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WallyTWest
17-04-2008, 00:41
It was a stormy night on Anglos IV. A sickly figure moved about the chamber, his lantern swayed too and fro. A look of befuddlement on his face. No doubt all these conflicting reports must me in error or mistaken, and a mistake must be reported to the master! His sadly tiny and misshapen hands grasped the texts he studied and he prepared to make his way to the main chamber where no doubt he would find his master pouring over reports.

The Administrum’s glass pain windows reflected a quiet glow and purpose to the outside observer, the clone Son and personal servant to Heron the Wise of 3 made his way nearly half a mile to the central vault. His tiny child like legs carrying him two and fro with his deranged mannerisms.

Heron 3 had been close to finishing his duty, the data servitor was used to such tasks. He had been engineered to be perfect for such a job, able to sort through 10,000 planetary tithe logs a day. Literally millions of lines of data, in just 15 hours. He imagined how proud Heron 1 would have been to know that his clone would be as clever and devoted as himself. Pride though Heron, how it swelled through his chest! How could it be a sin! Quickly he re-asserted himself to finishing the last thousand or so lines of text. It would be yet another day that he was ahead of his predicted quota, plenty of time for prayers and dinner!

Although marching with gusto through the hollowed halls, the tiny clone was reluctant to enter the vast chamber. But if apt at little else he knew much about opening doors without noise, and more about not making noise as he walked. Slowly the door opened, and the tiny one dampened his lantern and slipped in. How he loved to watch master work. The grace of his mechanical arms, the slurping of ink through the intake valves and the fantastic hiss from the oxygen tank with every breath he took. Watching him move about made his lower half shutter with excitement, the thought that such modifications may some day be handed down to him when Heron 3 goes to the emperors light! Someday his title would be Heron the Wise 4.

He had excited himself to the point of shaking, and unlike his entry it did not go un-noticed. The lantern made the sound of metal on metal as it touched the data slates and books beneath his arms.

Heron 3 turned about, the chamber was massive. He had forgotten that, all along the walls and floor lay reports form command posts and merchant ships. At the center lay the “Post”, and it was here that for the last 500 years a data servitor had labored to bring the data streams under control. Alas he had forgotten the reason for his coming, until Heron picked up his branding iron, still warm from the coals… he used it to stoke the fire, it was a symbol of the post and rumored to be a relic from ancient Terra. The touch of it he knew well, many burns from the Iron graced his bottom. The injury was the easy part to endure, but the process of healing was another thing all together. He then he recalled quite clearly about why he came.

“Master, oh wise and clever, how I bask in your glory….” (And it continued so for a good minute.)

Huron Shouted before he could finish, “What in the eye brings you here! Speak Up! And lift your chin Clone!”

The clone son obeyed, excited that his master had yet to hit him.

“I would like to bring up an error in the data, I was in the library yesterday and found old logs of a expedition to the ghoul stars form M36. I compared them to data collected from the solar segmentum reports from M38 and found an error in the data….”

Huron 3 already knew what the clone son was to say. He had found the same discrepancy in the data himself many years ago. His left hand let go of the poker to touch the wounds left on his back by Huron 2. The clone son let out a sigh of relief when the poker was put back into the furnace by the “Post’.

“Continue On” Huron 3 said, in one of his few moments of calm that he had ever let the clone son see.

Overjoyed he continued! “The Rogue Trader Van steel Von Robert was in absolute command of the inquisitor in his expedition and had a force of marines, yet the latter report claims that the Rogue Trader Manus Du Solaris had only ten servants to his name and no authority over other positions of imperial government. Shurely this can not be the same title! It must be an error!”

Huron 3 looked down at his clone son, it had taken almost 12 cloning attempts to make him. But despite his odd behavior and small stature they had finally managed to clone himself in such a way that might someday make a servitor capable of the title of Huron. Unlike the other 7 replacements that had been lobotomized and used as scroll servitors around the building… Or the last one he had thrown in the furnace to keep himself warm.


So how about it, I have a keen understanding of what Rogue Traders where, but what do they do in the fluff curently, they seem to be a pale shadow of what they where.

Ikkaan
17-04-2008, 10:30
Very nicely written question, a joy to read!

Fluff changed, especially for the obscure Rogue Traders and i still hope that a "Dark Heresy" expansion book will shed some light on their background.

For the moment i can only say that rogue traders have wide leeway in their actions, can conquer worlds, may trade with xenos or even employ them, raise fleets and private armies and simultaneously govern whole worlds.

That is, if they are rich enough. Money seems to be the key factor here.

The inquisition cannot be bribed though. But even the inquisition knows that rogue traders have rights that cannot be revoked easily. Letters of free trade that are authentic are not signed by mere planetary governors (some letters of this type exist but hold no value as they are not legitimate) but signed by primarchs, high lords of terra, or even the emperor himself. Who is an inquisitor to say that a primarch was wrong? To topple the throne of a rogue trader means that the inquisitor in question needs to prove that he is actually not rogue trading FOR the empire [and himself] (by bartering with xenos, scamming heretics and ruining the followers of the ruinous powers) but AGAINST it. And the letter already says that the holder is free to go and to do whatever he pleases...including the atrocities mentioned earlier.

Rogue traders also often are strategic assets of the inquisition. They have knowledge of external threats to the imperium and often part this knowledge to their inquisition contacts. Their unconventional actions sometimes result in boons to the imperiums sick economy, so they are probably viewed as heretics or borderline traitors by the puritan factions, but they are OUR heretics.

This is a general overview, but similar to inquisitors, the power of rogue traders is not equal. You´ll find brokedown individuals sailing the empyrean on rusted T-beams as well as hardened trade princes in ceremonial armour made from eldar soulstones directing their fleet into the ghost stars. Not every Inquisitor has the power to command a rogue trader and vise versa.

Archangel_Ruined
17-04-2008, 10:31
Heresy! Cloning is an abomination to the light of man! Burn the heretic!
As for rogue traders, they're not mentioned too much anymore, I suppose the only way to field one would be as an IG commander or inquisitor, and some nice fluffy conversions. I think GW want to step away from some of the horrible fluff contradictions between current 4th ed and the original RT.

WallyTWest
17-04-2008, 12:15
Ah crap, thats what I figured. I hoped that the namesake of the game would have gotten some coverage between Inquisitor, 2nd, 3rd, Forgeworld, Dark Heresy and Various codexes. There is a short bit about them in Battlefleet gothic. One fleet list from Fanatic and another more fluff driven attempt in Warp Rift. Looking at them they either take too much liberty or they expand little. I was hoping to drag a Black Libary fan in here somehow, I know there is a new RT novel or two out.

As for cloning, I thought that was entirely kosher. Between the Medicie, Mechanus, Administrum and various imperial governers I thought it was acepted by the imperium at large. In the minimum, its too colorfull to leave out of the 40K background.

I thought it would make for an intresting subject, plus who better to replace youself when you are gone then you? It seems like an obvious solution to me. Look at how easy cloning is compared to genetic modification as well, heck on real earth we seem only 10-20 years from it. Imagine paying your imperial tythe with clone troopers or a imperial governer cloning himself generation after generation. Who would be the one to inherit the title, a Clone Son or a Born Son? Low on populace or workers? Clone em!

Brother Loki
17-04-2008, 15:26
There's a distinction between a Rogue Trader and a rogue trader, although the latter often try to pass themselves off as the former. A Rogue Trader holds a charter from the High Lords of Terra and is given command of a fleet and military assets to explore outside the Imperium. A rogue trader is any of the thousands of commercial ship owners who operate independently (and frequently on the fringes of Imperial law).

WallyTWest
17-04-2008, 17:14
And that is yet another completely diffrent answer I have heard. Anybody have a 4th edition definition?

sigur
17-04-2008, 20:44
I think the main reasons why the role of the Rogue Traders has been toned down so much are twofold:

.) The game's scale changed from a quasi-roleplaying skirmish game to an army-level wargame which doesn't leave much room for adventureous, non-military and kind-of outlawish characters

.) The background/theme of the Imperium changed much from the original RT rulebook to the present day. In my understanding, it used to be a setting in which much more was possible. A very wide, open universe with human settlements scattered across a vast space. Now, the Imperium is a crumbling Leviathan with a relatively high density of human worlds, constantly at war with fractions that got more and more radicalized over the years. The lines seem to be drawn much more accurately nowadays.

Archangel_Ruined
17-04-2008, 22:00
A bit off topic, I've always thought cloning was as big a no-no as AI with the ad-mech, it's a throw back from problems in the past so it was blanket outlawed on pain of a lot more pain, followed by much more pain and then, maybe, death. That's why marines aren't just cloned en-masse from suitable genetic candidates.

Damage,Inc.
18-04-2008, 07:27
There was a book with a rogue trader rfom BL a while ago. I own it somewhere in my vast pile of 40k crap for years and years of aimless collecting. It's not very good, IMO and if it is as bad as I remember, then I would suggest against seeking it out.

Minister
25-04-2008, 21:11
There are two fairly recent 40K novels (that is to say, Black Library rather than the first batch) with the Rogue Traders prominently featured: Legacy (the second of the Shira Calpurnia books) and Eye of Terror. The first one is a good source of background material on the Imperium's internal politics (though I preferred Crossfire as a novel). The second... shall we say that the Imperial fleet using Brute Ramships is one of the smaller points of conflict with the established setting, and leave it there?

Brother Loki
28-04-2008, 15:02
Andy Hoare's books Rogue Star and Star of Damocles also deal with rogue traders extensively.