Let me start by saying this book is PACKED with new content. If you play Rogue Trader, this is a must have. You should be buying this book right now, but if you aren’t convinced, let’s go into the details.
The first chapter provides new options for character creation including new origin paths for every single choice from the original core rulebook. That basically doubles your options for building your new character. Sure, it’s only reflected in bonuses and additional starting talent and skills, but it adds so much potential for roleplaying if you want mechanical bonuses for your background choices. I love this addition to the book and it was totally unexpected.
Not only does the first chapter lay out new character creation options, it provides the structure for building your own Warrant of Trade. It involves a number of tradeoffs in starting profit factor and your ship while adding interesting story elements to the game. For example, you gain different numbers of profit factor and ship points depending on the fame of your Warrant. Famous Warrants give you more ship points, Infamous ones provide higher profit factor, and Unknown Warrants are basically balanced. Several of these options exist and the final tally provides your starting resources for your Dynasty. Again, the theme of this book is more detailed mechanics and customization of your character, ship, and history.
Perhaps everyone’s most desired content is the incorporation of Xenos species as PCs. Unfortunately, the only two races included are the Kroot and Orks. It’s not a bad thing per se. It’s just not as many options as I’d like to see. Each race has a new Career Path that you can take as well as new Alternate Career Ranks that players can take to augment their primary path. These add a bit more customization as you can expect along with additional options to buy new skills and talents based on those paths. I don’t want to disparage this section of the book in light of all the other amazing content, but wanted to make sure people didn’t expect a huge set of new races and Career Paths.
I think the next two chapters can be summed up together and fairly easily. They are the expanded Armory and Shipships. Each of these chapters offers at least 3-4 new options for each TYPE of weapon, armor, gear, ship component, archeotech, etc. So it’ll have on average 2-3 new Las weapons, grenades, power armor, engines, Xenos ship tech, the list goes on. It’s more toys for you to kill your enemies with and stop them from killing you first.
The Vehicles chapter is a welcome addition for sure. I expected a list of vehicle rules with tons of stats to use them. I got the rules to use vehicles and of course some standard examples. Where the book provides nice mechanics is how to build your own vehicles for use in the game. It’s probably something I’ll incorporate later, but is nice to have now. The only critique I have is the lack of ground vehicles. Most of those offered up are aerial vehicles and there aren’t really any options for something like a heavy tank, which seems like something my players always want to acquire. I guess I’ll have to whip them one up.
I’ll brush over the Psychic Powers chapter and just say that like the Armory and Starship chapters, it has more options for you. The next big thing (I promise I’m wrapping up soon) is the new game mechanics. GMs get instructions on creating new types of endeavours like Meta Endeavours, which are basically campaign length missions that span several common endeavours. Also in this chapter, you’ll find new acquisition rules. PCs keep buying bling and Terminator Power Armor? Someone is going to notice. Generally, that means something bad happens. No one likes a show off after all. Finally, the chapter has a section on ship roles, so your players can more clearly define what their character would be in charge of on the ship and actually allows for a chain of command if you like. All in all, these are some nice new additions to the game.
Last, but not least, the book’s final chapter details more about life on Port Wander and it’s denizens. My group doesn’t spend too much time there, but with all this information, you could set up some pretty serious political intrigue and social endeavours. Again, I love the inclusion of more information on locations in the universe as I try to flesh out a more realistic world for my players.
So what does all this mean? This book is absolutely crammed with new options for your Rogue Trader game. If you don’t find something you like in this book, you probably haven’t opened it yet. I can’t wait to incorporate these options into a game and see what the players think. Oh, and be careful. Rogue Trader has since started me playing Deathwatch as well. If you can play one, you can play the other with very little start up time. The best part is the additional books can add new equipment and powers to any of your Warhammer 40K games. With Rogue Trader, Deathwatch, and Dark Heresy, every book you buy is leveraged by 3 games! Is very good deal! (That’s from The State if anyone wonders)