Rogue Trader (RPG)

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NOTICE:: As of 2/28/17, FFG has removed all of their products with GW's IP from the catalogues. It seems that the 40K RPG lines are currently and officially dead until/unless GW finds a new contract to carry on the legacy or builds an in-house team to do it.

ADDENDUM: The 40k RPG license has since been acquired by Ulisses North America. The new 40k RPG, Wrath And Glory, is due for release in 2018.

Rogue Trader
RT01.jpg
RPG published by
Fantasy Flight Games
Rule System d%
No. of Players 4+
Session Time 10+ minutes
Authors Michael Hurley, Ross Watson, Jay Little, Sam Stewart
First Publication 2009
Essential Books Rogue Trader Core Rulebook
  • The Game Master's Kit
  • Lure of the Expanse
  • Into The Storm
  • Edge Of The Abyss
  • The Frozen Reaches
  • Citadel of Skulls
  • Fallen Suns
  • Battlefleet Koronus
  • Hostile Acquisitions
  • The Koronus Bestiary
  • The Soul Reaver
  • The Navis Primer
  • Stars of Inequity
  • Faith and Coin
  • Twilight Crusade
Not to be confused with the original Warhammer 40,000 sourcebook of the same name, or with Rouge Traders, who presumably deal primarily in makeup supplies.

Rogue Trader is a tabletop RPG based in Games Workshop's Warhammer 40,000 setting. It is published by Fantasy Flight Games and is part of their 40k-based RPG line, making it mechanically very similar to and broadly compatible with Dark Heresy, Deathwatch, Black Crusade, and Only War (and all their associated splatbooks).

The basic premise of the game has the players take on the roles of a Rogue Trader and his retinue of trusted officers (altogether referred to as "Explorers" by the system) as the command staff of a starship. With wealth, privilege and power undreamt of by the average Imperial citizen, Rogue Traders are free to explore the galaxy at the edges and, indeed, beyond the boundaries of established Imperial space. Far from the prying eyes of the Inquisition or other Imperial authorities, any method of furthering their interests and making profit is on the cards; strip-mining, enslaving, or depopulating entire worlds are within the realms of possibility, and many crews are not above consorting with xenos or even turning to heretical means to achieve their own ends. The players are free to role play the crew of a noble exploration vessel, a band of piratical looters, or anything in between - more than any other in the 40K RPG line, Rogue Trader offers players the most freedom and choice as to what they wish to achieve and how they go about doing it. Generally speaking, Rogue Traders answer to no-one but themselves and their Warrant of Trade lets them go where they please with relative impunity (although it still behooves them to try and stay in the Imperium's good graces).

From a mechanical perspective, the game is extremely similar to FFG's other 40K RPG lines and is, broadly speaking, mechanically compatible with them - Rogue Trader in fact includes rules and guidelines for porting Dark Heresy characters into a Rogue Trader game, and vice-versa (having been published before Deathwatch it makes no mention of that line, but is still compatible). The core of the rules is a percentile system where the player must roll a d100 and compare to a target number (usually a character attribute plus/minus relevant modifiers) to determine whether or not (and how well) they succeed at a given task. As in Dark Heresy, characters find themselves belonging to a specific career path which determines the availability of advances that can be purchased with their earned experience, although the careers in Rogue Trader are significantly more powerful than the Dark Heresy counterparts - a starting-rank RT character is considered roughly equivalent to a DH character with 5000XP. Character generation is much more involved than in Dark Heresy, with the players deciding on a multi-step "origin path" for their character (each step of which provides a choice of options with various mechanical effects).

Other notable differences in Rogue Trader's rules as compared to Dark Heresy include a significantly reworked system for psychic powers and techniques (RT uses attribute tests instead of DH's power dice), in-depth rules for the operation of starships and ship-to-ship combat, and the abandonment of the concrete monetary system in DH for the abstract "Profit Factor", which is tested against when making purchases, Rogue Traders being so fantastically wealthy and their wealth so diversely invested and represented that a simple monetary value becomes meaningless. Abstract rules for undertaking profit-making endeavors such as establishing trade routes and other commercial objectives are also included.

Character Creation[edit]

Character creation is incredible deep, a whopping 5 layers deep in fact. You generate your 9 characteristics by rolling 2d10 and add a 25, or an option for point allocation is also given. Then you choose an origin path and career, spend XP and go on your way.

Origin Path[edit]

Origin paths are a series of choices the player makes. The book has no requirements about who can take what options (So a noble born, stubjack, tainted, press-ganged, prideful Rogue Trader is a-ok!). Players simply go from each category to select a background option:

Home world[edit]

As in other FFG games, this is a list of generic and broad types one would commonly encounter in the Imperium:

  • Death World - This world just kinda sucks in general to live on, includes known hellzones like Catachan.
  • Void Born - You are the latest amongst a generation of space-farers, and probably spent a significant chunk of your life never standing on solid ground.
  • Forge World - Industrial planets that manufacture arms and armor for the imperium.
  • Hive World - Countless billions live on this planet, in tightly packed apartment buildings that block out the sun.
  • Imperial World - A very broad and generic name for a number of Imperial 'core' planets.
  • Noble Born- While technically not a home world, it represents characters born with a silver spoon in their mouth.

Birthright[edit]

Birthright covers the broad strokes about your upbringing. As before, there are no restrictions on which birthright one can take, although the GM is allowed to veto anything.

  • Scavenger - You basically stole and scavenged everything not protected in order to get by.
  • Scapegrace - You ran away and joined the circus, learning a few tricks along the way.
  • Stubjack - Growing up around violence really fucked you up, and you become a mercenary.
  • Child of the Creed - A religious zealot for the EMPRAH!
  • Savant - Fucking nerds. You grew up in the company of scholars and it rubbed off on you.
  • Vaunted - You are the 1% and grew up in wealth and comfort.

Lure of the Void[edit]

The void is a dangerous place. Eldritch horrors might eat your face off, if you're lucky, or you might grow an extra limb, or get fucked by a daemon. So why would you ever go there? This section helps explain why. Each background has one of three perks you pick for yourself

  • Tainted - You're either a mutant, insane or a heretic. Possibly all three. For whatever reason the people around you want nothing to do with you so you left to find a place you might be accepted.
  • Criminal - You are guilty in the eyes of the law, but they have to catch you first.
  • Renegade - You just never quite fit in with the people around you, so you chose to forge your own destiny.
  • Duty Bound - Something compels you to fulfill a sacred duty. It might be the Imperium itself, your dynasty, or just your own moral sense.
  • Zealot - The EMPRAH's will must be enforced, so you bring His light to the ignorant.
  • Chosen by Destiny - Something has always lead you to believe you have a great destiny, so you're out to find it.

Trials and Travails[edit]

Being a rogue trader isn't easy. There are enemies both human and inhuman who wish you ill, this section talks about some of the horrible shit your rogue trader may have experienced before the game begins.

  • The Hands of War - A past war left it's mark on you. You refuse to deal with whoever the enemy was during that conflict.
  • Press-ganged - At some point in your history you were captured and pressed into servitude to somebody. Now that you're free you refuse to let that happen to you or your allies ever again.
  • Calamity - You've been through some unspeakable horror in the past that forced you to do things you now regret.
  • Ship-Lorn - At one point in the past, your ship was taken from you or destroyed, leaving you stranded in some horrible place. You learned a bit about survival in the process.
  • Dark Voyage - You have personally seen the horrors of the void, seeing things man was not meant to see.
  • High Vendetta - A feud with a rival faction in the past left you scarred as you watched close friends die. You double your efforts to protect your friends against any sleight, no matter how minor.

Motivation[edit]

Finally, what motivates your character to do this? It's not an easy job, and odds are more than likely you will die in some horrible fashion. This helps shed some light on that.

  • Endurance - You want to endure horrible things, so you can grow stronger. Life was never exciting if it was easy, right?
  • Fortune - If you survive the danger of space, being a rogue trader can be very profitable. Cold, hard cash is what motivates you to do this.
  • Vengeance - You seek vengeance for some past wrong-doing, and will do whatever it takes to fulfill that old grudge.
  • Renown - You want to be recognized for doing something very few have been able to do.
  • Pride - You're good. You know you're good, but others need to know it too, so you seek to prove yourself.

Careers[edit]

This is your "job" or "class". What your character is good at and how he fits into the party. Like Dark Heresy progression is very open-ended and one profession can cover multiple roles.

  • Arch-militant - A fighter class and Masters of pointy and shooty implements
  • Astropath - A sanctioned Psyker who can communicate with other psykers through the warp.
  • Explorator - A member of the Adeptus Mechanicus. Excels at understanding strange machines, but can also be a good healer with the right "alternate Career Ranks"(subclasses).
  • Missionary - Missionaries of the Emperor, can work as both a healer and the party's "face", has bonuses against the horrors beyond. Also hilarious when plagued with the nervous condition of turrets.
  • Navigator Mutants - Individuals who, due to a rare mutation, are capable of bearing the horrors of the warp to chart a proper course throughout space.
  • Rogue Trader - The eponymous class is essentially a jack of all trades, but excels at giving orders
  • Seneschal - The brains and face for most Rogue Trader houses, this guy knows all the important people, and all the secret info.
  • Void-master - The pilot class, real good at driving ships.

Books[edit]

The titular core sourcebook contains everything needed to play the game, but a number of supplements are available, including:

  • The Game Master's Kit - A pack of resources a GM may find useful in and out of play, including a GM's screen with rules summaries. The book included comes with a pretty simple set of rules for creating star systems.
  • Lure of the Expanse - Splat book with three pre-written adventures. Decent stand-alone information on some of the more notable worlds in the Expanse.
  • Into The Storm - Expanded character generation with extra Origin Path options, alternate ranks for careers, rules for playing Ork and Kroot mercenaries, additional psychic powers for the Astropath Transcendent and Navigator, and an expanded selection of equipment and starship components. Includes a fluff section on Port Wander and the star system it's in at the end including an opportunity to play Space Hulk in Rogue Trader with some cuddly Genestealers.
  • Edge of the Abyss - Splat book that expands on the Expanse. Pretty much just details places, give background info, and some stats for ships and stuff.
  • The Frozen Reaches/Citadel of Skulls/Fallen Suns - A pre-written adventure splat book in three acts called the Warpstorm Trilogy. Veeeeeery long. Warpstorms are always fun. Even if you don't like adventures, they contain a wealth of information on Iniquity for more heretical groups, Damaris for those that want a slice of the Imperium in the Koronus Expanse, and rules for resolving strategic planet-wide battles through dice that work better than the ones in Battlefleet Koronus.
  • Battlefleet Koronus - Almost required for ship combat or ship anything. Tons of updates to ships, including new hulls, components, and weapons like torpedoes and nova cannons.
  • Hostile Acquisitions - New rules and career paths for playing a Rogue Trader ship that is definitely more pirate than explorer.
  • The Koronus Bestiary - Monster splat book containing some interesting creatures, and includes one unique monster for each of the Chaos Gods.
  • The Soul Reaver - A pre-written adventure splat book involving pulling a con on the Dark Eldar in Commorragh. Awesome because it adds Dark Eldar Kabalites as a career path. The adventure itself blows and reeks of much railroading. Have fun trying to kill a Clawed Fiend with Natural Armor and TB 10 with nothing but a rusty knife! Also has a supplement for the supplement called The Dark Kin, which includes another Dark Eldar career path, the Wych, and alternate career ranks like Skyterror or Fleshcrafter disciple.
  • The Navis Primer - Super useful supplement for psyker characters, but has something for everyone. Adds in a ton of new stuff: background fluff on Navigator houses in 40k, new powers for Navigators and two new disciplines for Astropaths, alt ranks for other career paths, the Ork Weirdboy career path, rules for characters having psychic familiars, and expanded rules for navigation and astropathing. Also adds the Awakaned Psyker alt rank, which lets any human character that's not a psyker or navigator become psykers, albeit rogue psykers and you're very likely to asplode into giblets if you take this.
  • Stars of Inequity - Despite seeming like it might give information for various worlds in the expanse, it really only gives some neato rules for creating your own worlds with the world generator, as well as giving Colony Creation rules for the imperialistic Rogue Trader. Also has a loot generator as well.
  • Faith and Coin - The splat for the Savvy Merchant. Half fluff, half crunch, it's a pretty decent splat. First part of the book outlines several missionaries and their lives, next part covers faith-based endeavours, and the last part is the armoury and an adventure. Provides six new alternative ranks, three of which are based around the missionaries mentioned earlier in the book. Armoury is nothing to shy away from; has some amazing stuff, including getting sanctified artificer armour for your characters and the infamous plasma syphon. It does, however, have some issues with Availability.

There are also several pre-written adventures available.

  • Twilight Crusade A new adventure involving some Inquisitor, a governor, and some Tau. Released alongside the book below to best make use of them.
  • Tau Character Guide As the Dark Kin supplement was to The Soul Reaver, this is a complete character guide for playing Tau Explorers in Twilight Crusade (except this one is paid). Notably, the only career available at the start to the Tau is the Fire Warrior, though the Tau are treated justly (being that they play more as supportive troops rather than close combat specialists). Though the book gives some of the normal things expected for Tau (pulse weapons, Rail Guns and battlesuits), they also get slightly broken talents that make it easier to get the combat breaking Riptide. They also get these talents early, making you wonder how the Rogue Trader and co. might react to find the mercenary/fugitive blue captive suddenly walking around in a battlesuit built to crush tanks and fight daemons. Probably take it for a couple of spins (hostile Acquisitions) before requesting larger doors and hallways on his ship.
    • MAJOR WARNING: Due to a major fuckup at FFG, there is currently no way to generate how many wounds or fate points the Tau get. Seriously, how the fuck do you miss that? Apparently, this has already been rectified without errata, owing to its purely digital release.

Gallery[edit]

See Also[edit]

Warhammer 40,000 Role-playing games made by Fantasy Flight Games
Dark Heresy - Rogue Trader - Deathwatch - Black Crusade - Only War - Dark Heresy Second Edition