PDA

View Full Version : What kinds of forces do Rogue Traders typically have under their command?



The Emperor
29-11-2013, 14:09
Well, I checked the stickied thread for a link to a topic about this, but didn't find anything, so I thought I'd post my own. Basically, I'm curious about what sorts of forces the typical Rogue Trader might have at his disposal. Just one ship? More ships? And what kinds of ships? Do they have any military power at their command? What sorts of troops and equipment might they have at their disposal? How many men are we talking about? If anyone knows anything about the subject, I'd appreciate as nycg detail as possible. Thanks! :)

warlordbob
29-11-2013, 14:37
A Rogue Trader can have anything from a light goods conveyer to a full battle cruiser, from a single vessal to a full trade fleet with armed escorts, it all depends on their personal influence, wealth, family inheritance and brashness. Some can be personable, social animals, others warmongering psychopaths. Some will have connection in the Inquisition, Imperial Gaurd and Space Marines, others may have long standing honour debts to Eldar Craftworlds or individual Farseers.
All of this means thats they can have almost anything at their beck and call, many will have a small force of mercenaries or privately trained soldiers within their fleets, some could have a small number of Marines as an honour guard, the more pious may have Sororitas aboard. Death Cultists are another possibilty, brought aboard during the re-enlightening of a distant world, Crusaders acting as a personal bodyguard. Naval aircraft would be common, mainly space fighters, with atmospheric shuttles for transporting goods and personnel.
So basically, almost anything the Guard has access to, with any other Imperial body thrown in for good measure, and for the more open minded, less aggressive xenos forces would'nt be unheard off.

m1acca1551
29-11-2013, 14:43
Well it's all very varied, some rogue traders are simply a small crew and a captain whilst some have many ships of various classes.

To be more specific, I'd say that most rogue traders would be highly invested in there own safety so the ships that they do have could probably punch well above there own weight if they had no other option but to fight. That and they would prefer speed over muscle in the off chance they did run into something either big or truly terrifying.

As for soldiers, most would use a permanent mercenary... Probably ex guard or even hive gang members through to former arbites. Again if the trader thought that the investment was worth it they would hire who ever they could afford. As for numbers... This again depends of the individual, from 3-4 through to over 100 but to afford such number would mean that they are fairly prominent and often deal in dangerous areas to warrant such protection.

Perrin
29-11-2013, 15:29
Spacemarine mercenaries wouldn't be too much of a stretch either. Could have renegade (non-chaos) marines working for the RT, or an ancient pact with a Chapter pledging a permanent squad to that particular dynasty, similar to the Wolfblade from the Ragnar novels.

MajorWesJanson
29-11-2013, 21:03
Depends on the wealth of the Rogue Trader, and if they are part of the more powerful dynasties.

Easier to rule out what you would not likely find under the command of a Rogue Trader flotilla:
Space Marines, barring perhaps a squad thanks to an honor bond or mutual goals. Deathwatch potentially more often though.
Adeptus Mechanicus en masse- Tech priests and individuals with units of Skiratii often take passage. Skitarii legions, large mechanicus ships, titan legions, all no.
Guard elite- Stormtroopers, Superheavy vehicles, commissars
Battle Sisters- unless the Rogue Trader is one of the pious "spread the faith" crusader types
Squats- they're dead, get over it.
Inquisitors- If an Inquisitor is travelling with a Rogue Trader flotilla for any length of time, they are going to be pulling strings or outright pulling rank.
Arbites- Rogue Traders maintain their own law in their holdings. No need for the official Imperium's cops.
Large numbers or very powerful psykers- at least not unless they are one of the very powerful dynasties with some of the Emperor signed writs.

Lord-Gen Bale Chambers
30-11-2013, 12:37
If you can get a hold of the FFG Rogue Trader RPG, it's a great source of information on this.

What others have said is right, I only have one thing to add. Rogue Trader's will have their Household or Dynasty Armsmen. How many Armsmen their are and how they are equipped will depend on the RT. It could be a small force just to act as loyal bodyguards, a mass of conscripts & mercs intended to subjugate worlds or a few companies of elite and very well equipped soldiers. It really depends on the RT's wealth and how he tends to operate. Some traders favor conquest on the frontiers. In the RT RPG, it isn't too hard to equip your Armsmen better than most guard regiments.

The Emperor
30-11-2013, 12:42
Thanks for the heads up. I'll definitely look into checking it out.

Chem-Dog
30-11-2013, 13:18
Wes' point about Trader Dynasts is an important one, some Rogue traders are immensely powerful individuals, scions of a bloodline that can trace it's roots back to the Great Crusade, perhaps even further. They'll have immense lobbying power in the Imperium and would essentially be above all but Inquisitional scrutiny (despite what they may think), some might even be de facto governors with all of the responsibilities and power that the position holds.

Obviously these individuals will be able to fund academies for training their own personnel, administrative, pilots, soldiers - whatever, this might extend to indenture where the "company" owns people (living assets).

Sprinkle this with the usual 40k handwave of "anything is possible" and you could have a RT dynasty closely alighned to any of the major organs of Imperial rule, a trader who loans his specialised troops to the Imperial Guard might make a majority of his fortunes from doing so and thus become closely affiliated with the IG, a particular General or even a specific Regiment or Crusade. A particularly pious trader may decide to make himself especially available to the Ecclesiarchy, perhaps notifying them of any worlds he locates or simply acting as an escort to church delegations maybe even acting in a military capacity as a way round the Decree Passive. Similar alliances or mutually beneficial partnerships could be taken up with the Adeptus Mechanicus, The Navigator houses or any other group. Obviously the Inquisition can requisition a Rogue Trader's ships and/or personnel and it'd take a brave Trader indeed to turn that kind of request out of hand.

This could all be reinforced by the Dynasty actively sending it's heirs to serve in any specific branch to foster good relations, after a hundred or so years they'd have a voice in that organisation to aid in furthering their own aims, of course this kind of horse trading would see them performing any number of favours to further their advancement.

Astartes are a different kettle of fish, in the orginial setting RT's are regularly accompanied by Astartes detachments but that was long before the cultural delineations were quite so well marked out, so I'd see them as being much more inclined to be assigned to a mission alongside a RT rather than being specifically in his/her employ and short of arriving at a Chapter's Fortress Monastery with specific information about lost relics I doubt you are going to get them to happily come along with you on jaunts into uncharted space. of course, if you do return to them the remains of a lost battle brother, a revered artefact or the coordinates of a battle barge missing for millennia, they're more likely to be well disposed to hanging out. Return them the geneseed of fallen brothers (along with an epic tale of the heroic Marines that died) and they'll likely jump to return the debt of honour.

Fangschrecken
30-11-2013, 17:17
The Marines Errant have an ancient pact with the rogue trader house Ecale and thus many of their marines serve with them for a while.

Azazyll
01-12-2013, 16:34
The new FW HH books indicate that the Emperor created the first Rogue Traders by exiling the rulers of formerly independent communities on Old Earth that he didn't want to kill for whatever reason, but were too troublesome to be allowed to remain on Terra, presumably with some of their old followers. They then formed de facto scouts for the Great Crusade, often working in tandem with different battlegroups. It was apparently a rough job, and close to suicide, but the ones who survived are some of the most powerful independent operators in the Imperium.

Lord Lorne Walkier
01-12-2013, 20:43
Pg 47 Chapter approved, Book of the Astronomican
"Rogue Trader:
The Rogue Traders of Earth are a unique breed. They are the ultimate human adventurers, explorers and conquerors. Operating beyond the frontiers of Imperial space, it is their task to uncover alien civilizations, eliminate possible dangers to the Imperium, and investigate new and potentially useful technologies. The hidden dangers of the galaxy claim many Rogue Traders every year, but there is still no shortage of Volunteers. Every Rogue Trader receives a charter from the Emperor as well as a special banner and badge. Examples of these are shown in the illustration above. In addition, each Rogue Trader is entitled to recruit fellow volunteers, and many may even be put in command of whole units of Marines from the various Chapters. Troops from units of the army are also allocated, often numbering many hundreds. All of these crusading warriors swear allegiance to their new master adopting his badges and wearing his colours upon the special tabard which is worn over their armour"

In a different book that I can not find, there was a copy of a Rogue Trader charter. It said that the Rogue Trader was given a retinue of 100 Marines and 200 Imperial Guard Troopers. If I ever dig it up ill post the whole quote.

Though the information is dated for sure I use it as the fluff for my army. I never field more then a 100 Astartes. and use Storm troopers to represent the Guard troopers. The 100 Astartes limit is why I also justify over equipping my marines, figuring they make up for low #'s with quality of war-gear.

SpanielBear
01-12-2013, 21:16
Also don't forget that a rogue trader is given oh so many options to be shady. He is not limited to human troops. One could easily use the new inquisitor rules to represent a trader, and an allied Tau force as a mutually beneficial arrangement...

Orthodox
02-12-2013, 18:40
Easier to rule out what you would not likely find under the command of a Rogue Trader flotilla:

Inquisitors need entree into societies they are investigating.

Space Marines are often insular societies and do not necessarily have any way of knowing what the Imperium needs from them, or of recouping materiel expended on operations.

Rogue Traders often operate as tax farmers that are charged with tasks by the Imperium, and given powers for the discharge of those tasks. It seems much more effective to have an integrated flotilla than, for example, undiluted guard forces that are only capable of doing guard tasks.

Since guard, marines, et al are still trained and led by their respective institutions, they are still in effective silos that quarantine them against institutional corruption, but Rogue Traders can deploy them much more effectively than those forces can deploy themselves.

There are these ideas that this is an irrelevant concept because it is from late RT era, e.g.
that was long before the cultural delineations were quite so well marked out, However, the reason that all the factions gained these solitary identities is that GW started publishing separate faction army books, and the idea was that whole factions/armies were consumed as separate products. The idea that space marines would not be directly or habitually seconded to Rogue Traders is just an artifact of monetizing the product, and should be evaluated critically.


If anything, a Rogue Trader is as likely to have marines on his missions as he is other forces. The primary appeal of marines is that they can perform missions with just a company or ship-full of personnel and equipment, instead of needing to corral the dozens of bulk transports, landers, and escorts that conventional forces do.

harlokin
03-12-2013, 16:26
There are these ideas that this is an irrelevant concept because it is from late RT era, e.g. However, the reason that all the factions gained these solitary identities is that GW started publishing separate faction army books, and the idea was that whole factions/armies were consumed as separate products. The idea that space marines would not be directly or habitually seconded to Rogue Traders is just an artifact of monetizing the product, and should be evaluated critically.


Simply not true. Space Marines have long been independent (as a general rule) of much of the Imperium's infrastructure and chain of command. This is a fact of fluff, not just a GW marketing ploy. Even the Inquisition have to request aid, rather than demand it.

Rogue Traders have no authority to demand anything of Chapters, although certain favoured individuals might be able to call upon detachments of Space Marines if they have a pact with an individual Chapter. Space Marines assisting (not serving) individual Rogue Traders should be seen as noteworthy, not routine.

Orthodox
04-12-2013, 23:21
Yes, space marines are not part of any command structure. Since they are warrior societies without a formal integration into the Imperium's command structure, they have no apparatus to perceive where the Imperium need them. They don't have anyone who can order them into a warzone, and they do not have the kind of immediate economic interests that would compel them to go to war all by themselves. Also, while they can often produce most of their provisions and armory, they have no way to account for or compensate themselves for expenditures of fuel, materiel, etcetera accrued during deployments.

So marine chapters loan companies to Rogue Traders. Rogue Traders are directly invested in finding things that Imperium needs done by space marines, mostly in recovering worlds or enforcing compliance. Rogue Traders realize economic returns from tax farming for the Imperium, conquest, and other military adventurism, so they have a way to put economic worth on the space marines' military operations. Without that, the chapters need to either live off whatever assets they control and view their military operations as essentially recreational/charitable, or find some horrible bureaucratic process to convince a hive/forge world to give them what they need.

Shamana
09-12-2013, 10:48
Yes, space marines are not part of any command structure. Since they are warrior societies without a formal integration into the Imperium's command structure, they have no apparatus to perceive where the Imperium need them. They don't have anyone who can order them into a warzone, and they do not have the kind of immediate economic interests that would compel them to go to war all by themselves. Also, while they can often produce most of their provisions and armory, they have no way to account for or compensate themselves for expenditures of fuel, materiel, etcetera accrued during deployments.

I'm not sure, iirc Space Marines can be reliably contacted by the higher-level Imperium Command (segmentum certainly, sector maybe) or the Inquisition. It is possible to have some marines stationed with a Rogue Trader, certainly, but I expect it to be quite rare - rarer than, say, a trader with a unit or two of kroot mercenary troops. Sure, no external institution can order a marine chapter to battle, but as warrior societies it is to be expected that they are eager for battle to begin with (at least the sort of battle that appeals to them - they might consider dynastic disputes beneath them, for example) - and a marine chapter that often refuses requests from high IG leadership for no obvious reason may both lose honor with its peers and attract some unwelcome interest. Also, I think the marines have serfs and other menials to help with the maintenance, and I expect they have some assistance from the rest of the Imperium. Leaving your most elite warriors completely out of the command or supply chain is way inefficient even by the IoM standards.

Sure, I expect that a percentage of RTs may have contacts that allow them to request help from a Marine chapter, should they find a situation which the Chapter Master considers worthy of his warriors.

bittick
11-12-2013, 02:53
Usually they have a whiny teenager, a bitchy princess, two irritating robots, and a big hairy alien sidekick.

intercepta
18-12-2013, 16:12
Although bittick has the most thoroughly researched answer

My input is that some RTs have warrants signed by the Emperor himself, this makes them (not necessarily above) but aside from normal Imperial laws, I see them as being the spies (kinda), no one asks questions as long as they don't try and take over planets or build up a force that could threaten the Imperium (not gonna happen).

I am using a RT to guide my Blood Angels into a lost sector as no Imperial Ship has been there for 100s of years. so that RT indirectly has a massive force..... it's a small crusade force but still thousands of guardsmen, hundreds of Marines (BA and successors) an Inquisitor, some Admech and whatever human army I want to collect :p