Our intrepid Rogue Trader crew started off the night in Footfall, a hive of scum and villainy, or something like that. They have several options on the table, but the most compelling option to follow up on, and the one that was emphasized by the patriarch of the family, is the warp collapsing artifact that was lost to pirates.
On top of the endeavour that the group was going to finish up, they also have a couple of favors to call in whenever they might choose to do one. They have a marker to call in with the Imperial Carrier Shoulders of the Emperor, as well as one with the Storm Wardens chapter of Space Marines.
Finally, the crew found out that not only is the artifact being held by former pirates that have become corrupted by Chaos, but that said former pirates now worship Khorne and have managed to down one of the Black Ships, with a load of psykers from the outlying new colonies in the Koronus Expanse.
Given that particular news, the group decided to spend a few days sending messages back and forth to the Shoulders of the Emperor, which also happened to send them a message warning the crew that the Shoulders of the Emperor had picked up a stow away from Lance Minor, that may or may not be important.
Before they could leave Footfall, they group received a package from the previously assumed dead Olorous Vastenhull, that package being a crate full of Battle Servitors armed with Hellguns and Chain axes.
In the end, the encounter wasn't particularly fatal for the crew. The Explorator failed to take one over and reprogram it, the Arch Militant threw lots of grenades into the crate before all of the servitors could free themselves, and the ork charged over Pat the Ogryn to slaughter the servitors that survived the initial grenade assault.
Then Pat dumped the crate on the unsuspecting ships birthed on the level below the Lux Invictus, since he has a tendency to take orders a bit literally.
On the way to Hander's Gamble, the group called in the Shoulders of the Emperor, but while the Lux Invictus had a record uneventful trip through the Warp, the Shoulders of the Emperor got a bit . . . lost on the way.
As a GM, this brings up a few meta questions. I know in Deathwatch it's pretty much assumed that Space Marine ships get where they are planning on going with minimal mishaps in the Warp. Is this because Space Marine ships are that much better at navigating the Warp? Or is it that the narrative just always assumes that Warp transit issues aren't the story you are telling? If Space Marines have better Warp safety, does this translate to other Imperial ships? Since a lot of Rogue Trader ships are retrofitted Imperial Navy, I'm assuming this isn't actually the case.
So I arrive at my own assumptions:
1. Space Marines do have at least somewhat more reliable means of navigating the Warp without incident than anyone else in the Imperium.
2. Other Imperial ships aren't on that much better footing than most Rogue Traders when it comes to navigating the Warp.
If I run into something that contradicts these assumptions, I shall adapt.
Arriving in system, and the NPC helmsman blew the check to initiate silent running and avoid detection. This marks the fifth pilot that has been sent to the servitor labs. Poor guy.
Anyway, this initiated a fight with two Infidel Class Chaos Raiders. I wanted to get more used to ship to ship combat. Interpersonal stuff in the system makes perfect sense to me and I don't have too many issues navigating it (barring still trying to remember the ins and outs of psyker powers and navigator powers).
I reread the section on ship to ship combat between game sessions. I still made a fairly slow, slogging mess of it. When I read through ship to ship combat, nothing jumps out as problematic, and it seems fun. When I run it, I always seem to run into stuff that I don't remember being in those rules. I'm not sure if this is something I'm going to get better at, or if this is something that my brain just isn't quite fully digesting, but I hate having the game grind to a halt when I have to look something up.
Now, normally I'm the type of GM that would roll with something and make a ruling and look it up later, but ship to ship combat is enough of a different animal that I just don't feel comfortable making huge leaps of logic. I'll keep reading and rereading, and hopefully eventually I'll be able to either remember or reasonably wing it soon, to the point to where ship to ship combat doesn't feel like a sudden break in the pacing of the game.
Overall, I think it was still fun, just a little too much down time looking stuff up.
On planet, the group deployed their multiple force fielded, heavy bolter armed buggy, and set out for the place on the planet where the artifact seems to be housed. Chaos cultist ambush ensues, and between the astropath, the navigator, and the Arch Militant, both lines of ambushers were stunned and cut to ribbons, and before that last of them were wiped out, the Ork kicked up enough of a dust cloud that the bad guys never had a chance at targeting the buggy.
From the GM perspective, I need to get get used to looking at other 40K RPG profiles for inspiration. I've played Deathwatch and run Rogue Trader, so without getting used to looking at some of the other RPG resources, that means my Chaos cultists tend to be either "base level chaos cultist canon fodder" or "Chaos Space Marines and Sorcerers that will probably kill your Rogue Trader PCs."
All the while, the Rogue Trader sat in his "Popemobile" bubble drinking tea and giving out minor suggestions.
By the end of the session, the group has found the fortress where the Khornites are holed up with the artifact.
Next session . . . Blood for the Blood God!