Saturday, March 17, 2012

Game Night: Rogue Trader--In the Beginning (March 17th, 2012)

Thursday night was the first night of my Rogue Trader game, marking now the 2nd campaign I'm currently running.  Thankfully I've been spinning my wheels thinking about running a Rogue Trader game for a while, so I've had a few ideas bouncing around my brain for a while.

Our intrepid Rogue Trader is the heir to House Malifaux.  With only two ships left, the Lux Invictus (the flagship) and the Gilded Scepter, the Gilded Scepter is taken by pirates and our intrepid Rogue Trader is ransomed back to his family and left on a "nearly" deserted rock.  Nearly, since there were some ork freebooterz on the rock, and the one that survived started following the "brutally cunning" Rogue Trader around.

Our crew consists of a Renegade House Navigator, an Astropath Transcendent, an Arch Militant that would be at home in a western, an Explorator, who was head of operations on the Lux Invictus before the flagship was given back to the Rogue Trader, and the aforementioned Ork Freebooter.

Given the family ship to repair the family fortune, the our Arch Militant is called out by an old rival.  Said rival is accompanied by his big Ogryn buddy.  My initial thought was that the bounty hunter and his big friend would either start a fight right out in the open, leading to a fight and some fast talking or running by the Rogue Trader and his crew, or the bounty hunter and his big friend become a recurring rival for Remington.

Instead, the Rogue Trader summons the bounty hunter to the family grounds on Port Wander, schedules a duel, and tells the Arch Militant that if he looses the duel, he's going to kill him  (yes, if he looses, which would mean he was dead . . . ).  The duel went on way too long  (in part because the bounty hunter got lucky, in part because Remington wasn't using all of his Arch Militant tricks . . . we're all still getting used to the game, and only one of us has played Rogue Trader before).

However, while the duel was a bit lackluster, the sidelines were hilarious.  The Astropath started speaking to the Ogryn on the sideline, who immediately assumed that a voice in his head must be the emperor.  Once the Astropath figured this out, he told the Ogryn that if his friend died, it means he should listen to the Rogue Trader as an agent of the Emperor's will.

The Ogryn was also in front of an ornate gate on the grounds of the estate, and as such thinks that big shiny gates are where the Emperor likes to talk to people.  After his friend died, Pat the Ogryn became the first named NPC member of the crew.

The party's navigator did a fine job navigating the Warp and finding the Astronomican, but not so great a job of finding a good exit point from the Warp.  The first exit nearly crashed the Lux Invictus into a moon, causing the Explorator to do an emergency procedure to kill on engine and restart it to allow the ship to avoid the moon.  The second exit bounced the Lux Invictus off of a Stryxis Caravan ship.  No major damage, just an interesting first impression.

The party also found out that the Ork, for all of his enthusiasm, has proven to be a good pilot whenever they let him fly the shuttle.

The party picked up Medea, a warp witch with ties to the house patriarch, and went to cut a deal to secure an artifact known as the Cauldron Annulus.  Meeting with the aforementioned Stryxis merchant, they found out that he would trade the information for a service they could perform.

All he wanted them to do is convince a garrison of Imperial Guards to leave an outpost long enough for some Eldar to retrieve an item they left behind on that world.  The Explorator, already upset by stepping down from command and having an ork and a warp witch on his ship, is a big advocate of double crossing the Eldar, the Astropath and Navigator are in talks to figure out how to fake a distress call that won't come back on the ship, and the Rogue Trader doesn't want to double cross the Eldar because he wants to keep his new contacts, including the Stryxis, in good standing.

The Arch Militant and the Ork went below decks to find a fight club, makes some bets, and further lower ship morale and population due to the orks considerable melee skills.

It seemed that everyone was having a good time.  There was lots of laughing, to the point that I thought I had killed Loquacious.  Thankfully, she survived.  I did feel bad because the Arch Militant and the Ork Freebooter are definitely built for fightin' . . . but there was a lot of talking and planning this session, especially as an opening chapter.  I shall endeavor to make sure they have more to kill and maim in the future.  As it stands, I hope everyone had as much fun playing as I did running.

Now, on the topic of the actual game . . . Fantasy Flight makes really pretty books.  They write really evocative information.  For the most part, I like how the rules work.  For a game that looks complicated, its not too hard to follow how all of the moving parts work, although things slow down a bit when you get to high damage types calculating all of that damage.  However, despite all of the pros . . . Fantasy Flight has a knack for hiding fairly important rules in strange corners of their rulebooks.  Somewhere, somehow, there has to be some way for FF to take another pass to clarify and properly connect a few rules here and there.

Plus, man, Orks are monsters.  Rogue Trader may be between Dark Heresy and Deathwatch, but Orks are way closer to the Deathwatch side of things, it appears.

Oh, and before I forget, one of my players ordered a Battlefleet Gothic ship to represent the ship in case they got into space combat  (I feel bad, because I just had a couple of Star Trek ship minis from WizKids in case something happened).  When the ship came in  (ha!), it was in about a billion pieces . . . with no instructions.  One of the folks on the Dakka Dakka forums summed it up this way . . . "If you put it together and it looks like it's suppose to, you did it right.  If you put it together and it doesn't, then its a custom job."

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