View Full Version : Ideas for a rogue trader campaign?

The bearded one
14-04-2016, 23:16
Hey gents,

I've been in a D&D campaign with some good friends the past.. sjeez I think it's been 2 years already at this point. And the guys wanted to start a rogue trader campaign on the side and asked me if I wanted to be their GM.

I jumped at the oppertunity - I love being able to tell stories in this way and listen to myself talk for inordinate amounts of time - and I already have a bit of an outline for the basic events happening in the background of this campaign. Rogue trader gives your party a lot of freedom in what you want to do because you own your own ship so could conceivably go to whatever planet you'd want.

The basic idea I've outlined is of a frontier sector, where at the local imperial strongholds a crusade fleet is mustering in order to pound a cluster of wayward rebellious/xenoloving planets into submission. This crusade will probably go off to an abysmal start and stall out and the sector will become a patchwork conflictzone (with lots of spaceship graveyards because they are morbid and cool). I don't intend to have my players actually participate in this crusade itself (they'll probably be blown to smithereens in a fleetbattle) but this will be the backdrop. It'll be a type of 'current events' - the stuff characters might hear about if they were bothered to look at their local newsscreen or read a newspaper they pick up from the street - but not necessarily be directly intertwined with their own stories. I think it'll give some dynamism to this sector I'm setting out for them - plus give them the oppertunity to engage in some good ol' war profiteering.

But I was wondering if you guys may have some neat ideas for planets or sessions - perhaps from rogue trader campaigns you've played yourself.

14-04-2016, 23:52
The GM's guide has a lovely little adventure in it about the Rogue Trader reclaiming a lost planet system that they used to control.

But if you are planning on running a game based around wars, I highly recommend the supplement Battleflert Kronos.

Asi the Red
16-04-2016, 05:47
An offer of throne gelt from the rebels / xenophiles to move arms/equipment/insurgents. If the RT takes it and succeeds there's a lot of Profit in it, but a chance that someone on the Imperial side has noticed their involvement and begins an investigation (even a RT does not have total immunity for collaboration).
Similar to above, the Imperials want the RT to go in to rebel territory and insert spies/operatives/saboteurs. This gives the players a choice to use subterfuge to make the rebels think the RT is cooperating with them, or perhaps stealth (as stealthy as a Light Cruiser can be...), or direct force.
A canny Rogue Trader might do both of the above, posing as a friendly smuggler and using his position to gain access to the rebels (dropping off Officio Sabotorum personnel while loading cargo/men), then transporting rebel insurgents to a new hot zone (or from a current hot zone), then turning around and giving all the info they have on the Insurgents (false ID numbers, faked papers/passports, pict captures of their faces, etc) to the local Arbites after they've collected the gelt from the rebels.

A lot of what your players are going to be doing can depend on how you and they spend the points to design their ship and characters. If they put a lot of points into combat ability and you try to send them on diplomatic missions and intrigue they're going to have a hard time, and vice versa.

If combaty: commissioned to shadow a convoy and dispose of raiders preying on munitions ships. If they fail their ship is damaged and they have to do a mission on foot to defend the Bridge/Engineering/Forward Magazine. If they succeed they can board a damaged raider ship and do a mission on foot to recover its navigational core.
From there you can either have the Navigator and Void Master team up to track the raiders back to their base through the Warp (if they failed part 1, or succeeded part 1 then failed their boarding attempt), or jump back to port with their stolen Nav data (successes in parts 1 & 2). Either way they turn their info in to the Navy for Profit.
Then have them go do another short mission arc while the Navy puts a task force together and when they get back they can either have an invitation to join the Naval task force in another fleet action to wipe the raiders out at the source, or find out about the upcoming fleet action through the grape-vine and do some diplomacy to get themselves attached so they can get some payback if the raiders got the best of them.
You could run the assault on the raider base as a fleet action only and just have it blown to bits after a successful Naval engagement, or with it escaping into the Warp if the engagement takes too long and popping back up somewhere else later with a vendetta against the Rogue Trader. Or if your players were itching for some more in character action their sensors could identify a critical location that needs assaulting with the Rogue Trader taking some armsmen onto the raider's base.

16-04-2016, 07:11
Just throwing this out there but I've done dark Heresy & rogue trader a few times times and probably the best campaign of rogue trader we did was actually set in the horse heresy maybe about 10 years before Horus rising was at that place so it was neat going to knowledge of what's going to happen as players but on a much smaller scale. Speech to text us rebelling so I'll stop there. Gave a great game!

16-04-2016, 12:31
You could get the characters involved in the machinations of sector politics. A faltering crusade can make those who are running it look bad, and is a good opportunity for ambitious or amoral political types to rise by backstabbing them on the home front.

As far as planets go, I like to keep in mind the conceit that the galaxy is a fundamentally hostile place for human life. Planets that are unsuited for human life (due to extreme environment, hostile xenos fauna / flora / artifacts, toxic pollution, or not actually being terrestrial planets at all) - but which the Imperium has decided to brute force a civilization on anyway - are key to the 40k style imo. Not all planets have to be like this obviously, but when in doubt make it somehow hostile.

16-04-2016, 23:05
"Abdul Goldberg has crossed you for the last time . . ." - Rogue Trader book, mission generator something or other.

If I were to run anything, I'd start with that one line.

16-04-2016, 23:13
Some of the various campaigns and pre-packed bits in the FFG can easily be re purposed for different systems - the one I'm most fond of (good memories of playing through them) being the Haarlock Legacy - specifically the 'intro' one where you go to the auction (it's at the end of one of the source books). It'd play excellently as a Rogue Trader crew turning up to actually buy/get stuff (as the fit hits the shan, so to speak) rather than Inquisitors doing a bit of snooping.

Similarly, the Damned Cities represents a great, decrepit, Noir world in Sinophia and the last chapter does a terrific turn representing a 'dangerous job' that an Inquisitor might charter a crew to undertake.

The first of the trilogy, where you get all your stuff nicked and start off in a daft prison thing is a bit more vexing for most players, but as a source piece itself, it's a fascinting setting that can be easily repurposed if your players should ever visit one of the more luxurious/decadent worlds.


On purely wishful thinking, I was always keen with the idea of setting up a region where it becomes genuinely credible that the players *could* prompt a reclamation crude or similar. A sort of seemingly empty setting that, on inspection, becomes increasingly exploitable. Add in a couple of dangerous threats (Necrons and Orks present surprisingly scalable forces that need serious consideration but that, if your players don't fancy it, can be neglected and they can pursue their own goals).

That way you can sow seeds for a variety of things for your players to work with, try to *steer* (difficult to railroad on RT as at any pojnt the players can pretty much decide to just sail off into the sunset... and resent the GM if they're not allowed to...) the campaign by having Imperial (or other) authorities make exceptionally enticing offers.

More than all that, I'd recommend trying to cultivate the ambitions of the players... encourage them to not just do what you want them to, but to challenge you into massive scales of creation by setting their ambitions high.

Perhaps one of their NPC cremates happens to be of astonishing aristocratic lineage, and keeps mentioning the opportunities that come with getting onto the Senate Imperialis - a little obsessed with the High Lords of Terra perhaps?

Cultivate their ambition, give them a sandbox they can really get dirty and messy in!

(Well, that's what I'd like.)

Edit: I've also long-time fancied what Veterannoob suggests, a Great Crusade Rogue Trader story. Hell, doing one *early* in the Crusade could be terrific, set just after Horus is found. Massive alien empires all over the shop, genuine exploration into an almost wholly unknown galaxy, trying to find rumoured forge world's or legendary long-lost human worlds.

'Mission one: The Emperor has tasked your Expedition Fleet to try to track down a long lost, genetic marvel of a human colony. Your Expedition Fleet Commander has commanded you, under the terms of your charter and the will of the Master of Mankind, to scout ahead of the main fleet, looking for the system named in the millennia-old archeotech datacrypts as <Fenrir>...'