“What I cannot crush with words, I will crush with the tanks of the Imperial Guard!”
–Lord Solar Macharius
Hello Rogue Traders!
This week I’d like to talk about an exciting part of the upcoming Into the Storm —vehicle rules.
Vehicles are an integral part of many Rogue Trader operations, from the sturdy Halo Barges and Arvus Lighters that haul their goods into orbit, to the Rhino APCs, Air Yachts, and Scout Bikes used to get around on a planet’s surface. Therefore, they were an obvious choice to include in a player’s sourcebook such as Into the Storm .
When designing the vehicle rules, I had several goals in mind. The first was that the vehicle rules should be able to integrate into the existing ruleset, specifically the existing combat rules. After all, if players were going to get vehicle rules, they were going to want to fight with them.
The second goal was to make the rules easy to use. Rogue Trader isn’t a game about vehicles, vehicles are simply one aspect of the game. I wanted a ruleset that someone familiar with the system could pick up and use without any confusion, allowing the GM to seamlessly throw a high-speed chase or a shuttle landing gone awry into an adventure. Of course, I also wanted to make the rules fun and exciting.
Vehicles in Rogue Trader come in five different types—ground vehicles, walkers, skimmers, flyers, and spacecraft (spacecraft, by the way, covers only the smaller spacecraft such as shuttles, guncutters, and voidfighters, not true interplanetary or interstellar vessels). Each vehicle type has certain rules—flyers, for example, have a minimum speed they have to keep moving in order to stay aloft, while spacecraft can exit the atmosphere of a planet. Each vehicle also has certain characteristics including speed, armour, structural integrity, carrying capacity, manoeuvrability, and size. These characteristics share similarities with a starship’s characteristics, but are scaled to a level where they work with individual characters.
In combat, vehicle rules integrate into the existing combat system, with half and full actions involving driving, evasive manoeuvring, and even ramming. Shooting vehicle weapons follows many of the same rules as firing any other ranged weapons, while shooting at vehicles works the same way as shooting at a character. Reduce armour by penetration, roll damage, and tally up how much gets past the remaining armour. There is also a new vehicle critical chart that works similarly to character critical hit charts, with results ranging from Jarring Blow to Explodes!
To make the critical hit chart more integral to the game, I also made Righteous Fury work differently for vehicles. Instead of dealing extra damage, confirmed Righteous Fury generates minor critical results from the critical hits chart.
Aerial combat, of course, had to work slightly differently, as fighters moving at supersonic speeds couldn’t really operate on the same playing field as people who move several metres every round. The rules for aerial combat operate similarly to the rules of space combat—though not the same, as we’re dealing with agile flyers, not lumbering, kilometre long spacecraft.
Finally, the vehicle rules had to include some sample vehicles. The Warhammer 40,000 universe is full of vehicles, and there was no way to include them all in a single book. So I included a spread of vehicles that a Rogue Trader would find useful, ranging from those familiar to any fans of the setting (the Rhino APC and Sentinel Walker), to new designs found in the Expanse (the Hephaestus Ore Seeker). I even got to add in a vehicle that has featured into Warhammer 40,000 lore from the days when Games Workshop first released Battlefleet Gothic—the sleek, deadly, and powerful Fury Interceptor. No Void-Master should be without one.
So until next time, Rogue Traders, may all your endeavors bear profit.
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.