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Tabletop Game / Rogue Trader

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Ambition knows no bounds.

For the original Rogue Trader, see Warhammer 40,000; this article is for the 2009 Tabletop RPG.

Rogue Trader is the second of a series of Warhammer 40,000 tabletop roleplaying games. While its sister game Dark Heresy casts the players in the role of Inquisitorial Acolytes and focuses on themes of corruption and conspiracy, Rogue Trader is a game of exploration, adventure, and the horrors of the unknown, following one of the eponymous Rogue Traders and his crew as they explore the uncharted depths of space for gold, glory and the God-Emperor. Something like a Darker and Edgier Star Trek — or, as some put it, Mirror Universe Star Trek.

See also Dark Heresy, Deathwatch, Black Crusade, and Only War, Rogue Trader's sister games.


This game contains examples of:

  • Ace Pilot: One of the possible archetypes for Void Master characters (the others being Ace Helmsman, Ace Gunner, and Ace Sensor Officer). The Flight Marshal elite advance that Void Masters can take is unambiguously this.
  • Alien Arts Are Appreciated: Though technically heretical, the so-called "Cold Trade" is a thriving grey market for alien artifacts that are discreetly sold as curios to wealthy collectors among the aristocracy in the nearby Calaxis sector. The Forbidden Fruit allure of owning objects that are technically forbidden but hard to enforce (especially on the extremely wealthy) is something those with the means pay well for, and this can be a great source of profit for Rogue Traders who refuse to let pious prohibitions get in the way of their success.
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  • Always Chaotic Evil: While several of established antagonists options are present, groups such as Chaos Reavers, Eldar, and even Orks, while usually hostile to humanity's interests, can at least occasionally be reasoned with and dissuaded by means other than violence. The Rak'gol, on the other hand, never show any interest in dealing with anyone of any other species by means other than aggressively attacking them, and their culture (in as much as can be determined) seems only centered around killing things. Lure of the Expanse details that they can never be negotiated with because they show absolutely zero interest in such, and their almost-bestial hostility and "alienness" are great for game masters who want to put a Survival Horror element into their campaigns.
  • Ambition Is Evil: Inverted very strongly. Rogue Traders are already extremely powerful individuals with as much freedom as can be had in this setting, yet the rulebook encourages them to always shoot for more profit that will build a lasting dynasty and legendary reputations that will echo down history.
  • Antlion Monster: Sand tigers are alien predators that bury themselves in desert sand, loosening the sand with their claws to create an area of quicksand that passing creatures sink in. The tiger further draws in its prey by digging away sand from under it, eventually leaving only a pit with the creature's circular, fang-lined maw at the bottom.
  • Arbitrary Minimum Range: The game has minimum range for Nova Cannons, as they cannot safely be used too close to the ship, having splash damage and a chance to explode closer to the firer than intended (technically they can still hit the firer if you fire at the absolute minimum range and roll very badly). This is a holdover from their rules in Battlefleet Gothic, as RT space combat rules are heavily based on that game.
  • Arch-Enemy: The Hostile Acquisitions book provide rules for constructing a "Nemesis," a character of comparable power to a Rogue Trader who can function as a long-running antagonist. Notably, a Nemesis has Fate Points, meaning that they can come back from seemingly certain death a fixed number of times in the same way as a Player Character can.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: Not only are the player characters the ones that run the ship, they're all but inevitably the most powerful, well-trained warriors on the ship as well.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Averted by plasma weapons, which work a lot better than they did in Dark Heresy, but played straight with Power Armour. It provides the best protection available, but makes you easier to hit and the power cells only last 1d5 hours, so its use is situational at best.
  • Balance of Power: Aspyce Chorda and Calligos Winterscale, the two strongest Rogue Traders in the Expanse are on a brink of war. They are so evenly matched that neither is guaranteed victory.
  • Base on Wheels: The hat of the planet Zayth, a pre-Imperial human colony founded during the height of the Dark Age of Technology. Exactly what happened to start it has been long forgotten, but the various factions of the colony ended up locked in a Forever War, where the populations had to live in mobile crawling fortresses the size of space-born battleships to survive each other's artillery fire. The remaining population endures to this day, roaming across the After the End battlescape their planet has become in mobile fortress-cities, trading macro-cannon fire with each other whenever they come into range and scavenging what little resources they can from cities felled in eons past.
  • Battle Butler: The Seneschal career path is essentially this, mixed with a bit of The Spymaster and a whole lotta merchant.
  • BFG: Your ship has guns that take a good seventy men to operate, fired in salvoes of hundreds. The big guns need over a thousand hands.
  • Bigger Is Better: A literal case with Ork equipment. As the quality of the craftsmanship goes up, so does the size and mass of the piece of equipment. With human manufactured items, the opposite tends to be true.
  • Blind Seer: Astropaths, as per usual, went under necessary Mind Rape on Terra to protect their already strong minds from the Warp, the physical damage of which always includes their eyes, causing them to either turn to vapour or develop severe cataracts. It also hones their psychic senses so they can "see" perfectly well. Astropaths Transcendent, the ones you play as, are even better at it than most-not only can they leave the Light of the Astronomicon for long periods, they can keep it together so well they lead others who can leave.
  • Boarding Party: Something that can happen during spaceship combat: if two ships end up passing close enough to each other, several parties from either ship may arm up, strap on void suits, and launch in shuttles to bypass Void Shields to raid the enemy ship and do as much damage as possible before falling back to their shuttles and rendezvousing with their mother ship before it passes out of range. While total number of crew can have an effect here, the command skills of the ones coordinating those who board and those who repel has a much bigger influence. Ships equipped with torpedo tubes may opt to use Boarding Pods instead to get a similar effect at greater range.
  • Car Fu: The Into The Storm supplement finally introduces official rules for vehicles and vehicular combat into the 40k roleplaying system.
  • Chain of Deals: One way to make money in the Expanse. Find out what party A is willing to part with for some materials from party B, who in turn want something from party C, and so on.
  • Citadel City: Citadel Station, in the form of Port Wander. Carved from a large asteroid and built out, it serves as the primary naval base in the region though it also has a sizable civil population. Well defended by void shields and macro-cannons, the patrol hub for numerous Imperial Navy squadrons, and possessing several military-grade drydocks, it is the last bastion of Imperial might at the frontier-edge of the Calixis Sector and the last port of call before passing through the Koronus Maw.
  • Clingy Costume: In the treasure generator located in the Stars of Inequity expansion one of the results for Xeno armor is a set of armor that counters critical damage by growing into the wounds and holding the wearer's body together. Not only does this erode the wearer's sanity, if it goes too far it may become very difficult to remove.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Sample character Sarvus Trask is described in Edge of the Abyss as being considered a bit of a madman. The Trask dynasty was a falling house with many creditors, but Sarvus made a grand entrance on the stage of the Koronus Expanse as soon as the family warrant fell to him, and quickly made a reputation of winning fame and fortune through almost foolishly bold risk-taking. As much as this has gained him though, the risks take their toll and his profitability is hampered by the costs he incurs getting that profit to begin with. He was once even rumored to try and buy a Titan from the Adeptus Mechanicus, not to use for war, but to mount as a prow ornament on his ship.
  • Collector of the Strange: The Stryxis, a Proud Merchant Race of xenos who ply the Kronous Expanse in seemingly ramshackle spaceships made up of a "tug" ship hauling several other modules scavenged and refurbished from other sources. They are eager for trade with other races, but their sense of value is quite different from what is typical for humans. In fact, they go about collecting interesting artifacts and lifeforms, and are happy to swap to round out their collections. Figuring out what a particular Stryxis would find valuable is a major part of any trade negotiation with them.
  • Cool Starship: Naturally. If their ventures are profitable, the player characters may eventually find themselves in command of a Cool Fleet.
  • Corporate Samurai: One of the ways of describing the job of an Arch-Militant class character, with the corporation in this case being a Rogue Trader dynasty.
  • Corporate Warfare: When major Rogue Trader houses clash, it takes this form. Each house is effectively a multiple star-spanning Mega-Corp unto itself, and when massive profits are at stake and they are well outside of Imperial jurisdiction, the violence can get as ugly as any of the wars in the setting, if not typically at the same scale. The brewing conflict between the houses of Winterscale and Chorda are probably the biggest example of this in the Koronus Expanse.
  • Costume Porn: Rogue Traders are expected to wear clothing that would make Chairman Kaga raise an eyebrow.
  • Derelict Graveyard: The Koronus Expanse hosts quite a few:
    • The Battleground, one of the Stations of Passage through the Koronus Maw. According to legend, it is the site of a great battle between the Rogue Trader brothers Trame and Ettimus Lathimon, fought each other's fleet to mutual destruction, while others assert that the field of derelict spaceships was present before that battle took place and the battle only added to it. Some Rogue Traders attempt to salvage from this site, but given its proximity to Imperial space most of the very profitable salvage has already been claimed, and the riches beyond the Maw make what little is left seem too paltry to be worth all but the most desperate Rogue Trader's time.
    • The Breaking Yards at SR-651. Though the business of breaking down ships at this location predates his investment, Rogue Trader Iridas Holden is credited with expanding them into the large operation present today, though the failure of the business bankrupted the Holden dynasty and put the yards in independent hands today. With a spindle-shaped space station and thousands of kilometers of loosely-connected asteroids and derelict hulls, work is difficult, poorly paid, and conditions are that of an Industrial Ghetto for those who live there, and few can afford to leave. Those visiting the Yards can find almost any starship component they care to find, for the right price, though the condition they find them in varies widely.
    • Dross, a planet among the Heathen Stars. Remarkable in that the world has strange lightning storms that defy conventional logic and meteorology, occasionally sending bolts into low orbit to strike ships that get too close. Any landing is almost certainly doomed to failure and an ignoble crash. The surface is inhabited by survivors of those wrecks who regard the many derelicts on the surface as holy sites, and give praise to the "Sky Father" for delivering them new ones. They will defend such sites violently, and often war with each other over ownership of any of these various wrecks.
    • The Processional of the Damned, in the Accursed Demesne. A dark star sits at the center of the system and has an unknown pull into the warp as well as on the material plane, drawing ancient ships, space hulks, and even planets to it from the warp, each joining a long ring of matter slowly orbiting around it. The flow of time is somehow distorted here, with ships closer in to the dark star more ancient those those further out, even if they are of newer manufacture. Those who have visited it report the echos of voices on vox transmission given out long ago, that seem to reach out and cut off unexpectedly, and those who see it for themselves report a sense of a dreadful intelligence watching them. Deeper in the Processional are what are called the Hollow Men, voidsuit wearers who emerge to break down ships that get near. No one knows where they come from or why they do what they do, and all the voidsuits they wear seem to be empty...
  • Easy Logistics: A necessity in terms of rules, given the additional need of book keeping by players and Game Master already regarding their ship (and it's crew population and morale). Otherwise the game would devolve into one massive pile of accounting. Also explained via the Profit Factor system which doubles as Currency and Influence in game. Essentially, a Rogue Trader houses are so rich, that the question is not "How many Thrones does this costs?" but rather, turning to their book keepers and going "Do I have enough to buy this without bankrupting us, and know the right people, yes or no?"
    • Ships in general are presumed to have 6 months (Terran-Standard) worth of supplies to maintain proper operations without docking at a Space Port or orbiting a world which can provide such supplies, though it is extendable with upgrades. This counts for keeping the crew fed and healthy, as well as keeping machinery and systems working with proper functionality. Every month beyond that time limit, begins imposing Morale loss, and misfortune of the GM's choosing to represent the limited remaining supplies.
    • All of the Explorers (Players) personal guns are presumed to have enough of their default ammo type on the ship, allowing to resupply them at any time they're on board. Additionally, any successful acquisition test to obtain any particular consumables, like special ammo types, grenades and other things (Med-kits, Combat-Stimms, etc), are also presumed to have it sufficiently stocked on the ship as above. This means the only thing limiting how much of each a player has at any one time before visiting their ship's armory, is weight, common sense, and the GM's discretion. One optional rule recommended by the rule book, is that unless a player specifies otherwise, to follow the "Rule of Three"note . Compare that to the other Warhammer 40,000 RPGs, where players routinely have to roll Requisition tests for any item, including ammo for their guns based on individual amounts (I.E. 2 magazines worth of ammo)
  • Fiction 500: With the power of an interplanetary trade dynasty at their back, Rogue Traders can routinely purchase things like centuries-old Powered Armor, private mercenary armies, and starships that cost more than a small planet. At first level. Some of the expanded rules given in Into The Storm, which introduce consequences for making Acquisition rolls, are specifically designed to stop the Explorers from solving every problem by throwing money at it.
  • Finger Firearms: The Jokaero Digital Weapons (one-shot lasguns, plasma guns or needle weapons that are the size of (and can be disguised as) rings).
  • Formerly Sapient Species: A quirk of the planet Orn's biosphere causes the minds of sapient beings who stay there too long to gradually degrade into a non-sapient state. A large colony of aggressive creatures that nests in an immense wrecked vessel is believed to be descended from the crew of an alien colony ship that became stranded on Orn, the crew's frantic attempts to repair their vessel gradually losing their purpose and planning and becoming little more than an instinctive Cargo Cult carried on mindlessly by their bestial descendants.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: The Mekboy elite advance available to Ork Freebootaz allows them to tap into their Genetic Memory and gain an intuitive understanding of Ork "manufacturing", letting them cobble together amazing if clunky devices. To quote the rule book:
  • Gaia's Lament: The Rak'Gol's hat seem to be pollution. They travel in decaying ships choked with smog and turn any planet they inhabit into an irradiated wasteland.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: The chapter specifically addressing Rogue Traders in the corebook paints a picture of the Imperium gifting each newly-appointed Trader with a flagship, which will "often" be a cruiser, as well as frigates, cargo ships, and tenders. The actual character creation rules provide for the Rogue Trader and his/her crew to start with exactly one ship and no more. And while it is possible to start the game with a full-scale cruiser for a flagship, it requires the players to cut out a significant amount of their starting Profit Factor to do so.
  • The Ghost: Why the Chaos-aligned pirate Korrad Vall is called the Faceless Lord: all that most Traders encounter of him are his employees. It is because he is blessed by the Ruinous Powers to be subjective to those who witness him. Every person will see him differently, and even when multiple people engage with him at the same time each will remember the encounter completely differently such that he only ever seems to directly interact with one of them at a time.
  • Ghost Ship: The Whisper of Anaris, an Eldar vessel of ancient make with chips in its wraithbone hull and tears in its solar sails, which appears with a psychic scream in realspace at mysterious times to suddenly fire on some ships but not others and then disappears just as quickly, following some inscrutable plan of its long dead but still dreaming crew. It is actually the last ship of the ancient craftworld Lu'Nasad, which was long ago corrupted by the warp into a terrible scourge of psychic destruction. The Whisper acts on the final command of its last commander, the Farseer Anaris, to prevent the accursed craftworld from doing any more damage and drive off those who might one day seek it.
  • Go Mad from the Revelation:
    • There's only one Navigator power that all of them share. It's called the Lidless Stare, and it basically lets them open their third eye (and that's a literal one, not some wishy-washy metaphor). If anyone looks into it, they see the Warp. This can be... detrimental to your health. At Master level, it's a possible One-Hit Kill.
    • This also applies to the narration for a lot of the more remote planets in the books, which contain many examples of Lovecraftian horror.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: The planet of Grace was settled as a paradise for wealthy degenerates who relied on regular shipments of food. Then warp storms stopped the shipments, and once supplies ran out the residents started eating each other. Since even that resource is growing scarce, the last few survivors are filling the void with voxed pleas for rescue... either because they genuinely hope to escape that way, or so they can eat their would-be rescuers.
  • Insufficiently Advanced Alien: The Rak'Gol have human-level technology and widespread cybernetics use, but seem to be almost entirely mindless when encountered. There are theories that they have either scavenged their tech from other species or that they're the degenerated remnant of some once-advanced race.
  • Intrepid Merchant: The player characters, in most of their business as a Rogue Trader crew. Profit is often a unifying (though almost never the sole) reason to go hurling themselves into the unknown of the Koronus Expanse, looking for new opportunities for trade and bounty to bring home the wealth.
  • Kicked Upstairs: A possible (and apparently quite frequent) explanation for how a particular Rogue Trader got his Warrant of Trade: some very powerful people wanted him out of the way, but he himself was too powerful to just kill, so they gave him the Warrant to get him to take his interests elsewhere.
  • Kraken and Leviathan: Void Krakens — named in-universe after ancient myths of a monster said to haunt the depths of Terra's oceans — are immense, space-faring silicate lifeforms kilometers in length, which inhabit asteroid fields and prey on starships passing through them.
  • Lamprey Mouth: Sand tigers have circular, jawless mouths lined with backward-pointing fangs.
  • Large and in Charge: Ork Warbosses, particularly the aforementioned Morgash Kulgraz. Also Calligos Winterscale, probably the most powerful Rogue Trader in Koronus Expanse at moment.
  • Lighter and Softer: Than the other Warhammer 40000 games, at least. There is sense of adventure, discovery and making lasting changes in a wide-open sandbox area of the galaxy that is free from large-scale wars or plots and conspiracies threatening to bring everything crashing down. Note that Rogue Trader is the only one of the RPGs in this series which allows multiple kinds of xenos as Player Characters. Let that sink in a moment: xenos partying up with humans from an Absolute Xenophobe culture. The freedom granted to a rogue trader gives a lot of leeway for shrugging off some of the darker aspects of the setting. Do note that while said Xenos career options include Orks and Kroot which by far aren't the darkest of the xenos in the setting, you also have the option of creating Dark Eldar characters, who by their very presence make campaigns significantly Darker and Edgier.
  • Lightning Bruiser: The Rak'Gol are surprisingly fast, hit very hard, and can take more punishment than an Ork.
  • Lost Technology: Archaeotech, items designed long before the current Imperial Age. They're better in pretty much every way beside availability.
  • Machine Worship: The Machine Cult of Mars, represented here by the Explorator career path.
  • The Main Characters Do Everything: An implied part of the playstyle. There are rules for hiring people to do your job for you, but they come with a high risk of your flunkies either messing up or robbing you blind. It's generally assumed that Rogue Traders and their entourages personally handle any business that matters to them.
  • Masochist's Meal: The influential few who pass for nobles on Footfall will gather for banquets with exotic and rather... difficult, dishes. Part of this is out of trying to project an air of sophistication, but mostly as a means to judge each other's character. Given that some of the business that goes on there can be distasteful, someone who can hold the food down and still look composed in front of their peers is someone who is considered worthy of respect.
  • The Medic: The Missionary is the only career that starts off with the Medicae skill by default. The Explorator can also learn the skill, and it will be useful when performing surgery to apply bionic augmentations. Everyone else though will have to either purchase it as an Elite Advance, or carry an Advanced Medikit to provide first aid.
  • Mildly Military: Controlling the crew of a Rogue Trader's ship requires a great deal of group discipline (especially as many dynasties' vessels are decommissioned military ships) but Rogue Traders are not part of the Imperial military. As a result, how tightly a Rogue Trader holds the reigns can very quite a bit.
  • Military Science Fiction: The Battlefleet Koronus supplement includes expanded rules for starship combat and rules for large-scale ground warfare, allowing the game as a whole to take on more of this flavour.
  • Morale Mechanic: Present on ships. Generally speaking, a fresh crew will start out at 100% morale, and any number of things can chip away at it from there. Things like spending time on shore leave, giving Rousing Speeches, or just offering to payout greater shares to the ratings can help bring it back up. Various conditions and ship upgrades can have these effects as well, either increasing or decreasing the maximum morale value depending on the crew's perception of how well they are being taken care of. If the morale ever drops to the minimum, the crew go on a mutiny from which there is no hope of recovery, though the GM is encouraged to come up with lots of shipboard roleplaying hooks before this happens to give the players interesting ways to recover (or potentially make the situation worse.)
  • Mordor: The planet Inequity, home to Chaos Lord Karrad Vall the Faceless Lord. It is located in a star system where a red giant dances with a black hole, and the whips of plasma siphoned off it lash the planets around it creating detritus and dangerously unpredictable gravity shoals. Navigation to the planet is only safely possible by a damned warp beacon powered by hundreds of sorceress sacrificesnote . Its surface is covered in caustic atmosphere and acidic rain drawn from boiling seas. Quakes are frequent and eruptions are a constant danger. Slaves toil to their deaths in the mines and manufactora. Daemons stalk the surface drawn from warp rifts deep in the planet's crust exposed when the original settlers Dug Too Deep. It is a haven for Chaos reaver Space Pirates, and all of its cities are Wretched Hives that makes life in an Imperial underhive look pleasant by comparison. Above it all Vall rules this domain from his infamous Citadel Of Skulls, a combination fortress, armoury, manufacturing centre, treasure vault, palace, and debased temple to Chaos.
  • Orion Drive: Implied to be the method of propulsion for Rak'gol ships, which use crude "fission pulse" drives that propel the ship with nuclear detonations. Compared to the plasma drives of Imperial ships, these are considered hopelessly outdated. While they can get a ship going to a good prograde velocity, they are poor at imparting lateral acceleration, making them much less maneuverable. Add to that the radiation produced by these explosions exceeds the shielding such ships have and would quickly drive any human crew to a radiation-sickness induced death, and one must assume that the Rak'gol are either radiation-resistant, insane, or both.
  • Our Orks Are Different: While the Orks in the Koronus Expanse are largely similar to their counterparts elsewhere in the galaxy, the isolated stellar geography of the place has given them a bit of "kulture" distinct from the rest of the species. In particular, they tend to rely less on space hulks and converted asteroids than other Orks, and have much more enthusiasm for building actual ships, as ramshackle as they are. Even the Ork enthusiasm for gargants is more restrained here, with the maddest of the Ork mekboyz preferring to focus their effort into giant Orky dreadnoughts as idols of Gork and Mork rather than the more land-locked preference of Orks elsewhere. There are more traditional Orks around, though, and some of them would very much like to turn Port Wander into their playground. Stopping them (especially where the Navy can see you) is a great way to make friends in high places, and perhaps lower prices on ship upgrades.
  • Playing with Fire: The "Immolate the Soul" Navigator Power, which effectively gives access to a psychic flamethrower at all times. At Adept and Master rank, it even does additional damage to beings with Corruption points.
  • Planet Spaceship: The Gaelan Sphere, an asteroid hollowed out and built entirely over by Dark Age of Technology era humanity, with any crew it once had long since abandoning it, though its arcane automated systems still maintain it. At some point, and by unknown means, it drifted into the Eldar Webway, where it was found by outcasts from Commorragh who were driven out by vicious Kabal politics. They set up a Vice City there called the Nexus of Shadows, establishing it as a port for the slave trade between many different species, allowing them to profit off the sale of beings sentient and otherwise and indulge in their sadistic sport at the same time. While its presence in the Webway means it does not have a defined location in real-space, most of its shortest real-space termni are in the Koronus Expanse.
  • Power Creep, Power Seep: Rank 1 Rogue Trader characters are significantly more powerful than Rank 1 Dark Heresy characters; in fact, they're explicitly noted as the equivalent of Rank 5 Dark Heresy characters (which has a maximum of 8 Ranks). Theoretically, at least. However, in practice, using Dark Heresy characters in Rogue Trader is a bit unbalanced. Well-built DH characters quickly out-scale RT characters because of cheaper advances (usually 100 to 300 xp vs. 200 to 500 for skills, and 100 to 300 vs. 500 or 1000 for talents), a larger variety of options, and the fact that while RT characters start with 5 more points in all their characteristics, they only have 4 characteristic advances, whereas DH characters have 6 total (with Ascension). Which does make a kind of sense. High level ascension characters are the most loyal, singularly powerful servants of the Imperium short of the Astartes, and have been through constant high intensity missions whereas a strong rogue trader is a civilian that does not generally need to adapt to anywhere near that level of stress. Generally.
  • Precursors: The Koronus Expanse used to be home to at least two species, the Egarians and the Yu'Vath, that ruled vast empires but have now apparently gone extinct, leaving behind a multitude of ruins full of valuable artifacts and lethal traps and guardians. The Yu'Vath in particular manufactured a whole lot of different creatures that remain a danger to unwary Explorers.
  • Press-Ganged: One option for replenishing crew at an inhabited planet. It will not cut into a Rogue Trader's bottom line, but it requires some underworld contacts to make happen, and runs the risk of angering the local authorities if not done discretely.
  • Production Foreshadowing: While Kroot are present in the Expanse, their homeworld of Pech is on a far side of the galaxy from it. The rulebook says that many people speculate that they may have come to the Expanse a few generations ago through some kind of warp-gate that led to the far side of the galaxy, but does not go into any more detail and leaves it as just in-universe speculation. Come Deathwatch, and it is revealed that such a gate does in fact exist and goes between the Koronus Expanse and the Jericho Reach, a location that includes worlds claimed by the Tau Empire of which the Kroot are a part. And as of Black Crusade, the nearby Screaming Vortex has a similar gate, and a planet with a population of Kroot.
  • Proud Merchant Race: The Stryxis are a rare case of this in the setting. Other races set up beacons marking their territory and warning others away. The Stryxis set up beacons with commercial advertisements.
  • Psycho for Hire: A perfectly valid career option, as the game's supplements allow the game to pick some alternate career options that turn the characters into this, but The Soul Reaver introduces a full career path that makes all of these look heroic by comparison, namely the Dark Eldar Kabalite Warrior.
  • Punch-Clock Hero: The Into The Storm splat gives us the Kroot mercenary as a career option. Rogue Traders are one of the few Imperial servants who have sanction to deal with xenos, and that includes hiring of services. The Kroot are excellent trackers, spies, and close-quarters combatants, but their help is strictly mercenary. They can be trusted to uphold their word, but how determined they are to see their task through is heavily dependent on the remunerations they expect to receive, to the point that they can resist fear and pinning better if their current venture is potentially profitable enough.
    • Rogue Traders and their staff, can also fit. Since they can accept contracts from Imperial or colonial entities, or just provide protection.
  • Punch-Packing Pistol: Rogue Traders and their officers tend to have quite the variety of options...
    • In terms of Las weaponry, there's the Archeotech Laspistol, Las Gauntlets, Belasco Dueling Pistolsnote , Hellpistols, and if the needs call for it, loading any standard las pistol with a Hot-Shot Charge pack for a single powerful shot.
    • Solid Projectiles category, we have the aptly named Hand Cannonnote , the Naval Pistol (its default ammo is basically fragmenting hollow point rounds, conferring the "Tearing" quality to the gun for increased chance of having a higher damage average), and the Shotgun Pistol, which holds and fires a single regular size shotgun shell. The other sidearms, Autopistols, Snub Automatics and Snub Revolvers can also move into this territory with the right ammo types.
    • There is of course, the ever useful Bolt Pistol, which as stated many times before on other Warhammer 40,000 pages, is less a pistol and more of a semi-auto mini-rocket launcher.
    • Then there's the Inferno Pistol, a pistol sized Melta Gun. Aside from the fairly minor loss in range and fuel cell capacity, it has all of the same same tank-buster potential as the full sized variety.
    • If you don't mind the risk of burning your hands with one, Plasma Pistols are probably the best means of dealing with any thing short of a tank. And they can probably deal with them too if aimed at sufficiently weak points on the armor.
    • Hand Flamers, just in case your Missionary should ever suffer the inconvenience of having used up his or her entire backpack supply of fuel for their other flamer weaponry.
  • Reassigned to Antarctica: Inquisitors, particularly those from the Ordo Xenos, have been known to be offered a Warrant of Trade from their superiors in exchange for their Inquisitorial trappings and authority, either due to political reasons or as a means of punishment for failure. As the choice is typically "Accept this warrant and then go to whatever edge of the galaxy we point you to, or else...", few reject the offer. They still often end up gaining glory, since their dealings tend to gather useful intelligence and examples of technology in far-flung sectors away from where the Inquisition regularly operate.
  • Recycled IN SPACE!: Nearly all the game mechanics are recycled from Dark Heresy. If you doubt this, compare the charts for critical hits or the names and descriptions of most of the talents. Of course, since the games were designed to be compatible with and supplementary to each other from the get-go, this is hardly surprising.
  • Scarily Competent Tracker: Kroot characters can be built for this, their hunter's instincts combined with the ability to have a keenness of perception beyond the limits of humans means that they can sniff out prey (bestial or otherwise) from the merest hint of their presence.
  • Scoring Points: The Endeavor system in the rules is structured this way. Essentially for any given business venture to be considered successful for a Rogue Trader, they need to score beyond a certain threshold of Achievement Points. Achievement Points can be earned for actions that help make the venture successful, such as setting up future trading agreements, acquiring new treasure, or simply building up their reputation for future leverage. Conversely, Achievement Points can be deducted for things which will hurt the venture, like making enemies out of potential long-term trading partners, spending excessive amounts of their own resources, or suffering a humiliating defeat. If, by the end of the Endeavour, the Explorers have enough Achievement Points, they gain the Profit Factor from the Endeavour with bonuses for exceeding the threshold by various amounts.
  • Screw The Rules, I Have A Warrant of Trade!: Rogue Traders are expected to operate outside the Imperium's borders where the Lex Imperialis does not apply and are thus exempt from prosecution for anything they do out there. However, they do come under Imperial authority while back in the Imperium (where they often must go to sell exotic goods or negotiate trades on that end) and can be prosecuted for anything they do there. Even then, their warrant of trade will excuse them a lot, as someone who has such a warrant must have strong connections with authorities in the Administratum or Imperial Navy and local authorities will find it difficult to prosecute them or make such a prosecution stick.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: Rogue Traders are allowed to get around a great deal of the regulations of the Imperium, essentially because they're some of the most wealthy and powerful individuals in the galaxy (emphasis on individuals).
    • In the lore, this is the entire point of licensing Rogue Traders. On the frontier they are much more effective than more official operatives.
    • In the crunch, your starting character is either going to start with lots of money or a frakking big ship. So either this or Appeal to a Kilometres-Long Starfaring Battle Cathedral.
  • Settling the Frontier: As the Kronous Expanse is on the frontier of the Imperium, it is unsurprising that this comes into play. Rogue Traders can do things such as carry colonists and materials to settle uninhabited worlds, or prepare already human-inhabited worlds for future Imperial integration. While doing so may not be immediately profitable, such ventures can pay out to the Rogue Trader's dynasty down the line when the Imperium's frontier expands and the dynasty's efforts given them stronger claim to future remunerations.
  • Shout-Out: The description of the Endurance Motivation ("You seek to endure, and, in enduring, grow stronger") refers to a line spoken by Dak'kon from Planescape: Torment.
    • There is also the characteristic given to Death World characters, which lets them take training with primitive melee weapons, to represent their experience fighting terrifying monsters with improvised or underpowered weaponry. Its name? If it bleeds, I can kill it.
    • The Hostile Acquisitions sourcebook brings us the "Reaver" career option, raiders who have lived too long on the edge of space and now live only for pillage and slaughter. The accompanying illustration includes a rather familiar brown duster. This may be the only thing ever to become Lighter and Softer when translated into the Warhammer 40,000 universe.
    • In the entry on Void Kraken, there's an account of a sailor who told his captain that that there was no moon.
    • There is an ability that Dark Eldar can use when applying poisons and toxins onto their foes that delay the effect of the toxin until some time after it has been applied, with some particularly gruesome effects like the victim's body exploding violently due to the victim's blood actively revolting against the body. What is said ability called? "You are already dead."
    • The power board from Into the Storm is a hoverboard. Its description inverts the "hoverboards are real tech" hoax by stating "Many still refuse to believe these featureless flat planks exist."
  • Signature Team Transport: The Rogue Trader's starship, which will often belong to their family since antiquity and will carry them into their adventures, or sometimes be the setting of them.
  • Simple, yet Awesome: Bolter weapons, which are the standard armament at most levels, are also rocket propelled missiles at semi- and fully-automatic rates.
  • Single-Biome Planet: Planets created with the system in Stars of Inequity can easily end up with only a single territory, so it's perfectly possible to encounter desert planets, swamp planets, forest planets, etc.
  • Space Is Cold and Literally Shattered Lives: A major danger of void exposure is your corpse freezing solid and becoming fragile within a minute of death. Inherited from Dark Heresy, though given the activities of Rogue Trader characters, it's a more common danger for them.
  • Space Pirates: A common threat to Rogue Traders and Imperial shipping in general, in human, Eldar, and Ork flavours.
    • There are two types of human flavour: Regular Joes who are in it for the money, and Chaos pirates who are in it For the Evulz at best. And some Rogue Traders do this, too. The Into the Storm expansion turns the Ork Freebooter into a playable character class (they're in it cus Orks are made for fightin' and winnin'!).
    • The Hostile Acquisitions sourcebook is a handy resource for players who prefer to play on the wrong side of the law.
  • Starship Luxurious: Things that can potentially be found aboard a Rogue Trader's starship include vaulted ceilings, barracks for entire regiments of ground troops, room-sized techno-pipe organs, gladiatorial arenas, factories, and full-size churches to the God-Emperor (some of which can detach from the ship proper and be air-dropped as prefab cathedrals on worlds in need of converting).
  • Stern Chase: Has rules to reflect it, with one ship trying to shake the other which is trying to keep up, usually exchanging fire as they go.
  • That's No Moon!: Name-dropped in a quote describing the Void Kraken, where a starship captain has dismissed the creature as simply a moonlet but a crewman is very much convinced that the giant monster isn't any sort of moon.
    "The cap't, he said it was just a moon at first and to think no more on it, but I's knew better. I told him I did, I says to him that there is no moon…"
  • Too Dumb to Fool: A particularly messy variant. If a Navigator takes The Lidless Stare up to Master level, anyone who looks into their Warp Eye has to pass a Toughness test or die immediately—unless their Intelligence is less than 20. As a comparison, the minimum starting Intelligence is 27...
  • Unobtainium: Nephium, the only source of which is the bubbling sinkhole pits in the middle of ancient, abandoned xenos cities made of ice on the frozen planet of Lucin's Breath. When a small amount is added to crude promethium, it drastically improves the refinement process and leaves a much more efficiently burning fuel than otherwise. The environment it is extracted from is extremely hostile to human life and the ruins that surround each sinkhole are said to be haunted, yet it is so valuable that the houses of Chorda and Winterscale and a dozen smaller operations come to literal war over stakes claimed on prime extraction sites.
  • War for Fun and Profit: Literally in the case of war-related Endeavours. A Rogue Trader can act as a mercenary force broker, lending services to one side or another, whether that be naval protection, private army deployment, supply transport, scouting, or just plain privateering. Heck, just arranging arms deals is often quite profitable in itself. The Battlefleet Koronus sourcebook expands a great deal on this aspect of the game.
  • Wooden Ships and Iron Men: IN SPACE! In most cases, you're playing the chief crew members of a Rogue Trader ship, probably have a Warrant of Trade (a letter of marque from the High Lords of Terra, meaning the crew is probably part Privateer and part Intrepid Merchant). And your job is to sail the void in kilometers long ships armed with broadside arrays of macro cannons and lances. To explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before. And conquer it all in the Emperor's and your dynasty's name, crushing anyone or anything who stand in your way for prestige and profit.
  • Worthy Opponent: This can quite easily happen in-game between PCs and other Rogue Traders, since while most of them are rivals, very few are outright enemies as Koronus is filled with forces that are openly hostile to all humans. The supplement Edge of Abyss actively encourages GMs to have their groups develop rivalries with, and seek to surpass the existing canonical NPCs.
  • Wretched Hive: Footfall is a collection of hollowed-out asteroids, repurposed derelict ships, and other such liveable space detritus loosely held together with tethers and docking bridges, located on the far side of the Koronus Passage. It is here that various factions vie for control of various territories, any number of goods both conventional and illicit can be bought and sold, and a variety of powers keep agents stationed there to guard their interests and monitor those of others. A place where assassins, diplomats, priests, criminals, and even xenos can rub elbows with each other. The fact that not all of them shoot each other on sight says much about how little Imperial law means on Footfall.
  • Writers Cannot Do Math: Working from the numbers given for the dimensions and tonnage of ships, small raiders are about half the average density of balsa wood (Ork Brute Ram: 60 kg/m^3) while the largest bulk transports would blow away in a slight breeze (Imperial Universe class: 2.9 kg/m^3). Crew requirements have the same scaling problem (as well as being far too low for how the fluff describes living conditions, even on the smallest ships) while passenger capacities seem to be random numbers that don't increase with size at all.
  • You Lose at Zero Trust: If your crew ever hits zero morale they will turn against you entirely and attack any authority figure they can find. Considering that even a "small" Imperial craft has a crew numbering in the thousands this means that the players will at least lose their ship, if not their lives. The only other solution is to execute the entire crew... and you can't run anything without them.