Warhammer 40000: Rogue Trader Preview – Everything We Know So Far

Warhammer 40000: Rogue Trader Preview – Everything We Know So Far

Warhammer 40000: Rogue Trader Preview – Everything We Know So Far – In this Warhammer 40k: Rogue Trader Preview – Everything We Know So Far article, we are going to take a deep dive into Owlcat Games’ first-ever CRPG set in the Warhammer 40k universe! We will be talking about what a Rogue Trader is and why it is the best character to play, the factions of your confirmed companions, and potential enemies you may encounter. If you are searching for more info about what this next game is about, then this article is for you!

Warhammer 40000: Rogue Trader Preview – Everything We Know So Far

The 41st Millenium in the Warhammer universe continues to be led by none other than the Emperor himself who has been sitting on the Golden Throne of Earth for numerous centuries. Every crusade is dedicated to Him by His staunchest followers to subjugate the entire universe under humanity’s rule, otherwise, they will be wiped from existence because in the grim darkness of the far future, there is only war.

Warhammer 40000 Rogue Trader Imperium of Man

Warhammer 40000: Rogue Trader Preview – What are Rogue Traders?

Rogue Traders are nobles, space explorers, and merchants. Unlike the factions serving the Emperor, they are immune from His rigid and harsh edict because of the Warrant of Trade. This is a binding and legal document that accords them with special privileges, meaning they have total control of their choices when it comes to, say, negotiating with the Xenos or alien groups without needing to exterminate them. Doing so can cause friction with others who are obligated to follow the rules of the Empire.

Rogue Traders, along with their descendants, are not confined to the rules of the Imperium of Man as long as you continue to survey the outer fringes of the galaxy and conduct mercantile activities on behalf of the Emperor. You are free to explore multiple worlds in an attempt to conquer more planets, plunder them for riches, and expand the reaches of humanity further.

Warhammer 40000 Rogue Trader Galaxies

Because of these privileges, however, you are subject to a number of threats from vicious Xenos, bloodthirsty factions, and even other Rogue Traders whose morality may be opposite to theirs. Alternatively, you can even form uneasy alliances with them even though they can just as easily stab you in the back. Anyone can be your enemy and at the same time, anyone can be your friend. As such, you must prepare to fight or pacify them accordingly.

In true CRPG fashion, you will not be doing your bidding alone because you will have 5 other companions to form a party of 6, who will go into battle alongside you. Your adventure starts by taking over the reins from Teodora as her rightful heir to serve as the ship’s Rogue Trader even if the two of you are distant relatives. You traverse the unexplored Koronus Expanse all while journeying and investigating seemingly forgotten worlds under the Imperium’s control such as Agri and Forge Worlds to squeeze them of their riches as you see fit.

Warhammer 40000 Rogue Trader Necron Tomb

In Warhammer 40k: Rogue Trader’s announcement trailer, Teodora mysteriously says, “Come the day I dread, we’ll leave the mission to you, my heir. What will your fate be? One of service, of glory, of heresy? One can only hope it will be better than mine” as her ship approaches a Necron Tomb. Necrons are a robotic Xenos species that have superior intelligence, leading them to create highly advanced and deadly weapons.

For millions of years, Necrons have laid dormant but they are starting to awaken with the singular purpose of dominating galaxies once again. Teodora knew what would eventually happen to her as a result of past actions but we do not so this will probably be one of the missions we will have to investigate and solve whether it is connected to Necrons or not.

Warhammer 40000: Rogue Trader Preview – Character Creation and Customization

As confirmed by Creative Director Alexander Gusev, players will have a variety of options in character creation such that they will recognize some of its qualities from Fantasy Flight Games’ tabletop game of the same name. But unlike Pathfinder, the character sheet will not be an exact replica of the tabletop but more of an interpretation. Given how detailed and intricate Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous Classes are together with Abilities and Feats, it is safe to say that we can probably expect to see something similar in Rogue Trader.

Pathfinder WotR Character Creation Customized Characters

With this CRPG, anything is up for grabs because we essentially make our way through the Warhammer universe as blank slates rather than the morally superior Grey Knights in Warhammer 40k: Chaos Gate – Daemonhunters. The latter’s purpose is to drive out all foreign creatures who do not wish to bow down to their beliefs, unlike Rogue Traders who have open-ended objectives. Are you prepared to deal with Inquisitors who can brand you as heretical? Or other Space Marines who may consider you as a weakling?

Warhammer 40000 Rogue Trader Starship

One of the things that I’m hoping to see is the possibility of constructing our very own starship whether we are going to customize Teodora’s or if we will get the chance to create one from scratch. This is plausible since we will often traverse galaxies and explore thousands of star systems and planets. At the very least, we could get a ship system similar to Daemonhunters where completing missions grants currency to purchase specific upgrades. These can improve the number of servitors in your ship or even provide some perks in combat.

Warhammer 40000: Rogue Trader Preview – Companions

According to Gusev, you will be able to recruit 5 companions from different factions, specifically a Space Marine of the Space Wolves Legion, a Sister of Battle, an Aeldari Ranger, and a Psyker. Let us discuss them one by one.

  • Space Marines – They are metahumans raised by the Emperor himself to fight for His causes. The Space Wolves Legion is one of the 20 original Space Marine Chapters. Space Wolves are superior warriors who excel in melee combat, which is also the reason why the Space Marine you will meet specializes in dealing excellent melee damage. But you can change their playstyle by equipping them with ranged weapons as well. Moreover, this faction fights relentlessly for the Emperor and they are often touted as anti-authoritarian, often following their savage desires to destroy their foes, all while seeking glory in what they do.
  • Sisters of Battle – They are an elite all-female group of warriors whose purpose is to rid Earth or Terra of corruption and heresy to prove their unrelenting devotion to the Emperor. Unlike Space Marines, they are ordinary humans who have undergone regimented physical and faith-related trainings. In the Dark Heresy Rulebook, their power armor grants additional strength.
  • Aeldari Rangers – They are excellent Xenos rangers and marksmen who are skilled at spotting the targets’ weaknesses from a distance. Similar to Rogue Traders, they wander the outskirts of the universe. However, these Aeldari Rangers are loyal to their homeworlds, often going back to defend them against invaders. This could be an interesting side mission should you be able to successfully recruit the respective companion.
  • Psyker – They are intelligent casters who possess powerful psychic abilities, which are drawn from a different dimension known as the Warp. It is for this reason that Human Psykers most especially, are susceptible to becoming possessed by demons of the Warp since they are easily tempted and are therefore considered frail.

Warhammer 40000 Rogue Trader Companions

Just this June 22, Owlcat Games revealed the identity of your first companion, a Psyker who goes by the name of Idira Tlass. Idira was born and raised on a distant planet, which was once familiar with the teachings of the Emperor. Despite her secure future at home, she has chosen to travel the galaxy in search of adventure. As a gifted diviner, Idira tends to be arrogant, even going so far as dismissing the consequences of using her powers too much. However, seeds of doubt are beginning to arise about whether the voices in her head are coming from the Warp or not. This is certainly another interesting plot point where we would have to save Idira from her demise.

Idira Tlass Psyker Companion

Other factions who are likely to be your companions are the T’au, Dark Eldar, and Tech-Priests or the Adeptus Mechanicus. The T’au are humanoid creatures whose goal is to expand the reaches of their empires but they are not as violent as the Necrons. Rather, they initially extend peace and ask others to join them. Next is the Dark Eldar or the Drukhari, which is perfect if you were to follow a heretical path. These are intelligent savages with advanced technology who find contentment in raids and slavery as they seek to subjugate weaker entities.

And last but not least are the Tech-Priests who serve the Imperium by maintaining and upgrading their technology. Even if they are humans, most of their body parts have been cybernetically replaced and enhanced to continue carrying out their missions for the Emperor. In fact, you can see a Tech-Priest donning a red cloak trying to fix some sort of technology in a foreign world in the teaser.

Rogue Trader Negotiations

However, it remains to be seen whether or not we can customize them fully and how much of an impact your character’s alignment will play in recruiting these companions. Surely, you cannot keep all of them in one ship, especially if you are morally ambiguous. But one detail that Owlcat Games did mention on Reddit is that companions are romance-able. Of course, where is the fun in this if they can’t be?

And finally, it is worth noting that Squats or space dwarves will not make an appearance in the game since development started way before they have been reintegrated into the Warhammer universe.

Warhammer 40000: Rogue Trader Preview – Gameplay and Exploration

In Rogue Trader, you will be visiting numerous planets via your ship. Owlcat Games has confirmed that they have begun playing the tabletop version of Warhammer 40k around the time of Kingmaker’s development. Since then, they have wondered what it would be like to create an uninhabited world such as the Stolen Lands in Pathfinder. What was that world’s backstory before wars ravaged it? What were the civilizations like and how did they adapt or die? These would eventually become inspirations for creating environments to depict a planet’s history in Warhammer.

Rogue Trader Agro-World

In connection to this, the atmosphere they have come up with will not be limited to the grim dark future but will also feature lighthearted humor and fun through the use of a wide range of bright colors. Two of the places you will be exploring are an Agri-World and Forge World. An Agri-World’s purpose is to generate as many agricultural products as possible to feed the Imperium and its inhabitants. Some of them house fields and farms while others are dedicated to breeding livestock and providing clean water. But in the trailer, the Agri-World you visit resembles that of a jungle so what could it possibly provide?

Rogue Trader Forge World

Next is the Forge World, which is governed by the Adeptus Mechanicus or Tech-Priests that we have talked about in the previous section. They are in charge of building several factories in order to craft technology such as war machines for the Imperium and its serving factions. They also conduct research and testing here to further enhance their scientific knowledge.

As a Rogue Trader, you will be involved in understanding and helping these worlds with their problems to fully understand how the Koronus Expanse has managed to adapt throughout the centuries. It also remains to be seen whether we will be able to extract materials from these worlds like in Mass Effect 2, which can then be used to improve our ship, for instance.

Rogue Trader Planets

Making a profit in the tabletop game is one of the success factors of a Rogue Trader and I imagine it as so in this CRPG. Profit is measured based on the players’ accumulated wealth and influence throughout the galaxy. Therefore, it determines whether or not they can afford certain goods and services and what their reputation is. To increase this, they must complete special missions known as Endeavors, which will reward them with vast amounts of profit.

Perhaps we can conquer planets and purchase more ships in the process? It would certainly be cool if the Crusade Mode from WoTR were to be enhanced to command your companions to pillage and eventually manage these worlds on your behalf.


Warhammer 40k: Rogue Trader is inspired by the 2009 tabletop game from Fantasy Flight. Gusev recently confirmed that the CRPG will follow the turn-based combat style similar to Kingmaker and WoTR rather than real-time with pause as the former allows them to highlight the movement and actions of every character on the battlefield. However, they will not be completely adapting the tabletop’s ruleset but they will take some elements from it.

Rogue Trader Combat

There are a few assumptions that can be made based on this including the specific qualities of a character. Note that these are based on Fantasy Flight’s Rogue Trader Forsaken Bounty campaign. For instance, there are several characteristics to take note of such as the Weapon Skill, which focuses on the Rogue Trader’s acuity when it comes to close-combat encounters, or the Ballistic Skill to determine the accuracy of a gunshot. You also have the usual Strength, Agility, and Intelligence to improve based on your build.

Furthermore, there are Basic Skills that are known to the citizens of the Imperium as well as Advanced Skills, which are gained through specialized training. For example, you can become capable enough to heal the injuries of a brethren.

Rogue Trader Turn-Based Combat

Combat is dependent on the outcome of dice rolls, specifically a d100. There are certain tests to determine whether an action such as an attack has successfully hit the target or not. Characteristic Bonuses will also be added to the roll to improve your chances of success.

Similar to Pathfinder, an encounter in Rogue Trader starts by determining the initiative order unless your party has been surprised by the enemy. Each character will then take turns performing their actions per round. As long as the full action has not yet been consumed during that turn, they can perform 2 half actions. There are also Attacks of Opportunity as well as free actions to remember. It would definitely be interesting to see how the combat mechanics will work considering that many improvements have already been implemented in WoTR.

Rogue Trader Ranged Weapons

One weapon type that Gusev is keen on is ranged weapons like the Aeldari Ranger’s Sniper since these inflict AoE damage, which is crucial against a wave of enemies. Players should also focus on obtaining other gear that works well for crowd control and deals incredible damage against single targets like bosses.

Final Thoughts

Owlcat Games encourages you to participate in Warhammer 40k: Rogue Trader’s Alpha and Beta tests by purchasing one of their Founder’s Packs via their website. Note that the Alpha Test will begin in September of this year as confirmed on Twitter! And like Larian Studios, they are adamant about getting player feedback and ideas while development is ongoing.

Rogue Trader Playable Character

Rogue Trader is certainly one of the CRPGs I have been looking forward to playing since the announcement trailer has been revealed a couple of weeks ago. Not only is it being developed by a reputable studio but it also focuses on one of the most interesting franchises to date. There are so many possibilities and choices to make with multiple galaxies in the Warhammer universe at your disposal. It even goes so far as to allow you to become a full-blown heretic. So far, Rogue Trader does not have a release date yet but we can speculate that it might be available in Q4 of 2023 based on the timelines of Owlcat Games’ previous titles.

For more previews check out Steelrising Preview: Gameplay Hands-On Impressions and Marvel’s Midnight Suns Gameplay – New Turn-Based RPG/TCG.


Writer at Fextralife. I enjoy playing RPGs, narrative-driven games, and platformers. Outside of gaming, I like watching meaningful movies and reading sci-fi and dystopian books.

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