The Journey of the Golden Goose - Session Zero

Let's take a look at our first session from our long running tier 3 campaign. This as a Rogue Trader Setting with a bit of Dark Heresy.

New Astropath, who dis?

Hey, listen. When Wrath & Glory was announced, we were excited. Once the pre-ordered PDF was available, we kicked of our first Wrath & Glory campaign. The Campaign started in 2018 and we are currently approaching our Session #25. I will write a little about that campaign, delve into the background and history of the sessions and will occasionally explore house rules that we established.

The Setup

We decided, that the Setting would be Tier 3. And that one player needed to take a Rouge Trader. The rest of the characters where free to choose. Overall the group consisted of 7 players plus the GM. Regarding the chosen characters… Those would be created as Tier 1 to 2 Characters at first. But I’m getting ahead. For the first session not everybody had to have their character. Sure, we would have a Tier 2 Rogue Trader, but the rest… Well, let’s meet them in chronological order, shall we.

The Rogue Trader

The Patriarch Fedor D. Vulpes is the Lord of a very old but fading rogue trader house. His sisters son is the protagonist: Alexander B. Vulpes. Alexander learned his trade as Seneschall of his cousin, Torben. Over the years, he developed a unique skillset. His political sense, high insight in the human desires and outstanding charisma allowed him to make some favourable deals. And, he also gathered some capable individuals around him. Those would serve him well, once he would be assigned his own ship. An this is where the story starts, Alexander is now Captain of the small Imperial Frigate, the Golden Goose. It’s not much, but it’s (almost) honest work. So, now let’s take a look at those trusted advisors, shall we?

The Crew

First, Angelo ‘Angel’ Vitinelli, the cigarillo smoking Master Helmsmen. Most notable, is his thick italian accent.

Then we have Tech-Akolyth Igor Molotow. You guessed his origin? Could it be russian? Indeed! How did the servitors understand him? Binary of course… All in all, this one knows how to overclock an engine or other mechanical parts.

Ahh, what could be a better asset than a flamethrower wielding, litany chanting and heresy expecting priest? Probably everybody else for a shadowy, soon-to-be captain. But this priest at least knows how to motivate some troops! His name is Orpheus Isiminga and he adds an old age, a slow walk and a grumpy personality to his skill set.

No entourage would be complete without an Arch Militant whose purpose is to protect the Captain and lead the troops. This role is filled by the wannabe highborn Anastasia Argent, also called ‘The Lady’ by the subordinates. Protective in regard to her Lord, Alexander Vulpes, and with a glimpse of ambition in her eyes.

Oh, and a Navigator of course… Orellion. Not to important, guides the ship, mutations (probably), the usual.

For the first session, those members where created by the GM. He presented multiple reduced character sheets with a picture and points distributed, so that the main skills would be around 8. E.g. The lady would have Ballistic Skill 8, The Pilot, emmm… well Pilot 8, and so on. We took turns in choosing those characters, put an name on them, and developed some characteristics on the fly, the result is in the character summary that I presented above.

But not all players would choose a, lets say, playable (N)PC (sort of). One player would also (in addition to the Rogue Trader character) start with an almost finished character. With that I mean a Tier 3 Character but with less points (around 70 to 100 BP less). We had no strict rule, and details where negotiated with the GM. We will come to this character a little later.

The story begins

The flagship of the Rogue Trader House Vulpes, the Honor, anchors near a ship cemetery located in the Rekram-System. Swarms of Shuttles were eager to harvest the scrap metal. Next to the Honor lays the Valor, the ship of Antonius Vulpes, heir to the throne and unloved cousin of Captain Alexander. House Vulpes was not the first to claim the cemetery and this expedition was less an exciting hunt for archeotech and more a feast of vultures on an old battlefield. The finest days of House Vulpes were long gone.

Ok, so Alexander is joining a meeting that the old Patriarch Vulpes had ordered. On board of the flagship, the old Lord welcomed Alexander and his entourage. Oddly enough, next to the Patriarch’s throne stood an unexpected guest, an Adeptus Astartes. His black skin, red glowing, deamon-like eyes and the green carapace of a scout armour, identified him as Battle Brother from the Salamander Chapter.

The Patriarch talks, about the ancient pacts between Rouge Traders and Astartes Chapters, old as the Empire itself, almost 10,000 years ago. In the first decades of existence, the Salamanders joined the vast Rogue Trader explorations and while not many Houses still honor those oaths, House Vulpes does. He proclaims:

“This is Brother Epimetheus from the third company of the Salamanders Chapter; born from the XVIII. Legion. The customs demand, that he will be part of your crew until seven decades have passed or the Chaptercommand releases him from this ritual pact. His wisdom and burning axe will join your cause to strengthen the bond between our clans. Learn from him, and teach him, as the customs demand.”

Unexpected guests

The pact is sealed, and new plans await. But a sudden intruder demands attention. The Augur-Telemetry discovered multiple enemy ships that were hidden within the asteroid belt. Now they approach the waiting ships. The old patriarch orders Alexander and Antonius to man their ship and escape this ambush.

To make things short, Alexander reaches the Golden Goose and discovers, that the options are fading. The telemetry is exhausted from the swarms of enemies, Orks, to be precise. The sister ships of Alexanders Goose, are heavily damaged and it’s not sure if they will make it. Lord Vulpes commands that the navigator finds an route for an escape jump, most preferably to the near Hethgart System. That system had previously send a distress call and Alexander was out of options. This System was the one with the highest chance to survive this jump, according to his navigator. And who was he to disagree?

The ships increases the distance to the stellar objects and larger ships before it is forced to do the jump into the warp. Vomit fills the deck from this hard warp journey. Sadly, the Augurs announce that multiple objects are following them within the warp.

Wait, wat? Tyranids? A come ON!

Thanks GM… So the ship enters realspace. Behind a Tyranid fleet that is attacking the Imperial naval defences of the Hethgart system. But wait, whats with the objects following in the immaterium? Could it be the other Vulpes ships? Nope, it’s hordes of Orks.

“This is Burkard Heldenreich from the Firststrike. Identify yourself.”

Heldenreich (roughly Heroesrealm or herorich in english) seems to be in charge of the defence force. Alexander uses whats left as options, he charges through the Tyranide vessels, dragging the Orks behind him right into the melee, so that both Xenos are decimating each other. What a cunning plan! Well, it works, and the remaining survivors are finished off.

Alexander sells his entry into the war as ‘just as planned’ and is praised for his cunning approach. Lord Heldenreich, the Lord of one of the great Rogue Trader Houses of this region, congratulates Alexander Vulpes, and gives him a nickname, the Greyfox, after a small, cunning animal on his homeland. Cunning!

Also, Heldenreich announces that (as a gift) he will grant the Greyfox the right to lead the expansion into newly discovered lands (more on that in a different article). Fun fact: it’s not a gift, it’s a chore. But well, The House Vulpes is even more decimated, Alexander is the last remaining member and the Golden Goose their last ship. So he will do what he does best, roll with the dice and see where they land.

New allies

The New exploration force will get some new faces (read player characters. First, a renown Tech-Priest, Koreljow, proclaims, that he will join Lord Vulpes to investigate anomalies on the new frontier. This is a highly intelligent and capable Tech-Magos, an asset that is a surprise for sure, but a welcome one.

Another asset is the freshly baked Commissar Maxim Semjoniwitsch Orlow assigned and ordered to organize the manpower needed to claim the new worlds in the name of the emperor.

Both of those are welcome assets for Lord Vulpes. Some more will join in the next Session. At this point, we leave the entourage behind. They will become NPC’s with the rich background of a full evening of action. And the players will join lord Vulpes with a mix of approx. Tier 2 characters. For now, we have:

  • The Rogue Trader, Lord Alexander Bartholome Vulpes

  • Commissar Maxim Semjonowitsch Orlow, from Valhalla

  • Astartes Scout Epimetheus, from the Salmanders Chapter

  • Magos Sergei Pawlowitsch Koreljow, who will make Tech DN’s obsolete

Three characters are still missing, and those will be introduced in the next session.

Whats next

So, this a short glimpse into our first session one year ago. You saw how we established a narrative that already introduced and enriched NPCs. In the next write up, I will introduce the three missing PCs and how the story continuous. I can also give you the concrete stats of the characters if there is interest.

Last but not least, for those of you capable in the german language, here is a in-game write up of the session (22 MB, PDF in Drive).