Lore and Maps
It is the 41st Millennium
For more than a hundred centuries the Emperor has sat immobile on the Golden Throne of Earth. He is the master of mankind by the will of the gods, and master of a million worlds by the might of his inexhaustible armies. He is a rotting carcass writhing invisibly with power from the Dark Age of Technology. He is the Carrion Lord of the Imperium for whom a thousand souls are sacrificed every day so that he may never truly die.
Yet in his deathless state, the Emperor continues his eternal vigilance. Mighty battlefleets cross the Daemon-infested miasma of the warp, the only route between distant stars, their way lit by the Astronomicon, the psychic manifestation of the Emperor’s will. Vast armies give battle in his name on uncounted worlds, but for all their multitudes, they are barely enough to hold off the ever present threat from aliens, heretics, mutants, and worse.
To be a man in such times is to be one amongst untold billions. It is to live in the cruelest and most bloody regime imaginable. Yet you are not just any individual—you are an Explorer on a Rogue Trader ship with authority and freedom far beyond the comprehension of the masses. Empowered by an ancient warrant of trade and a warp-capable ship, you will venture into the uncharted voids, discovering new worlds, lost civilisations, and bizarre alien technology. Fortune and glory are within reach. Rogue Traders stand on the threshold of unlimited opportunity and innumerable dangers.
- Source: Quick Start Rules Pg. 2
A Rogue Trader is a combination of freelance explorer, conquistador and merchant. They are Imperial servants, given a ship, a crew, a contingent of Marines or Guardsmen and carte blanche to roam the worlds beyond Imperial control.
In their task of exploring and exploiting uncharted regions of the galaxy, Rogue Traders might come across worlds harbouring long forgotten human civilisations which will be incorporated into the Imperium. Other times they find empty or alien-dominated planets ripe for colonisation or exploitation.
Rogue Traders are often flamboyant individuals, commonly dressed in the most extravagant finery they can acquire. However, each Rogue Trader is a unique individual from a particular background, some newly created Rogue Traders come from backgrounds such as the Imperial Guard, the Imperial Navy, the Merchant Fleets, the Administratum or even the Inquisition where they will have developed unique outlooks and approaches to situations.
Some Rogue Traders are relatively poor, possessing a single ancient and dilapidated ship. Others are incredibly wealthy and powerful and have whole fleets and entire private armies at their disposal. Certain favoured individuals may even call upon detachments of Space Marines having entered pacts with individual Chapters. Some Rogue Traders operate as mercenaries, renting the service of their ship(s).
Rogue Trader is large scale. You will not be Han Solo and you won’t be flying a ship like The Millennium Falcon or Serenity; you’ll be more like Hernán Cortés in space flying a battle-cruiser.
The Imperium of Man
The Imperium of Man is the galactic empire under which the majority of humanity is united. The founder and ruler of the Imperium is the god-like Emperor, the most powerful human psychic to date. Founding the Imperium ten thousand years ago, he continues, at least nominally, to lead it.
The Imperium is the largest and most powerful political entity in the galaxy, consisting of at least a million worlds, which are dispersed across most of the Milky Way galaxy. Consequently, an Imperial planet might be separated from its closest neighbor by hundreds or thousands of light years. As a stellar empire, the size of the Imperium can not be measured in terms of continuous territory, but only in the number of planetary systems in its control.
The most important thing to remember about the Imperium is that they are very paranoid.
Remember the famous Maxim of the Imperial Inquisitors: Burn the heretic. Kill the mutant. Purge the unclean.
- Warhammer 40k Lore in Under a Minute
- The Imperial Navy
- Segmentum Obscurus
- Food and Drink in the Imperium
The Koronus Expanse
The Koronus Expanse is the name given by Imperial authorities to a dangerous unexplored region of the Halo Stars beyond the Calixis Sector.
The Expanse is accessed through the Koronus Passage, a treacherous but navigable route through the great warp storms that bar the passage to the Halo Stars, the outermost ring of stars in the Milky Way, beyond the way station of Port Wander. As is true of the Calixis Sector itself, the Expanse was untouched by the God-Emperor’s Crusade many millennia ago and so it is a realm of fearsome xenos,treasures beyond imagining, heathen worlds of men, and the echoes of the ancient doom.
The Calixis Sector is an Imperial sector in Segmentum Obscurus near the Halo Stars and the Eye of Terror. Conquered by Lord Militant Angevin a thousand years ago, the Calixis Sector contains many heavily populated and important worlds, though it lies a great distance from the Imperium’s heartland. Its first governor was Drusus, one of Angevin’s most capable generals, a man now revered as an Imperial Saint.
The Warp and Star Travel
The Warp is a psychic dimension parallel to real space. It is known by many names: Warpspace, the Immaterium, the Empyrean, the Ether, the Sea of Souls, and also as the Realm of Chaos.
Warpspace is a dimension of random energy known as Chaos. It is the domain of the Gods of Chaos. The Warp is without form and with its own fluid laws of time and space. Its energies are in constant turmoil, subject to endless disturbances.
Human craft achieve faster than light travel via warp jumps. A warp jump consists of a ship entering the warp from real space by activating its warp drives to open a tear between realities, traveling the currents of the warp by means of its conventional drives for an appropriate time, and then using its warp drives to re-enter real space at a new position, having bypassed light years of galactic space. This process is known as a jump or hop, and the act of entering or leaving the warp is known as a drop, shift, or translation.
The common analogy used to describe Warpspace compares the Warp to a vast sea of energy, which is subject to constant movement, currents, undertows, etc. Although with its own reality, Warp and real space do bear a relationship as dimensions parallel to each other. The fact they share this relationship allows a Warp-capable craft to enter the Warp, carried for a time along the Warp flows, until reemerging into real space a distance away from its starting point. The common metaphor used for Warp-jumping compares the Warp to a fast flowing stream. Its motionless banks represent real space. A leaf dropped into the water upstream will be carried along by the currents. This is a useful metaphor in understanding Warpspace, although the Warp is far more complex in its movements than a linear stream. The Warp moves in endlessly unpredictable and convoluted patterns.
However, the danger of warp travel are the denizens of the warp, most notably the daemons. Daemons are entities of the Warp, and servants of the Gods of Chaos. They are created at the whim of a Chaos god from a fraction of the god’s own power and act as an extension of their will. A daemon’s appearance and character reflect the god’s own nature. These daemons may be reabsorbed into the god at whim. Warp ships have special shields to protect them from daemons while travelling in the warp… but like anything made by man, it’s hardly foolproof.
The Imperium refers to aliens as the Xenos. There are two known Xenos civilizations in frequent (bloody) contact with the Imperium. The Orks and the Eldar. Expect to run into Ork freebooters and Eldar corsairs out in the Expanse.
Orks are a warlike, crude, and highly aggressive green-skinned alien race. Orks are the dominant subspecies of the Orkoids, which includes the smaller Gretchin and Snotlings. Although their society is entirely primitive and brutal, the Orkoid race is also the most successful species in the whole galaxy, spread throughout the galaxy and outnumbering possibly every other race. However, due to this aggressive and warlike nature, the massive race is split into hundreds of tiny empires, warring as much between themselves as against other races. In the purely theoretical event all the Orks were to unite, they would undoubtedly crush all opposition.
The Eldar are a race of elf-like humanoids. Once they dominated the Galaxy but are currently a dying race. With the Fall of the Eldar they lost their main homeworlds and are currently scattered among the stars.