Hello Rogue Traders!
This week we’d like to take a minute to talk about the upcoming Rogue Trader book, Battlefleet Koronus .
Battlefleet Koronus is Rogue Trader ’s comprehensive source for information on voidships and more. From new components and rules, to new adversaries, to rules for waging wars and running NPC starships, Battlefleet Koronus is an essential addition to any Rogue Trader’s library.
We’ll be talking about each aspect of this book in depth in the coming weeks. However, this week let’s start by looking at three new types of components incredibly useful for warships—torpedo tubes, launch bays, and Nova Cannons.
While the “go-to” weapons of voidships in the 41st Millennium are macro-batteries and lances, warships often carry more potent firepower. For example, Imperial Navy warships often rely on salvos of torpedoes to destroy their opponents. Roughly sixty metres long and equipped with a powerful plasma warhead able to punch through the toughest warship armour, torpedoes are guided by a crude and murderous machine-spirit. Ships often launch them in salvos of up to half a dozen, and once launched they use a variety of sensors to locate potential targets and alter course for interception (and destruction). Though they are technically guided, their limited augur range means in stellar terms, they are line of effect weapons. However, even the threat of a torpedo salvo is enough to scatter opposing squadrons and throw battle lines into disarray.
In Rogue Trader , torpedoes are far more costly than macrocannon shells or lance generators, which is why fewer Rogue Traders use them. In game terms, they occupy the distinction of being one of the few starship weapons for which ammo (individual torpedo tubes) must be purchased and accounted for. However, this also allows for additional customization—as there are multiple types of torpedo warheads and guidance systems. Explorers can utilize plasma torpedoes, melta torpedoes, virus torpedoes, or even the dreaded vortex torpedoes.
Like torpedoes, attack craft are often limited to the Imperial Navy, due to the considerable costs of maintaining large squadrons of starfighters and bombers. However, for those Rogue Traders able to afford it, attack craft prove a potent weapon in one’s arsenal.
The principle advantage of attack craft is their versatility. Their range means they can strike targets well out of reach of a macrobattery or lance, and their independence means they can pursue targets on their own volition. Once launched, their carrier can pursue other targets, while the attack craft hunt down their chosen foe.
However, attack craft do have one significant trade-off. The space required for hanger bays is often immense—starships find they often have to sacrifice the options for other weapons in order to carry them. Often, this makes a carrier without its attack craft a tempting target.
There are three main types of attack craft: fighters, bombers, and assault boats. Fighters, such as the Imperial Fury, are relatively small space-going craft, with a small crew and anti-attack craft weaponry. Multiple banks of lascannons and triple-linked plasma cannons can do little to harm a voidship, but can tear through other attack craft. Thus, a starfighter’s job is two-fold, intercepting enemy attack craft and escorting friendly bombers and assault boats to their target.
Bombers such as the Imperial Starhawk are slow and lumbering, with a large payload of anti-ship krak bombs and plasma missiles. Their weapons are too cumbersome to be used against starfighters, but can do immense damage to larger warships. Thus, bombers are almost exclusively deployed against voidships.
Assault boats such as the Imperial Shark also attack voidships, but their payload is raiders and soldiers, rather than bombs. These attack craft affix themselves to the hull of an enemy voidship and disgorge hordes of crack troops into its vitals. They do as much damage as possible with bombs and sabotage before fleeing back to the assault boats and escaping.
One of the most fearsome weapons in a voidship’s arsenal is the dreaded Nova Cannon. Unwieldy, slow to fire, and expensive to utilize, they are nevertheless sought avidly by those Rogue Traders wealthy enough to afford one. The reason is simply because even a near miss by a Nova Cannon can cripple a ship. A direct hit can crack a voidship’s hull in half.
Using gravimetric impellers, Nova Cannons fire potent warheads at near-relativistic speeds over immense distances. The target has almost no time to react—the warhead can detonate only seconds after they detect the firing. However, the detonation of the warhead must be carefully timed. Too soon or too late, and the warhead explodes harmlessly far from the target.
Even more so than torpedoes, Nova Cannon ammunition is hideously expensive, and requires purchase. In addition, the weapons fire slowly and have a fixed minimum range (too close and they could easily destroy their own ship). However, when one has enough firepower to scour the face of a planet, one tends to see such concerns as trivial.
While these weapons are certainly powerful, they are merely tools, and it takes a clever Explorer to use them to full effect. But what other ships, weapons, and tactics will complete your arsenal? And what threats await you in the corners of the Koronus Expanse? Keep checking back for more on Battlefleet Koronus !
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.