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Trooperist

Auctioning Halo Devices

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I recently led my group through Into The Maw.  I made a slight change to the story and instead made the wealth it carried come from a world that had ties to the Yu'vath.  Therefore, I made the treasure at the end of the holds of the Righteous Path to be filled with gold, priceless works of art, and other valuable shiny human stuff.  But I also had included a black box containing a number of Halo devices in the form of rings or amulets.  I gave them about 7 since I ruled it was the wealth of an entire Yu'vath world.  The party tech-priest rolled incredibly well on his Forbidden Lore, and thus they know the effects of the Halo devices and that they are illegal by order of the Inquisition.  They're first reaction to finding out that this could get them in trouble with the Inquisition was to hand over the devices to the Ordo Xenos and try to get a reward from it since so many Halo devices together is an incredably rare find.  But the party rogue trader remembered my joking advice of "Always try to sell it twice if possible".  Now the goal of the party is to stage an auction for the Halo devices on an orbital station around Malfi.  The players already have spread the word about their auction secretly to the right people, including the Inquisition (who knew about the auction from the beginning).  Their stated goal is to auction off their Halo devices to the host of corrupt hive nobels for the highest or most interesting price they can get.  Then after they get payed, have the Inquisition swoop in and arrest/purge those involved, getting a reward for capturing all these faith-lacking nobles.  And so they fly away back to the Expanse for a good long time, rich with thrones, interesting tech, and 5,000 elite troops they plan to use their Inquisition reward to obtain.

So what exactly is a Halo device worth?  The corrupt nobles know that it would impart immortality upon its bearer, and so would pay dearly for it.  What are good bids to get?  My players said they'll accept money, ships, large amounts of good weapons, and resources.  The one thing they won't accept is any "live" bid, like troops or slaves.

Any thoughts on the auction itself are also welcome.

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Whatever the benefit of this deal will be: Your Rogue Trader will pay it with his good reputation. After this dirty deal, all potential trade partners will think twice if they want to trade with your Rogue Trader. 

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Graf said:

Whatever the benefit of this deal will be: Your Rogue Trader will pay it with his good reputation. After this dirty deal, all potential trade partners will think twice if they want to trade with your Rogue Trader. 

 

And the Inquisitors involved are likely to claim all proceeds from the auction. After all, allowing anyone to profit from trade in such heretical devices is only encouraging them to find and trade more. They are lucky they haven't been executed for carrying such devices around inside the Imperium.

 

Then there is the risk of a more puritan Inquisitor finding out and, not knowing (or knowing and not caring about the other Inquisitors plan) decides to just blow up the station mid auction to kill all involved.

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Will I disagree with Bilanthrope (if the auction was part of a "deal" with the Inquisition, they will allow them to keep the auction prices), I agree that the Reputation of the RT will be ruined by this. Everyone who might have heard of this will not be willing to deal with unless a) they have to b)the RT offers a VERY sweat deal. Keep this in mind and make your group pay double for it!

Anyway: Yes, such devices grand immortality. But nobles have access to limited immortality (age treatment) anyway. AND everybody knowing about the power of such devices for sure (versus "knowing the rumours of those devices") will know about "something dark about it". 

So, your auctioneers will consist of

Collectors of Xenos/Yu´Vath items
Nobles fearting for there lives & willing to pay whatever they have
Rival Inquisitor Teams (perhaps Radical) willing to steal the items
Nobles who dabble with those things and might want them


All in all, they will pay amounts of money for it and perhaps a lot of other things, but I doubt that ships will be offered. 

My advice: play the thing as a Greater Endeavour (+3 Profit). Thereby, you do not need to specify what exactly it is since it only adds up to the profit factor.

Different Subtasks
Striking the Deal with the Inquisition (this HAS to work! If things go bad, the pc will not be able to keep the prizes)
Finding a place for the Auction
Inviting all the right people .... & ensure that they do appear!
Preparing Security (otherwise, things might get stolen or people might not show up)
The overall running of it (Commerce and other tests for the Logistics; Social test for getting everyone in the mood & a got price)
The =I= raid  (Military)


Keep in mind that those heretics willing to dabble in this will have good bodyguards with them and might have small cadres "away from the premisis". Even if the RT says they gurantee for safe passage.

 

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 In all honesty, my biggest worry (quite aside from the possibility of Inquisitorial double-dealing: the last time I came across a reference to a deal like that they executed the one who helped them set up the sting, and that was over a few crates of eldar shuriken catapults) is that you're going to depress the price of Halo devices by offering to sell so many at once.

I mean, as per the background from Dark Heresy, a single Halo device has changed hands for the monetary equivalent of entire star systems (to put it another way, the Dynasty's Warrant of Trade would probably fetch less). By offering up so many at once, people are going to assume that you've lucked onto a good supply, and are releasing them at a rate the market can bear, and so they're not going to pay  anywhere near what each device is worth.
That said, it would fit in well with Greorius' suggestion regarding treating it as a Greater Endeavour and offering a mere +3 profit on it.

The other big problem, related to the one above, is that people are going to assume that your Dynasty is going to have more forbidden xeno/heretek, even if (actually, especially if) the Inquisition is obliging enough to hold off on the raids long enough to divert suspicion from your RT, which will attract certain parties engaging in the Cold Trade, if not those parties engaging in something even less savoury (the Amaranthine Syndicate, for example). If nothing else, the big =][= is going to be watching the RT with suspicion for a very long time...

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 I would say be generous with the Profit Factor, +5, even +10.

I know this may seem like a lot, but they are going to need it. Selling, a Halo artifact will almost certainly be the death of them. The Inquisition will find out, and will most likely end them. I would give the Enemy: Inquisition Talent to anybody involved in such a deal, as well as a -10 penalty to any interaction tests Involving any Imperials that know of there heretical disposition. 


Any such deal will haunt them for the rest of there lives, and may even be cause for the Forfeiture of their Warrant. So, while it will get them rich quick, it might not be worth it in the end..

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Having another Inquisitor not in the know turn up and try to secure the devices and arrest the "evil Xenotech dealers" could be a blast as they try t flog the devices, avoid the inquisitor and get in contact with their friendly inquisitors to sort it all out.

 

Especially fun if the deal goes totally belly up, their friendly inquisitor is slain by a heretic here to bid who recognised him, the other inquisitor is gunning for their blood and they have have to flag the device and get the hell out of dodge as soon as possible.

 

Could add a real element of haste and terror to it.

 

Make the unfriendly inquisitor a real badass like Rykehuss. My group are terrified of him.

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 I'd say don't auction off a Halo device. Ever. Such a potent device? You would need an army to back you up when doing the actual exchange to make sure the device isn't taken by force. Even if you have the device on your ship, don't sell it...

Do however, sell a map that details an exact location of the device (of where you got it, or someplace really dangerous). Once you are paid a princely sum, hand the device over to the Inquisition for the reward. When/If the people return looking for a reason why this device wasn't there? Make sure you have back up, a made up person, and say that this person spilled the beans to the Inquisition under torture. Oh and that all sales are final since you simply sold them a map and if they don't like it....ZZZZAAAP. Shoot 'em.

Course don't expect any great deals with them anymore or any like it if there are any who live to tell of your treachery. Still...big guns go a long way towards respect in an uncivilized land.

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An important thing to remember is that, in this particular case, there is no such thing as "THE Inquisition". Even if the players made a deal with one Inquisitor, another could still come along and condemn the entire thing or even use the player characters in an attempt to denounce his or her supposedly Radical colleague who was okay with it. It all boils down to what kind of Inquisitor ends up knowing about this, and what his or her individual connections and influence within the Inquisition are (power games etc).

That said, all of this has a lot of plot potential ... perhaps the players' ally ends up using them to lay a trap and get rid of the rival who thinks he/she can excommunicate the other over this case. You could even make a crossover campaign with an Acolyte cell working for either Inquisitor (depending on who is their boss they would hunt the Rogue Trader and/or his clients, or try to eliminate the rival).

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I actually decided to use something like this.  The Inquisitor is using them to lay a trap for one of his more radical rivals and other undesirables.  He also plans to arrest them after the event if all goes according to his plan.  Needless to say, it doesn't.

 

So far in attendence I plan to have:

*A radical Inquistor (With a very normal looking but powerful Daemonsword)

*A member of a Radical Mechanicus faction (There for color really but could be used for a future endeavor idea)

*A group of nobles that are actually an acolyte team from the non-radical Inquisitor (to make sure this goes right and to have info)

*Members of a Tzeentch cult (who's not really there for the devices but to make sure something happens)

*Other assorted minor nobles and NPCs (Space filler)

*And most importantly, an agent of the Malfian Governor there to secure Halo devices for him. (Plot hook!)

 

My plan is for the for the auction to go ahead and when it reaches its conclusion, have an Inquisition kill-team enter and do what the Inquisition does best.  The radical and non-radical will battle it out and the non-radical will triumph, hopefully with the Explorers assistance.  Meanwhile, the Tzeentch cult makes sure events unfold as they want and kills the Governor's agent.  The agent will have something on him (possibly planted by the cult) that with a little work will lead back to the Governor.  The Inquisitor puts off the Explorers arrest because they could prove useful in tracking down this lead.  My idea is for the Governor to prove to be some sort of secret herectic who wants seperate from the Imperium even at the cost of civil war, and already enjoys the backing of a large faction of wealthy nobles.  The Tzeentch cult is manipulating events on Malfi into a full blown civil war.  The eventual goal for the Explorers is to defeat the Governor and his allies in a way that the sector isn't thrown into turmoil.  If they succeed, the Inquisitor lets them go with the proceeds and because he may need their skills and resources at a later point.

 

Any thoughts?

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Trooperist said:

 

My plan is for the for the auction to go ahead and when it reaches its conclusion, have an Inquisition kill-team enter and do what the Inquisition does best.  The radical and non-radical will battle it out and the non-radical will triumph, hopefully with the Explorers assistance.  Meanwhile, the Tzeentch cult makes sure events unfold as they want and kills the Governor's agent.  The agent will have something on him (possibly planted by the cult) that with a little work will lead back to the Governor.  The Inquisitor puts off the Explorers arrest because they could prove useful in tracking down this lead.  My idea is for the Governor to prove to be some sort of secret herectic who wants seperate from the Imperium even at the cost of civil war, and already enjoys the backing of a large faction of wealthy nobles.  The Tzeentch cult is manipulating events on Malfi into a full blown civil war.  The eventual goal for the Explorers is to defeat the Governor and his allies in a way that the sector isn't thrown into turmoil.  If they succeed, the Inquisitor lets them go with the proceeds and because he may need their skills and resources at a later point.

 

Any thoughts?

 

WAITER!!! Theres a DH-fly in my RT-soup.

Really this is a DH-Plot. It doesn't make any sense sending the RT-Group after the Gouverneur (btw. getting send by an Inquisitor is a DH way into the Plot). He's an Inquisitor so he will most likely have more than one Acolyte-Cell at his beck and call. Instead of using people he knows and trained for undercover-work he sends the same bunch of Rogue Traders the Gouverneur MUST know to be behind the failed auction were his Agent died and probabyl knows the Inquisition was there? That should help keeping things nice and quiet? At least have the heretic/chef-evilblabla outside the Imperium in the Expanse, that way there is any sense in enlisting a Rogue Trader and his ship for the job.

 

 

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blubbbb said:

 

WAITER!!! Theres a DH-fly in my RT-soup.

Really this is a DH-Plot. It doesn't make any sense sending the RT-Group after the Gouverneur (btw. getting send by an Inquisitor is a DH way into the Plot). He's an Inquisitor so he will most likely have more than one Acolyte-Cell at his beck and call. Instead of using people he knows and trained for undercover-work he sends the same bunch of Rogue Traders the Gouverneur MUST know to be behind the failed auction were his Agent died and probabyl knows the Inquisition was there? That should help keeping things nice and quiet? At least have the heretic/chef-evilblabla outside the Imperium in the Expanse, that way there is any sense in enlisting a Rogue Trader and his ship for the job.

 

Yeah, that does sound REALLY DH doesn't it?  I just switch it from the Governor to the Cortelex Confedereacy.  Which would actually be good because the Rogue Traders ancestor had a huge part in the Meritech Wars where his dynasty lost most of its ships.

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