Desperados and Rogue Traders


Charming rogue or hardened killer, the Desperado is a man on the edge of society. Very much a law unto himself, he is a self-taught killer. The term Desperado covers all sorts of vocations, such as bounty hunters, mutie killers, slavers, glory hunting gunslingers, outlaws, pirates and other flotsam and jetsam of human civilisation.

Desperados are rough and ready, no strangers to hardship and violence. They are focused, ruthless men, which is what can attract them to an Inquisitor's eye. A Desperado will dress in hard-wearing, protective clothing, often concealing padded or plated body armour for added security. They favour weapons with solid ammunition such as revolvers, pistols, autopistols, autoguns and stubbers, as the roar and muzzle flare of such weapons is more impressive than the zzip of a lasgun! These weapons are lovingly maintained as much as possible, featuring many customised (some would claim bastardised) features such as extra sights, exotic materials for handgrips and specially made ammunition.

Although by inclination the Desperado is a loner, he is certainly not above cutting a deal with others if he can benefit from it. They are selfish men, and it is through personal gain that they can be lured to serve an Inquisitor. This may not always be purely monetary, as having one's activities sanctioned by an Inquisitor, no matter how unofficially, is normally good for business. Also, many Desperados are unashamed show-offs, glorying in their bloody work, and any opportunity to prove how good at it they are they will take with both hands.

Although difficult to generalise, a Desperado's equipment is mainly dictated by his trade. The gunslinger will always take the traditional two pistols, with plenty of ammo for reloads. Slavers prefer heavy mauls, nets and whips, while bounty hunters often use powerful rifles for taking their foes down from afar. The mutie hunter is usually heavily armoured, as he will often be employed to capture such beasts for freak shows and research facilities, and must therefore subdue them in close combat with a shock lance or suppression baton whilst being safe from slavering jaws and slashing claws.

Not all Desperados are human; some Inquisitors are not above using aliens to do their dirty work. Sometimes an Inquisitor must use non-humans, for although the Imperium is vast, its power does not extend beyond the patrols of its warships, and many fugitives from justice will find refuge in the wilderness zones between Imperial worlds. Some of these areas are completely no-go for agents of the Imperium; pirate-infested backwaters where traitors, malcontents and aliens gather together in drinking holes and slave markets. It is in these places where the Desperado is king, glad to carve a reputation for himself, used to the dirty, backstabbing ways of the underworld. Here rare goods can be traded, hunters gathered, slaves bought and sold, and there's always plenty of money to be made.

An Inquisitor who employs a Desperado gains himself a valuable aide. As long as the Inquisitor's offer is better than his enemy's, his follower will remain loyal - nobody risks an Inquisitor's wrath without very good reason.

Used to fighting and shows of excessive force, Desperados make perfect bully boys, and their ability to mix with the seediest cultures and societies make them great for gathering information in places where even the most experienced Inquisitor will be immediately recognised for what he is.

The Desperado, for all he might make claims of glory and honour, is a creature of the underworld and on the fringe of any society, making a trade doing what others need to have done but won't stoop to doing themselves, no matter how low-down and criminal it may be.

Desperados Characters

Equipment: Most Desperadoes prefer to use their own weapons, and the limited resources they usually have access to means that it is unlikely that they will have Rare weapons or equipment, and most certainly won't be able to get hold of Exotic or Legendary items.

Rogue Traders

To limit the moral pollution caused by contact with alien and non-Imperial cultures in millennia past, the Adeptus Terra outlawed trade and dealings beyond the Imperium. Only those individuals with Warrants of Trade or similar documents are allowed to explore planets not yet under Imperial control, encounter alien civilisations and regressed human societies, and claim barren worlds rich in minerals or other resources. Such men are the Rogue Traders. Operating beyond Imperial control, they are a law unto themselves. Some are highly pious individuals, bringing the Emperor's light beyond his rule; others are nothing more than glorified pirates and scoundrels. Not all who claim to be Rogue Traders actually are, while many Warrants of Trade are centuries old - handed down through family generations, exchanged in gambling dens, stolen from their rightful owners or have otherwise fallen into the hands of those who might abuse the power they bestow.

Rogue Traders exude confidence, they are highly charismatic, often charming and roguish, skilled diplomats (some would say confidence tricksters) and hardened killers when the situation demands. Rogue Traders will often gather an entourage of hangers on and companions much like an Inquisitor does, and this may contain alien warriors, mutants and other undesirables, which many Inquisitors would take to marking the Rogue Trader out as a heretic. Many Rogue Traders have highly unstable personalities - some destroy worlds on a whim, or experiment with alien species out of macabre curiosity.

Rogue Traders often dress extravagantly and flamboyantly - like Inquisitors each one has their own style and manner. They carry the best weapons and equipment they can acquire, including all manner of alien weapons and gadgets. Jokaero digital weapons are popular - miniature lasers and needlers that are worn as rings but contain the same power as a pistol. They might be carrying C'tan phase weapons that can bypass armour, Ha'Kaidan neuro-stars, or one of a million other pieces of strange and bizarre wargear.

It is not uncommon for a Rogue Trader to have once been a high ranking member of the Adeptus Terra, perhaps ousted from power and falling back to trading to regain his position and authority. Such Rogue Traders often wear the finery of Imperial aristocracy mixed with garments from worlds beyond the Emperor's rule, often sporting a weapon from military service such as a Naval cutlass or Officer's sabre. They might also carry ornate duelling pistols in lacquered holsters, or ancient-looking hunting rifles slung rakishly across the shoulder.

Rogue Traders usually return to Imperial space every few years, to unload their exotic wares and resupply, recruit and rest until their next foray into the darkness. During these periods they may have encounters with members of the Inquisition. Any Inquisitor who hears news of a Rogue Trader in his locality will more than likely seek him out to find out what he has discovered. Rogue Traders wield incredible power and it is easy for them to forget that once back within the Imperium they do not have free rein to act as they wish, and this will also draw attention from the Inquisition. Many Rogue Traders dispute the right of the Inquisition to persecute them, as they see it. As men who have wandered amongst alien stars and conversed with all manner of cultures, Rogue Traders are susceptible to all kinds of heresies, from wayward philosophies to infection by alien creatures or possession by warp entities that live in the darkness between stars. All these factors can lead to violent confrontation, particularly if the Rogue Trader has knowledge or an artefact that an Inquisitor is keen to get his hands on.

Occasionally the Inquisition may approach a Rogue Trader to work for them, either leading his own men or as a companion to an Inquisitor. Whether this works comes down to the Rogue Trader and Inquisitor involved - Rogue Traders can be highly irreverent at times, and Inquisitors with a hard-line view often take offense to jibes at the Imperium and its organisations.

Rogue Trader Characters

Equipment: Rogue Traders often have access to exotic and alien weaponry. Many flaunt their position by carrying such equipment whenever they can, and so Rogue Traders may be given any equipment the GM deems suitable.

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