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Ayin
27-03-2014, 20:13
To get right to it, what would a Rogue Trader's force look like, and how would you make it?

As I'm getting my Guard together, I keep coming back to the idea of a military force led by a Rogue Trader, as described in the current 40k rulebook. It seems a neat idea, possibly characterful, but I'm not sure exactly where to go from there. Doubtless some Rogue Traders have armies of incredible proportion, others small bands of warriors, and each would likely vary wildly in composition, but I have to think that the 'average' would be best represented by IG.

But what of those IG? Would they still have Imperial Eagles on their gear? What icons of the Imperium would they have/get rid of? I imagine a well equipped private army, but is there anything in particular that would or would not fit? What changes would be appropriate? What would represent a Rogue Trader well? Perhaps just using a Guard commander as the leader of the private army? If I was to include a Trader though, what would i use?

I realize this is all kind of a mess, but I'm just musing on ideas, and appreciate any and all ideas of comments.

Theocracity
27-03-2014, 20:21
I suppose that would depend on what kind of forces your Rogue Trader has hired. If they are a Guard regiment they'd still be visually close to the IG as is. If they're Family Militants I could imagine them being considerably more diverse or baroque.

The new Scions kit will probably be useful for you. I've also seen some good conversions using Empire Greatswords. Victoria Miniatures does some good alternate Guard models that might be useful to avoid some of the Guard iconography.

For army builds I would focus on elite mercenary types rather than the heavy artillery of the Guard. Though that's not to say that he won't have that available too. The coming Tempestus codex might be a good way to represent the limited number, well equipped troops of a Rogue Trader (if that's a direction that appeals to you).

As far as the Rogue Trader himself goes, the Inquisition codex is probably a good way to go. You get some interesting gear choices on a unique character and the ability to add in some odd warband types, and he can be allied in to almost anything Imperial.

Ayin
27-03-2014, 20:37
The Inquisitor was the first thing I thought, a unique HQ with a wacky 'warband' type unit.

After searching it out, there are definitely some good Warhammer Empire Conversions, everything from head swaps to handgunners converted to space. All are pretty awesome. If I didn't already have a guard army that would likely be how I'd go about making one.

I suppose I could always have an actual Imperial Guard/combined Imperial arms group under the control of a Rogue Trader. Then they could keep all their iconography.

Inquisitor Engel
27-03-2014, 20:44
The new Tempestus soldiers ornate armour would fit in nicely as a Rogue Trader's private army or familial guard.

hobojebus
27-03-2014, 21:12
You'd have 5 model's, all terrain has to be made of cardboard and you need a GM to run each and every fight :P

Chem-Dog
27-03-2014, 21:19
Short answer is it'll look however you want it to, there are no rules that prescribe the make-up of a Rogue Trader's army. There are no rules about how loyal to the Imperium a Rogue Trader is (although those who are blatantly anti wouldn't last long). So you can pick as you like.

Long answer will have to wait till I get back from work in about 11-12 hours.

BigRob
27-03-2014, 21:44
Playing the Rogue Trader RPG by Fantasy Flight games, I would say that most Rogue Traders would have a retinue of powerful advisors and individuals (Astropath, Captain of the guard, Ship master, Navigator etc), a Personal Guard of well equipped troops, say 2-400 (Stormtrooper standard) and then, certainly aboard ship and deployable to planet, a number of around 10,000 Armsmen (think guardsmen with shotguns and flamers but minimal heavy weaponry).

That is what is likely to be aboard his ship at any given time. As our campaign developed the RT dynasty became more powerful, got bigger and better ships and a few planetary holdings and ended up with real troops, PDF type regiments of infantry and armour. More help came from the alliances and pacts he makes though and that is why, at the grand finale of our campaign his own army was heavily bolstered by IG units, a Space Marine strike cruiser and accompany marines and a demi Legio Titan battle group. Rogue Traders are all about getting favours and pacts in place to bolster their own position.

hobojebus
27-03-2014, 21:46
A rogue trader would mainly have guard equivalent forces and very rarely may have a unit of space marines if he's done some great favour for them in the past.

Although he may deal with xenos it'd be too dangerous to have them as crew even these powerful merchants are not immune from the inquisitions touch.

But it would be rag tag and not really formed like a military force most of the time i think.

BigRob
27-03-2014, 22:02
Playing the Rogue Trader RPG by Fantasy Flight games, I would say that most Rogue Traders would have a retinue of powerful advisors and individuals (Astropath, Captain of the guard, Ship master, Navigator etc), a Personal Guard of well equipped troops, say 2-400 (Stormtrooper standard) and then, certainly aboard ship and deployable to planet, a number of around 10,000 Armsmen (think guardsmen with shotguns and flamers but minimal heavy weaponry).

That is what is likely to be aboard his ship at any given time. As our campaign developed the RT dynasty became more powerful, got bigger and better ships and a few planetary holdings and ended up with real troops, PDF type regiments of infantry and armour. More help came from the alliances and pacts he makes though and that is why, at the grand finale of our campaign his own army was heavily bolstered by IG units, a Space Marine strike cruiser and accompany marines and a demi Legio Titan battle group. Rogue Traders are all about getting favours and pacts in place to bolster their own position.

draccan
27-03-2014, 22:17
I always thought of a Rogue Trader force as a specialist "army". A large organised, uniformed imperial guard force doesn't feel Rogue Trader to me. I think Xenos does fit well, lots of different races mixed in. Also I would model it on part SW bounty hunters, space pirates and Alien movies army vets. I think some units could have scavenged power armour. For sure I wouldn't use purely the models from one existing army.

The army list to choose is a little harder. Space Marines has too much power armour and specialist units. Guard has too many footmen.
Maybe the new Tempestus list would be great for a well-equipped specialist Rogue Trader force. Or the 30k Mechanicum list.
If you do include guard, use the list or as allies I would include some of the Forge World models like:

190157

190158

190160

and probably chimera, Taurox and other support vehicles..
Because I imagine a Rogue Trader trader to have a lot of support, transportation and transport vehicles to transport goods and people. I would probably have a lot of boxes and goods on my vehicles to symbolize their loot.

The army should be rag-tag and look like they looted a lot of stuff in various designs and colours. Not uniformed by any means..

By the way, turn to the first edition of 40k the Rogue Trader book (can be found many places) to find inspiration for your force...

Ghazbad_Facestompa
27-03-2014, 22:56
Hm. I'd probably use an Inquisitor (any flavor, probably non-psychic) to represent the Trader (the wargear options, particularly for an Ordo Xenos one, can easily represent a Rogue Trader's eclectic and extensive armory), the retinue to represent his favored retainers, and an IG force of some sort to represent his personal forces, whether he focuses on quality or quantity.

A.T.
28-03-2014, 10:39
Inquisition codex and the Elysian drop troops perhaps? - all those flyers makes for a good rogue trader landing force and gives you both the option of the super-elite (and expensive) D-99 list and Inquisitor Lok who makes for a decent rogue trader with retinue.

If your opponent doesn't mind Valeria is also a fairly rogue-traderish character.

Chem-Dog
29-03-2014, 12:50
Right. A Rogue Trader can, more or less, have justification for just about anything in his forces. Some of the forces the Trader will have access to might not be theirs exactly but their status as freelance operators means they are free to form an alliance (temporary or otherwise) with just about anyone, you want a Rogue Trader to be accompanies by Knights? Fine, you want them to have an arrangement with Astartes, Adeptus Sorroritas, Militarum Tempestus, Impartial Guard and so on that's fine. Similarly a Rogue Trader may head or accompany a crusade, expeditionary force or even a punitive fleet, which means they could be able to draw troops from any part of the Imperium's military in a more ad-hoc way. They might even be accompanying an Adeptus Mechanicus Explorator fleet.

Approaching a Rogue Trader army might be aided by first considering the nature of the Trader him/her self, there are a number of variable which can inform the kind of allies they will have and the types of troops they favour.

1:Wealth. At the top of the scale of wealth Rogue Trader is the master of a commercial Empire that spans a Sector with significant concerns on many planets in the region (and perhaps beyond) they will mingle with the highest echelons of Imperial Society, in some parts of the Imperium they may be the sole representation of the Imperium and be the de-facto ruler of a small empire that exists only because of his/her personal efforts to unite and defend the worlds within (or at least assigning assets to do such).
At this level a Rogue Trader can theoretically buy anything and will have plenty of organisations being friendly with his/her "regime"
This means a full-on Dynast Rogue Trader really can't be said to have any substantive resources withheld from them, not even military ones. Of course Astartes aren't beholden to anyone, but if aiding him/her is a matter of defending the Imperium, that should be enough without having to turn to honour ties or ancient pacts.
Obviously, as a Rogue Trader's standing is removed from the pinnacle of that standing presented above their influence is lesser right down to the bottom of the pile where a Lone Rogue Trader has one ship and a handfull of troops.

Loyalty. This is a prickly subject as any Rogue Trader who doesn't at least present a facade of Loyalty to the Imperium will quite quickly run afoul of the Imperium's laws but a Rogue Trader who doesn't have his own feifdom of worlds to rule over may very well have to make his fortune dealing with undesirables, including Xenos Breeds. In fact a really powerful Trader might owe their place to a Xenos contact in the past. Some Rogue Traders are privately waging war in the Name of the Imperium (Being essentially PMC's in the setting) where others are far more self interested. There is even the possibility that they are traitors covertly working to weaken the Imperium's grasp, find an ostensibly loyal world that's been cut off from contact fo X number of centuries - kill it's inhabitants, loot it's resources and tell the Imperium you've done it a solid by wiping out the Heretic Populace that you found there. A traitorous Rogue Trader might even covertly finance piratical operations to strengthen his/her position and maintain a position of plausible deniability.

Morality: Something of a grey subject in 40K, but it plays it's part in considering the Rogue Trader as an individual, are they righteous and fair in their dealings or are they a scoundrel? A nice Trader might undertake humanitarian missions and generally be working to make the Imperium a better, more stable place, offering fair prices for their services and so on. A less honest Trader may charge exorbitant prices for services only they can provide, especially if they have worked to make it so they hold a monopoly over the said service (sabotaging rivals seems particularly apt, even for an ostensibly loyal Imperial Subject).
A faithful Trader might have absolutely no dealing with Xenos cultures. A more pragmatic one might enter into treaties of trade and non-aggression with aliens because it's better than plunging into a war against a culture that's not really causing any problems. A Xenophobic Traderwould probably obliterate any Xenos they encounter, out of hand.

Having decided on these three areas you can then fill in logical and likely forces. A pragmatic Trader with little standing might well find utility in employing Xenos Freelancers and even alien Technology to give him/her a much needed edge, a militaristic Trader might have abandoned any pretence of exploring the wilds of space and simply be a military power on hire to anyone with the coin to afford his services (or even be an undercover asset for one of the Imperium's power blocs, the Ecclesiarchy, for example, might maintain such individuals to give them power that doesn't contravene the Decree Passive).

Of course, if you're more interested in building an army for the sake of competitive power on the table rather than building a story these keys can be used retroactively to make the force make sense.

The Imperial Guard Codex, as it stands right now, is a good way of building a force run by a Human and predominantly containing humans (as you would probably expect a Rogue Trader's forces to be). The Allies Matrix can give you a nice selection of alternative forces to bring along to either represent the more outlandish elements of a RT's army or to directly reflect their friendliness (or at least a willingness to cooperate) with some of the less antagonistic Xenos factions in the galaxy. You might be tempted to use an Inquisitor to represent your Rogue Trader (especially if he/she is still lowly enough to have to lead his/her army personally) which opens up a few options. If you want your RT to be a powerhouse, a CSM Lord backed up with Cultist Mobs and CSM Vehicles could make an interesting themed force without having to resort to C:IG, a SM Leader with only Vehicles and Scouts would do a similar job with a slightly more sturdy core to build from. Combinations of these (Matrix permitting) Codexes would give even more scope.

The simplest way of doing it with the IG Codex (Which is the one I know my way around best and the one that I feel suits the purpose best) is treat each FOC slot as a separate culture and use different equipment to further distinguish them, one Infantry Platoon could be a tribe from a relatively barbaric society, carrying no heavy weapons and preferring a mobile style of war (perhaps using Al'Rahem), whereas another could be a professional military outfit with a swing towards defence by maxing out the Heavy weapons and transports. A third Platoon might be the members of a Redemptionist settlement, max out the flamers and attach a Ministorum Preist.
Ogryn might be represented as exoskeletal battle suits manned by specially trained pilots or massive H-Grade combat Servitors, Rough Riders could equally be the royal caste of the savages in platoon 1, specialist soldiers, the next generation of the Rogue Trader's extended family earning the right to rule by rite of combat or even a bizarre Skitarii Centaur construct.
You might want the Trader to have their own well equipped personal retinue and decide that Carapace Vets are the way to go and thus make all Veteran Squads part of this elite group. Giving a CoCoSq the carapace upgrade can make them the commanding officer of this personal elite guard or even serve to represent your RT personally.
The IG Codex is as much about Tanks as it is Infantry and whilst you can use stock choices it might be an interesting take to use non standard models to represent them using the powers of Count Zass. There are countless places to find examples of non standard Tanks that stand in for regular IG vehicles, modified Stock models, kitbashes and even scratch built tanks can give you a chance to further reflect how prepared your RT is to bend the rules, the Tanks could be designed to reflect a model that inferior to it's IG counterpart in some way or it might be superior but far more expensive to build, it might be an invention without Adeptus Mechanicus sanction (perhaps a recovered STC build that has yet to be given over to the Marian Priesthood) or even a chassis bearing xenos tech.
You could decide to model every last tank as differently as possible to enhance a rag-tag look to the force (which can still be pulled together by using iconography and colours) or you might decide that different squadrons or marks of Tank deserve their own unique look. For example, you might want to represent an equivalent to the Leman Russ Executioner by giving a tank a Tau Ion Cannon as it's main weapon and repeat that in all instances of that model of tank in your army, but you may decide that a modified Chimera Hull with a Necron weapon affixed to the top represents your Vanquisher or you could use both builds to represent a Demolisher.
The list can literally go on forever, group certain units (or types of units) together as different parts of the same force or make make every unit unique and different according to taste. You can do it as a key to reminding yourself as to the specific tabletop functions of each unit (The Gargathian Cataphracts and their tanks specialise in laying down supressing fire where the Holopsian freemen consider all out attack to be the only way to fight. The Draaskii Tribe are infiltrators and the Malekid Drop Corps specialise in lighting raids). building little themed armies that complement the larger whole would be a great way of dealing with this force in a way that keeps you interested in building the army. You might want to add a new unit and think about which element of your forces best complement that unit or simply decide that a new unit represents another element.

I hope that makes sense. :)

PS. If you wait a week or two, you might have some idea on how this thinking translates to the new Codex.

Oboc
29-03-2014, 22:18
I actually have an army on that theme. I just put all my necromunda models, Schaefer's chancers, the catachan and cadian command squads and heavy weapons toghether. Used juvesas heavy weapon loaders, the more standard ig stuff mixed with some forge world vraks rebel weapons.
The leader, that fluctuates from inquisitor to colonel to lord commissar in terms of rules, is kal Jericho. Thallax are ogryns. Castellax sometimes stand in as sentinels, or allied dreadnoughts.

I tend to agree with what has been said above about rogue traders tough. Anything can be good. Would be less obvious mperial influence though. Maybe model comissars as petty officers or else.

Ruination Drinker
31-03-2014, 23:53
Hey Chem-Dog, your post has inspired me to get back to writing this RT fiction I started a few years back. I stopped because I thought it would be too cut and dry to be interesting. After reading your post I feel foolish for not seeing all of the possibilities. Thanks for taking the time to lay down some knowledge, it's guys like you that make this place feel like a resource and less like a place to rant.

Not-not-kenny
04-04-2014, 16:10
This thread, especially Chem-dog's post, is really inspiring me to make my own RT army.

Ozendorph
04-04-2014, 16:47
Fun stuff up in this thread.

I've always liked the idea of Eldar Outcasts, splinter groups of Tau, and even Blood Axes showing up in an RT force (though maybe not all at once, heh). Good opportunity for some of the "minor" species to make an appearance as well, such as squat survivors, hrud, and various abhumans. I imagine factions within the Inq purposely looking away from RTs, knowing their "back channeling" and shadowy operations are both highly criminal and completely necessary.