Friday, March 2, 2012

Game Night: Rogue Trader . . . Rise of the Nova Cannon (3-2-12)

Our session last night was the character creation session for my brand new Rogue Trader game.  I generally like to start off a campaign with a character creation session, but for a lot of games this means that the session has people that already made their characters, and a lot of conjecture.  While the point of a character creation session (at least from my perspective) is to have the players co-ordinate their characters a bit and for the GM to get a handle on the new PCs.  Often times this just doesn't seem to work out.

What I like about Rogue Trader is that there are some tools built into the system that encourage having a character creation session that puts down some roots in the campaign.  Ironically, the Origin Path didn't do most of the heavy lifting this time around.

What's the Origin Path, you ask, unless you have the Rogue Trader book?  Essentially there are various lines that modify the character, and as you move from one line to the next, you have to keep your origin along an adjacent path.  For example, at the top of the list, you might choose X, and you have three choices under that one, and then when you move to that row, you have three choices, etc.

Beyond modifying the character based on their past, this also serves to provide natural connections between the characters.  Wherever the lines in the Origin Path intersect, that means that the players have run into one another or have some connection based on that crossover.  

Except that somehow, with five characters, no one managed to have any common ground on the Origin Path with any other character.  It was actually pretty amusing.  

Before we talk about the other "campaign preliminaries," perhaps some introductions are in order.  We have a Rogue Trader whose family is famous but has fallen on hard times.  We have an arch-militant that is pretty much a cowboy.  We have an Astropath Transcendent, and an Explorator . . . and an Ork Freebooter.

The Ork Freebooter wants to pick up tech skills and stealth so that he can sneak around the ship "fixing" things on the ship.  Now, this would have led to amusing interactions between the Ork and the Explorator to begin with, but when we generated the history of the ship, it turns out that the ship itself is seen as a holy artifact by the Adeptus Mechanicus.  They line up to visit the ship in droves.

Meaning that the Adeptus Mechanicus will show up, and potentially see the ork modifications on their holy ship during a visit.  The Explorator's player is sure he's going to get murdered if they find an special ork modifications to their holy site.  He was almost ready to assume that his character was going to die because of this, and was then going to make up a new character, which I pointed out as being fairly close to the classic Traveler "you die in character creations" foible.

The group ended up with a fairly low profit factor and a lot of ship points.

What did the group do with their ship points?  Well, they got a Nova cannon.  There is some other stuff too, but they got a Nova cannon.  

I have to say that between all of the discussion on the house, the characters, and the ship, this is probably one of the most fun character creation sessions I've had as a GM.  

Now for the down side.  I really like Fantasy Flight's 40K RPGs.  I think they do a good job of having those insane overkill moments while also providing a nice framework for determining how everything happens.  Combat is a little clunky at times, but it supports the feel of the setting well.  That having been said, Fantasy Flight has an interesting idea of how to organize books.  And how to index things.  Nothing says fun like having half the table sure they read something then spend a while looking in all of the logical places for what they remember, only to find what they were looking for on accident.

Also, apparently some core books are suicidal and hang onto your hand while you turn the page, causing said page to rip itself out at the roots.  I've seen it happen.

We were down a player, so I'll be interested to see what kind of character she makes to fit into this group, and I'm really looking forward to the next sessions.

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