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greengoat2

Rogue Trader character is the boss?

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Hey folks, I am a long time GM and I was thinking about running a RT game for my group of friends/players.

 

One thing the struck me while reading through the core book was that I was looking for a discussion of how to modulate the desires of the the non-Rouge Trader class characters against the IMPERIAL MANDATE of the Rogue Trader class.

I know there is some cursory discussion in the book of how all the senior staff (PCs) of the ship/fleet is the combined dynasty of the Rogue Trader charter, but when it comes right down to brass tacks, the Rogue Trader IS the hier of the charter and it is his/her ship. At first glance, they concievably have the power to tell the other PCs what to do

 

Does this not require a story-setup that keeps the everyone on a more level plane of influence, like shipboard interest/factions, language in the charter, or just a level of explicit trust in the RT player?

 

I am suprised there just wan't more discission of this issue in the core book. How does your play-group set things up so the RT doesn't go mad with power? Assasination and a ready heir?

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Agreement between my players. In-Game the Rogue Trader can do whatever he likes, but the other PCs consist of an Explorator, Navigator, Astropath and Arch-Militant so it's entirely possible that the first three can lock down the ship to deny his information, and the latter keeps him under guard.

 

In-game, the four actually compose the Rogue Trader's most trusted inner circle, and if his opinion is ever in the minority, he bows to pressure and goes along with what they want.

 

We're all very open about communication so it hasn't been a problem. In practice, if your Rogue Trader PC goes power mad then just point out that although his Warrant of Trade gets them unlimited freedom, that's what the crew really want him for, not himself personally. Without an Explorator the ship will not fly. Without a Navigator, the ship will not go anywhere. Without an Astropath, no one will know what goes on. Without a Void Master, the crew will not follow his orders. Without a Missionary, the crew will rebel. Without a Seneschal, there is no money. The PCs may not be as important, but trapped on a void ship they can put an uppity Rogue Trader in his place.

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Edit: I agree with Erathia.

 

Technically, according to the narrow definitions in the Warrant of Trade and the rules of the Imperium of Man, the Rogue Trader is the boss.  This does not mean he is the boss of the other players.

 

Each player who isn't a Rogue Trader is more likely than not some descendant of a noble line, or so powerful they effectively wield the power of the nobility, or are badass enough to be mistaken for nobility.  In my experience, the first thing a group decides when playing this game is if the Rogue Trader character is the boss, and there are many, many solutions.  Some opt that the Rogue Trader is Boss only when on ship, others opt he is Boss all the time, and others believe that as long as the members of the party don't betray or mess each other up, they can do what they want.

 

My personal answer is that the Rogue Trader has considerable weight when making decisions, but he ignores the advice of his retainers at his own peril.  The other players usually have more combat talents, psychic powers, mad science or even have a better Fellowship score than him, so being a tyrannical schmuck to other players is not encouraged.  A discussion about how the Rogue Trader is slightly underpowered than the other characters can be found here: http://community.fantasyflightgames.com/index.php?/topic/97977-character-roleplay-capabilities-etc/

Edited by jabberwoky
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Rogue Trader - Imperial Mandate

Explorator - is a specific representative of the Adeptus Mechanicus.

Navigator - represents a noble line which could buy your "Rogue Trader Dynasty" out of pocket change

Void Master - you often find that the Void Master is the actual 'captain', whilst the Rogue Trader is just the 'owner'

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We all know the Seneschal's the real boss of the dynasty. The ship's real captain is the Void Master. The Rogue Trader is the diplomatic head, and he's in charge purely because he says he is (and a piece of paper signed by God's own earthly servants). 

 

He's not in charge because he knows all of his dynasty's secrets and trade routes by heart, though he could. He's not in charge because he can lead voidmen into battle fearlessly and efficiently, though he might.

 

The first rule of command is don't give a command you know won't be followed. That's why the Rogue Trader's the leader, because he gives commands that will be followed by the group, knowing it's usually for his own ends. In the end, if his commands aren't being followed then it's his prerogative to make sure they are. He's literally given leave to be selfish in order to fulfill his duties to the Imperium. 

 

(Players should also respect this relationship, though it's not an excuse for the Rogue Trader to be a jerk in RL instead of RP. The other characters are noble and able in their own right, perhaps even wealthier. But a Rogue Trader is a free man in a galaxy of slaves. They're indebted to the dynasty one way or another, partnered usually for mutual self-interest.)

 

Any one else get flashbacks of Who's the Boss and Charles in Charge while reading through that?

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In my current game the leadership seems to mostly fall on this odd couple buddy cop team of a very charming and good with money RT and an extremely violent and intimidating Void Master/Reaver who wears the duel hats of XO and Master Helmsman. I've noticed the RT usually ends up making the final calls but he always asks the Void Master what he thinks first. Our tech priestess doesn't usually have much of an interest in the ship's politics or overall mission she just wants to own all the archeotech and accumulate high end gear. The fourth guy is their pet Ork and he hits people when they need hit and intimidates the ratings into working harder during ship combat, that's about all he does.

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As other posters had said, the RT might not be only person who owns the ship.  Maybe the RT's PF is so low he/she owns only 30% of the ship, while it's actually the VM's (35%) ship from Merchant Fleet X, Corporation Y, and/or Various Backers X. Those various backers are also the uncle of the Arch-Militant (25%) and a very good friend of the Seneschal.  Obviously the Navigator has is own House, along with the Explorator belonging to the AdMech, with both being high ranking, important/noble people.  It could also be that part of the charter is for any new RT to spread the word of the Imperial Creed, and transporting the Missionary is part of that obligation.  The remaining 10% could be given to other NPC's on/off the ship, and/or 5% to the Navigator and Explorator PC.

 

Note:  Without the Warrant, the VM would have less AdMech and Navigator support, along with a very small scope to operate in while in the Koronus Expanse.  The Warrant allows you and your ship a much broader range of opportunities to gain profit, plunder, riches, and more.  So it's beneficial to all.  The RT has a ship, and the crew have the opportunities.  Happy gaming.

Edited by Nameless2all
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I haven't personally seen any cases of someone wanting to roll the RT specifically to be in charge but I've now seen two where someone rolled a RT to try to be the social lubricant that could allow the other player characters and more importantly the dynasty to interact positively with civilized society or you know people in general.

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One of the big things going on here is the old "personal power vs technical power" struggle that always exists in RT, and 40k in general.

 

Rogue Traders have all the technical power, due to the warrant of trade. But every other class in the game has more real, tangible power on a ship than a Rogue Trader. He is the one class that can be totally bypassed. The Navigator, explorator, and void master can bring the ship to a stop, the senchal is the one who really has all the financial/political power under their control, the arch militant (possibly the weakest class in terms of overall power) has a ton of personal power in that he can just strait up intimidate and kill you, the astropath also has lots of personal power and controls all communications.

 

Individually each of them has the power to hold the ship hostage, and the Rogue Trader could do exactly diddly about it. As a group they could totally bypass the Rogue Trader, as he's the ONLY one on the ship that CAN'T hold the ship hostage, at least in an immediate way. But he is the most critical to the long term success of the crew.

 

I think it balances out nicely.

 

I also think having a very obvious and institutional group leader presents some great opportunities that don't exist in a standard, anarchist style game.

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Edit: I agree with Erathia.

 

Technically, according to the narrow definitions in the Warrant of Trade and the rules of the Imperium of Man, the Rogue Trader is the boss.  This does not mean he is the boss of the other players.

It, in fact, means precisely that. If the group isn't mature enough to stick to some firm of realistic hierarchy, play a different game. RT runs the show, the other follow. The end.

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Edit: I agree with Erathia.

 

Technically, according to the narrow definitions in the Warrant of Trade and the rules of the Imperium of Man, the Rogue Trader is the boss.  This does not mean he is the boss of the other players.

It, in fact, means precisely that. If the group isn't mature enough to stick to some firm of realistic hierarchy, play a different game. RT runs the show, the other follow. The end.

 

 

You can play a game with a defined leader, or you can play a game where the Rogue Trader is a spineless pushover desperate to look like he knows what he's doing and will follow the most persuasive arguement that exists, one forced to share power with another Rogue Trader because of some ancient and bizarre stipulation in the Warrant, or even one like my Rogue Trader who believes in the heresy of democracy and will listen when outvoted.

 

I think that a Rogue Trader is not necessarily the boss of the other players, and can in fact be outmanoeuvred by them for all intents and purposes. The most important thing, at least to me, is that all of the players outside of the game are aware of and okay with how the game is structured, and then just trust your players to play a situation appropriately.

 

Remember, no inter-party conflict can survive a unified rage at the GM for having Shadow Spectre Eldars attack surprise attack someone with anti-tank weaponry.

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>Remember, no^Most  inter-party conflict can't survive a unified rage at the GM for having Shadow Spectre Eldars attack surprise attack someone with anti-tank weaponry.

 

 

 

And the rest can be solved by killing your heretek Tech Priest, although that does tend to be rather hard.

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And the rest can be solved by killing your heretek Tech Priest, although that does tend to be rather hard.

 

Haywire grenades solve that problem pretty reliably. That or the old "trick them into stepping a stasis mine and then fire fifty Krak Rockets into the null-time field so they all hit simultaneously when the field collapses".

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Hey everybody, OP here! Sorry I was away. I was in the basement making terrain while getting snowed in.

Thanks a ton for all the helpful commentary. My current selection of players are pretty un-jerky and I don't foresee too much problem with implementing the balance between characters. Like I was saying before, I was just puzzled that the core book didn't seem to have much of a discussion on the topic. An issue resolved by your thoughtful replies on the nature of running the ship.

It still strikes me as an odd sensation however, something that probably would come up in a Star Trek or any other game with "rank". It is interesting how all the RT character classes fit into the total machine of the ship, particularly in regards to technical and de facto power. I will let you know who it goes once we start up.

My next gripe: Storm Bolters are one handed basic weapon? Really? I remember when those suckers could only be carried with terminator armor. (Are there any 40k troops bare-handing storm bolters?) Also, does an item's rarity really prevent a charter getting something after a couple games, short of the GM not allowing it?

Edited by Greengoat

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NOT getting basic items really isn't the name of the game in RT. You are fabulously wealthy. Getting pretty much ANY non-rare equipment is really just a matter of wanting it. It's equipping a squadron, division, or regiment that is difficult.

 

Just accept that your players will be basically kitted out in a few sessions. The big thing you pay isn't money or time to get things, but in opportunity cost. Getting storm bolters means you didn't get plasma, or melta, or flamer. But once a player decides he wants a certain loadout, he can pretty much get it, except for rare stuff like a harleyquinn's kiss.

 

Storm bolters have plenty of downsides, don't stress it too much.  Let your players enjoy being fabulously wealthy, incredibly powerful conquistador captains, and then deal with the fact that being equipped with heavy power armor, a storm bolter, and a power fist doesn't actually help that much against what they are going up against. 

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My next gripe: Storm Bolters are one handed basic weapon? Really? I remember when those suckers could only be carried with terminator armor. (Are there any 40k troops bare-handing storm bolters?)

 

Actually in RT they're BASIC which means two handed, now per the rules vanilla you could run out get recoil gloves and a few weapon mods and duel wield the things but I already told my group NO we are not duel wielding or one handing storm bolters in my game. None of them explicitly wanted to I just did so pre-emtively after some arguments here because I think it's idiotic for anyone not wearing Terminator armor to wield those one handed. Personally I think they should be re-classified as HEAVY weapons for anyone but the Astartes.

 

That being said in hard crunch they're still not the ultimate weapon, anything you need to hit with a bolter you're probably better off hitting with a heavy bolter or a solo bolter depending on your BS and talents.

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you have the rogue trader imperial noble

 

the explorator- fixes the ship, makes it run, and if you don't play nice with him cause a diplomatic  incident with the admec

 

the navigator- the mutant that allows you to get anywhere in a reasonable amount of time/ imperial noble and has a house that is just as powerful as the trader's backing him. 

 

the astropath- the only guy that can send a distress call and has access to the warp.

 

the missionary- the god emperor is on his side, who's on the RT's

 

the senchel- irratate the one guy on the ship who has the job of hiring assassins? great idea!

 

the voidmaster- do you really want to irritate the guy driving the ship or the ship'd gunner? 

 

the archmilitant- the ship's troops are probably more loyal to him than the trader. they see their commander more often. 

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My next gripe: Storm Bolters are one handed basic weapon? Really? I remember when those suckers could only be carried with terminator armor. (Are there any 40k troops bare-handing storm bolters?)

 

 Personally I think they should be re-classified as HEAVY weapons for anyone but the Astartes.

It should be noted that all the "Bolt" weapons in DH, RT and maybe Only War (maybe because I don't own that book) are for regular non-modified human usage.  These are of lesser caliber than the SM "Bolt" weapons compared to in DW.

 

P.S.  Though I also agree that the Storm Bolter should only be utilized with 2 hands, unless of significant Str.  Haven't had to do any house rulings yet though. 

 

P.S.S.  Very good summary that you posted above me Trader Austin.  Never seen it so simplified, yet so rich in detail.  :)  I like it.

Edited by Nameless2all

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I'm not getting the uproar about storm bolters. I can't think of a tabletop situation where they AREN'T used one handed. At least all the models that use them are modeled with them one handed at least. And they aren't just terminators, quite a few special characters have them.

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I'm not getting the uproar about storm bolters. I can't think of a tabletop situation where they AREN'T used one handed. At least all the models that use them are modeled with them one handed at least. And they aren't just terminators, quite a few special characters have them.

 

Because those are Space Marines, and Rogue Trader was created with the assumption your PCs would be normal, impossibly-wealthy humans.

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And those Space Marines are using the more powerful, bulkier astartes version of the weapon, which is represented in the rules. A human can use the scaled down human version the same way an astartes uses his scaled up version. Otherwise what is the point of HAVING a scaled down version.

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Rt is based on the independent merchant captains of the 16th through 19th centuries historically. Often operating with the explicit blessing of a government under a document called a "letter of Marque". The owner of a ship was called it's Master while the officer in charge of it's operation was called the Commander. Thus, A Vessel owned and operated by the same individual was called a "Master and Commander" (Just like the book and movie of the same name.) The Ship's master was the absolute final arbiter of ANYTHING that happened on his ship as was the captain in his absence! This is the same arrangement implied within Rogue trader. The Warrant and the dynasty's wealth make the Rogue trader the "Master" of the vessel. Whether he chooses to delegate the operation of his vessel to a "Commander" is up to him but he's the one who is ultimately in command and and responsible for it. This means that the Rogue trader by definition is "The Boss". The thing is: One can't lead effectively by routinely trampling on one's underlings! Good Captains know this, bad ones fail! As mentioned before; Ehile the command crew of the ship may ultimately answer to the RT they are far from helpless themselves. A Captain that does not realise this is going to find himself alone and shiplorne VERY quickly!

 

In My game I explain this Hierarchy in the game prior to character generation. The player's then elect from their group who will be the Captain. This, so far at least, has prevented any problems since they have previously agreed to follow this player's orders. (As the characters would have prior to boarding!)

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The whole "the Rogue Trader is the least important, and can be bypassed" bit makes me glad to remember that the game mentioned occasionally cool things, like the data storage that might hold the ship's activation hymns, and without it, the ship can lock ITSELF down; even the Explorator might have some difficulty getting around it.

 

One thing to remember is that the group was, hopefully, cobbled together by the Rogue Trader. Either they found specific people who they felt were gifted enough, AND loyal enough, or those people were a part of the Dynasty as the RT was growing up, and thus they were trained to be subservient to the RT. While the players might be a group of fractious d-bags who have barely met, and don't think that they need to listen to each other, the CHARACTERS are supposed to be a well-oiled group. And in a world where billions believe in the God-Emperor as GOD, the Rogue Trader has a piece of paper effectively signed by His hand that says they're in charge. Fluff-wise, he/she SHOULD also the best picks of gear, even compared to the AM or AdMech. I might not be as good with a gun as my AM, but I have the inferno pistol, to his whatever. No guarantee, but I like to root for the cheesiest gun.

 

Of course, then the reality is that the RT's ship really is a pirate ship, and that means the RT is (Lord-) Captain only by dint of their crew saying it is so. It's a nice bit to keep the game balanced, even when what might've otherwise been the GM's main NPC (the RT) is now a player, too. Ascension sort of lacked that, in my imagination. The Inquisitor wasn't one among equals, even super-powered Ascension equals; he or she was an Inquisitor, and everyone else in the group better listen. Here, while the Rogue Trader is in charge, the players can feel that they aren't subservient to another player, AND the GM.

 

One last bit. While the other players are all, in their own ways, better than the RT, he or she does still have one other ability. The RT is what ALLOWS for Acquisition rolls. Without them, and their connection to the dynasty's wealth, your players better like the gear they have, never run out of ammo, and better have a ship made of absurdium, because paying to resupply demands the wealth of the RT, and it is the RT's wealth. Even the Seneshal MIGHT have trouble faking it.

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