Thursday, November 4, 2010

Rogue Trader

Rogue Trader is one of three RPGs set in the grim darkness of the future - the world of Games Workshop's popular miniatures wargame Warhammer 40,000, in fact. Humanity sprawls across the cosmos, but over time has lost much of what makes it great; instead of innovating new technology, a stagnant Imperial priesthood carefully controls all advanced technology, and so very little is new under their sun. Humans fight many enemies - the terrifying, robotic Necrons, the ever-hungry Alien-like Tyrannids, the murderous (yet happy-go-luck) Orks, the advanced, allof, yet ailing Eldar, and the corrupting forces of Chaos, man's greatest foe.

In Rogue Trader, your job isn't to fight the good fight against these foes, though - you are given a Warrant of Trade to travel the cosmos, find new places, meet interesting people, and make money off of them. You keep communication lines open, you travel the rough edges of space, and you fight (or trade) with most of the aliens listed above, and many others. It's a bit like Star Trek, if the Enterprise had opened a chain of department stores or dropped mining colonists off on every new world they found. Your ship is a millenia-old masterpiece, with a crew in the thousands, if not tens of thousands, and your Warrant gives you the ability to go places that are normally restricted - so, where do you want to go?

For this, I'll make a character who is the iconic Rogue Trader. I won't be including a ship, as that is like creating another character entirely. Stage 1 of Rogue Trader character building is generating statistics. There are nine statistics: Weapon Skill, Ballistic Skill, Strength, Toughness, Agility, Intelligence, Perception, Willpower, and Fellowship. To get these, I roll 2d10 for each statistic, and add 25; this gives me, after I roll, scores, in order, of 36, 33, 41, 35, 34, 37, 40, 33, and 39.

Next, I work my way down the origin path. First, I choose a home world; I'll make a Rogue Trader who's been in space all his life, so I choose Void Born. This gives me -5 Strength and +5 Willpower, the Speak Language (Ship Dialect) skill, the Charmed ability, a -5 on all Fellowship tests made with non-void-born humans, the ability to count Navigation (Stellar) and Pilot (Spacecraft) as Basic skills, immunity to space-travel sickness, 10 Wounds, and 4 Fate points. Then I determine my Birthright; I'll choose Scapegrace, so my Rogue Trader will have a bit of a shaky beginning. This gives me Sleight of Hand as a Basic skill, +3 to Intelligence or Perception, and 3 Corruption or Insanity points - I'll take Intelligence and Insanity, thanks.

Then we move on to Lure of the Void, what drew my character towards this life. I'll say my Rogue Trader was always fascinated by Alien life and take Chosen by Destiny: Xenophile, which gives me +10 on Fellowship tests with aliens, and a -5 on Willpower tests involving alien artifacts or psychic powers. Then we have Trials and Travails; I'll take Dark Voyage, to represent a terrible voyage that prepared me for things to come; this gives me the Forbidden Lore (Xenos) skill, as well as 3 more Insanity points. Who needs sanity, anyway? Finally, for my Motivation, I'll choose Renown; I want to be remembered, for good or ill. This gives me the Peer talent; I'll choose Adeptus Mechanicus as the Peer group, to help keep my ship in repair. Then I look at the Rogue Trader career.

As a Rogue Trader, I begin with the following skills: Command, Commerce, Charm, Common Lore (Imperium), Evaluate, Literacy, Scholastic Lore (Astromancy), and Speak Language (High and Low Gothic). I also gain the talents Air of Authority, Piston Weapon Training (Universal), and Melee Weapon Training (Universal). As for Starting gear, I get: A best-Craftsmanship laspistol OR a good-Craftsmanship hand cannon OR a common-Craftsmanship plasma pistol; a Best-Craftsmanship mono-sword OR common-Craftsmanship power sword, a micro-bead, void suit, set of fine clothing, xeno-pelt cloak, and best-Craftsmanship light carapace OR storm trooper carapace armor. I want to be showy, so I'll pick the plasma pistol, power sword, and the storm trooper carapace. Finally, I have 5,000 experience points to spend. Yes, I get experience to spend even before I start playing, how cool is that?

I'll spend enough experience to get +5 bonuses to all my statistics, which comes to 2300 XP. I'll spend another 1000 XP to get +5 more to Intelligence, Fellowship, and Agility. I'll then drop 1400 XP to pick up training in every skill my career shows me I can get - Awareness, Command, Commerce, Charm, Ciphers (Rogue Trader), Common Lore (Imperium), Common Lore (Rogue Traders), Dodge, Evaluate, Literacy, Pilot (Spacecraft), Scholastic Lore (Astromancy), Secret Tongue (Rogue Trader), and Speak Languages (Trader's Cant). You may notice some of these are skills I already have training in; getting them a second time gives me Skill Mastery, which gives me a +10 to all checks with those skills. Finally, I'll drop 200 XP to get the Renowned Warrant talent, putting me at 4900 XP spent. So, at the end of this, I come out with a character that looks like this:

Roland Xanatov, Rogue Trader

Weapon Skill 36
Ballistic Skill 38
Strength 41
Toughness 40
Agility 44
Intelligence 50
Perception 45
Willpower 43
Fellowship 49

Basic: Sleight of Hand, Navigation (Stellar)
Trained: Awareness, Ciphers (Rogue Trader), Common Lore (Rogue Traders), Dodge, Forbidden Lore (Xenos), Pilot (Spacecraft), Secret Tongue (Rogue Trader), Speak Language (High and Low Gothic, Trader's Cant, Ship Dialect).
Trained (Skill Mastery): Command, Commerce, Charm, Common Lore (Imperium), Evaluate, Literacy, Scholastic Lore (Astromancy)

Air of Authority, Piston Weapon Training (Universal), and Melee Weapon Training (Universal), Peer (Adeptus Mechanicus), Renowned Warrant

Special Abilities
Charmed; -10 to Fellowship with non-void-born humans; immunity to space-travel sickness; +10 Fellowship with aliens; -5 Willpower against alien artifacts or psychic powers

Common-Craftsmanship plasma pistol; Common-Craftsmanship power sword; Best-Craftsmanship storm trooper carapace; micro-bead, void suit, set of fine clothing, xeno-pelt cloak

Wounds: 10
Fate Points: 4
Insanity Points: 6
Movement: 8

And now I am ready to roam the stars, shooting, dealing, and running away as I see fit.

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