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What if a system had an STC - and zero contact with the Imperium for 10K years?

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So I've been pondering this for a while, and it's starting to coalesce in my lil brain here.

Oh - this is my first post on the forums, BTW. I've been lurking for a while, but never registered/posted till now.

SO...

When I read the Horus Heresy novels, it comes across pretty loud and clear that the Emperor wasn't down with psykers, warp-shenanigans, or religion. He most definitely did not want to be remembered as the God-Emperor, thank-you-very-much, Emperor will do. And man, have things changed in the Imperium in 10 000 years.

So shortly before the Horus Heresy kicks off, or maybe even as it's taking place, this system (Call it Charon, for our purposes) is cut off from the rest of the imperium. We'll blame warp-storm-shenanigans, because they'll interfere with attempts to find the Astronomicon, and interfere with any attempts at astropath communication too.

Result?

10 000 years pass, without the (corrupting/hindering/delaying) influence of the Ecclesiarchy, the Inquisition, the Adeptus Mechanicus, etc. Essentially, the Charonites have had to adapt and overcome, without anyone to tell them what to think, what to do, etc. And because they're waaay out on the edge of the galaxy, they've come equipped to survive, with (what used to be) a functional STC (10 000 years ago). Semi-regular attacks by daemons keep the entire population on edge and militant, and encourages them to spread out amongst their system, rather than just finding another convenient Terra-esque ecology they can just move into. That STC isn't really necessary any more, however, because their knowledge base has expanded.

10 000 years also gives them plenty of time to do research into the principles behind what makes tech do what it does. In RT, Archaeotech is great because it was built and designed from before the AdMech and everyone forgot how to make it. The AdMech superstitious taboos and rote memorization prohibit true understanding, something that would not be an issue in Charon. The result? Advanced applied tech that doesn't suck. Anti-grav-converted tanks. Plasma that doesn't overheat. Standard-issue energy fields (a la Borderlands or Halo?). What could you do with a Land Raider that moved like a Land Speeder? The trick is to keep it all recognizable, but more advanced, without all the Machine Spirit mumbo-jumbo and Tech-Rites.

Now, what about psykers?

Well, the Emperor didn't care for them, and the warp-shenanigans they brought. Especially given their proximity to these warp-storms, they would likely have a rather low tolerance for them. As in, none. So Charon's society permit no psykers to live (making interstellar communication impossible, not that they'd know to look) and no navigators (Seriously? That guy has a mutant third eye in his forehead that sees into the very stuff of Daemons and you're okay with this???). In fact, the one true mutation they enquire is the one they can't see because they have no psykers to begin with: Untouchables. They are the True Born Guardians of the People, because you know what? When those daemons show up? The Untouchables are their secret weapon. They are (cue ominous music) Untouchable. And over 10 000 years, they are now being born at a rate in the 1/100K, not 1/billion.

Finally, what about spaceships? Well, in my rough notes so far, we have a system somewhat comparable to the Terran system, with plenty of planets, asteroids and other resources, and the issue is just creating bubbles for people to live in, on hostile planets, and going to work mining resources and shipping them to where they need to go. It's not terribly starfaring, but just think what we could do in our system if we had the ships and the tech to get out there and colonize the other planets in our system! Of course, there are occasional incursions of chaos fleet ships that get lost in the warp, daemonships, and so on, and so there is a regular standing non-warp-capable STC-based Space Navy. Game-wise, the rules are simple to convert: Don't buy warp engines or gellar fields for the ships, and look at archaeotech upgrades to tweak them a bit. It's amazing how much room frees up in a ship when you don't need all that volume and power for warp drives.

 

And then... A Rogue Trader (or his mutant-third-eye-freak Navigator) makes a left at Callopius Magnus when he meant to go right, and stumbles into town.

 

Here's the catch: The people in the aforementioned system don't need anything from the RT & his crew. They have no interest in psykers ("They're abominations, don't hold with them, never have. Warp-shenanigans, you know.") or navigators, have no interest in any quaint little tech the AdMech may think they know about, and none of the RT's influence or oomph does him any good. And lastly, they have the ships and the guns to defend themselves from just about anything the Imperium could send its way. For more details, read John Ringo's "Live Free or Die" trilogy. Short version: Massive asteroid battlestations, converted over 10 000 years to be the ultimate defensive battlestation, 10+km in diameter, walls 1km thick. Low-tech Blackstone fortresses that the crew actually understand and can operate efficiently.

 

So that's going to be one of the big Big BIG surprises in our RT campaign. It's totally not "grimdark" 40K, but there's enough there to tie it in.

 

Comments, criticisms?

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 I think personally, I would have a **** load of fun playing in this RT game. The Imperium has stagnated, even if it has spread out to the stars. Just thinking about what it would be like if such a civilization survived, or an STC was ever actually found, and watching the ripples run through the dark complex civilization the Imperium has become. You know for sure that there would be huge amounts of high ranking individuals/orginizations that would not want to loose their strangle hold on power. I'm talking about the AdMech, and the Ecclesiarchy of course at the top of that list. The fact that the Sororitas are able to do minor miricles due to their faith in the Emperor has always been an interesting thought for me though. Much like how Orkish weapons work in certain ways, just because they believe that it is suppose to, and it does (for them only usually). I can imagine a highly scientific and enlightened society that was found by the Imperium would wish to explore this particular curiosity. Is it perhaps that because untold billions believe in the God-Emperor that faith-like effects such as those displayed by the Sororitas are possible; or something potentially more interesting, in that the Emperor is psychically giving out some kind of gift.

Thoughts such as this can of course lead to some really interesting lines of inquiry into the fundamentals of the 40k Universe on a whole. For example, the whole Star Child fluff, that I'm almost positive has been retconned at this point, but that always interested me heavily. The idea that if the Emperor were given a sufficient sacrifice, in the manner of any of his most powerful desendants, that he would be transformed into a literal god. Created in a similar way in the universe, much the same way that some of the Chaos Gods had been brought into existence. To play any kind of character wrestling with their faith when such questions are posed would be quite a role playing experience to say the least. To be playing an unknown desendant of the Emperor, and having to weight your own life up against that of nothing less, but the survival of the human race as a whole when all of this information is brought to your attention during the extent of a campaign, would be beyond fun I believe.

Even if it's not true that he would be reincarnated into that of a god, what if the Emperor himself were trying to move things in the Universe so that he was finally put out of his misery? Whether to be reincarnated at all, or just to end his own ten thousand year suffering, of having to watch his Empire crumble into the insanely dogmatic monstrosity that it is today, over the enlightened utopia he had imagined when he had first started fighting in the Unification Wars of Terra. What if a minor reincarnation of the Emperor was actually a part of this enlightened STC-based civilization, and he has been biding his time all of these long millenia trying to find a way back into his Imperium to regain control over it?

Sorry, just looked back over this and realized the rant I went on. Regardless of it being "grim dark" or not, I believe it would be a fun campaign to play in, and honestly I'm a bit jealous of those that get to.

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I  have to say this kind of civilization has always been in the back of my mind since i started playing RT.  It seems to me to be a subject deliberatly avoided by GW simply because it doesn't fit into the Grimdark setting but by the law of averages at least one high tech civilization should have survived out there.

The one thing you didn't mention is AI.  Now this was long after the dark age and the Men of Iron but such an enlightened society might well have overcome its hatred of AI systems and done some research into the subject. Imagine if the citizens of Charon had built themselves a Jupiter Brain computer around the gas giant as the apex of their AI technology, further assume that this wasnt some batshit crazy AI but an intelligent creative being that provides much of the impetus of the societys advancement.

On the one hand a society with either access to or managed by a Jupiter Brain level AI is going to be a formidable opponent (hordes of AI controlled attack ships and orbital/system defenses, intelligent minefields etc on the one hand, godlike tactical expertise on the other) while at the same time painting an even bigger target on it as far as the Imperial Authorities go.

Either way, good luck with the campaign.

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This type of civilazation was in one of the Horus Heresy books. It didn't end well for them.

The thing to keep in mind is that the Mechanicus will go to any length to get their hands on a fully functional STC, once they get wind of it.. They will call in every favor they can to get a crusade running to crush the Charonites and take the tech. 

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ItsUncertainWho said:

This type of civilazation was in one of the Horus Heresy books. It didn't end well for them.

Now, I didn't say it would end well for them demonio.gif - just that the system would be highly defensible, and they didn't really need anything the RT would have to offer. How well it goes for everyone will be up to... everyone else. The trick, I think, will be to get the PC's thinking outside the box in ways to 'earn' the gear, instead of looting it from their dead bodies or simply whip out their interstellar credit cards.

 

 

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DarianBlood said:

The one thing you didn't mention is AI.  Now this was long after the dark age and the Men of Iron but such an enlightened society might well have overcome its hatred of AI systems and done some research into the subject. Imagine if the citizens of Charon had built themselves a Jupiter Brain computer around the gas giant as the apex of their AI technology, further assume that this wasnt some batshit crazy AI but an intelligent creative being that provides much of the impetus of the societys advancement.

On the one hand a society with either access to or managed by a Jupiter Brain level AI is going to be a formidable opponent (hordes of AI controlled attack ships and orbital/system defenses, intelligent minefields etc on the one hand, godlike tactical expertise on the other) while at the same time painting an even bigger target on it as far as the Imperial Authorities go.

I haven't really given a lot of thought towards AI, but it certainly makes a sense. AI is a feature in those John Ringo books too, in that they run huge fabrication ships, the orbital defense lasers, project theories about enemy forces going on elsewhere in the galaxy, etc. I'm gonna have to give that some thought.

Thanks all,

OP

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It wasn't a comparable society though.  They weren't more advanced then the imperium, and they only had one planet.  Considering 2 entire legions with primarchs went against them, they stood little chance.  They held out long enough though (thanks to the STC).  

Honestly: this kind of society interests me a lot less then the other interesting tidbit from the Horus Heresy books: the Enterex.  Now that is interesting: a human society which cooperates with xenos and well aware of chaos (trained in the art of fighting it by Eldar), using technology that is well beyond the imperium (in fact more akin to what the eldar have).  

 

As for feedback: if they knew of the emperor then they would not have had an STC (those were gone and vanished during the emperor's time).  So i'd modify that bit.  Just leave it out, 10k years is more then enough to have evolved a very nice scientific record.  They could still have all the nifty tech and such more.  Also: they would still be interested to trade things.  If nothing else information would be invaluable for them (regarding the imperium), but i reckon foodstuffs, precious ores and such would all be of interest. 

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Badlapje said:

Honestly: this kind of society interests me a lot less then the other interesting tidbit from the Horus Heresy books: the Enterex.  Now that is interesting: a human society which cooperates with xenos and well aware of chaos (trained in the art of fighting it by Eldar), using technology that is well beyond the imperium (in fact more akin to what the eldar have).  

As for feedback: if they knew of the emperor then they would not have had an STC (those were gone and vanished during the emperor's time).  So i'd modify that bit.  Just leave it out, 10k years is more then enough to have evolved a very nice scientific record.  They could still have all the nifty tech and such more.  Also: they would still be interested to trade things.  If nothing else information would be invaluable for them (regarding the imperium), but i reckon foodstuffs, precious ores and such would all be of interest. 

 
Well I gotta say I do like the idea of the Enterex. I've never heard of them, but I've only read 4 or 5 of the HH series books, so that sounds very cool. I admit that IF I were ever to put together a Tau 40K army, I'd be including gue'vesa human auxiliaries for sure, and some of my favorite BL books are the Ravenor series, who was a big fan of the Eldar himself.Thanks for clarifying about the timeline on STC's, I've never been very sure about where they came about. The goal was to establish a common timeline for tech, and allow them to reverse-engineer & improve on most of what the AdMech seem to... screw up. Cheers,  OP

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I don't want to bust your bubble but somewhere long ago in my pilgrimage over the 40k universum I found a part of text that was kind of grimm.

That all planets that where cut off by the warp storms and left allone have fallen due to infinite Chaos incrusions.

The idea itself is nice and I was thinking of it but decided to leave the universum as it is.

I you want to do it, then do it no one can stop the GM.

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Silly Question but wat is STC?  I am new to Rogue Trader (litterally having just picked it up over the weekend...).

I looked through the index and and I don't see STC so I am not sure what this means - would help me to get more out of this topic if I knew.

 

Thanks

Todd

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tcabril said:

 

Silly Question but wat is STC?  I am new to Rogue Trader (litterally having just picked it up over the weekend...).

I looked through the index and and I don't see STC so I am not sure what this means - would help me to get more out of this topic if I knew.

 

 

Not a silly question, just something those of us who invest far too much time into 40K don't think about.

STC = Standard Temple Construct 

STC's were created in the Dark Age of Technology (DAoT) as a colonization tool. Everything, and I mean everything, a colony would ever need to know how to build was included in these. Patterns for weapons, houses, cars, power plants, clothing, sporks, etc were all in a portable database that would travel to the new colony. Once set up, everything a colony would ever need would be available with full  instructions on how to build it or build the tech you would need to build something else so you could build the first item. These STC's contained the total technological knowledge of humanity from the DAoT.

STC's are the single most holy and revered relics to the Mechanicus.

They have all been lost or damaged.

STC's and their patterns are the biggest jackpot any explorer can come across. Even a pattern for a different type of flashlight could cause a sector to go to war and could earn someone a planet, in payment form the Mechanicus, for it's recovery.

A fully intact and uncorrupted STC could cause the Mechanicus to mobilize in such force that even the High Lords of Terra would quake in terror. The Mechanicus would stop at nothing to obtain such a device.

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 Wow, the picture of a fully intact and uncorrupted STC being found somewhere in the Koronus Expanse just made me twitch. There would be such a mobilization of Imperial forces the likes of which has not been seen since the Great Crusade. I can imagine that there would be quite a few favors called in, whole Space Marine companies, if not full Chapters, Skitarii, Imperial Guard, Assassins (on a probably smaller scale, as I don't believe the Mechanicus have as tight of bonds with the Assassinorum), ect. all mobilized at the behest of the Mechanicus. The sheer number of Arch-Magos and Magos that would flock to whichever system it was found in would be monumental. I have a feeling the High Lords of Terra would probably consolidate all of their forces that weren't being deployed with the Mechanicus into defensive positions, it would be a huge scramble to fill in all of the gaps in the forces that the Mechanicus put into the system with the STC. To the Mechanicus, this event would almost be equivelant to if the Emperor just got up and started walking again to an Imperial Cult follower.

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Hmmm.

 

Methinks having an intact STC would be a bit too big a deal.

 

I like the previous post's idea that they don't have to have the intact STC, just a knowledge and understanding of the equipment that allows them to develop, improve and refine the tech that has gone before them. I've got a bunch of ideas for vehicle patterns and improved weapon systems, mostly that come as a result of more efficient & smaller power packs, a more thorough understanding of gravity manipulation, and so on. For example - do we have any real good reason not to have IG carry Hellguns vs. Lasguns, aside from the fact that lasguns are cheaper and easier to make? I know about the 'recharge the clip by tossing it into the fire' reason, but... they're still 0 pen flashlights. Then there's other weapons that can be improved (like plasma guns not overheating, and meltas that shoot further than a pistol).

 

Speaking of plasma guns, has anybody found any logic behind the plasma gun stats in the book? 40K lists them as S7, AP2, and Hellguns are S3, AP3. Then in the RT book, Plasma guns only have +2 damage and +1 pen, meaning it does on average, only +3 damage vs an armoured target!? A plasma-gun is a 1-shot autokill against any human in 40K who doesn't have an invulnerable (energy field) save...

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Kagra said:

 Wow, the picture of a fully intact and uncorrupted STC being found somewhere in the Koronus Expanse just made me twitch.

Ahem, that has happened.  [FFG has published info about just such a find, twice.] 

"Kail Lineage:  Ended by assassination within days of Fenton Kail's declaration of finding an intact Standard template construct in 388.M41" - RT core rulebook, page 362.

"388.M41  Fenton Kail declares that he has discovered an intact Standard Template Construct on a dead moon circling twin red stars when he puts into dock at Port Wander, seeking backers and stating his intent to re-equip and hire mercenaries to exploit his find.  A few days later, he is assassinated before he can mount his expedition and his 'secret' dies with him.  His ship, the Malcontent, passes to the hands of his first mate by right of succession and is destroyed a few months later through the seemingly-accidental overloading of its plasma reactors.  There are no known survivors of the ship, and Kail's death ends his direct bloodline.  The dead moon supposedly harbouring the STC described by Kail has never been discovered by other hands, although faked copies of 'Kail's map' regularly appear on sale to the gullible in several ports." - Epoch Koronus, page 6

Now, here's the fun part.  Who, precisely, would NOT want the Imperium to regain its lost knowledge and power, and has the resources and agents in place to prevent it?  Someone didn't like that particular change to the status quo.  Note the date, and that the Cult Mechanicus has had a half millenium or so to follow up on this particular, very public announcement.  Also note that the Cult Mechanicus has not made any follow up efforts... or at least none that are public knowledge. 

Then again, every xenos race in existence would have a huge vested interest in not letting the Imperium recover such a thing given how the Imperium treats xenos!  One of the sneakier xenos races might well have pulled off that assassination.

Just my 2 thrones worth,

- V.

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Vandegraffe said:

Kagra said:

 

 Wow, the picture of a fully intact and uncorrupted STC being found somewhere in the Koronus Expanse just made me twitch.

 

 

Ahem, that has happened.  [FFG has published info about just such a find, twice.] 

"Kail Lineage:  Ended by assassination within days of Fenton Kail's declaration of finding an intact Standard template construct in 388.M41" - RT core rulebook, page 362.

"388.M41  Fenton Kail declares that he has discovered an intact Standard Template Construct on a dead moon circling twin red stars when he puts into dock at Port Wander, seeking backers and stating his intent to re-equip and hire mercenaries to exploit his find.  A few days later, he is assassinated before he can mount his expedition and his 'secret' dies with him.  His ship, the Malcontent, passes to the hands of his first mate by right of succession and is destroyed a few months later through the seemingly-accidental overloading of its plasma reactors.  There are no known survivors of the ship, and Kail's death ends his direct bloodline.  The dead moon supposedly harbouring the STC described by Kail has never been discovered by other hands, although faked copies of 'Kail's map' regularly appear on sale to the gullible in several ports." - Epoch Koronus, page 6

Now, here's the fun part.  Who, precisely, would NOT want the Imperium to regain its lost knowledge and power, and has the resources and agents in place to prevent it?  Someone didn't like that particular change to the status quo.  Note the date, and that the Cult Mechanicus has had a half millenium or so to follow up on this particular, very public announcement.  Also note that the Cult Mechanicus has not made any follow up efforts... or at least none that are public knowledge. 

Then again, every xenos race in existence would have a huge vested interest in not letting the Imperium recover such a thing given how the Imperium treats xenos!  One of the sneakier xenos races might well have pulled off that assassination.

Just my 2 thrones worth,

- V.

 

Well, there's also the problem that binary red dwarfs are the most common star type in the galaxy. Even assuming Kail wasn't trying to divert attention from the real source.

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 Tell you what makes me wary of the idea of an untainted ubertech civilisation.  The players will apply their noodles fullbore to getting their hands on the good stuff.  Military force will be written off quickly.  Then they start looking for cracks.  Factions.  Tensions.  Anything to give them an edge in "honest" diplomacy.  They start looking for shadow action.  Someone with a habit.  Someone that can be blackmailed.  Truth drugs.  Psychic interrogations.

Then I have a quandry.  I want inventive and motivated and self-directed players to feel confident that they can engage in their scheming and planning and have some potential of success.  The real issue isn't whether or not to allow this potential of success.  The issue is that once they have their success, they have a thing.  Something shiny.  I start to worry about "balance".

Fortunately, writing this has reminded me that balance is a concept for character creation in Rogue Trader, and that's about it.  And sometimes not even then.  Big ideas, big fun, let the players drive the action and cheer them on!

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I agree 100%. My goal with this campaign is to allow them to be as devious, mischevious and nefarious (doesn't quite rhyme, oh well) as they can be. All the shiny kit in the world (or in this case, literally, the system) won't do for nothing, if they're set upon by an AdMech Grand Cruiser, or Naval Battleship, or something else. They're still strictly a couple PC's on board a frigate.

Maybe they'll want to hook up some of the advanced weapon systems to said frigate. What will they buy the shiny kit with? What do they do when their Explorator says "Number one, this is unsanctioned and possibly heretical tech and I'm not terribly thrilled with it, and Number two, their kit doesn't plug into our stuff."

What if they steal a ship? Umm... No warp drive. No getaway.

What if they want to trade their ship for a new one? Umm... We don't want your three-thousand year old junker, than you very much, we're happy with our high-speed-low-drag red-paintjobbin' system battleships, thanks much.

 

Ironically, now that the campaign has started, we've managed to go three sessions without ANY combat.

None.

And my players couldn't be happier.

They didn't even elect to head off into the Koronus Expanse, just yet. The background plot is basically that the RT's father died in a genestealer-related disaster, the Captain inherited the Warrant and is now the Boss. Because his family's holdings took such a beating after they lost Dad, Dad's Ship and Dad's extensive web of personal contacts, the new Captain elected to secure his 'rear area' first around his ancestral estate on Malfi. The ship holds barracks for roughly 1000 of the best-quality drop-troop stormtrooper-ish mercenaries to be found, with the Rogue Trader and Arch-Militant as Commander and 2 i/c. Now they're investigating a series of insurgent attacks on Protasia, still in the Calixis sector, and thus far, have done far, far more role-playing, investigation and sleuthing than I've ever seen in an RPG. The goal at the end is to secure $$ and a potential new source of recruits for their Merc Company, the Voidbound Freelancers. So long as they are strictly there to 'assist' and continue to obey the Imperium's Laws while within Imperial space, have at 'er!

 

Thanks everyone for the great input, suggestions and constructive criticisms.

 

Cheers

 

OP

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