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Sven2300

Shipboard life

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Hi,

 

I think I very much lack information about shipboard life. And scenarios!

The players are living on a several kilometers long spaceship with thousands of people aboard.

A lot of stuff could be going on right there under their noses:

  • Chaos infiltration: A cult has started in the engine part of the ship.
  • Alien infiltration of the crew. And they are sneaking stuff into the food
  • Mutiny among the marine who feel abused as cannon fodder by the players
  • Radicalism spreading among the tech priests
  • Etc.

I don’t find much material about this.

It is like the ship is just a big, grey engine working towards the player’s needs.

If I am wrong, please point me to books/chapters about this.

If anybody has some homebrewed scenarios, please share them.

 

In the mean time I intend to dig up my old Babylon 5 stuff and see if I can find any inspiration there.

 

/Sven

 

 

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Currently I am working on a list of important NPCs inside the ship, so every time someone has to go to the Hangar bays for example, they will get to meet Owen, call-sign "Viking" and his fellow red squadron Fury interceptor pilots and not roll an inquiry test if they need to know something out of the pilots. There is a small bar they did setup there by the pilot sleeping quarters and they will spend most of their free time there gambling and drinking (when they are not outside the ship doing "drills" while its anchored somewhere).

 

The ship's military commander (an ex IG colonel that replaces the AM for the minutia of day-to-day logistics of keeping care and training thousands and thousands of guardsmen) will often be found in his spare time by the armory or requisitioning Tech Priests help on messing around with guns (his hobby - currently project is to build a hotshot longlas) - also, he is always leaving a trail of cigar smoke whenever he walks by.

 

Archibald is the ship's navigator, Scion of house Brabazon.
Old and decrepit, tremendously old. Always carrying a decicated avian creature around strapped to his belt.
Will spend long periods of times in his study with 2-3 apprentices. Refining and creating charts.

 

The lower decks have a bad case of nurgling infestations due to past chaos incursions.

 

The ship's heretical (by AdMech standards) sentient main cogitator is a pious God-Emperor fearing being that utterly hates xenos and constantly persecutes/taunts the ship's Mek Boy through the Vox Casters speaking in low gothic as if he was a random human operator.

 

The voidshields are down to 1/3 of total capacity due to a large amount of mutants living in that component that the players don't know what to do with them (they aren't hostile and assisted the players in the past against incursions).

 

 

And... Now that you mentioned, I guess I will slip at least one faction of radicals into it too... Hmmm..

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You can quite happily spend an adventure inside the ship. Hell, you could run an entire campaign inside the ship if you really wanted.

 

If you have a barracks component, you can expect to find squad, platoon and even company-strength combat drill going on on a daily basis. The reason barracking for a regiment takes up more space than quarters for 18,000+ crewmen is training space and military stores, allowing the regiment not to suffer in combat readiness during a month or more in the warp.

 

See Priests of Mars for some real shipboard combat environments...essentially modular, reconfigurable 'cityfight decks' complete with servitors carrying soft-slug autoguns. Also for some good looks at the engine decks of a major capital ship - complete with asteroidshine* stills, scrap-metal shrines to the Emperor or Omnissiah, and bits of tech left over from and forgotten by previous crews.

 

Vermin hunts through the machine spaces will be a continuous thing; every so often the Arch-militant may be asked to support a Ghilliam (betweendeck mutant) hunt.

 

Somewhere in the command or cargo decks there are almost certainly hidden treasures if the ship's been in Dynasty service more than a few centuries. Unfortunately, if the crew find the invasive archeotech devices first....

 

For that matter, the existance of 'voidborn' as an origin implies communities other than simple barrack quarters. Whilst the population is far from self-sustaining, if half a percent of the crew of a Vagabond-class merchant were to find a partner and have a single child over a decade, that's still something like a hundred children somewhere on the ship that the Lord Captain, as feudal liege, has some level of responsibility for. It's not unreasonable that they might end up assigned to their parent's watches, but a Rogue Trader with his eye on morale - and not wasting talent - might well identify the sparkier ones and see them trained up as more meaningful crew than a chain-hauler.

 

For that matter, gang/territorial rivalries can be imagined - especially between groups that are divided into factions by the ship's crew structure; the crews of adjacent guns in a macrobattery, for example.

 

Equally, whilst a Rogue Trader has the option to draft in prisoners to replace crew losses at a world which allows him to, in addition to the morale loss, there's also the risk of picking up some real bullies or criminal hard-cases. Before you know it, you've got black markets and protection rackets rife in the crew quarters and working decks, and the armsmen are having real trouble maintaining order. If you really want to earn the respect of the crew back, a Rogue trader, Seneschal and Arch-Militant could consider going undercover amongst his own crew (because seriously, how many of your city's council members do you know by sight?) to deal with this problem before it impacts the running of the ship.

 

Lastly, the post-battle (and during battle) narrative becomes a lot more emotionally involving if there are NPCs the players know and give a **** about on the ship. Trying to get past massive damage to the ship's structure to reach the deck where the aforementioned children are trapped is a worthwhile mission in and of itself, and worth several points of morale if the explorers are prepared to risk themselves in the attempt.

 

In a game I've GM-ed, the players knew the Astrographer and his aides in their observation dome and librarium quite well, as they tended to be the 'voice of the GM' when it came to plot exposition on the system they'd arrived in. When the dome was hit by a lance shot and the adjacent librarium caught fire, they were genuinely hesitant to respond by depressurising the deck, because they knew it would involve killing them.

 

Babylon 5 'downbelow' and/or the dockworkers episode are very good sources of inspiration.

 

* "Like moonshine but a lot rougher and with significantly more caustic chemicals in it"

Edited by Magnus Grendel
Sebastian Yorke and Lynata like this

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I think I will build a rudimentary map for the group's Grand Cruiser crew decks.

It should be like a small city - market included, multiple small sized temples to the God Emperor, bars playing "Mos Eisley Cantina Song", workshops (for simple stuff, like clothing and other day-to-day accessories), and maybe even some kitchen gardens growing mushrooms and the like.

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If Fantasy Flight is low on ideas on what to put in the next Rogue Trader book...

 

Then I think they should do a spaceship life book with details on shipboard life, various ship departments, NPC's, plot ideas and full scenarios.

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A better place to look for examples of shipboard life are actually in Dark Heresy.  Look at the section of the Dark Heresy core rulebook for "The Misericord".

 

There it gives examples of the ceremonies onboard ship, the castes of crewmen that service the ship and the feeling of being one man amongst thousands.  Plenty of campaign ideas there.

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If Fantasy Flight is low on ideas on what to put in the next Rogue Trader book...

 

Then I think they should do a spaceship life book with details on shipboard life, various ship departments, NPC's, plot ideas and full scenarios.

 

It'd be a massive job, but a "star wars incredible cross-sections" style cut-away of the Sabre or the Sovereign Venture would be awesome!

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I think the old imperial ship manual from West End Games might have a cross section of the SSD. I do recall seeing it before but can't recall were.

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Heya,

 

I would think it would be very interesting to have infiltrating groups, spies, taint from extended warp travels in an unprotected bulk head sector of the ship, political uprisings, mass panic, mass paranoia, mass possession, survival horror and/or last stand type stuff. All while the ship is slowly falling into the gravity well of a sun some where.

 

Very best,

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No. The ISD Cut-away (about the same size as a Sword or Cobra-class) is the biggest one they did (aside from the death star which is so big as to be almost meaningless except for the main gun)

 

Isdreactor.jpg

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