Rogue Trader 2: Star of Damocles analysis and discussion

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Connor MacLeod
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Rogue Trader 2: Star of Damocles analysis and discussion

Post by Connor MacLeod » 2008-07-27 11:23pm

So being insanely bored and figuring its time for an update, I'm starting Star of Damocles, the second installment that combines the wonders of Tau wanking with Rogue Trader wanking into a single convenient yet slightly nauseting package. Revel in how Lucian proclaims how mighty/powerful/intelligent he is, all the while as his children act like traitors and/or morons. Revel in the wanking to the Tau greater good, technical capability, etc (although yet not being good enough to voercome the greatness that is the Rogue Trader.) Revel in how the Damocles Gulf Crusade, not one of the best crusades ever, is made even more mockery of.

This novel is somewhat better than the last novel in some ways, but its largely ruined by the trek-like incidents (the sensor indications, the references to subspace, whatnot.) the continued literal "age of sail" broadside battling is even more prominent, and the inveterant tau/Rogue Trader wank. Nonetheless there are still plenty of interesting tidbits from a technical standpoint, if not literary. And that's why we're here.

So, onwards...

Page 8

- the holographic display Lucian's heavy cruiser uses is described as a "nigh-extinct technology" - which is odd, because you ather commonly see Guard units using it (IE Cain novels most frequently, but others like Rebel Winter, the Ghosts novels, and so on and so forth.)

Then again, it would also be like Lucian to think he's got "nigh extinct" technology that everyone else finds common.

Page 8
Lucian glanced out of the viewing port as his helmsman spoke, catching sight of a distant point of light speeding ahead. The Nomad was a frigate, far smaller than Lucian's heavy cruiser, but being a Spacee Marine vessel it was far more deadly than the average ship of her displacement.
This confirms something we've known since Execution Hour, many Space Marine vehicles (and like vessels used by other organisations, like Arbites strike cruisers) are far more powerful than vessels of equal tonnage. Partly this might be do to better technology, but mainly its due to specialization - SM vessels tend to emphasize speed and firepower and durability over endurance and range (as outlined in Execution Hour.) And alot of the firepower advantage comes from heavy ordnance (railguns, missiles, bombardment cannon, esp using explosive warheads) rather than

Mind, this isn't true in all cases - there are Astartes vehicles that may be weaker or less powerful (the soul drinkers novels had them, and I think the Blood Angels or Deathwathc novels by Goto had em too.) Its probably all a amtter of tradeoffs between various needs and purposes, they may trade firepower for increased operational range, for example.

Page 9

There are "dozens" of other (Imperial) vessels aside from the Space Marine frigate and the three Arcadius ships. They're identified as "battle cruisers, cruisers, and escorts. The fleet spanned "fifty kilometers" Additionally mentioned are six other Spacee Marine frigates. This encompasses the vessels of the Damocles Gulf crusade, but it does not (yet) break them down in any detail.

Page 10
He looked instead to the flickering holograph, the device, or more accurately, the sub-space sensor banks that fed it, evidently beginning to suffer form the same interference plaguing their communications systems.
"sub-space" sensor banks. I dont know if this is FTL or not, but the intention seems to indicate this, given some of the later references to "sub-space" And, again, it seems to be yet another indication that Hoare draws his naval inspiration from Star Trek :P

Given later comments this also suggests they're active sensors, not passive.

Page 10
Looking up, through the wide viewing port now entirely filled by the globe of Sy'l'Kell, Lucain could just make out the tiny, blue pinprick of light.
Again the opposing ships seem to be just out of visual sight (or just barely, far enough away they aren't easily recognizable) implying intiial engagement ranges of hundreds if not thousands of kilometers, nto that Hoare will acknowledge this.

Page 11
Only the Nomad was ahead of Lucian's hessel, the small frigate all but lost against the lurid glow of the planet's oceeans far below.
The fact the Nomad (space marine vessel) is indistinguishable against the planet's backdrop suggests its considerably distant as well, nearly beyond visual sighting itself. Which in turn reinforces the "hundreds/tohusands" of kilometers bit.

Page 13
Lucian saw from where the projectile had been fired, as a long silhouette glided into view against the turquoise oceans of Sy'l'Kell.


The target, towards which the stricken Space Marine frigate still sped, was now visible. A mighty space station,s ahped like some giant mushroom, blue lights twinkling up and down its stalk, wallowed at the center of the viewing porrt, its bulk black against the lurid seas of the planet around which it orbited. A vessel emerged from behind that station; the same vessel that had come so close to destroying, in a single shot, a frigate of the White Scars Chapter of the Adeptus Astartes.
Tau ship fires on the Space Marine vessel, and it still seems to be just in visual range (close enough to discern a rough shape, but still far enough away to not be easily visible.) There's also the fact the station is doubtless larger than the Imperial vessel.

Page 13-14
"That's what she thinks" replied Lucian. "Ordnance? Open fire!"
"But, sir', the ordnance officer sputtered, 'I have no firing solution. We'll..."
"I said open fire damn you!" bellowed Lucian. "Do it, or so help me..."
Lucian was glad to see that the officer had the presence of mind to order the broadside before his master could complete, or indeed enact, his threat. The Oceanid shuddered as the port weapons batteries unleashed a fearsome barrage towards the tau vessel.
- Lucian orders his gunnery officer to fire on the Tau ship. The Gunnery officeer protests at not having a firing solution "yet". Lucian still tells him to fire. As established earlier, the probable range between the vessels is somewhere in the hundreds of kilometers range, though it could be closer (tens of kilometers)

PAge 14
Lacking a solid firing solution for the war spirits of the super-heavy munitions to follow, the majority of the shells went wide, their fuses detonating them at random across the space between the two ships.
Imperial starhsip Cannon projectiles (or at least some kinds) are guided munitions, implying some form of rocekt-assisted propulsion (at least in some cases.)

Page 14
Lucian judged that the distance between the two ships would level at an impossibly close five hundred metres before they parted once more. Five hundred metres, he mused, remembering just how deadly anodier tau vessel had almost proved at such a close range in a previous engagement.
- five hundred meters is described as "impossibly close". Maybe Hoare isn't totally clueles about space combat....

Page 15

- seven hundred metres from the Tau vessel. Lance battery on the dorsal side of the Oceanid gets a firing solution at this point. Not that I feel a need to comment that a Lance battery ought to have a longer range.

Page 15
Lucian knew that even now, the sweating crews in the lance batteries atop the Oceanid would be toiling at the traversing mechanisms of their turrets, cursing crew chiefs threatening them with eternal damnation should they falter in their work.
Really I dont know what to say at this point. Man powered lance turrets. Only in 40K. You'd think Lucian'd at least use serivtors...

Page 15
An instant later the lance batteries spat a searing beam of condensed atomic fire at the tau vessel, parrting the smoking clouds, spearing the open bay, vaporising the armoured figures and passing clean out the other side of the module, accompanied by a rapidly expanding cone of fire and debris.
"atomic fire" - either means some sort of nuclear (fusion?) beam or som e sort of partticle beam. I find it rather amusing the tau armor suits (deployed agian here, for boarding attacks) don't get out of the way of the beam and are vaporized effortlessly.

Page 16

- the hole created by the lance strike is described as twenty metres in diameter.

Page 17
A shoal of miniscule white objects, each propelled by a small, blue jet, was swarming across the gap between the two ships. So these were the cause of the fire control failure, Lucian realised. They were some kind of decoy, ach, judging by their movements, possessed of some manner of machine intelligence, their density and erratic course confounding any efforrt to get a target lock on the mother ship.

"I can't get a solution at this range, my lord," the ordnance officer reported. "whatever those things are, each one has an etheric signature far in excess of its size. All together like that, at such close range..."
Tau decoy drones, as countermeasues devices. Note the "etheric signature" reference. Given alot of later referencese to "etheric" and "sub-etheric" stuff in regards to warp phenomena (likes subspace) this may yet be another warp-based type sensor or something. Possibly FTL, but evidently passive. Which is interesting, because the Tau don't generally use warp-tech the way the Imperium or Eldar or other races do, yet these "etheric" sensors can be used for targeting.

Page 22
The Nomad's drives flared into life, crimson fire belching form them. The swarm of tau decoys was almost upon the Nomad when her drives spat into life, and they were incinerated in an instant, seared to ash and scattered into the void in a matter of seconds.

There, where the decoys had been clustered most densely, Lucian saw what he had guessed would be revelaed: more of the tau armoured suits. Each was equipped with fusion weapons capable of ripping a crippled vessel to glowing pieces, and they had sought to approach the wounded frigate under the cover of the decoys. Now, the suits battled against the steadily increasing wash of the Nomad's drives. Armoured plating, the likes of which Lucian had rarely seen, kept them going, even though the unprotected decoys had lasted mere seconds. The fire of the frigate's drives were so bright that Lucian was barely able to see. Nevertheless, he watched the bulking forms as they blackened, their metal skins melting and running off in great billowing streams of vaporised armour. He watched as each suit took on the aspect of a comet rapidly shedding its mass.

At last, the armoured suits were blasted to their constituent atoms as the Nomad's drives reached full output, the Space Marine frigate powering inexorably towards the space station, its ultimate target.
These are the same space battlesuits from Rogue Star. Again they're probably not the same as the ground combat suits in the game. "Fusion weapon" is open ended. It may be something like a meltaweapon of some power or size, or it may be a nuclear/melta charge/bomb of some kind. Note they're only mentioned as a threat to a "crippled" vessel (IE one that is damaged already, shielded, etc.) They took several seconds to vaporize, but we can estimate their durabiliitles roughly.

Assuming the suits were somewhere bettween the mass of a BArracuda and a Broadside battlesuit (Between 4 and 7 tonnes, ,as per IA3) and composed of iron, they'd take at least 30 and 53 gigajoules to vaporize. This doesn't factor in shielding or other things (we know other battlesuits can be shielded, so why not these?)

Assuming a 1500 meter long, 200x300 meter frigate (roughly), and a about of silicon and 90% empty space, the ship will mass eomwhere in the 20 million tons. Assume somewhere between millions and several tens of millons of tons at least. Also assuming a single meter per second squared acceleration. Assuming an exhaus velocity of around 30% of c the energy output of the engines would be around 1e17-1e18 watts, with a intensity of around 1.6e12-1.6e13 watts/m^2.

This means (roughly) that the durabilities of these suits is somewhere in the double digit Gigajoule/gigawatt to triple digit GW/single digit TW and single/double digit terajoule range (though this one could be higher, since its multiple seconds against increasing power.)

Inicidentally, since we know earlier that a 20m diameter lancec beam vaporized a bunch of suits, we can estimate the lance output from above. THis would mean the lancese have at least an output of hundreds if not thousands of terajoules, at least, and probably much, much higher.

Mind you, the suits aren't able to take full engine output, this is really something like a "pre-start" warm up - since Starships can generate hundreds or thousands of gees of acceleration from a standing start.

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Post by Bob the Gunslinger » 2008-07-28 01:45am

Damn, the space battle in this book sounds really embarrassing. Subspace? Sub-ether? 700 meters? I think Mr. Hoare would rather be writing a Star Trek or Lensman novel than a 40k one.

How hard could it have been for him to simply read any other Warhammer 40,000 source on space battles and learn the terminology? Heck, I thought he even helped to write some of those manuals...
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Post by Connor MacLeod » 2008-08-07 12:12am

Next update:

Page 52
The weapon [bolter] was intended for use against lightly armoured enemies of flesh and blood, upon which the effect of the exploding bolt was quite lethal.
While essentially true, this fact seems to imply that bolters are not capable of damaging heavily armored targets (which is untrue, given that they incorporate ar mor piercing ammo.)

Page 58
"I would incinerate every last one of you. I would reduce you to ashes, and scour clean those worlds you have sullied with your filthy tread.
The Crusade intends (it would seem) to exterminate all life on the Tau-held worlds, which could suggest extinction events on 100+ planets. Presumably less than full Exterminatus, but still can be significant.

Page 63
"When every tau on this side of the Gulf is dead, we shall cross the void and raze to ashes every last world in their pathetic little empire."
Again, the Crusade is confident that it has enough supplies/firepower to "raze" (render uninhabitable?) every planet in the Tau empire (100 some) Depending on calcs, this could suggest a pretty hefty energy stockpile for the fleet (I assume near or at Exterminatus-level firepower, which would include boiling/vaporizing oceans and crust melting)

Page 66
"My command stands at eight capital vessels and nine escort squadrons."


"In addition, we have three deep space support echelons in place, each with the capacity to carry the fleet to the other side of the galaxy and back."
The Crusade fleet comprises 8 cap ships (One battleship, at least one or two battlecruisers, and the rest cruisers of varying grades) plus 9 mixed squadrons of escorts (eighteen to fifty four escorts, depending on squad breakdowns). Whether this includes allied ships (Astartes vessels) is a matter of opinion.

No idea how "support echelons" pans out in numbers, but its enough to conduct long range operations.

Page 67

- The tau are mentioned to make heavy use of antigrav in their "heavy armour and jump infantry"

Page 74
"This entire region is anathema to my order, for it bears no resemblance to the surveys submitted when last an explorator fleet passed through." Lucian had read of that last survey, which took place almost six millenia past, but had yet to hear the magos speak of it.

"If it weren't for the stringent rites and procedures of my order, I would have concluded upon my arrival that those ancient charts were incorrect, for they bear no resemblance to what we see here before us."


"According to the records in my possession, this region should bear no significant dissimilarity to any nearby cluster. Yet, it seethes with energies the natures of which I can only guess at."[/quote]

Again we see something that sounds like a Star Trek episode. The "Seething with energies the nature of which I can only guess at" sounds like something the Federation would encounter on a weekly basis.

Anyhow, we also see here the reiteration about the unusual nature of the enviroment the Tau occupy, and the rapid rise with which they developed into an empire. Blah blah..

Page 99
The heavy cruiser stretched below, hundreds of metres fore and aft, from her armourd prow section to the clustered drives astern.
This seems to imply the RT heavy cruiser is "less" than a km long. Or, roughly speaking, destroyer scale. Which is odd, given how many other novels imply multi-km lengths for larger ships (Ghosts novels, Inquisition War, Eye of Terror, Iron Hands, the rennie BFG novels, The William King Space Wolf novels RElentless, etc.) Either Lucian is overstating his vessels size/capabilities (possible given his ego), or Hoare is incorrectly stating the size of Imperial ships (he's not the first to do it)

In any case, I figure on taking "hundreds" of meters as being less than literal (though its a stretch to take "hundreds" to "several thousand", you can do it.) Another possibility, perhaps, is that non-Naval ships have their own ranking/classification scale (or perhaps even different sectors, regions, Segmentum do) and that there ARE places out there where battleships are a mile long, cruisers are "hundreds" fo meters, and so on. Either way I'm not taking it as representative of the true size of 40K vessels - there's to much evidencec to the contrary.

Page 99
Further out still, Lucian could see the various ships of the fleet: a dozen capital vessels, most of equivalent displacement to the Oceanid, some even heavier, some smaller. The Blade of Woe, Admiral Jellaqua's flagship, lay at anchor three kilometres to port.


A number of escort squadrons were stationed around the fleet, ech deployed the screen the larger, more valuable ships from surprise attack at what was perhap's the crusade's most vulnerable point. Each squadron consisted of three, sometimes four, vessels, whose role was to intercept any enemy attempting to close on one of the battle cruisers, and each captain knew that his ship and crew were entirely expendable so long as his task was done and his charge protected.
here we se "a dozen capital ships", where eight was mentioend before. Given teh Adrmial's previous statement, this means that 4 of those cap ships are of non-Naval origin. And we also see that each squadron is of 3-4 ships, which indicates between 27-36 escorts.

Its also interesting that the sum total of escorts is deemed less important than (presumably) a single large ship (Battlecruiser, or battleship), possibly more than the cruisers (either individually or collectively.) This carries interesting implications as far as the offensive/defensive capabilities of the larger vessels
(at least several times more powerufl, to several dozen times) relative to the escorts, ,as well as their importance (ease of construction/replacability - it is deemed easier to build groups even squadrosn of escrots than a singel cruiser/battlecruiser, it would seem.)

Pages 104-105
"The sub-etheric veins are detecting a localised field of some sort. There's some disturbance to station keeping, but again, nothing I can't compensate for."
"Station nine" Lucian said, addressing the servitor at the gravimetrics station, "perform a primary scan as per Mister Raldi's parameters."
"Astrographics" Lucian continued.
"Yes, sir" the officer at station ten replied.
"Patch your readings through to the holo."
The holo-plinth on the bridge deck before Lucian's command throne came to life, a green, spheroid representation of local space projected in three dimensions. The Oceanid sat at the dead centre of the projection, and the entire scene was shot through with gently waving tendrils of what appeared to be some gaseous liquid form.
Lucian looked to the bridge viewing ports on either side, but saw no such phenomenon. Evidently the weird, twisting forms were entirely invisible to the naked eye, though the Oceanid's various augurs could detect them, and Raldi could feel their effects upon the helm.
More "sub-ethertic/subspace" stuff tied to the sensors. I was sadly expecting "energy" stuff to look like gas, and here we see proof. yet more evidence of a Trek-like approach.

Page 105
Reams of data scrolled across the projection, and across the pict screens surrounding the command throne. The Oceanid's logister banks sought to identify the source of the phenomenon, comparing the readings flooding across the screens to records held within the huge crystal memory-stacks. Lucian watched, seeing that the logisters would fail to identify the effect.
Turning a dial upon the command throne's arm, Lucian expanded the view of local space, the symbol representing the Oceanid at the centre shrinking as the view zoomed out. He saw, as he had hoped to, a number of augur returns, all within a quarter of a million kilometres, and all holding station. The returns resolved as the augurs locked upon them, Lucian seeing that they represented four capital vessels and an indefinable number of smaller ships, probably two or three escort squadrons. Lucian determined to congratulate his Navigator upon the accuracy of his warp jump, and ordered the ship-to-ship comms channels open.

Hours later, the Oceanid was within communications range of the fleet, and Lucian stood at the centre of his bridge, a cluster of pict screens arrayed around him. Each had been lowered from overhead upon thick cables, and upon each static-laced screen were the head and shoulders of a master of one of the other vessels of the fleet to have reached the first rendezvous point.
The fleet emerges from warp all within a "quarter million" kilometers of each other.

I want to cry, however, at the implication that they took "hours" to cross slightly less than a light second (not even that, sinc they only have to get into communication range, but knowing this novel, that probablyt means well within visual range.) This would imply half a gee to maybe a few gees acceleration, tops (either that, or they accelerated and just coasted the rest of the waY)

Also note 4 capital ships and 2-3 squadrons.

Page 106
There were four of them: Master Florian of the Iron Hands Strike Cruiser Fist of Light, Natalia of the Duchess Mclntyre, Captain Jephanim of the Honour of Damlass, and Commodore Ebrahim of the Ajax. According to their initial communications, each had arrived at the muster point within the last three days, an impressive feat of navigation, and one that belied the great skill of the Navigators selected to negotiate the unknown regions of the Damocles Gulf.
Master Florian was completing his report to the other four ships' masters.
"I can therefore conclude that intra-ship transfers are unwise, given the nature of the disturbance. 1 shall manoeuvre the Fist of Light to a position from which our superior augurs can cover the widest arc, though to be frank, I do not anticipate any contact with enemy forces."
'"greed." Lucian replied. Although the four vessels and their tiny escort were undoubtedly exposed and vulnerable, the chances of any enemy locating and engaging them in deep space were microscopically small. Mind you, he thought, Lady Issobellis Gerrit had believed the same prior to the Battle of the Hydra, and look what that attitude had gained her.
"My readings confirm your own. There's something deeply anomalous about this region, as we all knew there would be. But still, there's something I can't quite..."
"You feel it too, Gerrit?" Natalia interrupted Lucian. Though her image upon the pict-slate was grainy and blurred, he could see in it an unsettling hesitancy. It was in her voice, too, he thought, a lingering dread that all was not as it should be in the Damocles Gulf.
"I do, Natalia" Lucian replied, "and it's not just the local sub-etheric. It's the immaterium itself"
Here we find out the nature of the four capital ships, all presuambly cruisers of some type. Also it apparently took "Days" for some reason to all assemble together. Don't ask me why. I dont want to contemplate it. I'll blame it on the gulf.

The "distrubance" also apparently is enough to interfere with interaction between ships, suggesting its a realspace phenomena and has tangible itneraction with it. ( and can fuck with sensors.)

The bit about the "odds of engagement" is odd, though Lucian's grandiose blatherings about his family are more tiresome.

Lastly, note that sub-etheric stuff, like subspace stuff, is tied to the Warp, suggesting (Again) some forms of warp based sensors.

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Post by Connor MacLeod » 2008-08-07 12:16am

Bob the Gunslinger wrote:Damn, the space battle in this book sounds really embarrassing. Subspace? Sub-ether? 700 meters? I think Mr. Hoare would rather be writing a Star Trek or Lensman novel than a 40k one.

How hard could it have been for him to simply read any other Warhammer 40,000 source on space battles and learn the terminology? Heck, I thought he even helped to write some of those manuals...
Oh it gets better. Trust me.

Mind, there's still some useful tidibts here and there. At least with the subspace stuff you can make an argument for FTL sensors of some kind, which might be useful for 40K in vs debates.

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Post by Connor MacLeod » 2008-08-13 02:27am

And so the update continues. Personally this was my favorite update, because of the usable bit about firepower on page 165 (the bit about the plasma bolts.) Which, in another way, is rather sad, because it means I bought and read an entire novel for basically one throwaway line.

Page 109
And so, on the fifth day after his arrival at the muster point, the last of the crusade's vessels arrived. It was one of the massive, bloated troop transports, each of which carried an entire regiment of Imperial Guard and sufficient supplies to keep it fighting for years if necessary. The transport's captain had immediately reported widespread lack of discipline amongst the troopers of the 12th Brimlock Light Infantry. General Gauge, travelling on Korvane's vessel with his staff corps, had insisted he shuttle over to put the unrest down in person, but had been persuaded against the idea by Lucian, who had convinced the old veteran of the danger presented by the anomalous sub-space disturbances when no other ship's master had succeeded in doing so.
1 regiment per transport. They must either be very large regiments, or they are very small transports. Or perhaps the supplies required cut down on crew carrying.

Note as well the reference to "sub-space" distirbuances as well.

Page 112
The astropath bowed deeply, his expression suddenly one of gratitude as opposed to the tension he had displayed on his arrival. Lucian sighed deeply and considered what Karaldi had told him. Something called to the astropaths as they communicated, adding its psychic signal to their own, even as the Navigators reported disturbances within the warp, ship's crews were restive and sub-space was riven with abnormal and unidentifiable fields. Furthermore, the astropaths in some way craved the interference, perhaps being drawn by its call.
"Comms, open a channel to the flagship." He would at least ensure that the other ships' masters were aware of the threat, even if it transpired there was very little they could do to avert any impending disaster.
And agein, its Lucian to the rescue. What would the Crusade ever do without him? Seriously though, there are a number of useful points here.

First, there is some manner of natural phenomena that makes astropathic communication dangerous in the Damocles Gulf. If they succumb to the call, they may very well be destroyed.

Second, note again that there are connections between "sub space" and the Warp and the aformentioned interference. Indeed the sub space aspect is implied to maybe be tied with normal space as much as the warp (some sort of "interface zone" perhaps? Such as what teh Tau supposedly travel through? As I recall their FTL is referred to as "ether drive".)

Page 118

- Lucian is puzzled at not seeing an Imperial cruiser from 3 km away, even though he knows they're normally "lit up" The ship in question was not and they were far away from a star, but 3 km is basicaly one ship length awa if we're going by actual ship sizes.. THat he could not have seen it at all is absurd. Of course, this is the 40k "micro ships" interpretation, but even then I'm sure they'd be well within visual range - no more than 10-12x the ship's length way.

What makes this even more absurd is that telescops, optical sensors, or other kinds of detection gear should EASILY get it - radar returns would be easiily able to find it.

Page 120
The sub-space augurs warned that the ongoing disturbance in the fabric of the void made even the short hop to the Ajax too risky..
More subspace sensor stuff. Its not clear whether this is active or passive, but I'm betting the latter.

Page 120

- I dont wnat ot quote anythign here, but I'll summarize thusly: the Damocles Gulf seems to be home to some sort of bizarre psychic "menace" which adversely effects humans traversing within it (promoting brawling, disorderly behaviour, etc.) and this is probably also what is affecting the astropaths and everythign else.

Page 131

- the Cargo areas of the Rosetta, Korvane's flagship, are capable of carrying 5,000 Guardsman and their gear/supplies. I'm assuming its a whole regiment, so my earlire statements about "one regiment per transportt" will suggest very small ships. Or, perhaps, that the transports are unusually well armed and armored for troop transports (another possibillty, as armed merchant ships can be pressed into service in times of war.)

Page 138

- the Rosetta's flight deck is noted to be "several hundred metres" wide Assuming 200-300 meters, and that this is the entire "width" of the ship (the widest point, which is conservative), and that the Rosetta corresponds broadly to the same dimensions as other Imperial ships of its size/class (which we can infer from the cover art), its length shoudl be at least 3-5 times its width which would be around 800-1500 meters at least (making it as large as a large destroyer or small frigate by "proper" scaling.) AT the absolute minimum (say lengh = 3x width) we're talking 600 meters, but this would be alot stubbier than the "flying catehdrals" we know and love.

In practice, I'm probably leaning more towards a kilometer or more in length, which does fit in "broadly" with the "hundreds of meters" earlier established. In rationalization, we may assume that Lucian's ships represent very old classes of cruiser, that perhaps are smaller than what later more "modern" navies use (which would make sense, given what he's been shown to have and how its all basically heirlooms.) And 1.5 Km, technically speaking, isnt that far below the lower end of a "proper" light cruiser scaling.

Assuming Lucian's ship is 50% longer, we can guess its maybe 2-2.5 km long.

Page 145

- the Rosetta is able to emerge from the warp half a dozen AU from a stellar body of some kind. Either this is a very small system, the system is abnormal because everything in the Gulf is abnormal, or (least likely, IMHO) Korvane has a very good astropath/Navigator.

Page 159
'The Imperium, as encoutered by my people, appears to be fractured and disparate. It is spread across a wide area of space, so I am informed, ,yet each small group of worlds is almost entirely cut off form the greater community, or at least cut off from it for long stretches."


"You enjoy mastery of many technologies still unknown to us. Yet, you have little understanding of the elementary forces at work in the universe. Instead of seeking such understanding, you indulge in needless ceremony and superstition, believing the cosmos populated by creatures that, in fact, exist only in your nightmares."
The Tau perspective of the Imperium is given here. Pretty predictable in most cases. They admit it may be larger (They dont seem to realize this yet) but know enough that its (to them) very fragmentay and separated (As if this was the Imperium's fault, rather than a result of the nature of long-range governnance due to the warp. ) I'd love to see the Tau do better without navigators and astropaths (though I'm sure they'd be "given" an equivaeltn somehow..)

They also don't seem to believe in daemons (foolish), and "indulge in needless ceremony and superstition" as a result (as if the Tau didn't have pointless ceremony and pomp of their own with that "Greater Good" nonsense.)

They do admit (Grudgingly?) there are many technologies that the Imperium has the Tau do not, at least.

Page 165
This was something that every spacefarer dreaded far more than the clean death afforded when one's body was spat into the cold void or incinerated by plasma bolts as powerful as suns.
"Plasma bolts as powerful as suns" Depending on how you interpret this, you might believe it referenecs stars in general (which case the energy output could be in the high GT minimum for the weakest stars, or more likely teraton range, possibly petaton+ range) or "Sun" as in comparison to our star (or other similarily life-giving stars) in w hich case its probably definiely high TT/low petaton range.

Conservatively, we might assume it refers to the entire guns of a ship, rather than just one, but it also doesn't say the scale or power of the plasma cannon (or the ship type mounting them.)

In my mind, I take it as proof that, broadly speaking (as in not regarding number of guns/type of ship, number of bolts) that 40K ships possess Teraton/petaton level firepower. I generally wouldn't use the term "sun" if I were describing a particularily large (blue/red giant or supergiant) or small (red stars) I also tend to exlcude stuff like Dwarf Stars or anything like that. I tend to think of "sun" as referring to something like our star, something that sustains life. And that would (broadly) put it in the teraton/petaton range.

Page 167
The weapon spat its payload of incandescent plasma straight inot the creature's head at point blank range.

The creature's head disintegrated as the plasma bolt passed through it to strike a conduit mounted overhead As gas flooded the utility spacee, the body crashed to its knees and tumbled to one side.
Plasma pistol destroys a warp-creature's head, and overpenetrates despite that.

Page 169
A single armsman stood at the centre, and nearby a cringing group of ratings. The body last possessed by the creature lay before the armsman, its chest blown through by the force of a shotgun blast.[
effect of a ship's armsman's shotgun.

Page 171
"I intend to destroy the body the creature inhabits, totally, to incinerate it to atoms."
indication of the energy required to achieve the feat (cremation being a GJ range event)

Page 172
Peering gingerly through the porthole, he oculd make out only a small area of the bay, for the illumination was inactive, yet he caught the actinic flash to one side, followed an instant later by a great arcing bolt of enerrgy that crossed the deck at the speed of light, grounding itself in the centre of the chamber in an explosive shower of sparks.
multi-GJ energy outputs probably (some sort of particle beam type effect perhaps), and things are largely unharmed. This is grossyl consevative, given we dont know how much the creature's durability was enhanced by the possession.

Page 173
Another flash, and another arc, and a great whining went up from beyond the bulkhead door. The conduits that would have charged a plasma torpedo were discharging their raw power into the chamber. Lucian could tell that teh system was sustaining to maintain the output that was even now scouring the bay with lashing arcs of raw power.
We learn here that the energy is being released from the plasma torpedo "charging" conduits. This is interesting because it tells us some plasma torpedoes need to be"filled" with the explosive (presumably from teh sh ip's own supplies/reactor), which suggests it has antimatter-like behaviour (The only reason you might do this is because the plasma is volatile and keeping it in the torpedo might risk detonation or something.)

Page 173
"The beast lends the flehs an unholy vigour, my Lord."[
We learn that the possession DOES greatly enhancee the body's durability, making the cremation estimate conservative by an unknown degree.

Page 174
He knew that entrusting the core reactor flow to the tech-priest was incredibly risky, for the function was normally controlled by a hundred different, triple-redundant cogitators.
starship reactor safey measures. Even with an unknown (but significant? TJ range? PJ range?) output its dangerous largely because you need large numbers of cogitators to handle it properly - a single techpriest isnt even close as a match.

Page 174
That body blackened and blistered before Lucian's eyes, the skin slowly vaporising even as Lucian looked on, horrified, but knowing he must witness the creature's death.
even once it begins to incinerate, it does so slowly. I can't begin to imagnie how much energyy must have bene released into the ship by that point, or how they disposed of it (Radiated out into space? Some sort of cooling system?) I imagine starship launches might generate large amounts of heat that need to be rapidly disposed of too, and that such a system might work here as well.

Page 175
Looking back to the chamber, Lucian could see that the creature was absorbing a staggering amount of energy. The body it wore should have been vaporised in an instant as soon as the reactor bleed was turned upon it, yet somehow, it was keeping the body together.
The "VapourizeD" bit s uggests the creature was absorbing hundreds of megawatts if not gigawatts (or more) of enerrgy, ,but that its body was absorbing it effortlessly. an indication of how powerful Daemonic entities an be.

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Imperial Overlord
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Post by Imperial Overlord » 2008-08-13 03:57am

The Tau and the Eldar use Fusion weapons in the table top game. They have the same properties as melta weapons and the older fluff mentions that "fusion gun" is an alternate name for a melta gun.
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Connor MacLeod
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Post by Connor MacLeod » 2008-08-13 05:43am

Imperial Overlord wrote:The Tau and the Eldar use Fusion weapons in the table top game. They have the same properties as melta weapons and the older fluff mentions that "fusion gun" is an alternate name for a melta gun.
Yep. Though I believe the Eldar have personal-levle fusionw eapons, while for the Tau its more vehicle/Battlesuit level. The Imperium uses fusion weapons on the capital scale, though (a form of lance.) and possibly (IIRC) as broadside weapons.

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Post by Connor MacLeod » 2008-08-21 03:52pm

Last update for this, and I'm done with the Rogue Trader novels for now. Good riddance.

Page 184

- the Damocles Gulf region is dominated by vast gaseous nebulae, clouds of stellar matter dozens of light years across. (And which is taking weeks for hte Crusade fleet to cross.) So we see that whatever funkiness is happening in here, its also affecting warp speeds. (predictably.)

Page 184-185
Baru said that the Gulf was quite unlike any other place in the galaxy. It was as if the Gulf was some barrier or boundary placed entirely deliberately, to keep intruders from penetrating the region in which the Tau Empire lay. Beyond it, amongst the blue nebulae, lay something even more incredible.

The blue clouds of the region were, according to Baru, not entirely natural in their origins. Even to the naked eye they churned with stellar forces, ,yet to Baru's third eye, the organ the Navigators uncovered only when traversing the tides of the warp, they boiled with forces both phsysical and spiritual, both natural and positively unnatural.


It was the last portion of the report that gave Lucian pause. Baru's description of the region they had entered hinged on one word. It was, according to the veteran navigator, a "young" region, as if time was turned back or the fabric of space cleansed of the passing of aeons. It was as if the region was a place out of time, still existing in the pristine state that would once have applied to the entire galaxy. It was charged with potential, as if the void just waited upon some wondrous event, as if it in fact existed purely to facilitate that event.
More confirmation of the weirdness of the Damocles gulf, and perhaps yet another (contrived) reason why the Imperium seems to have trouble merely swatting down the tau.

What I do find interesting is that this region of space is described as "young"- which I take to mean that the warp in this region is not nearly as turbulent or "tainted" as in the rest of the galaxy. This also suggests it is artificially created, and whoever did it arguably did it recently (I dont think it was there the last time the Imperium swept through this system.)

Page 207-209 -
The cramped bridge of Korvane's scout vessel was dark and silent, every member of the bridge crew intent upon the operation of their sensor equipment. Korvane sat at the rear of the bridge space, the crew arrayed to his side and the pilot occupying the station below him. He stared out of the multi-faceted cockpit canopy, brooding at the system before him.
His hand trembled, and he gripped the seat's arm until his knuckles turned white. He forced his mind onto anything other than the pain and the substance that would mask it.
The crusade's charts listed this place as the Kendral sub-sector. It was a meaningless appellation as far as Korvane could tell, in all likelihood named for one of the explorators who had passed through six millennia before. Whoever Kendral was, he had not returned to settle the region named after him, and so no one would ever know what deed had earned him the right to have an entire region of space share his name. The system had
no name, just a designation within the sub sector: KX122. Even now, Korvane's scout wing was edging into the system's outer reaches, each vessel on silent running lest they give away their presence to any tau in the locality.
"Report" ordered Korvane.
A crewman, hunched over a glowing terminal, answered, "Passive readings confirm the presence of at least a dozen stellar bodies, my lord. We are approaching the nearest as ordered."
"Good" Korvane replied. Looking through the canopy, he caught his first glimpse of the world in question. KX122/13 was expected to be a small, dense world consisting of little more than rock and ice. With only the passive sensors to rely on, the scouts would need to make a close pass in order to gather much more information, and this they would do as the world came into view.
Very little light fell upon KX122/13 this far from the system's single, cold white stare. Only the blue of the surrounding nebulae glinting from its icy surface caught Korvane's eye.
"Take us in low, pilot" Korvane ordered. 'I doubt there's anyone about, but if there is, I don't want them to see us coming"
'"onfirmed" replied the pilot. "Activating ground following radar in point..."
"Denied!" snapped Korvane. "I ordered passive sensors only and I meant it" Korvane's rage was growing as the pilot turned to look up at him.
"Sir, without the..."
"I said" Korvane said through gritted teeth, "denied. You will follow my orders to the letter, or you will stand down. Do you understand?'
Correctly deducing that the question was entirely rhetorical, the pilot turned back to his task. Korvane stared at the back of the man's head for a moment, before looking out of the canopy. KX122/13 was coming into view, its blue, cratered surface dimly visible against the blackness of space. The pilot instigated a change of course that levelled the small vessel out. The horizon reared up from below, filling half of the view, the light of the distant star casting a ghostly halo above. Korvane leant back in the acceleration couch and scanned the readouts around the bridge.
It felt both liberating and frustrating to be in command, not of a mighty cruiser with thousands of crew, but of a scout wing of four vessels, each with only a few dozen crew. It was the first time in his career that Korvane had undertaken such a mission, though he felt supremely confident in his ability to carry it through. He sighed as he admitted that in truth, he was glad to be away from the crusade fleet, from the myriad demands of running his vessel. He knew that he was also eager to escape his father's shadow, to ply his own course, for a while at least. He reflected ruefully how his stepsister had attempted to do something similar, and made such a mess of it. Well, he would prove that he was fully capable of making things work on his own, and to bring honour and profit to the Arcadius through his own actions.
- The Damocles Gulf Crusade fleet has a number of warp-capable recon ships (they have subsector and sector charts, and the absence of the fleet itself in-system suggests warp capability).

Also, a scout wing of four vessels with a "few dozen" crew each.

Page 213
'Four, belay that, five fast moving class fives, range... three kilometres and closing.'
- A group of Tau aircraft engage the recon ships. Distancee of three kilometers "and closing"

Page 214
"Contacts closing at seven fifty kilometres per hour!" the Sensor operator called out.
The speed of the aformentioned tau aircraft.

Page 214
"Contact closing," the sensor operator announced, an edge of alarm in his voice. "Speed increasing..."

"Incoming!" called out another crewman. Korvane looked around desperately for the cause of the warning, b efore the pilot heaved upon his controls
and the vessel lurched violently to portt. An instant later, what was obviously a high velocity missile streaked past upon a billowing contrail, before veering off and disappearing frorm view.
This occurs, chronologically, shortly after the "seven fifty kph" statement on the same page. A few seconds worth of dialogue with the pilot saying they need to run, Korvane ordering it, and the ship zipping up towards orbit. Whereupon the Tau accelerate and fire. This tends to suggest (broadly) a range of at least a couple kilometers for the weapons, though the Tau may not have fired from longer range due to need to identify other targets (or they may not have been equipped with sufficiently long range weapons.)

ITs also possible, evne likely, that as scout craft these vessels are highly stealthed and harder to detect.

Also note that the Tau craft are using missiles in an air to air engagement.

Page 214

- the Tau missile turns in a wide arc and comes back upon the recon ship's tail. The tau ships also outrange and out-accelerate the Imperial recon ships.

Page 218
The Blade of Woe, Admiral Jellaqua's four thousand year old Retribution-class battleship lay mere kilometres to the Oceanid's prow. Several kilometres long, the vessel was slab sided and sharp-prowed, and bristled with weapons turrets and sensor arrays. She bore the scars of hundreds of battles. Lucian knew the battleship to be a fearsome opponent in a fight, her broadsides easily the match for any tau vessel he had yet to witness.
- the Blade of Woe, a 4,000 year old Retribution class Battleship, is described as "several kilometers" long.

Page 218-219

In addition to the BoW and Lucian's three ships, there is:

- 1 Overlord-class batltecruiser, the Niobe

- A pair of cruisers, the Gothic-class Lord Cdealion, and the Duchess McIntyre,

- A Lunar-class cruiser Honour of Damlass, the Dauntless-class cruiser Regent Lakshimbal.

- a Lunar-class cruiser called the Centaur

Also mentioned is the Ajax, also a battlecruiser, but which was lost (and recovered) due to the time peculiarities of teh Warp (it was rediscovered after it was found derelict and absent crew by Lucian.)

Page 219
The nine escort squadrons that the capital vessels would rely on to provide close protection against enemy vessels...


Each squadron consisted of three or four sword frigates or destroyers of various types, and each was lead by a squadron leader proven in battle many times over.[
This presumably does not include all the space Marine vessels (five or six escorts and a strike cruiser), but it allows us to refine our earlier estimates of the scope of the Damocles gulf fleet. And this is, we should note, a "minor" and rather unimportant Crusade. We may deem it possible or likely, given the command structure of the Crusade, that the forces were amassed from resources at the Sector level of Imperial government, at most, probably no higher.

This, in turn, suggests to us the scale of forces the Imperium could amass in a fairly short period of time to attack a rather small, unimportant empire - and this is still out in the Imperial "backwaterS", much less an important sector of space.

Page 226

- the target planet appears at the "Very edge" of Lucian's holosphere. God knows what range this is meant to indicate.

Page 227
The two Sword-class firgates were running seventy-five thousand kilometres ahead of the fleet's spear tip. With the 27th dispatched to deal with the outpost, 103rd was the leading escort squadron.
Range of some of the escorts from the main fleet.

Page 228
Less than a thousand kilometres to the frigate's fore was a large solid return that was all to familiar to Lucian
The return is a Tau space station, but upgunned. Of course, at a thousand kilometers, any station as large as or larger than an Imperial warship should be visible to the naked eye in some noticable manner.

Page 231
As the spear tip of the fleet passed the five hundred kilometre mark, lucian saw the energy spike he had anticipated. He looked to the holograph, and spat a colourful blasphemy when he saw which of the fleet's vessels was to the fore.


Coming to the viewing port, Lucian watched as the distant speck of light that he knew to be the Nomad altered its course sharply to starboard. A second later, a brief blue light flashed for an instant and was gone, its source invisible at this range.

"The enemy has opened fire,"

Tau station opens fire at some hundreds of kilometers and appears to strike rapidly. The station is actually still beyond visual range, which is appropriate given the distance. Hoare got it right this time.

Page 232
Lucian braced himself against the bulkhead, though he knew that Oceanid was unliekly to be the taget of the second shot.

A second wink of blue light appeared in the darkness up ahead. An instant later, a bright spark appeared as the ultra-high velocity projectile struck its target.
The station is firing on other targets, again, similar range, and virtually instantly.

Page 233

- a cluster of tau warships are at the edge of Lucian's holograph display this time, to the flanks of the fleet.

Page 235

- Tau weapons outrange the guns mounted on a Dauntless-class light cruiser. Even the forward lance batteries are shortter ranged than the railguns. This probably suggests the Tau have better sensors/ECM gear than the Imperial vessels. OF course, this also smells of tau wank, but...

Page 236
Once more, the familiar wink of blue light appeared, marking the launching of one of the tau's projectile weapons.


An instnat later, and the attack struck the Regent square across the forntal shield arc, unleashing a blinding explosion as the shields converted the attack to energy and bled it off into space.
Again firing and striking instantly at range. What's interesting is that the shield seemed to outright destroy the projectile rather than slow or redirect it. Although "energy" could mean anything (energy in this novel is as badly butchered as the term "kilometer" is.

Page 237 - Dauntless light cruiser mounst at least two lances forward.

Page 238
Blue flashes marked the discharge of its hyper velocity weapons, each propelling an indiscernibly small , but impossibly dense, projectile across space. Accelerated to an unbelievable speed, the projectile penetrated the Regent's shields, unleashing a blinding storm of arc lightning.
"Hyper velocity" would suggest something faster than supersonic (Hypersonic?) but also much slower than relativistic. This would imply a velocity at least single digit km/s, but possibly (likely) double or triple digit km/s (IE simialr to a hypervelocity asteroid impact, which can move at between 20-50 km/s easily.)

This is hardly "unbelievable" speed, since Imperial torpedoes can easily move at tens or hundreds of kilometers per second alone, nevermind railguns or broadside missile launchers.

Not sure what "impossibly dense" means - the Tau mayhap have some exotic materials composing their projectiles perhaps. Denser than uranium or tungsten, perhaps?

Page 244

... but with the cogitators offline and unable to provide accurate fire control, that pass might be in vain. He could order a broadside without the aid of fire control, but even at two thousand metres, an impossibly close range at which to engage a nother vessel in ship-to-ship combat, he could not count on making his shots count.
Computerized fire control for weapons systems. And yet, they have to close to absurdly long ranges and still can't even hit tau vessels without a computer.

To highlight this absurdity, lets put it in perspective. At 2 km, the oceanid is less than one ship length away from its target, which is, by its nature, going to be verylarge. It will be very much within easy visual range of the Imperial vessel.

We also know from BFG that weapons batteries strike "instantly" from across even tens of thousands of kilometers. Given that, it shoudl take no more than .0001 seconds to reach the tau target... and yet they still can't hit.

The only possible way I could see this as being reasonable is if the vessels themselves are somehow crossing the distances at hundreds or thousands of kilometers per second (or faster), and this is highly unlikely given what Hoare has already stated (The engagement didn't even begin, supposedly, until the ships reacehd the 500 kilometer mark from a stationary platform.) Seriously, you don't have to wonder why this novel can drive people nuts.

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