More On: Into the Expanse

More On: Into the Expanse

The other day I introduced the concept of my Into the Expanse campaign – a West Marches-esque, sandbox campaign for the Warhammer 40k RPG line. Today, I am going to discuss it in more detail, giving a list of objectives and campaign features so that it is less a name/pipe dream, and more of a possibility.
The campaign will basically be this cool.
Except cooler.

What Exactly Is Into the Expanse?

Into the Expanse is a campaign run using the Dark Heresy and Rogue Trader rules sets (with bits of Deathwatch and Black Crusade thrown in when I feel the need), set in a non-canon and “new” sector called “Sector X-736”.

It will be run for approximately 6 players who will take the roles of “middle management Adeptus” – by this I mean, individuals in charge of maybe a large city or small planet’s worth of Imperial jurisdiction, but certainly not a sector. These characters will be thrown into the deep end and sent to Sector X-736 with an ultimatum: “Bring back the light of the Emperor, or your corpse”. I.e. they have to convert the sector or die trying.

But, hey, these are players we’re talking about. They’ll do neither. They’ll set themselves up as pirate overlords and get killed in a barrage of lasbolts.
We're playing somewhere in there... At the furthest portion of space in the Segmentum Obscurus.

How is Into the Expanse Going to Work?

Into the Expanse will work in a similar way to West Marches but with a few key differences. These are outlined below:
  • Whilst the session details will be left up to the players (I.e. where they go and who goes, etc), the session time will be pre-planned. As the campaign won’t be run for as large a group as West Marches, and as we all have pretty regular schedules, it makes sense to organise a specific time. However, if a session plan isn’t given at least two days before the session is to occur, no session will happen. Players will need to know where they are going and what they plan to do there in advance – even if this is simply “find out what is in [X] chunk of space, and steal it if it looks good”.
  • There will be other intelligent factions kicking around. The most interesting thing about roleplaying to me, and 40k as a whole, is the interactions between the various worldly factions – Xenos, lost human cultures, religions, the Adeptus, and so on. Forgoing these would leave 40k empty and pointless.
  • “Town” will be a space ship – the player’s space ship. It will only experience troubles rarely, and may essentially sit in a system for as long as it needs to. Once it is placed there, anywhere in the system is fair game, and the West Marches exploration kicks in. However, there must be total group consensus to move the ship to another system, and all players must be present for this move – even if it is just on a web cam for a few moments whilst it moves and we deliver information.
  • Finally, not a deviation from West Marches, but a deviation from my normal rules at a tabletop, but mobile phones are mandatory at the table. Every GM in existence just spat their drink. Sorry about that. The reason for this is that I will send players emails directly from my laptop (which will be in front of me) to their phones which will be dataslates. These emails will be in character and will be data readouts and private messages based on their actions, etc. I still won’t allow nonsense, and if I see a player use their phone when I haven’t sent anything, I’ll know something is up… So don’t *wink*.
And we're playing these chaps.
Not these chaps exactly.
But chaps very much like them.

What Makes Up an Into the Expanse Character?

So I’ve already said that they are “Middle Management”, but I want to be a little bit more specific here. All characters will be considered “Starting Rogue Trader ready”, which essentially means made with either the Rogue Trader rules, or the Dark Heresy rules (with +5000 XP).

There will be no Psykers, of any kind (not even Navigators) in the party and there will be no more than 2 members from the same organisations (so, no more than 2 Tech Priests, or Adepts, or Guardsmen, etc). Further, there will be no actual Rogue Traders in the group.

Other than those restrictions, it is fair game!

So, what do you think? Should these rules be altered? Amended? Added to? Write your response in the comments section!