Space battles in Rogue Trader are great aren’t they? Billions of tonnes of plasteel and ceramite slugging it out over tens of thousands of kilometres of open space with munitions the size of your average house.
There is a problem though – if your character isn’t flying the ship or shooting the ordnance, the number of Extended Actions they can take can be quite limited. This is especially true if they don’t have (or are good at) Command, Intimidate, Charm or Tech Use, and can often leave players feeling like their only role is to continuously scan enemy ships or to keep the crew on high alert in case you get accidentally boarded.
This isn’t all that fulfilling for players, so our group has come up with some additional Extended Actions that give characters more options during space combat. Feel free to plunder them as you see fit!
All power to voids
With some careful power management, a skilled Explorer can re-route energy from some of the more aggressive components on the ship to boost the effectiveness of the crackling void shields.
Tech Use -10: If successful add one additional void shield to your ship this turn, but you must choose a weapon component that cannot fire next turn.
Beat to Quarters
A triumphant beat or rousing war-hymns can stir the hearts of voidsmen into greater action, and the steady rhythm aids the huge collaborative efforts of reloading the macrobatteries with greater speed.
Common Lore (Imperial Creed) or Performer (Singer/Musician): success adds +1 to one weapon component’s Strength.
Consult the logs
Some vessels can be thousands of years old and seen just as many opponents in combat – all these conflicts would be stored somehow, somewhere, deep with the ship’s logs, and examining them for similarities with a current opponent could give you an edge.
Literacy or Search: Success grants +5 to next Scrutiny check on enemy vessel, with additional +5 per Degree of Success.
A helmsman is only as good as his navigator, and a skilled cartographer can read stellar maps like the ocean currents – knowing which solar winds to ride, which radiation storms to avoid, and which gravity wells can be crested for a burst of speed.
Navigation (Stellar): +5 to any Pilot (Space Craft) tests made next turn, with an additional +5 per Degree of Success.
For the Emperor!
Intoning hymns of victory and burning sacred incense, an Explorer of the cloth can fill their fellow senior officers with determination and faith in the certainty of their actions.
Scholastic Lore (Imperial Creed): Success allows you to add +5 to any one other character’s test this turn.
The point defence gunners receive the order to go weapons free, saturating all the space around the ship with a thick wall of gunfire – the storm of flak scattering debris and shattering asteroids, making it difficult for enemy gunners to draw a bead on the ship. This action is a desperate one, as the wanton and unsustainable waste of resources has a lasting effect on the crew.
Command or Intimidate: Impose a -5 to all enemy BS tests targeting your ship next turn, plus an additional -5 per Degree of Success. Reduce your own Morale by D5 each time you perform this Extended Action, regardless of the success of the test.
Hijack vox network
Opponents who have not properly tended the guardian spirit of their vox network will quickly find it animated by a more powerful, righteous one. Briefly forcing your way into the enemy vox network gives you the opportunity to inform enemy crewmen of their imminent demise, or how much they could be earning should they decide to swap sides…
Tech Use test minus enemy ship’s Detection Rating to gain access (so a positive Detection Rating would be a negative modifier to the Tech Use test, and a negative Detection Rating would be a bonus). Once you gain access, take an Intimidate or Charm test: –1 Morale to the enemy crew plus an additional -1 per Degree of Success. This Extended Action can be performed by two people.
Hit the weak point
With careful consultation on enemy ship layouts and comparing them to known construction templates, a canny observer can pick out weak points on an enemy ship for the gunners to target.
Scrutiny: Improve the Crit Rating of one weapon component by 1, plus an additional 1 per 2 Degrees of Success.
Knowledge is power
A cunning Rogue Trader surrounds himself with brains as well as brawn, and having knowledgeable advisors to hand to identify enemy spacecraft before lines are drawn and horns are locked can make the difference between victory and defeat.
A relevant Forbidden/Scholastic lore, if passed, may be used instead of Scrutiny tests for that character against the ship in question for the remainder of the combat. This is down to the GM’s discretion which (if any) lore skill would apply.
You can get all of these on a Google Doc in a lovely printable format alongside all the existing Extended Actions here: