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This is actually a bit of a daunting challenge as a GM, as the PCs are master sof a star ship the size of a city, and destined to spread out into an unknown void. Err...OK.
So, I have a solid idea for what could turn into a fairly epic campaign. I'm fairly familiar with the setting and so i have some good strands and threads to follow, and Rogue Trader actually makes the narrative progress of a game quite neat with the "endeavours" mechanic. I've also mercilessly plundered the Fading Suns setting for ideas.
To maintain some initial control so that i can set expectations and conventions for the game early on, the PCs have a small scout ship (only 18,000 crew) and are part of a larger fleet; so i'm able to direct the action quite closely, while giving the PCs the freedom to explore. I've also used the "Warp" to channel their passage and shut down some of the "go anywhere" problems that can occur. Initially its going quite well.
Rogue Trader also sets up the PCs ship as a setting, stage and character all of its own, so i've really tried in these beginning games to play on and develop that. Their ship has already become a bizarre element to the game which the players are loving, so all good there.
The players also have a good selection of interesting PCs:
Captain = Decimus, a hideously mutated human who appears now to be a ogryn (large sub-human). His mutations mean he is terrifying, and must consume huge quantities of raw meat to survive, but he also regenerates and spits acid. Traumatised by his mutations he wears an armoured suit that he never removes in public and that hides his appearance.
Warleader = Nerui, a psychologically damaged ex-soldier who is a ruthlessly effective general.
Tech-Priest = Gerhman, a heretek obsessed with seeking out alien technology.
Marcellus = a skilled information broker who is dedicated to learning the mysteries of what lies beyond the borders of the Imperium.
Its safe to say that 3 sessions in, these characters are still "finding their feet" and we're in the early stage where the character concept is rapidly evolving in the white heat of the gaming sessions.
So, epic setting, great story to develop, interesting characters, and the fun dynamic of the "ship as a character", its all going well...
...except, i'm hitting a bit of a snag. The Rogue Trader rules, well, they aren't doing what i need them to do as a GM. There's SO MUCH BLOAT, that i can't get into the rules and mechanics i need, and when i do, i find they're often missing or so thin, as to be meaningless.
The star ship rules aren't doing what i need. There are some evident god-skills (tech use appears to do everything). Trying to run battles between the PCs army and any enemies they find - well there are no rules at all for that, Etc., etc.
I'm seriously thinking of switching the rules out for something like d6 Space or even BRP. Uh...
So a brief rundown of the first three sessions:
The PCs join their fleet (under Admiral Zondarem, to whom they owe a financial debt (half the value of their ship).
With the fleet they pass through "The Pale", a 1000-year Warp storm that has cut off a lost Imperial region.
Arriving safely, the fleet anchors and as a scout ship the PCs are sent out to "find whatever is here".
They stumble across a long-abandoned Untramarine genetic/medical asteroid facility, deal with the ancient defences, and plunder it for genetic tech, and crucially a highly valuable encrypted database.
The dB reveals a star-map of nearby planets, but no coordinates.
Successful mission = 10 Achievement Points (they need 1500).
Session 2 & 3
They are drawn by a weak distress signal to a long-dead cargo ship.
They find it infested with ork spores and as they wake up the dead hulk, find themselves having to deal with rapidly evolving grots, and an ork Warboss who survived in stasis - the orks negotiated passage on the PCs ship, in return for the coordinates to the nearest planet. The PCs immediately betrayed the orks and left them to die on the wreck.
They now have the star map and coordinates to find the closest planet.
Successful mission = 10 more Achievement Points
During all this, they also have found that there's something wrong with the Warp here, that Admiral Zondarem's fleet may not be quite as cohesive as they thought, and that at least one sun in the region appears to have "faded"...
If i can resolve these rule problems, hopefully this should be an epic campaign.
- Location: UK
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