Well it looks like the competition to win a robotic minion for Rogue Trader is heating up and I will leave it running for the next week or so before choosing a winner but in the meantime, I have been pondering some alternative influences for my own personal version of Rogue Trader.
As already mentioned, I have often strayed away from the rather grim version of Warhammer 40000 in search of a more interesting and slightly more upbeat setting that, while inspired by the original game, has some element of hope and excitement to it. I can't be bothered with the whole humanity is doomed malarky so instead of using such a darkly gothic backdrop, I have settled for a slightly more advanced era.
Here the Imperium is living through a renaissance where technology is developing again thanks to discoveries made on long forgotten worlds. The Emperor didn't end up a husk in the Golden Throne and his line of descendents still rule the untold billions of humans, abhumans, post human and alien species that make up the modern Imperium.
This is not to say that the place is a paradise, alien races, human separatists and all manner of intrigues still afflict the future but it is no longer a place of unremitting despair!
Influences for this setting comes from all over the place from literature, film and art and heres a few bits and bobs I have collected over the years which would make great additions to any Rogue Trader setting:
Hive City Hackers
Post Human Mercenaries
Extra Special Weapons And Tactics
Imperial Guard in Action
Looking at computer games art, theres literally thousands of plot ideas, settings and so on too:
Mutie or Infected Human
Mutie or Outlander from a Hiveworld
Imperial Explorer Corp
Imperial Ship Interior
Exploring a New World
Imperial Shield City
How about some movie influences? Theres tons to choose from that would look perfect in my version of the Imperium!
Remains of an Abandoned Hive World
Imperial Cruise Ship!
Explorer Corp using local transportation
As you can see theres plenty of ideas bubbling away but I really need to sort myself out some warbands to explore the setting. Imagine games featuring Space Marines clearing an abandoned hulk, exploration teams battling alien foes on long forgotten worlds in search of tech, bands of prospectors clashing on dead colony worlds or any of a million other ideas!
I love the idea of the Imperium containing all manner of weird and wonderful peoples from every conceivable race, society and tech level. The original Rogue Trader seemed to live up to this idea where anything was possible, up to and including pudding cultists. I want to take this sort of idea and run with it. Imagine the Imperium having Orkish Askari regiments or neo barbarians rubbing shoulders with technocratic nobles.
Other races will be similarly shaken up. The Orks are not the two dimensional thugs that they once were, having integrated with Imperial society rather well while large regions of space are still ruled by the greenskins. Similarly, the Eldar shouldn't be a bunch of emo types living the shadows of a former existence while waiting for the inevitable end. They should be a vastly powerful and resurgent people, intent on taking on the Imperium and retaking their lost colonies and revenging themselves for long remembered slights.
Imperial tech has moved forward enough to allow cloning, espers are frequent and used as living weapons and the Tyranid threat is seen as an opportunity to develop a new era of bio-technology.
This is the setting I am trying to breath a bit of life into and really pull 40k from the dark ages and re-live the fun days where Rogue Trader was king and you played with whatever figures you had and actually had some fun rather than playing to win!
All the best!