Battlefleet Koronus, Rogue Trader’s extensive sourcebook about the starships that traverse the Koronus Expanse, will be in stores later this winter. Today, we present a designer diary from Jason Marker, one of the writers assigned to this exciting supplement.
Hey Rogue Traders, Jason Marker here. Today I'm here to talk about the rules for large-scale combat, which I wrote for Battlefleet Koronus. My assignment was initially on the ins and outs of waging war in the Imperium. However, as work progressed, we ended up developing a series of simple but effective rules with which players and GMs could design military units from the ground up... then equip them and deploy them among the heathens and xenos of the Koronus Expanse for the glory of the Emperor. Basically, once your crew wins the war in space, it’s time for the invasion.
Raise Your Troops
We start with mustering and equipping troops, which uses the new rules for building and equipping units. There are six general types of units available to Rogue Traders—infantry, calvary, mechanised infantry, artillery, armour, and air forces. Units have a power level dictated by their type, which, along with their acquisition modifier, is then modified by that unit's tech-level, their sub-type (light, medium, or heavy), and their troop quality. This allows for an incredible amount of variation and customization between unit types and near endless options for the GM. It also easily illustrates the reason that while a veteran light infantry company from a hive world may be expensive, they are much better at their jobs than a a company of serfs from a feudal world. Aside from their Unit Power Characteristic, units also have a number of other Characteristics, such as Morale, Strength, and Movement. All of these factors come into play once the bullets and bolt shells start flying.
Once a unit is mustered, they must then be equipped. Like the units themselves, equipment comes in a number of different qualities and covers everything that a unit needs to fight, from what an individual trooper has in his pockets all the way to the unit's vehicles. Needless to say, quality can have serious positive or negative effects on a unit's combat effectiveness.
Control the Chaos
The next step is, of course, waging war. The new mass combat rules allow the GM and players in a Rogue Trader game to add as much detail to their warfare efforts as they see fit. Similar to ship combat, mass combat takes place on both a macro and micro level. During strategic turns, the Explorer leading the combat, typically either the Rogue Trader or an Arch-Militant, issues “orders” to his units. Orders entail such actions as advancing, charging, digging-in, and disengaging. While this is happening, there are also Flash Points, similar to miniature Endeavours with specific goals, such as finding and destroying an enemy's communication hub, jamming transmissions, calling in artillery, or challenging an enemy general to single combat. The idea is these can be completed by the Explorers and picked groups of NPCs, allowing the players to become personally involved. Success at these Flash Points can drastically improve the chances of victory.
In all, these new rules, along with rules for Military Endeavours and hiring mercenaries, add extra levels of immersion for players and Game Masters by allowing greater control over the outcome of military operations. They are highly customisable, allowing Game Masters to tailor them to their particular campaigns and play styles, and are a great way to introduce side-quests and other complications to a Rogue Trader game.
So there you have it, friends. Pick up your copy of Battlefleet Koronus, raise some troops, and go out and win one for the God-Emperor!