Origin Trials and Travails
The Hand of War
The Imperium of Man is wracked by war and violence, whilst beyond its borders the strife and conflict is even worse in many regions. Not all wars, however, are equal, and you were caught up in a bitter and terrifying campaign in which starships were left as burning hulks and cities were blasted to ruin in a vicious series of battles that saw no quarter asked or given. The war and the enemy you fought to the death has had a profound effect on you, and to the present day, the faces of the dead haunt you still when you close your eyes. Now, you count only those you have fought and bled with as true allies, and will never forgive your old foe. You strive hard for what you desire, for you know that death stands never more than a heartbeat away.
The Ashes of War: You gain one Weapon Training Talent of your choice, or the Leap Up Talent, as well as the Hatred Talent against your foe in the war that defined your past. Choose from among:
Orks, Eldar, mutants, Chaos worshipers, the Imperial Guard, the Imperial Navy or void pirates.
The Face of the Enemy: You will never willingly have dealings with your sworn enemy except under the direst circumstances, and if you must do so, you suffer – 10 to all Fellowship Tests in those dealings. Also, if given the slightest provocation, you will react violently towards them. (You may take a Willpower Test to avert this, modified by the provocation and the consequences of succumbing to your hatred.)
Skilled women and men with unique and valuable talents, be they Navigators or Armsmen, are themselves commodities to the unscrupulous and the desperate. There are many voyages undertaken and crewed by those who have little choice in the matter, from ratings that toil under an overseer’s lash in the depths of a warship to abducted Astropaths and scions of Rogue Trader blood whose shackles may be made of silken threats and prison cells crafted by insidious blackmail but are no less real for that. Although some may see such experiences as no more than part of the “great game” of things, you take a different view and have sworn never to be a puppet or pawn in someone else’s game again. Just who you were forced into serving in the past and how you managed to escape your bondage is a secret you rarely share, but one day your captors will have cause to remember the offence they did you and regret it.
Unwilling Accomplice: Thanks to your shadowed past, you have picked up some knowledge on the way that you would not normally have access to. You gain a single Skill (as long as it has no prerequisites) for your character. You may also either select a single additional Common Lore Skill or improve a Common Lore Skill you already have by one level.
Jealous Freedom: Having endured captivity once, you have no intention of doing so again. You react violently towards the prospect of imprisonment or loss of your freedom. You may take a Willpower Test to avert this, modified by the provocation and the consequences (set by the GM) of succumbing to your dread.
When reaching out beyond the relative safety of the Imperium, one of the great, often underestimated, dangers is disaster, whether it affects an isolated colony outpost or affects a star vessel suddenly robbed of its supplies by circumstances or sabotage. Famine, plague, and other unlooked-for disasters kill the weak, can make death a mercy, and often destroy the thin veneer of civilisation worn by many, revealing both the worst and best in humanity. You have seen all this and more, and perhaps were forced into desperate measures in order to survive or remain true to your honour. Regardless, you hold no illusions about what others are capable of in extremis and have learned the hard way that sometimes a bolt shell is worth a Lord Commander’s ransom and that a starving man cannot eat gold, no matter how much he has grasped.
Inured to Adversity: You gain the Light Sleeper Talent and your choice of the Hardy Talent or Nerves of Steel Talent.
Echo of Hard Times: Thanks to the adversities of the past and a sense of priority that promotes caution and the needs of the present over acquisition and risk, you reduce your group’s starting Profit Factor by – 1.
For those who ply the void, there are few things that provoke as much fear in them as to be robbed of their starship, to have the very crux of their identity cruelly taken from them by sudden destruction or betrayal. Whether by shipwreck, enemy action, or darker reasons such as mutiny or deliberate abandonment, there are few more terrible fates for an Explorer than to have been a castaway without help, either on a strange world or, worse yet, lost in the icy grip of the cold stars. It takes a remarkable individual to survive such a fate, capable of drawing on reservoirs of resolve and self-reliance few can hope to muster, but such endurance can be a two-edged sword. To others who travel the stars and brave the tides of the empyrean, you are marked out and distrusted for surviving what you should not have endured, and the void born whisper that your ill-luck will follow you wherever you go. You care not, for every day you stride the deck of a ship and see another star dawn is another step taken in scorn of the doom you have escaped.
Against All Odds: You gain the Survival Skill (or increase it by one level if you already possess it) or the Dark Soul Talent. Additionally, whenever you spend a Fate Point to recover Wounds, you may re-roll the dice if you wish but must accept the second result even if it is worse.
Ill-starred: Reduce your starting number of Fate Points permanently by – 1. Additionally, you suffer – 5 on Fellowship Tests when interacting with the void born, Rogue Traders, and other voidfarers who are not personal friends, if they have heard of your background and reputation.
Starport taverns and station galleys are filled with travellers, wanderers, and old voidfarers. Sooner or later, when the lumen globes have dimmed, these folk will tell of the many strange legends they have heard. They tell of hell-hulks crewed by the lost and warp storms that howl with mocking voices, of the things that claw and scratch at the hull waiting for the merest flicker of the Geller Field for the warp to pour in and devour all, and of horrifying xenos encounters and voyages of the damned. But you have no taste for such stories, because you know the truth—you have lived them. You have stared into the eyes of the abyss and lived. You have seen the dead walk and the bulkheads bleed. These experiences have marked you, opening your eyes to the darkness that hides beneath the surface of things, and whether you have recoiled in dread or been drawn on in fascination is a truth you keep to yourself.
Things Man Was Not Meant to Know: You may gain a single Forbidden Lore Skill pertaining to your experiences (or may increase a Forbidden Lore Skill you already possesses by one level), or may gain the Resistance (Fear) Talent.
Marked by Darkness: Haunted by your experiences, you gain 1d5 Insanity Points.
Honour, friendship, and loyalty are not mere empty words or worthy ideals to you, they are tools for survival. Without your ship, your crewmates, and your allies, you are alone in the cold darkness of space and prey to enemies and rivals without number; with them, you are protected, you have a home and backup when others seek your life. This knowledge was brought home to you when you and your allies were caught up in a deadly vendetta with another faction, a murderous feud that consumed your life and sent friends to their graves. Whether your enemies were a rival crew, noble house, cult, cartel, or outlaw gang, blood was spilt and vengeance taken. Regardless of whether your side was victorious, or was left tasting bitter defeat in the end, what matters was that you fought and would to so again.
Blood Will Have Blood: You gain your choice of the Die Hard or Paranoia Talent, and gain the Inquiry Skill (or, if you already possess it, increase it by one level).
Brook No Insult: You will allow no serious offence to your honour and person or those under your protection to pass unchallenged, meeting threat with threat and violence with violence. You may take a Willpower Test to avert this if you wish, modified by the provocation and the consequences (set by the GM) of succumbing to your rage.
A character may select Darkness instead of The Hand of War or High Vendetta entries on the standard Origin Path table.
The galaxy is a dark and unforgiving place; anyone who says otherwise is a fool! As happens in the universe, some are selected by things dark and terrible. Their exposure to such things has left its mark upon their souls. Some study forbidden tomes and texts in the hopes of learning some arcane or esoteric lore. Others have been victim to a warp incursion, a tear in the barrier between the material universe and the Realm of Chaos. A rare few have been touched by
something wicked, even possessed by it, and now carry the burden of that encounter—seeking to rid themselves of the affliction before they either succumb to it or are found out by their peers or the authorities.
Select one of the following options.
You are drawn to the esoteric like a moth to a flame. Perhaps your study was intentional; you found a mysterious tome or other work. Maybe it was accidental. It could have been spoken to you through the cracked lips of a dying man, or perhaps you spied a document that should have been sealed and the knowledge burned itself into your brain. Whatever the reason or circumstance, you bear forbidden knowledge. It might be part of the name of a daemon, or the location of some barbaric fane where human sacrifices are made in the name of the Ruinous Powers. It might also be something a bit more mundane, such as a proscribed experiment being conducted by a Magus-Biologis of the Adeptus Mechanicus. Whatever it is, you’re sure that if the powers that be were to learn that you know, they would stop at nothing to purge it from you.
Effect: Gain one new Common Lore and one Forbidden Lore as a Trained Skill. Also, gain the Paranoia and Enemy Talents; the Enemy is the group the character took the knowledge from.
You have been witness to a singular event: the opening of a portal between the material universe and the warp. You were the survivor of a Geller Field failure, or witness to (or victim of ) a daemonic possession or another warp entity—somehow you lived through the incident, but it has scarred you forever. You suffer from nightmares, but in return you have gained a degree of protection from warp entities. This might manifest as a type of invisibility to these entities, or maybe they find your “smell” to be intolerable. Whatever the reason, you thank the God-Emperor every day for the protection He has imparted unto you.
Effect: Gain Resistance (Psychic Powers) and the Light Sleeper Talents. Also gain + 1d5 Corruption Points from the exposure to the incursion.
There’s a secret you carry with you that, if known by others, could destroy you. Perhaps you were the unfortunate victim of a possession, and even though you fought the entity off its mark is forever upon you. Or maybe you carry within you some xenos artefact, such as a Yu’vath device, and you seek a way to rid yourself of it. Whatever the secret is, you’re sure it will devastate you and your friends if found out. There are no lengths you would not go to prevent that discovery.
Effect: The character carries within him the mark of his past. Something terrible happened to him, but it gave him a great advantage as well. Add + 6 to any one Characteristic. However, the character also harbours a dark secret he struggles to be rid of. Gain + 1d5 Insanity Points and work with the GM to determine what this is and what circumstances are required to remove it. It should be something difficult, rare, esoteric, and very dangerous for the Explorer (such as getting blasted with gamma rays from a certain pulsar at a certain time).
A PRODUCT OF UPBRINGING
A character may select A Product of Upbringing instead of the Press-Ganged or Ship Lorn entries on the standard Origin Path table.
There are many different types of nobility within the Imperium. Some might be part of the Commercia Houses, others are Imperial Officers, and still others are members of the Rogue Trader Dynasties and clans. It’s a confusing and often tangled web of intrigue and fealty. Only the High Lords of Terra can declare a family line to be nobility, but planetary lords, Imperial Commanders, and sector Governors can all declare lesser vassals to be raised in status under them. Some families are given titles as a reward for service to the Golden Throne; these family members are often looked down upon as upstarts until they have proven themselves over the course of many generations. Of course, noble families are always trying to gain the advantage over one another, and thus earn the favour of their lords. They scheme and plot in the hopes that one day their plans will come to fruition and they will be elevated in status and gain even more power and wealth. Aside from the direct bloodlines and heirs, there are those family members who are associated by marriage, and those who have been brought into the family for some potent ability they possess. These scions typically form the backbone of the nobility and help keep the lines viable for future generations.
Select one of the following options:
You or a member of your family were recently rewarded for something done in service to the Emperor or a lesser noble. Whatever it was, you now find yourself thrust into the ranks of Imperial nobility—but it’s not the life of easy luxury and power you envisioned. The more established members of the aristocracy scorn and look down upon you. Many dynasties see you as an upstart family—a rival at best and an enemy at worst. Given time, you know that your family will prove themselves worthy of the honour they have been given.
Effect: The character is considered part of an upstart family and as such you gain the Rival (Nobility) Talent. However, his wealth adds + 1 Profit Factor to the group’s starting Profit Factor.
You have been scorned! Another family has wronged or insulted you and it’s something you cannot let rest. You will pursue the matter until satisfaction has been had, even if that means taking payment in blood. This is a personal matter for you, and the insult may only be slight. Whatever the case may be it’s a matter for you to settle and you alone.
Effect: Gain + 3 Fellowship. Also, you gain the Rival Talent the rival being the group that the character has a rivalry with (subject to GM’s approval). Whenever you encounter a member of this rival faction the character attempts to visit retribution upon them. A Difficult (- 10) Willpower Test can be made to prevent this from happening once per scene. In addition, the character gains the Peer Talent: these peers consist of an allied group that supports him in his rivalry. The circumstances of this relationship, including nature of the insult or injury and the motives of allies, must be determined by the player and the GM.
A character may select Lost Worlds instead of the Calamity or Dark Voyage entries on the standard Origin Path table.
There are long-lost worlds being discovered all the time by members of the Imperium. The Explorator fleets of the Adeptus Mechanicus chart and record planets, sending that information back to be analysed. Some are worlds that were once part of a Rogue Trader dynasty, now lost to antiquity. Some are bizarre and upset the laws of physics: rogue worlds torn from their stars to float in the voids, alien constructs, space hulks of enormous size, and other equally strange
phenomena. Those who choose to catalogue and explore these lost worlds sometimes return with wealth or knowledge undreamt of; others come back changed, as if they passed beyond the material universe.
Select one of the following options:
Many worlds are claimed in the name of Rogue Traders, and thus the Imperium. Sometimes, however, these worlds go uncatalogued. Perhaps the Rogue Trader was lost before he or she could record the discovery, or maybe something happened within the family that prevented them from returning. Whatever the case may be, you have come across one of these “lost dynasties” and seized it in the name of your family, or re-discovered a lost ancestral claim.
Effect: Add +1 Profit to the group’s total Profit Factor, and gain +1 Fate Point. The player and the GM should work out the details of this lost resource so it can be worked into the
campaign story, as needed.
The universe is a mysterious place full of darkness and danger. There are forces at work that are beyond human comprehension and occasionally whole worlds are ripped away from their parent systems—cast into the void. You have discovered such a rogue planet (or were part of an expedition that discovered one) and travelled to it. You brought back the treasures and secrets of this world, which you claimed in the name of your family or patron. There are mysteries still to be unearthed upon this world, and it could be that the planet harbours something dark.
Effect: Gain +3 Willpower and a single Exploration skill of your choice as a Trained Skill. However, travelling to this lost world is an unnerving experience. Gain + 1d5 Insanity Points. It’s up to the player and the GM to work out the details of this lost world and determine what it contains.
Beyond the Pale
You have always been an explorer, travelling to places beyond the edges of the map. This time, however, you may have gone too far. You witnessed something that man was not meant to see and came back changed as a result. Perhaps you somehow survived a warp storm, or maybe you were pulled into some other part of the galaxy where man has yet to set foot. Regardless, the experience has changed you and your perceptions—perhaps not for the better.
Effect: Gain + 1d5 Corruption Points and +1d5 Insanity Points. In addition, select two Forbidden Lore Skills (or gain + 10 to two Forbidden Lore Skills already possessed).