Rogue Trader: Into the Dark Void
The Emperor's Bounty
Starting from the mid-35th through early-36th millenium warship construction within the Imperium underwent a major change in doctrine. Prior to this period Imperial warships were quite swift, moderately armored, and equipped with very long range weapons (aside from torpedoes, which were rarely used). After this shift in doctrine, however, Imperial ships had become (by and large) somewhat slower than their predecessors, featured mainly short-ranged weaponry, and were often quite heavily armored, particularly on the prow.
The reasons for these changes were twofold. First, the Imperium was losing the ability to manufacture the advanced components needed to sustain the earlier generations of ships. Second, the new generation of ships were required to be more durable in order to suit an overall defensive strategy. Thus, speed was not as important as it had been during previous millennia.
That being said, the Imperium still needed a fast cruiser capable of performing long-range patrol duties or that could act as an escort squadron leader. Thus was born the Dauntless class light cruiser. The Dauntless did not break any new ground technologically; in fact, in some ways the situation was quite the opposite. Even so, the Dauntless is a very sturdy and reliable ship. More importantly, it is able to maintain the same rate of acceleration as the previous generation of cruisers (such as the Carnage and Hades classes) by packing relatively large engines into a much smaller frame. The design also saved much weight by having only one broadside bay available on each flank. The prow weapon bay is typically equipped with a lance battery, usually either the powerful Voidsunder triple lance array or, as is more common in the Calixis sector, the less powerful but more versatile Titanforge lance battery.
The Emperor’s Bounty was one of the first examples of the Dauntless class to emerge from the Bakka shipyards. As such it possesses some advanced features that set it apart from recently constructed ships. Chief among these is the command bridge, which the Tech-Priests aboard the ship reverently refer to as the Bridge of Antiquity. The ship’s bridge is interlaced with ancient cogitator circuitry and hololithic technology to a level that is simply no longer seen on vessels constructed within the last one or two millennia. These systems give the Captain unparalleled control over all aspects of his vessel.
If one were to ask any member of the Bounty’s crew, there is a notable side-effect to this system. The Bounty simply seems more “aware” than most other voidships. This usually manifests as an uncanny ability to predict the actions of its crew. On other occasions the Bounty has, of its own volition, performed complicated manuevers to avoid hazards. In one notable instance the ship came to a dead halt while pointing at an empty area of space, almost as if it was challenging some unseen threat to dare show itself… and no amount of crew input could sway the ship to proceed until its augurs reported that all was clear.
As one would expect the Bounty is unusually quick to respond to the helm, even though it is rather heavily armored for its class. Over the centuries it has also accumulated a number of useful components and facilities that have made it a vital asset for the Vorgen dynasty. The Librarium, Observation Dome, and Trophy Room are not only impressive to behold, but they contain many artefacts, starmaps, and even trophies from (and often of) the many enemies that have been defeated during the Bounty’s many centuries of service.
There is another section of the ship that is spoken of by the crew only with hushed whispers and the sign of the Aquila. That section is the Murder Servitor stockade. Because they cannot be controlled once released from their pacification programs, the Murder Servitors are best thought of as a smashing tidal wave of mass destruction that can only be unleashed once. The servitors will either utterly destroy their enemy, or they will themselves be destroyed in the attempt. Due to this lack of subtlety, and not to mention the fact that it is not exactly safe to stand near them when they are in full combat mode, they are rarely used. However, the act of releasing hundreds of crazed, lightning-quick, unstoppable scythe-armed killing machines into the relatively confined spaces of an enemy voidship can be quite satisfying.
Recently the Emperor’s Bounty refitted its broadsides with Zayth pattern macrocannon broadsides. Compared to Mars mattern guns a Zayth macrocannon is more compact and more accurate at range. Indeed, on closer inspection it became evident that the Zayth macrocannons are Mars pattern macrocannons of an earlier, more efficient Mark. The Zayth version merely retains numerous refinements, such as an auto-loader and motion predictors, that current Imperial technology can no longer produce in quantity.
The installation of the Zayth macrocannons saved enough space to allow for the installation of a reinforced prow. This has boosted the Bounty’s already formidable armor to nearly that of a Navy cruiser.
The Vorgen dynasty expects that the Bounty will not only prove the purity and combat effectiveness of the Zayth macrocannons, but that the ship itself will serve as a mobile showcase for these weapons. Already Zayth-built macrocannons are being exported to the Lathes for evaluation. However, due to the exacting manufacturing standards involved and the overall state of their planet, the Zaythians can only produce a handful of these weapons each year. It may be several decades before the Adeptus Mechanicus formally sanctifies this weapon, a process that is by no means guaranteed. Then, and only then, will the Lathes and other Forge Worlds attempt to replicate it.
The Zayth macrocannons have the potential to turn the Bounty into an even more effective warship. They have also boosted the crew’s morale due to the inclusion of holy and powerful components which are an echo of a previous time in Mankind’s history.
But most importantly, if widespread usage of Zayth macrocannons can be achieved then tens of thousands of voidships throughout the Imperium would eventually stand to benefit. This would represent a rare step forward in the technological prowess of the Imperium, and thus the long-term importance of this endeavour cannot be overstated.
DAUNTLESS Class Light Cruiser
TURRET RATING: 1
SHIELDS: Single Void Shield
ARMOUR: 20 (22 Prow)
HULL INTEGRITY: 56
SPACE AVAILABLE: 60
POWER AVAILABLE: 60
SPACE USED: 60
POWER USED: 60
Skill Test Modifiers: Tech-Use Repair Ship/Emergency Repairs -20, Navigation/Warp 10, Social 10, Command 10, Investigation 10, CMD/Hit&Run 30, CMD/Hit&Run (Def) 30, CMD/Boarding Action (Def) 10
Weapon Capacity: Prow, Port, Starboard
Crew Disposition: Fanatical
Crew Quality Competent (30)
Crew Max 100%
Morale Max 107% (Current) 100%
Normal Operations (Morale)
Achievement Bonuses: Trade + 150, Crime + 50, Exploration + 100
Essential Components: Jovian Pattern Class 3 Drive, Strelov 2 Warp Engine, Warpsbane Hull, Bridge of Antiquity (CL,C), Vitae Pattern Life Sustainer, Voidsmans Quarters, Deep Void Auger Array
Supplemental Components: Compartmentalized Cargo Hold, Armour Plating, Librarium Vault, Trophy Room, Observation Dome, Murder Servitors (May choose 1-6 if Critical inflicted by H&R), Reinforced Prow (+2 armor, +1d5 ramming damage)
Titanforge Lance Battery [Strength: 2, Damage:1d10+4, Crit Rating: 3, Range: 6] Location: PROW
Zayth Pattern Macrocannon Broadside [Strength: 6, Damage:1d10+2, Crit Rating: 5, Range: 7] Location: PORT
Zayth Pattern Macrocannon Broadside [Strength: 6, Damage:1d10+2, Crit Rating: 5, Range: 7] Location: STARBOARD
Complications / Past Histories: Ancient and Wise, Reliquary of Mars
Special Note: The Zayth Pattern Macrocannon Broadside is essentially a Best Quality Mars Pattern Macrocannon Broadside. This offers each weapon a bonus of +1 range and -1 space. Each weapon also adds +2 SP and +3 Morale (for a total of +4 and +6, respectively). These bonuses have been included in the profile above.