same reason Nurgle is not present every time someone gets sick.

So why does saying his name which I as mortal have no chance of pronouncing correctly suddenly gets me corruption points?

 

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