A few more thoughts on my Rogue Trader game as it pushes forward.
When I was running Dark Heresy I found combats to be ugly, brutish and short. One or two autofire bursts and someone—PC or NPC—would wind up a bloody mess. In Rogue Trader, this hasn’t been the case.
For instance, the superior stats and equipment Rogue Trader PCs start out with, and the similar abilities of their suggested opponents, has the effect of making combat drags on. The problem, as I see it, is that while the capacity of Rogue Trader PCs to soak damage is considerably better than starting PCs in Dark Heresy, the effectiveness of the game’s weapons seem kind of flat. As a result most combats seem to be a back and forth marathon.
So right now, I’m working on ways to speed it up. For instance, I’m considering only applying a characters toughness bonus (instead of doubling it) and making all tens rolled in damage open-ended, rather than requiring another attack roll. At the end of the day, I want my combats quick and deadly.
A Pirate’s Life
Overall though, I’m finding that the vibe of the game is great. I was a little worried that having five players in charge of a ship with 95 000 crew would be a little overwhelming, but it’s actually been a blast. Each of the players has really taken charge of their domains on the ship and are constantly breathing life into the ship’s micro-setting.
Along similar lines, I’m playing pretty fast and loose with the game’s morale mechanics. I’m sticking to the spirit of the rules, but I’m making sure that the actions of the PCs can have a direct effect on the ship’s crew. And really, they set themselves up for trouble on this front from the get go.
For instance, the PCs opted for the ‘reclaimator’ option on their ship (basically injured and deceased crew men are converted into gruesome cyborgs), purchased the cheapest possible life-support system, and over-crowded crew quarters. Add to that the murderous zeal of the ship’s Explorator and frankly totalitarian tendencies of the Arch-Militant and you’ve got a GM’s dream. You can imagin my glee when, after dropping morale by a point because of their long trip out into the void, the players wound up debating every imaginable option to stave off mutiny.
I can only say it’s a good thing that the Captain overruled the Arch-Militant’s plan to string-up anyone muttering discontent…