Tuesday, 1 April 2014

A Game of Rouge Trader and 15 Things You'd Forgotten About Rouge Trader circa September 1987

Captain Gluteus Maximus of the Ultramarines Chapter (you know them, they have that half-Eldar Chief Librarian) recently got summoned to the frontier world of Stourbridge to sort out some problem with an Astropath relay station that was no longer transmitting. However this latter point wasn't very important because there were FUCKIN XENOS in the town.

(And cowboys. Mainly because the game was built around Finney's huge collection of MDF Wild West buildings and 28mm Gunfighters. Humans with the usual stat line, armed with a motley collection of stub guns, shotguns and autoguns, and a few Malifaux figures.).

(There was also something about an undercover Inquisitor called Inquisitor Sherlock Rebus who was disguised as a cowboy - I didn't pay much attention to this because FUCKIN XENOS)

(I suspect that rather than being Space Cowboys, they were really Groxboys because lets be honest in 1987-World they'd be herding Grox - 'Hairless Apes Eat Grox Dung' and all that).

Anyway, this me deciding to sort out the FUCKING XENOS problem by running it down with a Rhino driven by Auto-Drive.

This worked rather well, even though one of the first rules amendments to 40K was to stop shitty weak infantry damaging big fuck off tanks when crushed beneath their tracks, and we were specifically not using those rules because we are fanatical purists and only use the 1987 book and refuse to acknowledge the presence of anything later - it's like our Orange Catholic Bible or something. In fact our Rhino was just the generic "Tracked/Wide Wheeled" vehicle from the rulebook because we don't actually know what that Rhino thing means anyway. We all know the game peaked in September 1987 when WD93 was on the newsagent's shelves. Anyway we justified the vehicle's tendency to take damage when running greenskins over as their soft, green, fleshy parts gumming up the tracks.

What is happening here is that the Ork leader then boarded the speeding Rhino (it was travelling at full chat - I didn't see any point in slowing down at any point). I mean who knew there were rules for boarding enemy vehicles in RT? Apparently there are - check page 39 (although in retrospect this might refer to using your own vehicles for bussing/debussing).

At this point the Ork was trying to use his Power Glove (it's like a Power Fist but with a less aggressive name) to smash the crap out of the Rhino. There are no rules for hitting a vehicle in close combat but we let him attack against WS1 because that seemed reasonable and we are adult like that and it was a case of "this is fucking great, lets keep it going".

However lots of ones (hah!) meant that nothing happened and I was able to run over another six FUCKING XENOS before too much green organic matter in the tracks made the Rhino explode.

Meanwhile this happened.

"Shit, did you see that car crash?"

It was like living in Coop Towers 1 all over again - the screech of tyres, the failure to lift, the big crump, the insurance quotes from builders...

As you can see, even the toy truck being used as terrain is retro;

This was being driven by a cowboy with the intention of ramming it into FUCKING XENOS in the hope that it would explode but sadly we ran out of time. Phil was doing a half-player/half-GM act and he had already decided that the Orks would break as soon as they were at half strength and a heroic autodrive chip in a Rhino had basically won the game for Team Emprah.

During the game Phil kept rolling d% without saying why. Apparently this was to see if a human psyker would appear in the Astropath relay station and help out with her HERETICAL WARP POWERS. Shame this never happened because had it happened I would immediately have forgotten about FUCKING XENOS and gone after FUCKING MUTANT.

Because that's what my character would do.

Anyway, four games of Rouge in and it's amazing how many weird little differences from the modern day there are. So without further ado here are 15 things you'd forgotten about Rouge Trader circa 1987.

1 -Apparently "rouge" is not the correct spelling.

2 - There are Sisters of Battle in the rulebook but no more is said about them - they remain Angry Space Nun enigmas.

They shoot Rainbow Warriors. Maybe they are French. That is after all a French fleur-de-lys on her wimple.

3 - There is no concept of the teardrop template. The flamer is a 1.5" radius template. This probably represents historic flamethrowers in a better fashion as traditionally they were often used to "hose" and could therefore be fired on an arc. Furthermore if you hit a target and don't kill it, it continues to take damage in every close combat phase until a 6 is rolled to put the flame out. You can add +1 to this roll for every model adjacent to burning model that tries to put it out.

4 - Plasma guns can't fire until turn 3 at the earliest. It takes two turns to charge after a shot and it is assumed the game starts with them empty.

5 - Flip a coin for first turn. If this were still in the rules GW would sell an "official" Imperial Mega-Groat coin for £20 and twats would buy it to avoid the shame of using a 20p piece or something. Mega-Groat would have skulls on both faces and be made of finecast.

6 - It's all Pre-scatter die. Randomise direction with a d12 (yes, it uses a full complement of polyhedrals) having declared a direction as '12'. Jason attempted to use a scatter die in the above game and he was shouted down very quickly. Serve him bloody right.

7 - You can split squads and send models more than 2" away from others but they require written instructions and the GM controls them. We did this in our first refight of the Battle of the Farm a couple of years ago, handing control of the Space Marine with missile launcher over to a bystander. This gives you the flexibility to take a model with an S-class weapon (can't move and fire) and give him an order like "advance to that ridgeline and give covering fire support to the rest of the squad". Almost like a real infantry firefight.

8 - Empty battlefield (yes, I understand that being able to see the tabletop is an alien concept to modern 40K players). Any model can hide in cover, such as within woods or behind a wall/vehicle etc. You cannot be targeted until enemy are within an number of inches equal to their I score until you fire. You also can't reserve move. This means that if you aren't planning to shoot this turn, get your head down and skulk. Bio scanners and Energy Scanners can be used to detect hidden troops at longer distances.

9 - Overwatch not needed. Charged? Shoot them at -1. None of this snapshot shit.

10 - Following fire. Some weapons like the Heavy Bolter and the Plasma Pistol are F-class. If you wound your target (saved or not) you can pick a target within 4" of the original target (or pick the original target if still standing) and have another shot. And so on until you fail to wound. While that's "cultural" for the Heavy Bolter and Heavy Stubber as they are basically Space Machine Guns it's also true of the Shuriken Catapult which makes Eldar potentially very evil indeed. In fact a lot of weaponry is very evil in this game - I assume that Rouge is showing the influence of Laserburn here which adopted the attitude this if you needlessly exposed yourself to Space Guns then you'd be very dead very quickly. That's why you hide in point 8 above.

11 - Space Marines are glass cannons. T3, their armour is 4+ but most weapons have a save modifier of -1. We are in an era in which SPEHSS MAHREENS were allowed to die and did so with distressing regularity.

12 - There is a rule for three-sided games. I believe that modern GW sell you a whole book for Warhammer to try and handle this.

13 - Robots have their orders written down a number of turns in advance and have a limited fire arc dependent upon their Int. And of course they can go berserk as the result of a critical hit. However you can skip all this by taking a Walker vehicle and fit it with autoaim and autodrive which basically gives you a robot with no drawbacks that is also immune to morale but obviously this would be a cunt's trick. So you won't. Don't look at the above battle report where something similar happened.

14 - Template weapon deviation is the weirdest thing ever. The chance of a template deviating is entirely based upon it's size - a 1/2" radius inch one (small grenades, shotguns) only deviates on a 6, a 2 1/2" radius or bigger on a 2+. This done you roll to hit anybody partially under the template using the usual BS check. What this implies is that you have no control over where the explosion ends up but you can do something about the way the shrapnel bounces. This is completely mental but we stuck with it because basically 1987.

15 - There are at least two creatures that are disguised refugees from Call of Cthulhu (Astral Hound = Hound of Tindalos, Crawler = Cthonian) and probably six that have sneaked in from AD&D with their serial numbers filed off - the Enslaver (Beholder), the Ferro-Beast (Rust Monster), the Ambull (Umber Hulk), the Cthellean Cudbear (Owlbear), the Catachan Devil (Carrion Crawler) and possibly the Psychneuein which might be the Stirge.


And finally this is from Chapter Approved not RT but none-the-less I think the second sentence is the greatest sentence ever written in the history of GW fiction.



  1. Owen, it was a downed transmitter, nothing to do with an Astropath.

    The % roll was to see if the psychic witch Thatcher would manifest, the reason Inquisitor Sherlock Rebus was in town.

    I'm already writing the next part of the story.

  2. I was confused. There were FUCKING XENOS. Not my fault.

  3. I'm almost certain that GW did sell an Imperial coin as part of one of the more recent re-releases of one of the core games.

    1. Bloody hell, you're right!


    2. I take no pleasure in this.

  4. Why not use vehicle speed to give it a WS? Every 4" = +1WS. So basically you have to move at least as fast as a normal human to even have a chance for your tank to be missed by a Power Glove/Fist thingie. (If this all just isnt an April Fools thing and it shouldn't be cuz it was fun.) Me I plan on eventually doing an ALL RT BOOK game eventually. I just won Astronomican this week on the bay for a sub 60 dollars shipped price (52 in fact), and just need Waaagh and the Dungeon Tile set and I have all the RT besides the later WD articles covering stuff like Scouts n such. (And I have that issue since I wanted the Eldar in Tyranid Attack rules legit. And now I want Advanced Heroquest. And Tzeentch Fliers for my Epic Chaos army. SEE GW THIS IS HOW YOU GET PEOPLE TO BUY STUFF. Game supplements make better ads than bad battle reports and LOOK AT HOW THIS NEW EXPENSIVE OP THING MAKES YOUR WHOLE ARMY SUCK NOW BUY IT BECAUSE FRIG YOUR LICTORS AND SPORE MINES AND GENESTEALERS FIRST WAVE INVASION THEME ARMY GO BUY TRYGONS AND THAT 73 DOLLAR THING THAT LOOKS LIKE A TYRANID GOT INFECTED BY THE THING FROM ANOTHER WORLD.

    (Not that I am bitter or anything.)

    1. The Ork was either in or on (it's wasn't really that clear) the vehicle so the speed differential was zero. As he was trying to hit something that couldn't strike back I suggested WS1 which seems to chime in with older versions of Warhammer.

      As for "ALL RT BOOK" game our first game (in modern times) was played just with the RT book because we were playing the Battle at the Farm scenario - I did think about introducing lots of post-1987 stuff into my 15mm project but be warned the ruleset can become very unwieldy very quickly. We didn't miss the later stuff in the first few games so carried on as we were.

    2. If I do it, I expect it to be hilariously confusing and silly. Sort of like playing an all AD&D 1st edition books game. Its sort of funny how few of the rules we all actually USED in these old books and how even the more streamlined sequel game (2nd ed AD&D and 40K) were basically 90% the same as their prequel but we have internet people who insist otherwise.

      And I still facepalm over how many 2nd ed rules we never used back in the day.

      If I do go ahead with it I will probably make a blog project out of it, reading and blogging over every book and chapter.

      And I will probably do a Battle at the Farm battle if I get fair enough minis to proxy. (My Marines are Pre Heresy World Eaters I won't ever paint, mostly made as figures I got on the cheap from trades and starter boxes and the like. Unless I become a millionaire magically then I will have an all Mk 4-5 Forge World army. And pay someone to paint them. I still probably wouldn't buy Angron at FW prices. Maybe.)

  5. "Why not use WS yadda yadda yadda?"

    Because that would over complicate things! :-)

    Future plans for Warhammer 40,000 - Rogue Trader involve Captain Gluteus Maximus pursuing the Ork warband of Boss Bignutz and also an inquisitor routing out mutants in the Lower Gornal sub-hive.

  6. Oh, and next month we are playing Adeptus Titanicus.

  7. Fucking brilliant stuff! I've been playing it all wrong!

  8. Good good. Nice batrep, and I don't like batreps. Regards the rip-off AD&D aliens, I have Razorwings down as Stirges and the Crawler down as Carrion Crawler, Astral Hound as Blink Dog (they have that limited range teleporty thing), all the others, yep, yep and yep. Wanna collaborate on converting the rest of the AD&D MM -> RT / WFB 2E ? Got some notes...

  9. That was a fun battle report!
    I really want to play rogue trader, but I just missed out on that edition when I started in the hobby. But it's dark, gritty 2000AD style are right up my street.

    All of my 40k skirmish gaming has been tied to 2nd edition and it's variants (Mainly 40k 2nd ed with the Necromunda rules tacked on for a detailed skirmish).

    I do have most of the RT books, it would be good to give it a go just for the experience, but most of my group don't seem that intrigued.

    I also wanted to let you know that I'd nominated your blog for the Liebster Award over on my own blog: Meandering Shade, it's just a bit of blog appreciation and it's up to you whether you'd like to carry it on or not.