News for January 2011
Ground Assault 23
A Designer Diary for Battlefleet Koronus, a Rogue Trader supplement
Rogue Trader | Published 18 January 2011

Battlefleet Koronus, Rogue Trader’s extensive sourcebook about the starships that traverse the Koronus Expanse, will be in stores later this winter. Today, we present a designer diary from Jason Marker, one of the writers assigned to this exciting supplement.

Hey Rogue Traders, Jason Marker here. Today I'm here to talk about the rules for large-scale combat, which I wrote for Battlefleet Koronus. My assignment was initially on the ins and outs of waging war in the Imperium. However, as work progressed, we ended up developing a series of simple but effective rules with which players and GMs could design military units from the ground up... then equip them and deploy them among the heathens and xenos of the Koronus Expanse for the glory of the Emperor. Basically, once your crew wins the war in space, it’s time for the invasion.

Raise Your Troops

We start with mustering and equipping troops, which uses the new rules for building and equipping units. There are six general types of units available to Rogue Traders—infantry, cavalry, mechanised infantry, artillery, armour, and air forces. Units have a power level dictated by their type, which, along with their acquisition modifier, is then modified by that unit's tech-level, their sub-type (light, medium, or heavy), and their troop quality. This allows for an incredible amount of variation and customization between unit types and near endless options for the GM. It also easily illustrates the reason that while a veteran light infantry company from a hive world may be expensive, they are much better at their jobs than a a company of serfs from a feudal world. Aside from their Unit Power Characteristic, units also have a number of other Characteristics, such as Morale, Strength, and Movement. All of these factors come into play once the bullets and bolt shells start flying.

Once a unit is mustered, they must then be equipped. Like the units themselves, equipment comes in a number of different qualities and covers everything that a unit needs to fight, from what an individual trooper has in his pockets all the way to the unit's vehicles. Needless to say, quality can have serious positive or negative effects on a unit's combat effectiveness.

Control the Chaos

The next step is, of course, waging war. The new mass combat rules allow the GM and players in a Rogue Trader game to add as much detail to their warfare efforts as they see fit. Similar to ship combat, mass combat takes place on both a macro and micro level. During strategic turns, the Explorer leading the combat, typically either the Rogue Trader or an Arch-Militant, issues “orders” to his units. Orders entail such actions as advancing, charging, digging-in, and disengaging. While this is happening, there are also Flash Points, similar to miniature Endeavours with specific goals, such as finding and destroying an enemy's communication hub, jamming transmissions, calling in artillery, or challenging an enemy general to single combat. The idea is these can be completed by the Explorers and picked groups of NPCs, allowing the players to become personally involved. Success at these Flash Points can drastically improve the chances of victory.

In all, these new rules, along with rules for Military Endeavours and hiring mercenaries, add extra levels of immersion for players and Game Masters by allowing greater control over the outcome of military operations. They are highly customisable, allowing Game Masters to tailor them to their particular campaigns and play styles, and are a great way to introduce side-quests and other complications to a Rogue Trader game.

So there you have it, friends. Pick up your copy of Battlefleet Koronus, raise some troops, and go out and win one for the God-Emperor!

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.

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Comments (23)

Published: 2/5/2011 2:55:08 AM

Thus far when we get to the ground invasion in the campaign we play a 2000 point game of Warhammer 40,000.  I'm interested to see if this ground warfare system can add more depth/customization.


(Also, it's "cavalry" not "calvary".)

Published: 1/20/2011 7:42:33 AM

 @ George,

I would like to see a hardcopy and PDF option. Some retailers are doin this now and i would be happy to pay 5% or 10% more to have the book 'in the cloud' it would be fantastic otherwise i now have to shell out another wad  on drivethru to buy the down loads. SO i agree we need to see download and hard copy combo sales. problem is if you download the pdf you may wish to cancel the hard copy and that would cause problems.....

George Labour
Published: 1/19/2011 8:13:26 PM

Just have to say I wish we could get the PDFs a few weeks ahead of the hardcopy release on this one. A lot of this information is what I need, and it's taking forever for my local stores (And online ones) to get the dead tree versions in.

I wouldn't mind paying for a PDF that's ten or so bucks cheaper, and a hardcopy later either. Makes it easier to keep my books with me when I travel, plus gives me something easy to pass around at the table.

Published: 1/19/2011 2:28:28 AM

really looking forward to this now, more than i was to start with :) FFG how dear you port such delights to draw us in, damn you nice folks!


Published: 1/18/2011 10:47:57 PM

The more I read about this the more I want it!  These rules sound like it's exactly what Ive been looking for in a RT campaign!

Published: 1/18/2011 4:51:51 PM

I wonder if - like the ship rules - there will be similarities to and inspriation drawn from the 40K and/or Epic rules.  This also makes me think of turning a 40K campaign or Aeronautica game into an RPG.  I'm pretty excited about this too.

Published: 1/18/2011 4:40:40 PM

On my list to get. Just wondering how must system bleed we are going to see in the future. I think these rules should also be in Only War.

Published: 1/18/2011 4:15:43 PM

Super excited for this supplement. Can't wait . . .can't wait . . . um . . . can't wait?

Published: 1/18/2011 3:37:04 PM

 I know some of my players will go wild over this. I'll be interested to see if I can keep the players who are more into story than combat happy, or at least engaged enough to keep involved until we hit the next plot point.

Published: 1/18/2011 3:27:40 PM

I was already sold on this book, now I'm even MORE sold on it. I've been using the base Unit rules in the book (mixed with the horde rules for DW a bit) to do mass combat already, but it's nice to see some "official" rules to handle such things.

Can't wait to see how the material looks in print!

Published: 1/18/2011 3:18:50 PM

I think large scale conflict necessitates abstraction and having a mini-game inside your role-playing sessions can't hurt either. Anyway the ground war rules will fill an important 'hole' in the game mechanics. I suspect rules for fighting for planetary control will see heavy use with gamers.

Sister Callidia
Published: 1/18/2011 3:05:06 PM

This will make a nice addition to the current rules. Glad to see these rules implemented in this book as well.

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