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Three new ship background packages

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People on these forums have complained that Battlefleet Koronus didn’t have any new ship background packages, so I put three new ones together. happy.gif

 

Mandragoran Exile

The Calixis Sector lies (in galactic terms) near two other ancient Imperial powerbases, the Ixaniad and Scarus Sectors. One day perhaps, it may lie alongside another, the Koronus Sector, if the dreams of many Administratum clerks and Scintillan schemers come to fruition.
But there are widespread and persistent rumours that there was once a further Imperial Sector lying within a year’s journey of Eustis Majoris, the capital of the Scarus Sector. This apocryphal story is known across the region, and casual references to its existence in ancient texts will crop up year after year in dusty archives and museums…only to promptly vanish alongside the archivists who unearthed them.
Despite the absolute lack of any convincing proof that these stories are correct, and without consciously being able to explain where they first heard of its existence, virtually every Calixian citizen will reluctantly acknowledge-if only in hushed whispers, with many a backward glance-that they know the name of this vanished Sector: Mandragora.
Those with an understanding of the workings of the Imperium realise that for an entire Sector to vanish from Imperial records, and for those uncovering any references to it to vanish under equally mysterious circumstances, the Sector’s existence must have been placed under a dreaded “Edict of Obliteration,” an Inquisitorial Bull designed to eradicate any knowledge of an event, region or individual. Such Bulls are enforced by dedicated Inquisitorial kill squads blessed by blind monks of the Aretian Brotherhood, a dedicated fraternal order devoted to the destruction of that which mankind is not meant to know. These fanatical agents ensure that any mention of the subject placed under the edict passes from the knowledge of mankind entirely; they will burn entire libraries to ensure a single volume is incinerated, or purge whole cities to kill one terrified savant who asked the wrong questions.
No one knows why an entire Sector would be placed under an Edict of Obliteration. Dark legends have grown up around the region of space which abuts the Scarus Sector as a result. Some mutter that the Sector must have been cursed, or rebelled, or fallen to dark powers. Some whisper that the entire Sector vanished in one night, others that it crawls with the walking dead, foul Xenos or heretics. Such is its hushed infamy that the phrase “from Dread Mandragora” is on the lips of many who would ascribe ill-omen to an unknown outsider, a person whose origins and motives are uncertain.
But what of the ships that hailed from this Sector? For hundreds of years, ancient warships bearing the bronze and black livery of an unknown Battlefleet, or transports bearing no known fleet registry documentation have appeared silently on the edges of Imperial Space in the North Eastern fringe of the Segmentum Obscuras. These ships are uninhabited, their logbooks wiped, their once teeming corridors silent and echoing. These are not true space hulks: their hulls gleam, and they appear fresh from some unknown dockyard, ready to serve the Imperium once more.
Despite the excellent state of these vessels, they are not popular amongst local Battle or Merchant fleets. Who would want to travel or rely upon such a mysterious vessel? What stories could such a vessel tell if it could talk? What happened to its previous crew? Where has the ship been?
For this reason, many Imperial Authorities are only too happy to dispose of these peculiar ships. And who better to take them off their hands than a Rogue Trader Dynasty?

Cost: 1 Ship Points. All classes of ship may take this package.

Cursed: This ship automatically has the “Haunted” Past History, as set out on page 198 of the RT Core Rulebook. No other Past History need be rolled.

Dread Mandragora: All aboard the ship suffer a -5 penalty to all Social Interaction Tests against anyone hailing from the Koronus Expanse, Ixaniad, Calixis or Scarus Sectors once they know the history of the crewman’s vessel. At the GM’s discretion, this can be converted to a +5 bonus to Intimidate Tests.

Warp Rider: Something in the ship’s mysterious history has given it a peculiar affinity for surviving the most extreme warp storms and phenomena, perhaps hinting at how it came to survive whatever came to plague the Mandragora Sector. If a player rolls “Shoals and Reefs,” “Incursion” or “Warp Storm” when rolling on Table 7-4, “Warp Travel Encounters,” on page 186 of the RT Core Rulebook, these are treated as a roll of “All’s Well” instead.

 

Former Chartist Vessel

Chartist ships are the workhorses of the Imperium, and like real workhorses, they are often neglected, old and in need of putting out to pasture. These antique merchant vessels plod endless, fixed, circuitous routes around local areas of Imperial space, like a mule turning a grindstone. They operate under the terms of ancient charters that effectively bind their crew into indentured servitude for generations, sworn to journey to a small number of Imperial worlds, and there to exchange what goods they can before plodding onwards to the next destination.
The crews aboard these merchant vessels become insular and strange, trapped by the terms of their charter. They create their own weird traditions, tell their own strange tales, often developing their own peculiar languages. To outsiders, they are a bizarre and occasionally sinister people, voidborn exiles who have never felt the wind on their face or the touch of sunlight through a world’s atmosphere.
A Rogue Trader who takes on such a vessel, and proposes to journey to the Koronus Expanse with it, will face much opposition from the crew, and even the ship itself. The crew will fear any variation to the ***** customs, routines and rituals they have developed, and the ship itself will occasionally act like a startled pack animal, rebelling against being dragged away from the paths it knows so well.
And yet there are compensations; for the crew, the ship is their entire world, their home and their life. They will fight to the death to defend it. Furthermore, the crew of the truly ancient chartist vessels display an avaricious cunning over the acquisition of the bounty of mudslogging dirtsiders that rivals that of the most skilled Rogue Trader. Their skills at haggling and negotiation are legendary, and they are able to prise incredible deals from even the most thrifty merchant.

Cost: 2 Ship Points. Transports Only.

Workhorse: The Ship will automatically have the unique Machine Spirit Oddity “Workhorse.” This replaces any other Machine Spirit Oddity. The ship favours slow, peaceful, boring journeys across regions of space it is familiar with. Choose 1D5+1 worlds in the Calixis Sector, and draw a course on the Calixian Sector Map that would take the ship through each world in turn, before returning to the first. This is the ship’s favoured course. When travelling on any other journey, all navigation Tests gain a -5 penalty, to represent the ship’s inherent reluctance to leave its favoured route. However, when travelling the route, all navigation Tests are taken at a +20 bonus.

Hearth and Home: The crew are very reluctant to leave their ship to fight someone else’s battles. When taking a Command Test to lead the crew into a boarding action aboard another ship, this Test is taken at a -5 penalty to represent the difficulty overcoming this reluctance. However, conversely, they fight with great determination to defend their ancestral home, where their families live. When defending against a boarding action on board their own ship, any Command Tests receive a +10 bonus to represent this strong resolve to repel the aggressors.

Skilled Hagglers: The voidborn crew have, over the centuries, become adept at the arts of haggling and negotiation due to years spent bargaining with generations of dockside merchants over the cargo they import from other worlds. When working towards a Trade objective, the players earn an extra 50 Achievement Points towards completing that objective, to represent the accumulated value of the many thousands of side deals struck by the crew.


Pressed into Service

The Imperium is beset on all sides by the forces of Chaos, xenos warfleets and rebellion. War is a constant feature of Imperial life. While there may be periods of relative peace, these are but lulls in a wider storm that one day will engulf all of mankind.
The warships of the Imperial Navy are not immune to this process. Vast and powerful as they are, they will inevitably face some foe yet greater or more numerous than they, and it will bring them low, leaving the Imperial Navy crying out for more ships.
In times of war, where its great fleets are pounded to glittering dust, lost amid the stars, the Navy is forced to cast around for poorer quality, second rate vessels that can be rapidly manufactured using whatever materials are to hand. Smaller shipyards are cannibalized for civilian spacecraft components intended for merchant vessels, and these are hastily engineered into bodged hybrid military vessels. The Navy, proud of the power and quality of its vessels, despises being forced to take these steps, but in the midst of war, the normal niceties of ship design, must be cast aside. The Corvettes are the acme of such a process, ships designed to be constructed in short order in small shipyards to (barely) cover losses among more powerful vessels. However, when most pressed, these compromises may be adopted on other ships.
As a result, many smaller Imperial ships constructed in times of great crusades tend to have a certain ramshackle quality about them, and include strange amalgams of military and civilian systems. Bizarrely, such vessels actually suit Rogue Traders rather well; their systems are more accepting of unusual components with lower tolerances, and as they are often constructed around hybrid civilian drives and weapons systems, they are able to accept “off the shelf” components more easily than more thoroughbred craft. A price is paid in the overall quality of the ship’s construction, however, as such ships are usually hurriedly pressed into service without the usual quality checks.

Cost: 2 Ship points. Frigates and Raiders only.

Hodgepodge: The ship was rapidly constructed in a civilian yard. It incorporates a number of design features that would normally only be found in civilian transports, awkwardly worked into the hull of a small warship. The ship may accept components designed for Transports in addition to components for ships designed for its actual class.

Cut and shut: The ship is easier to repair, as it is more accepting of unusual repair solutions; it is effectively one of them itself! When this vessel effects long term repairs, it may repair 1d10+5 points of Hull Integrity rather than 1d5. Furthermore, it is easier to source components for the ship, as its power feed systems are far more forgiving than most warships, given that they are built around more widespread civilian designs. At the GM’s discretion, when using Table 1-6 on page 19 of Battlefleet Koronus, increase the availability of Essential components costing less than +3SP or less by one degree.

Missing a few rivets: The ship is not as well constructed as a normal warship, as its architects were rushing to put it together quickly. Reduce Hull Integrity by 3 and Armour by 2.

 

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 Nice job! I will definitely be allowing these as options for my players. I particularly like the Chartist Capatain vessel, it is very fluff appropriate.

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guest469 said:

 

Is there any more fluff about Mandragora?

 

 

Not a lot! There are passing references here and there in the setting. I think an NPC from one of the adventures came from there, and there's a suspiciously censored Imperial Sector on page 252 of the DH rulebook next to the Scarus and Ixaniad Sectors - it's the one peeping out from under the sign saying "Access Denied."

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The one problem I see is with Hearth & Home from Former Chartist Vessel. There is no distinction in the rules between the attacker and defender in a boarding action. The Tenebro Maze has earned quite a few posts in the rules forum due to this issue, if memory serves.

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Hmmm....you could be right, Kalec. I admit I hadn't thought of that! I suppose, off the top of my head, there are two potential fixes:

(1) Add  a sentence which reads "for the purposes of the roll, the ship which initiated the boarding action is described as the attacker, and the other ship is called the defender."

or, alternatively...

(2) Have a system which:

- reduces crew loss and ship damage to the chartist vessel during a boarding action, to reflect the crew's ferocious defence of their ship

-increases crew loss to the opposing vessel, to reflect the same factor

-but which prevents the chartist vessel inflicting ship damage to the other ship, on the basis that the chartist crew refuse to actually risk leaving their own ship in order to inflict damage on another.

Whaddaya reckon?

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How about reduce Morale losses each turn from boarding action by 4. They can still suffer crew population and hull losses as normal but they won't give up.

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