Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Risky Business: Into the Maw (Part1.1)

Risky Business: Into the Maw
Part 1: The Riddle of the Righteous Path
A Rogue Trader Campaign

[I'm starting a series of write-ups narrating the progress of my online campaign, the Risky Business. If you're interested in seeing a play-by-post campaign in action using the Rogue Trader setting and rules, you can check out the website for my campaign at http://riskybusiness.guildlaunch.com/. All of our gameplay is visible to non-members, so you can watch our progress as we play.]

The news is insulting to some and hilarious to the rest. It normally wouldn't have made it past the topmost spires of nobility, but the inflammatory nature of this change of leadership ensured that it passed from Lord to servant, and from there to all who would seek temporary escape from the tedium of everyday life.

Katyaina Florosa the twelfth, Rogue Trader of a well established but foundering line, has died. This in itself is not unusual; it's the heir to her Warrant of Trade that is making the buzz. The recipient of this hereditary document is Alphmire Florosa. Not surprised? Well you should be, because until now the Florosas were a matriarchal house, one of the only such houses in existence.

What is even more interesting is Katyaina was purportedly barren. She has no daughters or sons. At least she didn't, until the moment she died.

After some digging we shed a little more light on the story. This Alphmire fellow hails from Archaos, a hive world good for little more than their Scholariums and their press gangs. He comes aboard the Risky Business as some adjunct or servingman with a rucksack and the clothes on his back. But from then on his star shines brightly. He was Katyaina's right hand, and she was never seen without him somewhere in the room, resolving an endless flow of tedious logistics. He was well liked but never in the spotlight, even though by the end of Katyaina's life he was handling many important and sensitive tasks while she quietly deteriorated.

And then she dies, and Alphmire becomes a Florosa. Once he became a Florosa he was given the family Warrant of Trade and named Rogue Trader; neat as you please.

The gossip multiplies like the rats down under. He was feeding her small continuous doses of poison while winning her confidence. He was possessing her with fell powers. He was her bed-slave and manipulated her with soft words. Now his star dims. A few key officers have resigned their commands of the Risky Business in protest to what they call "a brash usurping of a noble line." The common crew are benevolently tight lipped about the whole thing, but new leadership always lacks substance at first; I doubt their discreetness is anything more than a waiting game, until they know who the winning side will be.

And trust me, there is something to win here. The crew may follow him, but he has numerous officer vacancies and no friends. For Alphmire's sake, I hope he doesn't have any powerful enemies, 'cause they'll eat him alive. Every position he fills will in truth be owned by a faction looking to better their lot.

Why will all of these new officers be his enemies, you ask? Remember when I said there is something to win here? The Risky Business is a worthy prize, one that the Mechanicus would hold in reasonable regard. And if the Mechanicus wants it, everyone wants it. It is an ancient and powerful vessel, overflowing with precious technology. But best of all, it doesn't yet belong to the Mechanicus or the Imperial Navy; it belongs to a House that is so weak, it's death would provoke no retaliation.

Battlefleet Calixis would ask no questions if the Risky Business were to show up on their docking ring, wrapped neatly in a bow. Merchant houses are always looking for convoy protection, and the Risky Business just went to market with a tempting price tag: one life. A Rival Rogue Trader could have the beginnings of a fleet, and all they would have to do is pluck little Alphmire from his bridge and sit on his still-warm throne. Whatever else is left of House Florosa will be passed over in favor of this crowning jewel, that I promise.

So it's really no surprise that Alphmire is setting course for Port Wander, and surely from there to the Koronus expanse. Out there, in the Expanse, vast influences in the affairs of the Calixis Sector mean nothing. Out there, the power of that little ship will make Alphmire a king among men, and a power to be reckoned with.

I hear he does have a few loyal crew members left. His Astropath stayed with him through the transition out of a sense of duty and faithfulness to the Florosa line. A Navigator stayed on as well, though I hear there was some kind of foul play and now some reckless youngster's holding the fate of the ship through the Warp. The rest of the officers have been picked up at the edge of the Segmentum in the last six months, as Alphmire dodged bullet after bullet and prepared for this voyage. It's his one shot to salvage what's left of the dynasty.

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