|Rogue Trader | Published 09 February 2010|
Hello Rogue Trader fans!
This week I’d like to talk about the second adventure in the upcoming Lure of the Expanse adventure book, The Heathen Trail.
Without giving too much away, The Heathen Trail takes place in a part of the Koronus Expanse known as the Heathen Stars. The Heathen Stars is a region of the Expanse that has been inhabited by humanity for many millennia, possibly even before the time of the Imperium. More often than not, they know nothing of the Imperium or its divine ruler, the God-Emperor of Mankind.
It is amongst these worlds the Explorers must travel, to uncover long-lost secrets and clues to the location of a vast treasure. However, being Rogue Traders, they should consider that every situation they find themselves in has a chance for profit!
The Heathen Trail is set up a ‘sandbox’ adventure, designed to give the players a great deal of leeway in how they go about exploring the Heathen Stars. The adventure provides five different unique worlds and locations within the Heathen Stars (with one very notable exception). Each has a history and gazateer, and a detailed set of objectives the Explorers can fulfill to obtain additional profit on the side. Sometimes these objectives coincide with the Explorers’ original goals, while in other cases the Explorers could ignore them...if they can easily ignore the possible rewards!
In this designer diary, I would like to talk about two of the locations, the desert world of Vaporius, and the ill-omened Processional of the Damned.
Vaporius is an excellent example of a world whose culture is very divergent from the Imperium, something the Explorers will encounter in the Heathen Stars. A world of pink, sandy deserts, beautiful but extremely poisonous cyan seas, and jagged mountain ranges that cut across the planet like chainsword teeth, Vaporius is hardly a place where you would expect to find life. However, humanity has survived and even prospered here, living in vast cities in the deserts constructed of copper, glass, and ceramic tiles. Each city is built around a single spring of pure, fresh water, and each spring is controlled by a Priest-King.
The Priest-Kings hold absolute power over their subjects, who are completely (and some might say suspiciously) content with their servitude. They worship the Priest-Kings as deities, and the Priest-Kings in turn live in complete luxury. There is only one threat to the Preist-Kings’ authority—the Imperium of Man, or more specifically the Missionarius Galaxia. These preachers of the Imperial Creed are attempting to convert the population to worship of the God-Emperor and in doing so, threaten the one thing the Priest-Kings covet most of all—their people’s faith.
The Processional of the Damned
Far from the Heathen Stars, the Processional of the Damned is linked to them nonetheless, by the ancient strands of fate and strange xenos machinations. A haunted and fearful place, the Processional is a vast ring of derelict vessels and shattered worlds orbiting a dark star that shines with an eerie light.
Only a few Rogue Traders have visited this place, and even fewer have returned. The only one to speak extensively of his journey is Wrath Umboldt, who stumbled across the Processional while exploring the far reaches of the Accursed Demesne. Umboldt told of a vast procession of wrecked space hulks, as if all the lost ships in the Segmentum (or perhaps the galaxy) had washed up on this benighted shore. He did not tarry there long, but he did send crewmembers along the edges of the wreckage. Some returned with treasures and archeotech. More never returned at all.
In The Heathen Trail, the Explorers may be compelled to journey into the Processional as well. The rewards they find may be considerable, though it will be up to them to determine if they outweigh the risk.
That’s all for this week. Stay tuned for my next Designer Diary, when I discuss the overarching structure of the Lure of the Expanse.
Rogue Trader is a roleplaying game set in dark gothic far future of Games Workshop's Warhammer 40,000 universe. Players take on the roles of explorers aboard a Rogue Trader's ship, searching for profit and adventure while discovering new alien cultures and threats in the uncharted regions of space.
@greg: Resources are most often what stops the Imperium from complete dominion. Though Imperium has vast amounts of resources is it never enough and rarely in the right place at the right time. You must not forget that the Imperium is at constant war on hundreds of thousands of fronts and to move machines and manpower from one war to another is a slow and cumbersome process which can take years or even decades as can the wars themselves. Sometimes they even arrive too late and the war is already over (in case of invasions). You might say that in ten thousand years they might have found the time to send an army the way of the Priest-king, but fighting so many wars there will inepitably be other wars that are more pressing therefore recieve higher priority by the Administratum than some backwater planet which is not a direct threat to the Imperium. So if the Administratum can lure some Rogue Traders to do the job for them its easier for them to just pay some thrones or let them keep some trading rights or whatnot to pay them off as long as the Imperium gets their share. And some Rogue Traders actually have the power to overtake a planet depending on its defences of course.
A thing I never understood to begin with: why didn´t the Imperium not simply send in an army, KILL the Priest-Kings and went on with "mission" afterward? It is not like the Imperium is known for "solving matters of faith the civil way" or something
They sound to be like really interesting places. With enough plothooks to keep my crew busy.
I really look forward to reading more on the 'procession of the damned'!
I wonders if that portion of a Repulsive class grand cruiser we see to the left might play some role in this?
This sounds so wicked awesome! Looking forward to the book when it is released!
Those are two of the places I loved most when testing it. Brilliant additions to the setting, both of them.