The following post contains spoilers for season one of our Rogue Trader game, which consists of episodes 1 – 10.
Rogue Trader has become one of the longest running campaigns I have ever run. A mixture of the grimdark of Warhammer, the sense of exploration of Star Trek, and the usual silliness of our group. It has quickly turned into one of our most fun and memorable games. And, as of a few months ago, it has ended what is officially its first season.
During that season, I learned a lot about how small changes or rolls of the dice can change whole campaigns, and could make for a far more interesting story then I could have possibly originally planned. Its characters are a prime example.
Barsher da Barsher is all ork. If you could find a better example of how an ork should act, bring him to Barsher so that he can give him a good violent speaking to. But, as described by Billy, its hard to play him. Its hard to give agency to a character who is such a perfect example of its species that it is almost a stereotype. Thankfully, a random meeting with a â€œspiritâ€ of a dead ancestor has given him a focus. Where once he was just a ork who just said a few funny lines and was close to being just a joke character has become an ork willing to fight in the warp. If that means building some kickass ork gear, making his own version of the WAAGGGH and shaking his fist at the ork gods, well dammit that’s whats gonna happen.
Speaking of aliens, comes another alien race that is much more difficult to define and quite honestly, much more difficult for any roleplayer to play. While the ork has at least its funny nature to keep it going, the Kroot urge to consume other races was interesting, but it didn’t really help to define the character. Angela is a fantastic roleplayer and needed a character that can truly grow and not one that seemed to be stuck in its genetic imperative. I sometimes feel this is also a failure on my part as a GM. Â Could I have created a new goal for the Kroot, some form of possible objective. I had a few thoughts in that general direction Â but nothing I could really use as a story point. Sadly, I donâ€™t think anyone could have saved that character. As such, Telka was left to the wayside and replaced with Natasevya, head of security.
Natasevya, like all new characters, needed time to define what made her unique. That came quickly as her particular form of insanity took root. A simple security officer soon become a hunter of mutineers, both real and imagined. In Warhammer 40K terms, she is the most effective security officer ever. So effective, the lack of possible mutinees makes the other characters a little bored. I already am bursting with possible plot hooks for her character, many more so than I could have had with Telka.
Then there was Explorator Quantus. He was a character created with Davidâ€™s limited understanding of the Warhammer 40K universe. A fantastic character for a possible one shot but as the game continued it was obvious the character needed to change. The more David learned about tech priests, the more he was able to put into the character. Through trials, mental manipulation, and some good old fashioned brain surgery, David was able to give Quantus a true unique personality and a goal. To finally know what it is to become one with the Omnissiah.
Then there is Renaldo Machiarius and well, it’s hard to mess with perfection. Daniel plays the perfect captain. The right combination of arrogance and flair with the skills to back it up. He has changed though, although the change is much more subtle. The arrogance is still there but there is also a cautious air. As if the weight of responsibility is slowly guiding him towards the inevitable. And well, when you inadvertently create your greatest nemesis, I guess some pressure should be expected.
Daniel Kunan is an enemy I had no intention of making. You can quite literally tell by the name. I was looking at our player Daniel when I made up Daniel Kunan. In my defense, I was tired and the Pepsi hadn’t really kicked in. Either way, I thought, it would be a funny side character that they would or would not save. Oh how that changed with the roll of the dice. The third session was suppose to be a simple adventure. No grand plan or epic moment. But when Daniel Kunan rolled a 100 when looking at a warp daemon, an idea popped into my head that was too good to pass up. Daniel Kunan changed from an inbred noble fool to a force to be reckoned with and a power that the group themselves may have to eventually face.
This urge to fight the power resulted in Renaldo stopping a facility for creating discount space marines and making himself a pariah to all Imperial forces in the sector. Most of his contacts have dried up and he has to build new contacts and try new route of diplomacy. An interesting challenge. Such Epicness requires Epic changes in the game as well.
First off is ship combat. Although I had tried a bit in the beginning, I left it to the side as more exciting things like dialogue and messing with warp creatures took the forefront. But now, I have to plan not only how to make it interesting to my players, but also to the listeners. I doubt you guys would enjoy 30 minutes of us moving stuff around a table.
Next is more emphasis on the growth of their empire.The first season was mainly about discovering their goals and the introduction of some possible allies and enemies. No clear purpose beyond going from planet to planet and discovering what unique things to mess with. Of course, that won’t be stopping. There will still be random adventures, but there needs to be more. With the numerous supplements out for Rogue Trader such as Stars of Inequity, I will allow the players to create colonies and bases. As well as ways create more lasting bonds with the various factions they have and will meet.
Of course, doing this will take game time. Season one took place over a few years and I think to make season two last a few decades. Plenty of time for Renaldo Macharius to make a dynasty and the alliances to back it up. As well as for his enemies to work on their plans, whatever they may be. Don’t worry though, the crew won’t be full of old people. It is the future after all and they are rich (at least in comparison to the rest of the galaxy). They can probably mess with people for a good two to three centuries.
Here is hoping for another season of podcasts you guys will enjoy. A message from the powers of Chao…..I mean Chris.
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