The Von Kroyer and Vipinicus Vendetta – Part One

“A word of advice my Lord Captain: Don’t start anything your descendents can’t finish” 

Famula Superior Aruna, Order of the Sacred Coin

Rogue Traders excel above all at excess. Their opulent holdings and grandiose acts inevitably dwarf those of the Imperium’s lesser nobility. To the little people they are as gods of the material realm; every word is a commandment, every deed is legend. Never is this more evident than when two Rogue Trader dynasties go to war.  

The origins of the feud are long forgotten, but the great houses of von Kroyer and Vipinicus have been embroiled in a slow war for generations. The game the two dynasties play has sprawled across civilised space and into the frontier regions of the Morana Gulf. Assassinations, smear campaigns and interplanetary wars have all been but minor moves. The worst excesses of the conflict have seen entire planetary civilisations derailed, unwise alliances struck and invincible enemies made. 

Now the conflict stands at a crossroads. Both sides have fought to a stalemate. An opportunity presents itself for outsider factions who may wish to profit from this ancient feud. A well placed finger on the fulcrum of power could decide how the next stage of the conflict will play out. 

House von Kroyer

“Omnis Mundi Est Scaena – All Worlds Are a Stage” 

Motto of House von Kroyer

The extended war with Vipinicus and a string of unrelated misfortunes have seen the power of the von Kroyer dynasty at a low ebb. This once-mighty house has been reduced to a single small fleet of raider-class ships (albeit fronted by the ancient and formidable Havoc the Star Wyvern), a few commercial transports and a cluster of business ventures in the safety of Imperial space. A recent and particularly humiliating blow to the dynasty was the assasination of its patriarch, the Lord Captain Magnus von Kroyer, on his own bridge by agents of House Vipinicus. Kennoch, a distant cousin of Magnus and seemingly the last heir to the von Kroyer warrant was quickly fetched from the pleasure world Eno to take up the mantle of command. 

Though eccentric, Kennoch has since been able to assemble a senior command crew of singular talent and ambition and begun a small number of profitable ventures to restore his house to its former glory. Perhaps fearing that such small steps will not be enough to keep Vipinicus from finally crushing his dynasty, Kennoch has also taken the controversial decision to form an alliance with the enigmatic Zero-One, Arch-Magos of Serenhold. This frontier tech-wizard is undeniably powerful and has absolute control over a nascent forge world, but Kennoch’s other allies fear that entering a pact with such a grey eminence represents a devil’s deal. The most cynical among them believe the dynasty has essentially consigned itself to become a vassal of the Adeptus Mechanicus for all eternity.  

Dramatis Personae

Star Wyvern bridge crew c998M41

Kennoch von Kroyer

“This very pleasing alliance will bring us many treasures and grand adventures. Now, let the dances be commenced!” 

A bargain is struck

Flamboyant, erratic and perhaps secretly a machiavellian strategist of rare genius, Lord Captain Kennoch von Kroyer is exactly what many expect of a rogue trader. Kennoch has never been seen in public without a mask, and travels everywhere with two identically masked and costumed companions. His bodyguard comprises a troupe of dancers and acrobats, as highly trained in the arts of performance as in the more subtle arts of killing. 

Everything the rogue trader does has an air of drama and pageantry about it, from his cryptic style of speech to his habit of subjecting business partners to impromptu dance recitals. Those who write him off as a decadent eccentric should be warned, Kennoch has a keen eye for talent and is as generous in courting the loyalty of his allies as he is scrupulous in vetting them for signs of treachery. 

Alise Barrow

“If you unjustly injure any one of my men, I will reduce every city on this planet to rubble.” 

Triumphant address to the people of Vanshaya

Born into service to the dynasty aboard their flagship the Star Wyvern, Barrow advanced up the ranks from deck gang enforcer to sergeant of the ship’s watch, before rising to become Lord Kennoch’s trusted second. She regards the crew of the Wyvern her family and stops at nothing to punish those who threaten them. Barrow leads the armsmen and troops of the dynasty with equal parts inspired loyalty and ruthless terror, and is known to take great glee out of inventing cruel punishments for traitors and saboteurs.

Given authority to execute the strategies of the dynasty, Barrow has championed the restoration of the von Kroyer House Cohorts and orchestrated several planetary invasions to secure the house’s means of exacting vengeance on the Vipinicus. While Alise trusts her underlings to get most jobs done, she is not one to lead from the back. She is a champion street fighter and fencer, often first through the breach on boarding actions, and legends abound that she once bested the space marine Mihu Metal-Teeth in single combat.

Piers Vypus

“I am an honourable man. If it falls to me to atone for the crimes of my so-called cousins then I will do everything in my power to set things right” 

Count Vypus cuts ties with the Vipinicus dynasty

A recent addition to the von Kroyer inner circle, Count Piers Liupold Xenon Vypus is the head of his minor noble family who has pledged the services of his own house to the dynasty in exchange for protection. Although publicly the alliance was a mutual business transaction, in truth house Vypus is a cadet branch of the Vipinicus family. Weary of Vipinicus’ treachery and fearing the dynasty may be standing at a precipice, Count Vypus has quietly defected to the von Kroyers. 

In exchange for fealty and information about key strategic weaknesses in Vipinicus’ empire, Lord Kennoch has granted Piers the command of the raider Black Star and a considerable stake in the dynasty. The urbane and good-natured Count Vypus appears to have placed absolute trust in Kennoch and his house, and has fought and negotiated alongside them in a number of key endeavors. 

Other notables

Mobius Oblidus: Lord Kennoch’s taciturn Astropath Transcendent is a telepath and telekine of frightening power. Unbeknownst to the dynasty, he is also an undercover mole reporting regularly to the Inquisition. Oblidus is a zealous devotee of the Imperium and follows a peculiar heterodox creed combining worship of the Emperor with that of the Omnissiah. Despite his ulterior allegiance, in public he has never shown anything but complete loyalty to the von Kroyer dynasty. 

Myrrine Ruhk: A scion of a disgraced navigator house. Navigatrix Ruhk’s previous career steering for an infamous fleet of corporatist pirates saw her serving time on a maximum security penal asteroid before the dynasty had her released into their service. Though a Navigator of singular talent, Ruhk is capricious, avaricious and almost pathologically reckless. Though she is currently loyal to the dynasty (and to Barrow, of whom she is particularly fond), the promise of greater excitement and profit could lure her into the employment of another house. 

Valtyr: The grave and serious Explorator, cognomen “Valtyr-137” is the dynasty’s most senior enginseer, and their primary contact with the mechanicus. A specialist in ancient voidcraft, Valtyr sees his placement on the venerable Star Wyvern as a sacred duty and rarely leaves the ship. As an independent Explorator with allies elsewhere in the Mechanicum, Valtyr has no great love for Zero-One, and deeply regrets the alliance Lord Kennoch has struck with the egomaniacal magos. 

Current Endeavors

The Ranamanda Syndicate

After delivering several senior executives of an up and coming industrial cartel to inspect an ork-infested mine, the von Kroyers were able to leverage the threat of an imminent greenskin attack to negotiate a partnership in the Ranamanda Syndicate. Although the presence of a Rogue Trader among the syndicate’s membership brings some extremely useful perks, some senior partners are not happy with the prospect of their cartel being hijacked and have begun to plot against the dynasty in secret.

Simia Saltatores

Named for its “dancing” binary stars, the Saltatores system was discovered and claimed by the von Kroyer dynasty while exploring somewhat aimlessly in the Redstorm Reach. Surprisingly for a binary system, Saltatores hosts life-supporting worlds: Saltatores V, an ice world home to some primitive jelly-like organisms, and Saltatores IV aka Simia, named for the large variety of massive ape-like beasts which fill the role of apex predators on five of its seven continents. The dynasty is now working to establish a colony, hoping to profit from giant ape safaris and from the abundance of uranic elements beneath the planet’s crust. 

Reconquest of Sovortana

Sovortana was a rarity: a civilised non-Imperial frontier world which was extremely friendly to the Imperium, even actively pursuing political integration in order to protect itself from hostile neighbors. Alas, integration did not come soon enough to save Sovortana from invasion by another interstellar human kingdom, one which is far from keen on a close relationship with the Imperium. In order to drum up public support and attract a zealous rabble to their cause, the von Kroyers have blamed the fall of Sovortana on historical interference and treachery by house Vipinicus and launched a media blitz to gather resources for a grand reconquest. Since their accusations are not entirely baseless they have won some modest support for their people’s crusade, including the endorsement of several subsector governments and even the blessing of Cardinal Skommosa of Diadoch Primus.  

Game Hooks

Rogue Trader

Lord Kennoch has approached the explorers’ own dynasty with a proposition of alliance, acting as a silent partner to elude the wrath of Vipinicus. If the explorers assist the von Kroyers with their endeavors they will receive a hefty share of the profits and a possible senior partnership in the Ranamanda syndicate. 

The von Kroyers have identified several colony worlds in the gulf in which Vipinicus have a significant stake. Under the guise of a benign trade or supply mission, the explorers could covertly sabotage these colonies to ensure Vipinicus never collect on their investment. Depending on their preferences and strengths, this could take the form of physical damage to infrastructure, fostering rebellion among the colonists, cunningly diverting colonists to their own projects, or even bringing the worlds to the attention of other factions who might make it difficult for Vipinicus to turn a profit. The von Kroyers will pay handsomely for every colony sabotaged. 

They have asked the explorers’ dynasty to offer up one of their own (perhaps even one of the explorers) as the prospective bride or groom.

The von Kroyers have promised another noble ally of theirs a politically advantageous marriage in exchange for hefty investment in their endeavors. They have asked the explorers’ dynasty to offer up one of their own (perhaps even one of the explorers) as the prospective bride or groom. Once the engagement is made, a suitably lavish wedding will need to be organised, wealthy and powerful guests persuaded to attend, and the ceremony will need to be protected from the interference of house Vipinicus. Even if the ceremony goes off without a hitch, the newlywed may have some outrageous demands of their own. 

Confident that their new ally is reliable and trustworthy, the von Kroyers have issued the explorers’ dynasty with an official letter of marque. This document is endorsed by their allies in nearby sector governments, and authorises the explorers to freely raid and plunder Vipinicus shipping convoys travelling outside Imperial borders. The convoys are usually extremely well defended, but they might be tricked, outmaneuvered or otherwise induced to lower their defenses. Any loot, ships and hostages seized will belong to the explorers. 

Dark Heresy

Working through the same network of shady back-channels and Inquisitorial task-groups to which the astropath Mobius reports, a frontier Inquisitor has recruited your cell to operate from deep cover within the von Kroyer dynasty. As long as the goals of the dynasty align with those of your handlers you have been ordered to covertly assist them, but occasionally your missions may involve sabotage, assassination and the leaking of dynasty secrets…

The acolytes’ handlers are convinced she has intelligence which could lead to the capture of several heretics wanted for crimes against the Imperium.

The dynasty’s Navigatrix Primus was previously a chronic recidivist with an extensive network of underworld contacts across the sector. The acolytes’ handlers are convinced she has intelligence which could lead to the capture of several heretics wanted for crimes against the Imperium. Sneaking into the navigator spire and rifling through her belongings is an option, but like most of her kind, Navigatrix Ruhk is fairly paranoid and formidably powerful. Her fondness for illicit substances and high-stakes gambling is another possible approach, or she may respond to being approached directly. If asked openly for the information there is almost no chance she will part with it for free, and will likely ask the acolytes to perform some fairly strange and dangerous errands herself.  

An acolyte of a rival, ideologically opposed Inquisitor has evaded capture by your handlers’ own faction and has gone to ground on Serenhold, the Adeptus Mechanicus holy world ruled by the dynasty’s ally Zero-One. Under normal circumstances outsiders are not permitted to tread on Serenhold’s soil, but an exception has been made for Lord Kennoch’s servants. The acolytes are to use any means necessary to get themselves assigned to the next away mission to Serenhold and use the short time available to them to track down and capture (or at least kill) the rogue acolyte. The acolytes’ handlers would prefer they also complete their assigned away-mission task so as to maintain their good standing with the dynasty. 

The von Kroyers have made overtures to certain parties indicating they are interested in hiring a specialist in assassination and undercover work to be retained indefinitely. The acolytes are to put forward one of their own as a candidate to be recruited, but they should expect a gruelling trial against the best operatives in the region. Under the dynasty’s trademark twisted blend of theatrics and brutal efficiency, the acolytes must put their candidate through an undercover battle royale against a dozen deadly rivals aboard the Star Wyvern. Success will mean the end of the acolytes’ previous mission with the dynasty, and the start of a career as double agents.

Only War

The Guardsmen are either soldiers of the private von Kroyer Cohorts, mercenaries or a Guard regiment sworn to the service of the dynasty through a pact with the Munitorum. They have been placed under the direct command of Arch-Militant Barrow and her subordinate, Colonel Albus Hion to see that the dynasty’s military objectives are met. 

Lord Kennoch has insisted on personally inspecting a number of industrial sites, natural wonders and other points of interest on a planet known to be crawling with dangerous partisans openly funded by House Vipinicus. As a security measure a number of dummy tours with fake Kennochs have also been organised. The guardsmen have been assigned as a security detail for one of these jaunts but have not been informed whether their charge is the real Lord Captain. One or more guerilla ambushes and assasination attempts are all but assured, and should any harm come to the VIP (even if it’s a decoy) Barrow has promised to personally neuter the entire security detail to prevent them inflicting their ineptitude on future generations. There is also a very real risk that the Lord Kennoch the guardsmen are escorting will get bored on the road and insist they take part in some kind of eccentric game or daredevil test of skill for his amusement. 

In an attempt to drum up interest in their fledgling colony in the Saltatores system, the dynasty have concocted a scheme to capture one or more giant apes from the planet surface to display to wealthy patrons in civilised space. Big game hunters have had some success killing the animals for sport but some serious manpower will be needed to capture them alive. The guardsmen are given nonlethal weaponry and the unenviable task of tracking, subduing and restraining a six meter tall alien ape. The mission is complicated by the other hostile fauna on the planet, and a faction of renegade colonists who have begun worshipping the savage beasts. 

With no friendly ships currently in orbit able to provide support, it falls to the guardsmen to quickly fortify the pleasure-palace and repel the military attempt on their employer’s life.

Plans have gone awry and the von Kroyers have provoked Vipinicus into a truly reckless attack. Lord Kennoch is vacationing at his palatial estate on the pleasure world Eno when word reaches him that a large land force of Vipinicus troops and vehicles are rapidly inbound. With no friendly ships currently in orbit able to provide support, it falls to the guardsmen to quickly fortify the pleasure-palace and repel the military attempt on their employer’s life. The Lord Captain would also appreciate it if this could be accomplished without damaging too many priceless artworks, heirlooms and sentimental souvenirs, or disturbing the intimate party he’s throwing for his two hundred closest friends.   

Notes for GMs

How the von Kroyer dynasty and its various allies and agents should be portrayed in your games depends entirely on whether the players are the dynasty’s allies or enemies. When dealing with allies the von Kroyers will be generous, often lavishing them with gifts and assisting with any endeavors or missions the players might have. If the players take this generosity for granted however, it may be swiftly withdrawn (usually at the worst possible time). Enemies of the dynasty will be treated to a dizzying array of shock and awe tactics, including a hefty dose of trickery, false flag attacks and theatrical misdirection. In the political sphere, the von Kroyers will use intelligence-gathering, blackmail and extortion to attack the players’ allies and undermine their position. 

In void-based battles the von Kroyers field a small fleet of raiders led by the Star Wyvern, a Havoc class raider. Though fragile, the Wyvern has powerful weapons and is extensively outfitted for stealth and silent running. Enemies engaging the dynasty in space will find it very difficult to pin down their fleet as it constantly darts in and out of range, attempting flanking maneuvers, daredevil turns and making full use of debris fields and nearby planetoids to spring ambushes. If the fleet is horribly outgunned or outmaneuvered there is a strong chance that Navigatrix Ruhk will attempt an insanely risky warp translation, possibly pulling the dynasty’s enemies into the immaterium unprepared. 


Only War

The Von Kroyer Cohorts

“If you desert down there, you better pray I don’t find you – because I will drag you back into orbit and then kick you out the airlock myself. You ligann blivits will not betray me for a planet.” 

Alise Barrow addressing soldiers preparing for shore leave

Life for soldiers in the private employ of the von Kroyer dynasty can be very comfortable compared to that of the rank and file in the Imperial Guard. Their equipment and rations are often better, their uniforms more flashy and their personal freedoms while off-duty are unparalleled. The glaring downside of the arrangement is that the chain of command is short, and at the top is a whimsical aristocrat who is equal parts gangster, pirate and theatrical director. 

The von Kroyer cohorts comprise a small private army of variable quality. Some of its members are transfers from the Imperial guard, or the veterans of mercenary companies bought outright by the dynasty, and comport themselves with dignity and professionalism. Others are criminals and no-hopers who had the misfortune of being blackout drunk when the dynasty’s recruiters kicked down the door of the spaceport’s saloon.  The latter group soon learn that failure is often met with a swift kick out of the nearest airlock. 

The Von Kroyer 2nd Light Recon

Characteristic Modifiers: +3 Ballistic Skill, +3 Fellowship, +3 Perception, -3 Willpower

Starting Skills: Awareness, Commerce, Scrutiny

Starting Talents: Combat sense, Die Hard, Pick one; Street Fighting, Sure Strike or Takedown. 

Private Enterprise: Mercenary regiments are able to concentrate their resources for maximum impact. Characters from mercenary regiments start with an additional 10 logistics rating. Unfortunately the profit motive of the mercenaries makes them less likely to risk life and limb in battle. Any command tests to convince characters from a mercenary regiment to risk life and limb take a-10 penalty.

Commander: Col. Albus Hion (Sanguine)

Regimental Doctrine: Reconnaissance Regiment

Equipment Doctrine: Demolitions – The regiment gains a +10 bonus on all Logistics Tests made to obtain grenades, missiles, explosives, and special tank ammunition.

Wounds: Standard

Standard Regimental Kit: One M36 lasgun and four charge packs per Player Character (Main Weapon), two frag grenades and one krak grenade per Player Character, 1 suit of light carapace armour, 1 set of best quality field gear (Fancy uniform, high-tog cold weather gear, bandolier, rucksack, set of well-machined basic tools, mess kit, water canteen and hip flask, comfortable blankets and sleep bag, rechargeable lamp pack, fine grooming kit, set of ident tags, 1 copy of Ye Dynastia von Kroyer, 2 weeks tasty rations), one opulent parade uniform per player character, one flask of Chateux von Kroyer amasec per player character, One Sentinel Scout Walker per Squad, and one set of magnoculars per Player Character.

Favoured weapons: Bolter, Multilaser

The 2nd cohort pull double-duty for the dynasty. Their primary mission is rapid recon and sabotage on frontier worlds and facilities controlled by the dynasty’s rivals. Whenever not engaged in the theater of war they are expected to look dashing in parades arranged in the dynasty’s honour, and to act as escorts for the Lord Captain’s motorcade. 

New Regimental Origin: Mercenary

Cost: 3

Characteristic Modifiers: +3 to any two of the following characteristics – Ballistic Skill, Toughness, Fellowship

Skills: All mercenary characters start with Commerce and Scrutiny

Private Enterprise: Mercenary regiments are able to concentrate their resources for maximum impact. Characters from mercenary regiments start with an additional 10 logistics rating. Unfortunately the profit motive of the mercenaries makes them less likely to risk life and limb in battle. Any command tests to convince characters from a mercenary regiment to risk life and limb take a -10 penalty.

A Motley Crew: Mercenaries often hail from a variety of backgrounds, united only by a common aptitude for violence. Characters from mercenary regiments may choose one of the following talents – Street Fighting, Sure Strike or Takedown

Starting Wounds: Mercenary characters generate starting wounds normally. 



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4 responses to “The Von Kroyer and Vipinicus Vendetta – Part One”

  1. Corrado avatar

    A very nice write up! I’m really inspired by it.
    This family is drawn from one of your campaigns or is it newly thought out?

    1. Nimbus Trident avatar
      Nimbus Trident

      Thank you!

      The von Kroyers were our player characters! I myself (Isak) played Alise Barrow and Mark played Navigatrix Ruhk. But some creative license has been taken to make them more NPC-viable and less obviously player characters.

  2. Mobius Oblidus avatar
    Mobius Oblidus

    Isak & Mark – this entire site is ligann beautiful. Absolutely love it. And the material is top shelf quality. What an absurdly rich back-alley of the galaxy we had the distinct honour of waltzing through!

    1. Nimbus Trident avatar
      Nimbus Trident

      Aww, thanks man. Just don’t betray me again.

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