We finally started our Rogue Trader campaign tonight, and it was great! This was the first time we'd all sat down together, so the first thing we did was work through ship creation to create our fine vessel, "The Duty-Bound"!
Our vessel is a Frigate, with lots of nice guns (well...2 guns, one a big short-ranged plasma thing, the other a longer-ranged laser cannon). We have a nice cargo-hold, barracks for hauling troops around, some extra armour, amongst other things.
We'd all made our character before tonight, but a short background on each of us would be in order:
I'm playing Malagantius, the Rogue Trader. He's the last of 15 children borne in to an ancient noble family. His position at the bottom of the totem pole, as it were, left little room for him in the family's business. He was sent to military schools at a young age, where he proved to have a quick and able mind, able to grasp difficult concepts with ease. He exceled in his studies, and as soon as he was of age, with the combination of his school record and his family's influence, he was granted a commission in the Imperial Navy.
Through his life, he's had absolute faith that the Emperor will lead mankind to ultimate victory and is the one true hope of all mankind, guiding through his infinite will the hands of all men that believe and do his bidding. He is, however, a very pragmatic and jaded man, having seen first hand the corruption and lies told by those who pretend to serve the Emperor, but are instead only serving themselves...most notably, his family, and many of the officers he met in the Navy. He strongly believes that the power and money his family name grants him are his so that he may use them to serve the Emperor, and through him all mankind.
After many years of good service, he was in command of a Frigate involved in a large conflict versus a Chaos incurssion. The admiral of the fleet involved in this action was a completely incompetent political appointee who led his fleet in to a disastrous ambush. Most of the Imperial fleet was wrecked, and the Chaos flagship was pounding the Imperial Admiral's battleship. In an effort to allow the Admiral to escape, Malagantius set his ship on a collission course with the enemy flagship, sacrificing himself and his ship to allow his Admiral and the better part of the Imperial fleet to escape.
His attempt was successful, the remnants of the Imperial fleet were able to escape, including the Admiral. Malgantius was rescued by a fighter pilot from his Frigate who saw what had transpired and took brave and selfless action to rescue his Captain (or so Malgantius thinks...) He was rescued and nursed back to health, though he now sports may Bionic limb replacements.
Sadly, the political factor in the Navy chose to make Malagantius the scape-goat for the entire botched affair. A story was fabricated and released that implicated Malagantius as the cause for the lost battle due to his incompetent and reckless behavior. He was forced to retire at a young age, and though he has many enemies amongst the Imperial Navy, there are many that know of what value his actions truly were and consider him a hero.
His family was again able to use it's influence, this time in obtaining a Warrant of Trade and procuring a fine ship, "The Duty-Bound".
The ship is now piloted by the very same fighter pilot that rescued Malagantius from the flaming wreck that was his ship. Brother Pilot Phineas, disenchanted with the military and quite taken to drink, deserted the Navy. I've taken him aboard, as he's proven his worth to me. I intend to keep him out of the clutches of the Adeptus Arbites...he now serves the Emperor through me and "The Duty-Bound".
This is complicated, however, as we were met at our first stop towards our destination by Lord Arbitor Wolfenstein, who humbly offered his services to us as a passenger aboard our vessel. He's intent on being the first prescense of the Adeptus Arbites in the system we're to begin claiming for the Emperor.
Having had to have some repairs done to our ship prior to the final leg of our journey, we were also asked to bring a contingent of Adeptus Mechanicus Tech-priests to the new system, led by Explorator Captain Felix. As having the Priests of Mars at our disposal seemed as it could only benefit us...what ship couldn't use their blessing?...we of course eagerly accepted.
With the introductions and how-do-you-dos out of the way, we came out of our warp jump in to the only system in the sector of space we're to be claiming that is firmly in the grasp of the Imperium. We find the entire Navy fleet stationed here in stardock, almost every ship with severe battle damge. We're hailed by them immediately, and threatened by their small picket vessles that we're to be destroyed if we do not identify ourselves and our purpose. After transferring a copy of our Warrant to them, we're allowed to pass, but as we get closer to the planet, we're again threatened. Another copy of our Warrant is sent, along with my compliments to the Admirial. We're told that we must be inspected and cleared for berthing before we're allowed to dock, and that until then we'd be unable to approach the planet....that this inspection would happen in no less than 3 weeks.
Three weeks?! No, i will not wait 3 weeks. An astropathic message was sent to Lord Aurelias, supreme commander of the Aurelias sector, letting him know that we'd arrived and were being quarantined by the navy.
A few hours later, a Cruiser and two frigates got underway from the space station and began closing on us, their shields raised. They refused to answer our communication attempts. How curious...were they attacking us? Certainly not! But just in case, we certainly weren't going to assume safety. We raised our own shields and we got underway, maneuvering to better position to escape should the need arise. The vessels closed on us, and when they'd been in weapon's range for some time, we decided that they did not intend to attack...if they did, we'd be blown up already!
We stopped, allowing the ships to approach us at close-quarters. Finally communication from the Cruiser arrived, with a young, not quite sure of himself Captain displaying great displeasure that we'd ignored his ship's communication attempts and tried to flee. I responded as one in my position should have, with great arrogance and insults. The young Captain was not pleased! He informed us that he was to escort us to the planet, where we'd been invited to an immediate audience with Lord Aurelius. But why the lack of communication? Were they trying to goad us in to battle?
While we got underway again following the Navy detachment, I had Explorator Captain Felix and Lord Arbitor Wolfenstien investigate our sensor reading's records to determine if some outside influence was the cause of the lack of communication with the Navy detachment. The Explorator Captain found that there was indeed some form of electro-magnetic interference, but was unable to ascertain if it was a natural phenomenon or man (or xenos!) made. I reviewed the data myself, and felt quite confident that this was no natural occurrence...
In an effort to win over some friends in the Navy fleet here in the Sector, I invited the young Captain to "The Duty-Bound" for a social visit. He came, and though the dinner conversation was sparse...the Captain was not one to quickly forgive the insults I heaped upon him during our first meeting...with enough drink the Captain finally loosened up. He told us that the Navy had been soundly beaten by an Eldar fleet in the next system in to the Aurelius Sector. Not just once, but repeatedly over the last 120 years! He displayed some displeasure with the competence of the Admirality...what a surprise!...and seemed genuinely friendly and helpful after our afternoon together. He left us in orbit around the planet, heading back to join his fleet. Hopefully our goodwill will be rewarded when we need to interact with the Fleet again!
We took a shuttle down to the planet: Brother Pilot Phineas flying, with the Explorator Captain and Lord Arbiter and myself, together with a small security detachment. We met Lord Aurelius...a very zealous man, a fellow true-believer in the Emperor's might. He was the one that had requested that I come to this sector, and his patronage was something I could not afford to lose....not this early in my career! He was very quick to hand down his first assignment: we were to transport a load of colonists with all their equipment to a planet in the system where the Eldar had just soundly beaten his fleet!
Apparently the admirals and the Lord Governor's staff assured him that there was no chance that the Xenos had survived the battle. From early conversations with others, it seemed pretty clear that it was the Imperial Fleet that got the rough end of that battle...this seemed to indicate that these colonists were doomed!
Moreover, Lord Aurelius intended for us to leave immediately! The colonists and their equipment was already being loaded aboard my ship!
All of us feeling quite unsure how to proceed, we decided to simply attempt to make planetfall and see what obstacles were there...if there was too strong an Eldar military presence, we'd just bring the colonists back. What else could we do?
However, on our way back to our shuttle, Lord Arbiter Wulfenstein noted a pair of thin, hooded & cloaked, very lithe figures trailing us. Attempting to not let our pursuers know we'd spotted them, the Explorator Captain attempted to use his Servo Skull to get a closer look at them, perhaps get some video recording for later analysis.
Unfortunately, the Servo Skull proved harder to control than expected, and in an amazing display of technical ineptitude, the Explorator Captain caused it to explode!
The locals scattered in panic, and we immediately lost sight of our pursuers. Hoping to re-establish contact with them, the Lord Arbiter hid in a nearby alley while we continued towards our shuttle. We got to the shuttle, and waited...and waited...and waited. We tried to contact the Lord Arbiter, but he did not respond. What had happened?!
The Explorator Captain went to work, and using our vox communicators he was able to triangulate the Arbiter's position...he was moving in to the Undercity! We quickly got airborne, and though our drastic maneuvers caused some severe reaction from local air defense, we quickly set down in a public square near an access to the warrens under the city.
Leaving some of the security team to guard the shuttle, the rest of us ran headlong in to the under-city, tracking the Arbiter by the location of his vox. He'd long since stopped moving, and we quickly found that he was in an abandoned industrial area. In a decrepit shipping building, loading docks on all sides, we found the Arbiter alone, unconscious in the middle of the ferrocrete floor.
He was alive, and quickly restored to consciousness. The Explorator Captain found very unusual gravometric readings near where we'd found him, and Brother Pilot Phineas noted that these readings might have been caused by Eldar teleport technology.
We all made it back to the shuttle with no more misadventures, and returned to our ship. There we found that ten thousand (!) colonists and all the colony pre-fab structures and equipment had been crammed in to our cargo hold, as well as a large veteran guard force (roughly 1000 men). We made preparation to set the maneuvering watch on the first watch the next day and get underway with our passengers. What awaits them?
We'll probably be playing every 2 weeks or so. I hope to keep a little record of our adventures here!