|Rogue Trader | Published 02 March 2011|
Hello Rogue Traders,
This week to help preview the upcoming Battlefleet Koronus, we asked writer Andy Chambers to pass on a few thoughts about his work on the book. For Andy, Battlefleet Koronus was an interesting opportunity to revisit topics he had touched on in some of his earlier games, including Games Workshop’s Battlefleet Gothic. Take it away, Andy!
Battlefleet Koronus was a welcome opportunity to expand on some of the ideas in Battlefleet Gothic, mainly long talks with Gav Thorpe and Jes Goodwin back in the day. We talked about how creepy it would actually be if you were on an Imperial ship—some thousand year old flying fortress/monastery/cathedral/mausoleum powered by leaky plasma reactors and hurtling through the daemon-infested void. You'd have to have a lot of faith, that's for sure.
Chain of Command
That's about when ships getting corrupted by Chaos all the time really starts to make sense. How long would it take being adrift in the warp with daemons clawing at the hull before you'd sacrifice someone just to be left alone? How long before you start making deals with the devil to bring you home from the void?
One of the discussions I had with Sam Stewart on Battlefleet Koronus was whether to term the crew of Imperial Navy 'shipmen' or 'voidmen.’ I wanted to mention an older name for the common voidman, a shipman: man of the ship. After all, the ship is their world and the void is something outside it, always predatory and hungering. As part of the background for Battlefleet Koronus we created a rank list from the lowliest Rating to the Lord High Admiral, a pleasingly arcane and bureaucratic mess with overlapping ranks, temporary elevations and weird asides to cover strike craft crews that feels like just the kind of thing you'd expect in the ten thousand year old Imperium.
We also got into digging around about naval ship design, specifically 17th/18th Century when the broadside was king. Extrapolating how that might apply to adamantium plated starships was particularly facinating, since Warhammer 40,000 starships have strong ties to the wooden warships of yester-year. Taking a more in-depth look at the different kinds of decks aboard a ship offers great opportunities for planning adventures, from fine dining in the Nobilite towers to hunting xenos vermin in the bilges. Ships in the 41st millennium make fantastic adventure settings, each one is a mobile city with its own collection of characters, problems and plot hooks.
The whole thing was lots of fun to write, I hope you enjoy reading it. For those of you interested in such things, much of my inspiration came courtesy of C S Forester, Patrick O'Brian and Dudley Pope which all make my recommended reading list, and from the hefty and exhaustive 'The Fighting Ships of The Royal Navy 897-1984' by E.H.H Archibald (which is, you'll have to admit, one hell of a name).
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.
I've got to admit, this sounds like it's the book I've been hoping and waiting for since... well, since at least the first announcement about Dark Heresy.
Quite aside from anything else, it means I don't have to feel too bad for shelving the project (a primer on the IN) I've been going on about for a while, both here and on Port Maw.
...damnation, now I want to dig out my old BfG fleet again.
It's Battlefleet Gothic: The Roleplaying Game!
Having Andy Chambers working on Battlefleet Koronus was really, really useful - when writing the Attack Craft/Torpedo/Nova Cannon rules, being able to discuss them with the man who designed Battlefleet Gothic gave an insight into why the rules were the way they were, which helped considerably..
Certainly has a feel of something new and exciting....
Having met Andy at Games Day UK last year, and spending about 10-15 minutes chatting to him about Rogue Trader (he also signed my RPG books! :D), he knows his stuff about 40k starships. I can't wait to see more of his stuff!