Hostile Acquisitions – a Rogue Trader supplement in the world of the WH40K

Gothic pirates of the dark future just arrived:
In the grim world of the 41st century of mankind, the servants of the God-Emperor of Terra are chasing the hereteks, and they are purging the unclean.Inquisitors, with the help of the self-sacrificing legions of space marines, make war with daemons and the alien races in a never ending struggle. The void is between the planets, filled with vessels of rogue traders, with or without the contracts of the princes and councils of the Hive systems. In the Koronus Expanse the vessels are come and go, with possessions, and goods for the one and booty for the others.  They are the ‘gray wolfs’ of the space-highways, they are the pirates of the Empire, and they acquisition is always hostile, or at least illegal.
So, after a half a year of preliminaries, promises (the first official article is appeared in august of 2011, and the supplement published at 11 January 2012), the new supplement for the Rogue Trader are arrived, and landed in the shops. It is highly recommended for every Explorer, who wants to adventure in the world of crime of Rogue Trader, and want to acquire a greater plunder and profit.

Crimes against Humanity (Chapter I)
In this chapter we can learn more about the types of crimes. You can make illegal act against the Imperial Laws, you can hurt the planetary rules, or you can be a heretical brigand against the Ecclesiarchical Laws. And of course, the crime’s prize is the punishment, they are here too. In the end of the chapter there is more about piracy, smuggling, and criminal legacies.
Oh, and in the page 6 there is a drawing, with one of my best western-movie hero Lee Van Cleef (i.e. For a few dollars more) in a Witchhunter-like outfit. It is in the free sample pages here.

New careers (Chapter II)
Eight new career ranks are available for your more “scoundrel” flavour. These careers are: Arch-Heretek, Cold Trade Broker, Drusian Charlatan, House Operative (an agent, or spy), Manhunter (Rent you too a Boba Fett from another Empire), Reaver, Swashbuckler (Captain Jack Black’s in the Calixis Sector, salty dogs, yohohoho!), Secessionist.

The example are here, the Drusian Charlatan. She is the teleshopping saleswoman of the future, the costermonger in the religious marketplace of the Empire, but she needs a little bit less attention – especially from the Inquisitors. The piety of believers sometimes turns into the pity of the overflowed beliefs. The pure cults of saints in the Empire, who save the mankind from the dark, sometimes equal suspicion. Where is suspicion, there is she, the suspicion-for-money-maker: the Charlatan of Saint Drusus. She looks like a cleric, or a person of the Holy Eccleshiarchy. She makes illusions of her deeds, she is preaching false, converting people for money, etc. But sometimes she’s just selling holy texts, protecting amulets, pieces of almost-be-saints (“hey, I got the ear of Saint Drusus, and now I’m protected from plague”). But, you know, what she is, and what she do, always heresy. (For more details of the game mechanic see the link above.)

Weapons and illegal things (Chapter II is the Players’ best friend)
The weapons of piracy are the “scoundrel” tricks, the more tricks are the bests. Most of it, a knife in a hidden pocket, a micro-stubber, a tox-mister, shot guns with jury-rigged bolt shells, human copies of xenos weaponry, powered exoskeletons for voidsuits.
You can use weapons, and gears like never before in the WH40K games. The forbidden, the illegal, the exotic, and bizarre things in the armoury isn’t uncommon in the Hostile Acquisitions, but warmly welcomed. These are – for example – the voidsuit-shredding razorhail guns, ancient microgrenade dispensers, bizarre Stryxis Aetherflare bombs, Shuriken Cannon. In the hand-to-hand fight you can use an Eldar Mirrorsword, or a Zaythan Warblade. (The ownership of the weapons like you seen it above, is equal with a death sentence, of course.) And if it’s not enough, you can find such a good things, like a Prognasticator, that can guide a vessel without Navigator’s aid.

Riches and power groups (Chapter III, V)
The book gives a good description about the enemies of the piracy, and of the illegal deeds: laws, justice, the Adeptus Mechanicus, the Administratum, etc. They are enemies, and opportunities too, and this give some adventure hooks to a session.
The Cold Trade is the name in the Rogue Trader of the trade of the gears and body-parts of xenos. It is forbidden by law (a kind of beggaring with dangerous items). In addition you can find many forms, and goals of the nearly, and absolutely illicit trade, rewards, and treasures.

Nemesis (Chapter IV)
The Nemesis is similar to the Origin Path. The Origin Path is the option to a Player to choose a background for his or her character. It means, choose your career, homeworld, your social status (birthright and lure of the void), your trails and your motivations. It helps the Rogue Trader player to make faster a character, with background, giving adventure hooks to the Game Master. So, in the Hostile Acquisitions the creators made the Nemesis optional.
The Nemesis Path has three methods included in the supplement. The first is the Player Centered Method, when you mirrored the foe of the Player from his Origin path. The second is a more appropriated method, called the Game Master Centered Method. And last, the third method is the mixture of the two, called Intersection Method.
This system helps the Origin Path of the Rogue Trader to refresh with new adversaries, involving the Players deeds, and choose, to make new barriers and obstacles in the game.

Summary
In first glance, the supplement is a good book for the Rogue Trader fans, who want to row a little bit dangerous seas. The many new options of the characters, and gears makes easy to begin with a new adventurer party, or continue it with your beloved Rogue Trader Dynasty’s Explorers. But, do not forget that, “No servant of the God-Emperor dies unavenged, and no enemy of His escapes unpunished.” (The Promise of the Pax Imperialis, Marshal Orrik Von Darnus, 883.M40) For the perfect illustrations, and the feeling of the Serenity space-western drama with mixed taste of the gothic age of the future I give a 5/5.

Jeremy A. Wylie

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