Edge of the Abyss , the exciting supplement for Rogue Trader, will be on store shelves very soon. Today, we're pleased to present a designer diary by Nathan Dowdell, one of the writers for Edge of the Abyss!

Hello Rogue Traders! I’m Nathan Dowdell.

After working on Into the Storm , it was an interesting change of pace to be working on the setting rather than the characters, looking more into the mysteries, perils and opportunities within the Koronus Expanse..

My assignment covered a large portion of the chapter on allies, adversaries, and organizations, a multi-faceted task. The range of enemies and allies that can be found in and near the Expanse is considerable, and with the unsettling Stryxis and the savage Rak’gol left firmly in the hands of others, I had a chance to work with some more familiar faces.

The Orks of Undred-Undred Teef represent a recurring threat to explorers within the Expanse, and to the Calixis Sector, with violence between rival Kaptins and Warlords growing more and more intense across barren Krakskull, smoke-wreathed Snagruz, the broken moons of Stompgit, and the iron desolation of Tusk, the four main worlds that form this Ork domain. Rising to prominence amongst these is Morgaash Kulgraz, in command of the ancient and infamous Battlekroozer “Da Wurldbreaka”, which has a long and bloody history all its own, though few Orks remember much of it. Getting the chance to revisit the Orks after presenting them as player characters in Into the Storm was very interesting. Edge focuses much more on the menacing and monstrous side of the Orks, rather than the tone of reckless enthusiasm and dark humour in the Freebooterz rules.

The Eldar have many faces within Koronus. These range from the distant and aloof denizens of Kaelor to corsairs such as the mercurial Twilight Swords, the remorseless Crow Spirits and the dread enigma of the Children of Thorns. As a long-time fan of the Eldar, to depict them was both enjoyable and challenging, attempting to keep their many and varied motives uncertain while still presenting something that can as easily be used for raids, ambushes and running battles as tense negotiations or the exploration of ancient mysteries.

The Koronus Expanse is home to many who have sold themselves to the Dark Gods, and the blighted reavers of the Saynay Clan, the hellish and haunted world of Iniquity, and the dire machinations of Karrad Vall are all touched upon in this section. A perfect foe for the pious Rogue Trader, Chaos Reavers appear a much more straightforward foe than the Eldar, but here too there are secrets within secrets. This section also covers another useful tool in the arsenal of the Ruinous Powers (or those Explorers who may not be adverse to sacrificing their soul for personal gain). Rules for Sorcery plus new malefic psychic powers help create Saynay Sorcerers as a truly deadly threat, and give any player potential access to psychic powers—so long as they’re willing to pay a very steep price.

The Imperium is no matter easily encompassed in a few thousand words. However, the book also provides a sampling of the factions and organisations interested in the Expanse. These range from the obvious, such as the Inquisition and the Explorators of the Adeptus Mechanicus, to those who might otherwise be overlooked. Explorers may be just as interested in the moneylenders of House Krin, whose wealth invests heavily in the exploits and endeavours of many a Rogue Trader, or the shadowy agents of the Kasballica Mission on Footfall whose ambitions run far beyond the Cold Trade, and the pilgrim-explorers devoted to Saint Asceline, whose thronged masses may conceal hidden dangers.

In particular, the section on the human factions interested in the Expanse provided the opportunity to expand a little further on the Endeavours system. Each of these groups has an Endeavour Component associated with it. These are thematic Components that can be inserted into any Endeavour like another Objective, bringing additional requirements that can complicate the Endeavour, but offering additional rewards as well.

I worked with fellow writer Rex Vogen on detailing the Kroot in the Expanse. This section describes some of the more notable kindreds who hunt their chosen prey across the Expanse, each choosing a different path for their evolution, and making new enemies in the process, from the Stryxis-hunting Windserpent kindred, who have gained a particular knack for negotiating a good price for their services, to the increasingly belligerent Bloodhawk kindred, whose clashes with the Rak’gol have given them a particularly vicious disposition.

More besides awaits discovery in the Expanse, from long-forgotten worlds to ancient treasures and ancient dangers, to other Rogue Traders who may become ally or rival. But you'll have to discover some secrets on your own...

Thanks Nathan! Look for Edge of the Abyss on store shelves early next week!

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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