Sword & Spoken Word
I have made the character sheet and rulebooks available to you via Google Drive. You will make use of the Core rulebook and the Into The Storm expansion when building your character.
Here’s a breakdown of how to get started:
Begin by setting all your Characteristics to a starting value of 25. All modifications made by the Origin Path in Step 3 will affect these base values.
Additionally, you have 500 spare experience points which you will spend during the creation of your character. For now just note them at the bottom left of your sheet. You don’t have to do anything with them just yet.
2. Choose A Career
- Rogue Trader: (Core Rulebook p. 40) The captain and leader of the dynasty and party. Rogue traders have a strong focus in social skills and specialize in Command, Charm, Blather, Deception, and Intimidation. The ultimate success of the dynasty is theirs to uphold. Prime traits: Intelligence and Fellowship.
- Arch-Militant: (Core Rulebook p. 44) Arch-militants specialize in all forms of combat. Whether it’s long-range with a laser sniper rifle or up close and personal with a Power Fist or Chainsword, arch-militants make war, not love. Aboard starships, they are chief security officers, disciplinarians, and bodyguards to key bridge crew. Prime traits: Strength and Agility.
- Astropath Transcendent: (Core Rulebook p. 48) Astropaths are powerful psychics who have the ability to tap into the energies of the Warp to command all manner of strange and incredible sorcery. Aboard starships, they are masters of communication, responsible for sending and receiving faster-than-light messages via telepathic communication. Prime traits: Intelligence and Willpower.
- Explorator: (Core Rulebook p. 52) Explorators devote their lives to understanding and safeguarding technology. They are the keepers of forbidden machine knowledge, and they are often fixated with the replacement of their own organic bodies with holy machine upgrades. Aboard starships they are the trans-mechanics, tech-priests, engineseers, and medical experts. Prime traits: Toughness and Intelligence.
- Missionary: (Core Rulebook p. 56) Missionaries are the moral and spiritual leaders of the Imperial fringe. They are strong support characters, capable of keeping men loyal to and fearful of the God-Emperor. Their strong faith gives them the ability to turn back the dark forces of Chaos when all hope seems lost. Aboard starships, they are councilors and medics. Prime traits: Willpower and Fellowship.
- Navigator: (Core Rulebook p. 60) Navigators are respected individuals who possess incredible spell-like abilities granted by their strange mutations. Their “Warp Eye” (literally a third eye on their foreheads) allows them to see into the Warp and to command its energies, controlling minds, predicting the future, and poaching the minds of those who meet their gaze. Aboard starships, navigators are responsible for plotting safe courses and steering the ship through the Sea of Souls. Prime traits: Intelligence, Perception, and Willpower.
- Senechal: (Core Rulebook p. 64) Senechals are everything, and they are nothing. They are spies, liaisons, and confidence men. They are the knife in the shadows. Senechals maintain enormous networks of contacts and information, and they typically handle the dirty work so that their lords can maintain deniability for the less savoury activities that a dynasty must inevitably engage in. Aboard starships, Senechals can serve in many roles, including Master of Whispers, stewards, and sage advisers. Prime traits: Intelligence, Perception, and Fellowship.
- Void Master: (Core Rulebook p. 68) Void Masters are very versatile. They are professional void-farers, trained in everything from ship piloting and navigation, maintenance, close and ranged combat, and a variety of useful trades that are much needed in the far-reaches of space where skilled labour is a precious commodity. Aboard starships, voidmasters are typically pilots, but they can be jacks of all trades as well. Their long experience as professional space travelers means they are an indispensable addition to any crew. Prime traits: Agility and Willpower.
You will begin the game with the skills listed in the dark box at the top of your chosen Career Path. Any skills listed here will be skills your character has Trained in, so fill in the Basic and Trained boxes on your character sheet to indicate this proficiency.
Extra note: You also have the option of playing as an alien character (an Ork, Kroot, Eldar, or Tau character). Be warned, however: the Imperium of Man is a realm of xenophobia and prejudice, and most people will want to kill you on sight unless your Rogue Trader is close at hand to speak for your reputation. I will happily work with any player who is interested in being a non-human character, but it will be a difficult role, so keep that in mind.
Message me if you’re interested in playing an alien (aka “xenos”) and we’ll work it out from there. Most of the following material is for human characters, so this guide won’t be relevant to you.
3. Choose Your Origin Path
The Origin Path (Core Rulebook p. 15 and Into The Storm p. 8) is a tool to help you come up with a backstory. It represents everything about your history right up until the present moment, from your homeworld, to the challenges you have faced, and to the deep and personal motivations that drive you to succeed where others have failed.
There are five primary categories for building your Origin Path:
- Home World: Where you were born. Whether it was on the frontier of a forlorn Death World, in the densely populated streets of a Hive World, or in the shining marble towers of an Imperial World’s noble houses, your homeworld influences your perceptions and preconceptions, your prejudices and future opportunities.
- Birthright: In the universe of Warhammer 40K, social mobility is almost unheard of. 99.998% of people die as members of the same social class as the one they were born into. As a member of the command crew in Rogue Trader, you are near the top of the highest social echelon – but you didn’t necessarily start there. You may be one of the 0.002%. Birthright describes your social origins, and the struggle you faced in your fight to the top.
- Lure of the Void: The void is a frightening place, filled with unspeakable horrors of xenos origin and worse. Most people would prefer to avoid it, leading a predictable planet-bound life. But not you. Lure of the Void represents the mystery, temptation, or intrigue that draws you into the unknown reaches of space.
- Trials and Travails: Mettle is forged in the fires of adversity. Trials and Travails represent the challenges you have faced or the dark deeds you have witnessed during your time in the void, and how those experiences have shaped you.
- Motivation: Your motivation represents your character’s ultimate goal – the reward for which they are willing to risk their security, their lives, and even their very souls.
Using the Core and Into The Storm books, choose a Homeworld, Birthright, Lure of the Void, Trials and Travails, and Motivation for your character.
You may select any of the Origin Path options from either the Core rulebook or Into The Storm. However, make sure that your selections can be explained from a narrative perspective. For example, it is unlikely that a Noble Born individual would have the Scavenger birthright (unless he, say, fell onto hard times and his entire dynasty collapsed).
Please note: many of the Origin Path options in the Into The Storm book have XP costs. If you select any of these options, you must pay for them. Remember that 500 XP I mentioned at the beginning? That’s what you spend to buy these special options.
Be sure to record any special skills, talents, and characteristic buffs or debuffs indicated by your Path choices on your character sheet.
The exact details of each Origin Path selection are intentionally vague so you can create your own story around the path. Feel free to invent other NPCs (friends and foes), planets, even whole star systems and events. The more detailed your story, the more ways I have to work you into the central plot.
4. Buff Your Characteristics
Now that you’ve selected your Career and Origin Paths, you have 100 Characteristic Points to spend towards increasing your Characteristics. You may spend these points on any of your 9 Characteristics, but you may not allocate more than 20 points to any one Characteristic. Consult the Career Path descriptions above for advice on how to optimize your character for their chosen speciality.
5. Spend Any Remaining XP You Have
If you have any remaining XP from your starting pool of 500, you may spend these points on additional Skills or Talents from the Rank 1 advance table of your chosen Career Path. When purchasing items from this list, you are limited to items which you do not already have. So you can’t purchase the same Skill or Talent twice and stack the benefits or anything like that. There should be plenty to choose from.
And with that, you should be finished!
As a GM, I am very open to making modifications to the system. If you want to propose a custom Origin Path option or modify certain values/conditions, feel free to consult with me and together we can work out something which is both game-balanced and sure to produce lots of interesting drama in the game.