"We are but simple caretakers of the Holy Mission. We are to take the judgement of the Emperor upon Earth to the stars. We are those who carry His mercy with us for our brothers. We are those who witness His signs. Blessed are we caretakers for if we fail in our duty so too does the galaxy fall with us."
- — Anonymous Imperial Missionary
A Missionary is a disciple of the Imperial Creed and a Priest of the Adeptus Ministorum. Missionaries spread the Imperial Cult and defend it from the core worlds of the Imperium of Man to the far flung edges of the galaxy. Missionaries spread their belief in the divinity of the God-Emperor across the long-settled worlds of the Imperium, as well as to recently rediscovered human-settled planets. They also sometimes take a more active role in defending the Emperor's realm and accompany the Adeptus Sororitas into battle. These men and women serve as the front line of the Ministorum, guiding the newest followers of the God-Emperor in their day-to-day prayers and observances.
There are many types of Missionary: from the young, fervent hopefuls who spread the word of the Imperial Creed with little guidance and support from the Ministorum, to the ancient, wise and toughened members of the Missionarus Galaxia. These individuals are at the forefront of the Imperium's expansion, accompanying the crusading armies as they discover new worlds, contact lost civilisations and push back the frontiers of the Emperor's holy domain.
The oldest Missionaries are instinctive survivors. They have fought in battles against heathen and godless savages, and thwarted the designs of Chaos and Genestealer Cults. A Missionary must survive the rigours of many Terran years of Warp travel and exploration across Death Worlds, Desert Worlds, prehistoric Feral Worlds and the freezing permafrost of Ice Worlds.
"The God-Emperor lives in the hearts of all men; in the places they travel, the worlds they conquer and the shrines they craft in His holy name. Wherever mankind treads so too walks the Emperor, ever sheltering Mankind in His divine light."
- —Missionary Jorus in his sermon to the heathens of Fyro III
Whenever a lost human culture is discovered or a new Imperial colony is founded, a Missionary must journey to that world to take responsibility for its spiritual enlightenment, using whatever tools are most expedient. For some colonies, the Missionary's responsibility can be limited, as other servants of the Ecclesiarchy participate in the colonisation effort. For newly recovered human worlds, the task is often far more challenging.
In these instances, the Missionary must first absorb and learn the ways of the native society and its religion, if one exists. As he comes to grips with the culture, he must identify practices and teachings that can be refined to become consistent with the ways of the Imperial Creed.
A Missionary's ultimate goal on any new world is to convert its existing populace to the Imperial Creed, but this is no trivial matter. Often, a Missionary must work without any support. As the sole representative of the Imperium of Man, the Missionary serves as an ambassador to the entire planet. Given the scale of this task, many Missionaries attempt to institute a gradual and subtle reform that can subtly gain traction within the planet's culture rather than trying to violently overwhelm the local beliefs immediately by force of arms or raw charisma.
Missionaries frequently begin implementing such changes by integrating portions of the Imperial Creed into the planet's native belief system. This might be a simple matter of syncretism, substituting the Emperor and His Saints for the roles of those deities already within the world's pantheon. In other circumstances, a solution could require more extreme, violent actions or could take long-term planning. A Missionary might also have to design a system for a far more gradual conversion process. By placing facets of the Imperial Creed subversively into the culture, a Missionary can help to lay the groundwork for his successor -- sometimes one who only arrives Terran centuries or millennia later. Ideally, the foundation the first Missionary creates opportunities for future Missionaries to exploit in the signs and prophecies the first leaves behind, ensuring that even if he cannot succeed in his lifetime, the Imperium will triumph long after his death.
The precise tenets of the Creed that Missionaries espouse can vary substantially. Some are generous to a fault, granting the Emperor's pardon and mercy for past crimes, while winning the population over with charm and assistance. Those who follow this path are often more dependent upon their impassioned speech and vast body of knowledge. Others pursue a more militant course, often with the assistance of particularly zealous converts or even the forces of the Astra Militarum. Missionaries who employ this conversion pattern might initiate a holy war against the planet's native religions or they might use the power of the Imperium as a tool while they ferret out threats to humanity. Still others work from the shadows, acting to subtly introduce the Imperial Creed so that the inhabitants never truly realise a change in their culture has occurred.
Service With Rogue Traders
"To bring the Emperor's Light into the darkness; to bring the unknown to a greater understanding of Him on Earth; this is my calling and in my wake both seeds and ashes are sown."
- —Luminorem Majoris Skent Taltos
Regardless of local idiosyncrasies of religious doctrine and the many and varied forms of worship, the worlds of the Imperium are united in adoration of the God-Emperor of Mankind. The Adepts of the Ecclesiarchy foster, maintain, and impose faith across the million and more worlds of the Imperium, but it is the division known as the Missionarus Galaxia that takes the word of the Imperial Creed to those benighted by ignorance of the one, true faith of Mankind.
The Missionary is a singular manifestation of the Ecclesiarchy, a walking temple clothed in the trappings of his calling, part holy warrior, part politician, and when needs be, judge, jury, and executioner. His mission: to spread the teachings of the Ecclesiarchy far beyond the Imperium's borders, to convert, whether using words, bullets, or subterfuge, those lost human worlds he encounters out amongst the distant stars.
Missionaries are commonly despatched to serve alongside Rogue Traders, for travel so far beyond Imperial space presents uncounted opportunities to contact, and convert, lost human civilisations and bring back those who stray from the ﬂock. However, only a rare few of the Ecclesiarchy's officers are intellectually or doctrinally capable of undertaking this type of mission.
Missionaries must be prepared to witness forms of worship that would drive a Cardinal to declare heresy and damn entire planets to excommunication and when needed to stand silent. It is their task to examine the outlandish faiths practised by the ignorant souls they encounter and formulate a scheme to convert them to the Imperial Creed, mark a world as a target for further attention by their peers, or at worse, with a quill stroke damn them to destruction. A common method for conversion is to seek out parallels between the various deities worshipped and Imperial Saints, while at the same time probing for the subtle taint of the Ruinous Powers, be it open or cloaked in lies. Using their prodigious skills of oratory and persuasion, Missionaries might then preach perhaps that the angry moon a lost group of human colonists worship is actually the Emperor and that they are emissaries come to guide them to their just reward, or that the slavering beast-god to which they offer their firstborn will be slain by the Emperor's holy foot soldiers when they cease worshipping it and embrace the truth.
The true skill of Missionaries is to recognise when their arts and methods are likely to prove fruitless and when something far more sinister lies at the heart of the locals' faith. Through years of experience and natural talent, they can almost smell the taint of Chaos or the subtle hand (or pseudopod) of the alien at work. In such cases, they will not hesitate to counsel a Rogue Trader that these lost brethren must be exterminated, blasted from orbit for the good of all Mankind. It is a foolish Rogue Trader who ignores such learned counsel, for Missionaries are still agents of the Adeptus Ministorum, a vast and politically powerful organisation that only a fool would willingly cross.
In addition to their task of converting the lost, Missionaries often find themselves acting as spiritual figureheads in the ﬂeet they accompany, a task most relish for the spiritual fulfillment and inﬂuence it affords them. Some act as Confessors to the Rogue Traders they attend and become their most trusted counsellors, while others steel the souls of their comrades in the face of the hideous things they encounter beyond the Emperor's light when mere reason or firepower fails.
The Missionaries of the Missionarus Galaxia are a special breed of Imperial servant, and although they operate under the auspices of the Cardinals Palatine, they are in practice a nigh-autonomous body within the Adeptus Ministorum. The Missionaries are tasked with accompanying all manner of expeditions into regions of the galaxy lost or previously unknown to the Imperium. Whether it be aboard Imperial Guard vessels launching a crusade to retake a sector lost to alien invasion, or in the retinue of a daring Rogue Trader penetrating the dark, unexplored regions of the galaxy, Missionaries bear the flame of the Imperial Creed wherever they go, and with it kindle the faith of those long separated from the true faith.
Upon the discovery of a new or lost human culture out among the stars, it is the task of am agent of the Missionarus Galaxia to study all he can of its society and religion. He is ever watchful for ways in which the culture's religious practices and teachings can be subtly altered, to bring them broadly into line with the Imperial Creed. Practices dubbed benighted or barbaric may be supplanted with more suitable ones, though often some symbolism is allowed to remain to lend a sense of continuity. For example, necrophagia -- the eating of the dead -- is a practise proscribed by the Imperial Creed, but when it is encountered in savage cultures it may be replaced with the symbolic consumption of a particular totem animal. Equally, the worship of a polytheistic pantheon of multiple gods will be replaced with that of a host of Imperial Saints, each chosen because they embody something of the qualities associated with each of the deposed deities.
The men and women of the Missionarus Galaxia are supremely skilled orators and diplomats, and they must also be cunning and resourceful to survive contact with often barbaric or belligerent cultures. They have the skill to recognise when an impassioned sermon will change the course of an entire planetary history, or when they must instead retreat into the shadows and lay plans that will not see fruition in their own lifetime. Perhaps unsurprisingly, many of the Ministorum's officers regard the Missionaries as mavericks and reckless adventurers, but the truth is that they are the bedrock on which the faith of multitudes is built.
Reclaiming a Lost Population
"Rejoice, brothers and sisters long-lost to the stars. The servants of the Emperor have returned to your domain, carrying with them the light of the Creed. Who shall be first to rejoin the flock?"
- — Zsavor Velt, Missionary
For millennia, there have been a number of star systems that have existed in a state of disorder and darkness, cut off from the Imperium and the Emperor's word. When these lost regions of space are re-opened, missionaries of the Missionarus Galaxia are among the first to enter the vast and wild regions in search of lost human populations that they might illuminate (and exploit) in the name of the Emperor. These explorers often take passage aboard any vessel able to carry them into the vastness of the unexplored regions, from Imperial Navy warships to Rogue Trader caravels, and immediately set to reintroducing the Emperor's light to whatever human populations they discover.
A Missionary endeavouring to reclaim a human population that has forgotten its duties to the Emperor and His mortal agents has a difficult task ahead of him. Even after finding a stable human population amidst the countless glimmering stars of the forgotten areas of space, the Missionary must make successful contact. This requires extensive work on his part, and very likely on the part of others who he impresses into his service in the name of spreading the Emperor's word across the forgotten spans of void that lie beyond the bounds of the Imperium. Rogue Traders are required to render assistance to Missionaries in travelling between the stars, and many pious (or opportunistic) Rogue Traders offer considerably more help, aiding Missionaries in establishing contact with rediscovered human populations, setting up operations on forgotten worlds, venturing across these lost regions in search of holy relics, bringing scattered groups into the Imperial fold, and completing the other sacred tasks to which these wandering clerics set themselves.
Example Requirements for Reclaiming a Lost Population
- Finding a human population suitable for conversion.
- Any available information on the nature of the people slated for conversion, including their origin, customs, general demeanour, and any other pieces of information to assist the Missionary.
- Requisite charts and maps outlining Warp routes, way stops, and the system to which the Missionary is travelling.
- A small cadre of assistants, acolytes, scribes, scholars, and negotiators to assist in the conversion.
- A force of troops for security and to exhibit the military might of the Imperium.
- Gifts, bribes, and assorted treasure for the targeted populace.
Mission to a Benighted World
The most fundamental duty of a Missionary is to find human populations far from the light of the Emperor and prepare them for the return of the Imperium, that they can be integrated seamlessly once that happens and convinced to pay their tithes with minimal protest. There are many worlds that fit this description in the Koronus Expanse of the Segmentum Obscurus, for example, and so Missionaries from the Calixis Sector flock to this region. Finding these planets in the trackless void is no easy task, however. Some Missionaries prefer to drift from place to place, relying on the Emperor to guide them to their intended destination. Others pore through Imperial Navy surveys, shuffle through ancient, fragmentary records from ages forgotten, or seek rumours at ports of call. Of course, as difficult as finding an appropriate planet might be, locating it is usually the simplest part of a Missionary's task.
However a Missionary chooses a world for conversion, his task once he arrives requires him to interact with the locals. Different Missionaries prefer different methods of introducing themselves. Some descend on wings of fire, stepping out of massive warships to terrify the locals into submission, while others prefer subtlety, slipping into the population unnoticed to observe it for solar months or even years before beginning to introduce elements of the Imperial Creed. Most Missionaries seek to win allies in any new place they arrive, and so the first step in the arduous process of bringing a world back to the fold is winning over a portion of the population. This group can be a political faction, a ruling elite, a religious sect, or even a repressed substratum waiting for a liberator to arrive to rise up in revolt. For a Missionary working alone, this is an incredibly daunting task, for many scattered cultures are xenophobic, and choosing the wrong faction in a power struggle can prove fatal.
A Rogue Trader and his crew can prove incredibly helpful to a Missionary at this stage if they wish to assist with his Emperor-given duty (or have been coerced into doing so). Even the smallest voidship with which a Rogue Trader plies the stars dwarfs most isolated populations in terms of raw military power, and the sight of landing craft descending from the sky is impressive indeed. Most Missionaries who receive help from Rogue Trader allies do not simply have them flatten the prospective population of worshippers; all but the most violently zealous can see the waste of human resources intrinsic in such a strategy. Instead, if a Rogue Trader and his crew are present, the Missionary can use them as a point of contact with the local society.
If there is a ruling elite, an impressive display with a few landing craft can often grant the Missionary immediate access to the ears of important individuals. Further, a Rogue Trader and his crew can provide lavish gifts from beyond the stars to sway even the most worldly of local lords. If the population is divided by war, a brief display of a warship's power can frequently cow both sides into brokering a peace, for which the Missionary can reasonably claim credit. Once the Missionary has established channels by which he can spread his message of the Imperial Creed to a lost population, this objective can be considered complete and his true work begins.
Study the Local Cultures
The duty of Missionaries is to spread the Imperial Creed on far-off worlds, but before they begin to speak in earnest of the Emperor and the local population's duty to Him on Earth, many missionaries choose first to listen. By learning about a culture, missionaries can most easily tailor the message to most efficiently convert the population, seeding the Emperor, Imperial Saints, and other important features of worship into the rites and religious practices of the locals rather than attempting to stamp out these long-held traditions. Studying a culture can be the work of years or decades for a lone missionary, especially if the language of the locals is not a derivation of Low Gothic or another commonly spoken tongue. While some Missionaries have Sisters Dialogus of the Adepta Sororitas to assist them in translation and the study of regional mythologies, others rely on the aid of fellow scholars of a more secular bent.
A Rogue Trader's Seneschal can prove invaluable when the crew's Missionary needs to research an obscure dialect or construct a functional lexicon in a new tongue from nothing, given how these individuals are often trained in both scholarship and dozens of codes, cants, and other languages. Adeptus Mechanicus Explorators can also be extremely helpful in this capacity, using their mastery of arcane technologies to process vast quantities of linguistic and behavioural data far more rigorously and rapidly than a Missionary could do alone. Once the representative of the Imperial faith has cracked this problem, he must analyse their beliefs, determining which ones are harmless divergences, which ones can be twisted to fit the Imperial Creed, and which ones must be purged.
Certain practices, especially as relates to the place of psykers in a population, can be intolerable to the Imperial Creed, but most of the time, Missionaries are more concerned with inserting the appropriate elements of the faith into the belief system of the natives rather than removing anything. So long as the population pays its tithes, it matters not whether they revere the Emperor as a solar deity who brings the harvest, a guardian spirit against marauding bands of twisted fiends that lurk in ancient ruins, or a god of death whose fury spills over and floods the rivers. Once the representative of the faith has studied the culture's mythology and found figures and anecdotes that can be subverted to serve the Imperial Creed, he is ready to begin the process of conversion, and this objective can be considered complete.
Establish the Imperial Faith
No matter how strong a plan to bring a world into the Imperial fold seems in theory, a Missionary cannot truly know its effectiveness until he puts it to the test. If he has developed a strong understanding of a population's beliefs and found the mythological overlaps with certain critical aspects of the Imperial Creed (as he has hopefully done in the previous objective), then the Missionary knows the content of the message he should deliver to that group of people. Still, publicly reinterpreting a doctrine that has stood for Terran centuries or millennia can be extraordinarily difficult and dangerous. The Missionary must make a choice: he can either go through the keepers of religion and lore, converting the hierarchy from the top by convincing the local religious figures to support his "additions" to the local beliefs, or alternatively, he can act through the laity, convincing them that their religious leaders have overlooked or even hidden the truest interpretation of their faith. No matter which path he chooses, the Priest faces various risks to his person, for he is doing nothing less than rearranging their religious structure to support the ends of the Imperium of Mankind.
Zealots, scorned hierarchs, and angry kings have all slain countless Missionaries attempting to bring their worlds into the fold across the newly re-discovered regions of the galaxy. Martyrdom does not necessarily mean failure, as it might inspire revolution, religious shifts, or simply make it easier for the next Missionary to complete the task. Still, most Missionaries prefer to survive their labours of faith if possible. The protection of a talented Arch-Militant and other bodyguards can mean the difference between success and an excruciating death for a missionary once he has played his hand and begun the open process of converting a world. A Void-master's skills can also be extremely helpful -- the massive weaponry of the vessel he controls can silence most local armed conflicts with relative ease. Further, a good pilot is invaluable in case a Missionary finds himself needing to depart in a hurry for any reason.
Recover a Sacred Artefact
"That which is lost, we seek. The glimmer in the vast darkness, the ember of faith amidst the ashes of aeons."
- — Jeremn Kostr, Reliquarist
Imperial history is littered with tales of powerful artefacts associated with the Emperor, the Primarchs, high-ranking priests and generals, or one of the masses of Imperial Saints. Most are merely legends or metaphors, their existence apocryphal. Those that do exist are jealously guarded by their possessors. Some are wielded by the High Lords of Terra or other powerful leaders in the Imperial hierarchy as marks of office, while others are kept in reliquaries or secure vaults on Terra or one of the Imperium's many Shrine Worlds.
Most holy artefacts mentioned in Imperial scripture are lost, however, scattered to the stars by time, strife, misfortune, and the machinations of the Ruinous Powers. Countless individuals constantly scour the galaxy in search of lost holy artefacts, and a Rogue Trader can make a fortune from any such discovery. Artefacts can take any form, and can be something as small and simple as a finger bone or prayer book to something as powerful as a holy weapon or even an entire voidship. While some have actual mystical or holy abilities, the majority are notable simply due to their association with their original owner.
Undertaking the search for a lost holy artefact is a great commitment, requiring copious amounts of scholarly research and interstellar travel as the hunter scours databanks and lost worlds alike in search of the goal. In the end, all of the time and money spent, not to mention all of the inherent danger and possible mind-bending horrors, encountered in the search for lost artefacts are considered a small price to pay by those who undertake such tasks.
Example Requirements for Recovering a Sacred Artefact
- Records of a suitable holy artefact.
- Access to ancient texts, sacred records, or other information hinting as to the location of the artefact.
- Warp charts for the region in which the artefact is said to rest.
- Any additional vessels, troops, materiel, or support from factions within and without the Adeptus Terra required to locate and recover the lost artefact.
Retrieving a Blessed Relic
Many Rogue Traders make a large portion of their profits by recovering ancient treasures, lost archeotech, and other items of nigh-incalculable value. Rumours of forgotten relics abound in re-discovered regions of space -- countless sacred prizes waiting to be uncovered by bold Explorers. Of course, chasing phantom treasures of any sort can ruin a Rogue Trader, and so the wise only devote their own resources to pursuing those items whose locations they can confirm in some way. If another entity or group is willing to put forth the capital for the expedition, many Rogue Traders gladly offer their services -- and those of their vessels and crews -- to those following the faded footsteps of ancient Saints. Other Rogue Traders do so even if not compensated handsomely for their efforts, out of a sense of piety, as penance for past transgressions, or simply to curry favour with a powerful member of the Adeptus Ministorum or individual within the sector nobility.
Finding the Trail
Though the Imperium is built on the bones of martyrs and every world is soaked in the blood of ancient heroes, most of these individuals are unsung, their contributions to humanity's ascension forgotten. The relics of true Imperial Saints -- or of other figures deemed worthy of such reverence -- are rare. Especially in lawless regions such as the Koronus Expanse, it can be a daunting task to set out in search of a relic with little more than rumours guiding one's search. Thus, the first step in any quest for a lost Saint's bones, a forgotten device of great power, or any other item of interest is research. A Rogue Trader and his crew must undertake considerable efforts to track down legends, scroll through ancient records, and then interpret these clues into a comprehensible map to their destination.
A Seneschal's information-gathering abilities can be incredibly helpful at this stage, assisting the group in separating the wheat from the chaff as they encounter countless baseless whispers about their quarry. A Missionary's extensive knowledge of the lore of the Ecclesiarchy is also key to many of these quests. Navigators can also be crucial at this stage, using their lineages' unparalleled knowledge of the capricious Warp routes over the millennia in these lost regions to eliminate some areas and highlight others as potential regions of interest. This objective can be considered complete when the crew has sorted through the drunken voidsmens' tales, the false leads, and the cryptic clues to find the start of a trail that might lead to the relic in question.
Following the Path
Once the crew knows where to start their search, they must pinpoint its exact location. Even if all of the information they received during the previous objective was once accurate, it might well have been rendered incorrect in the centuries since the whispers that they followed were first muttered. The crew might still have a great deal of work ahead of them even if they have tracked the relic to a single star system or world. Upon their arrival, the explorers must assess their new environment and determine the most likely resting place of the relic. Accurate sweeps by crew members skilled in the use of their voidship's scanners could locate likely positions or populations that might provide up-to-date regional information. If the explorers have a direct connection to the artefact in some way, or another object in some way related to it, a skilled Astropath might be able to use divination to narrow its location further. Once they have conducted a thorough examination of the region (whether that be mechanical, mystical, social, or by other means) and found an area they can explore on foot that contains the artefact, this objective can be considered complete. The more precise the information they garner during the completion of this objective, the more they know about the final objective, and what it requires of them.
Recover the Relic
Unfortunately, most relics of Imperial Saints and other famous figures are not simply discarded several centimetres beneath the ground, waiting for bold explorers to exhume them. Once the crew has found the exact location of a given artefact, they must actually reclaim it. Liberating it from its current circumstances can be as difficult as all of the preparation that has lead up to this moment. Many such relics are hidden in the midst of ancient tombs, crashed starships, and other treacherous environs. Others are in the hands of fanatical cults -- both heretical and Imperial -- that deny outsiders any access to their treasures. The explorers must navigate dangerous environments to reach their goal, whether these be social, physical, or both. Canny explorers might be able to avoid some of these obstacles, convincing even power-mad zealots to trade for their sacred relics, while other crews with less subtlety and a more ballistic inclination might prefer to solve their problems with guns blazing. This objective can be considered complete once the artefact the explorers sought rests in their hands.
Destroying a Xenos Threat
"This planet is covered in carnivorous, warlike xenos that stand five metres at the shoulder and have two heads full of razor teeth? Perfect! I've never had the chance to mount two heads from the same creature in my trophy vault before! Prepare my hunting pistol and a landing craft!"
- — Rogue Trader Tallen Alberse
The creeping influence of the myriad xenos races that pollute the galaxy is anathema to the learned men and women of the Imperium of Man. From the pointless savagery of the bloody-minded Orks to the cunning treachery of the Eldar to the honeyed lies of the upstart T'au Empire, xenos threats are everywhere. Occasionally, it falls to a member of the Missionarus Galaxia to root out xenos and stymie their plans, especially when the xenos show too much interest in worlds the Ecclesiarchy holds dear. In cases such as these, a Missionary, especially one serving aboard a Rogue Trader ship or otherwise allied with a powerful trade dynasty, might choose to raise a fighting force and take the battle directly to the enemy. Endeavours such as these can range anywhere from simply hunting down and destroying a marauding Eldar Corsair to leading a crusade to wrest a region of the Koronus Expanse from the grip of some heretofore unknown xenos threat.
Example Requirements for Destroying a Xenos Threat
- A world or star system threatened by hostile xenos.
- Troops, whether household forces or mercenaries, along with all necessary materiel for sustaining an army.
- Agreements and binding compacts with the Astra Militarum and/or the Imperial Navy to provide ships, troops, vehicles, and materiel.
- Initial reconnaissance and the gathering of intelligence regarding any and all enemy forces.
- Establishment of forward operating bases and a logistics chain to provide supplies for the war effort.
- Binding agreements with the Adeptus Mechanicus to provide support for all ships, vehicles, and materiel.
- Depending on the level of threat and availability, support from the Adeptus Astartes, one or more Inquisitors, the Adeptus Sororitas, or any other branch of the Adeptus Terra that the Missionary, Rogue Trader and his crew can sway to the cause.
Purge the Xenos
Aliens pose various threats across the Koronus Expanse, and though they do prey upon human populations scattered across the countless worlds in this region of space, this is not the only reason that a Missionary, Rogue Trader and his crew might come into conflict with xenos. Various alien factions also compete with Rogue Traders for resources, relics, and more, and Rogue Traders frequently find themselves in minor but nonetheless cataclysmic wars with xenos species. Of course, the line between holy wars and territorial squabbles over resources is often blurred. After all, what Rogue Trader would refuse the financial and military assistance of the Ecclesiarchy if he intended to rout the Orks occupying a mineral-rich system eventually anyway? Thus, Rogue Traders frequently declare minor crusades, war-pilgrimages, and other, similar undertakings of a religious bent to seek the bones of lost Saints on worlds occupied by troublesome xenos or launch fleets of ships to protect "helpless" human populations (and their valuable resources) from marauding aliens.
Mustering Invasion Forces
Organising a military campaign to retake a world is a monumental task. How much more massive, then, must be the effort to reclaim an entire system or even larger region? A Rogue Trader looking to launch such an endeavour must be prepared to spend considerable sums of money, favour, and influence gathering forces. Having a religious purpose for such a venture can make acquiring resources much easier. A Missionary's impassioned oration can sway many hearts to the cause. Of course, such tactics are not effective on all the factions a Rogue Trader might wish to employ. Hard-bitten mercenaries, privateers, and even less savoury individuals (especially the various xenos who fight for profit, glory, or cruel joy) rarely see the benefits of spiritual rewards, no matter how grand they might be. For recruiting such groups, a skilled and knowledge Seneschal is invaluable. Securing finances to pay hired forces, using favours or blackmail to control unruly elements, and spinning a web of intrigue from which the Rogue Trader and his dynasty can profit are all integral parts of a Seneschal's duty. A Rogue Trader and his crew might have to travel to many different worlds to secure the assistance of various allies, or even treat with other Rogue Trader dynasties to win their aid. Once the explorers have secured support from an appropriate number of backers, this objective can be considered complete.
Reconnoitre the Battlefield
Before launching a full invasion of a region of space, a wise Rogue Trader uses the resources at his disposal to scout all of the threats it contains. Frequently, a Rogue Trader intending to lead a larger force into a system uses his own vessel (which is already optimised for independent action in potentially hostile territory). This objective could consist of a preliminary journey to the destination to gather as much information as possible, either avoiding the enemy entirely or retreating before they can bring their forces to bear. A skilled Void-Master is obviously crucial to the success of such a mission, for only the most talented pilots can avoid detection while flying so close to hostile forces. Anyone specialised in operating the vessel's sensors must be extremely adept as well, so that the Rogue Trader can draw together a full picture of the warzone before the action begins. A veteran Arch-Militant or Missionary who has led many such assaults before can also provide considerable advice on how to carry out such a mission, especially if a portion of the crew needs to leave the ship to closely explore a particular feature of the battlefield. The Rogue Trader and his crew must carefully balance caution and curiosity at this stage; if they are discovered, they might find themselves facing a force much larger than their own. On the other hand, if they fail to uncover a crucial part of the enemy's defences, their lapse could prove devastating when they bring the full might of their force to bear. Once the explorers return to their mustered forces, this objective can be considered complete.
Launch the Invasion
When the explorers have all the information they can gather about their target, it comes time to formulate a plan of attack. Rogue Traders themselves often possess considerable strategic acumen, as do many Arch-Militants. Further, the technical knowledge of an Explorator can provide considerable insight into the organisation of the enemy's defences. Other explorers might even have experience fighting the enemy in question. Even if their plan is perfect, however, executing it requires the explorers to engage in a significant battle against their enemies. The successes and failures of the Rogue Trader and his crew can reflect the overall status of the force they have gathered. If they were extremely thorough in their search in the previous objective, the explorers should probably have uncovered everything that their enemies have to throw at them. If they overlooked important details, however, then once they begin the assault, these lapses in their scrutiny can come back to haunt the explorers in the form of extra forces, unexpected defences, or other unpleasant surprises. If the explorers can navigate the trials and travails of war and vanquish their foes, this objective can be considered complete.
- Genevieve Almace - In the short time since her demise, Missionary Genevieve Almace's legend has already spread through many of the worlds of the Koronus Expanse. Her unceasing battles to destroy the xenos and the corrupt served as a powerful example to the uninitiated locals of the region. Through her shining example, numerous human civilisations were reunited with the Imperial Creed -- and many others burned. In the process of restoring faith to these far-flung worlds, her mission also eliminated huge swathes of xenos and mutants, ensuring that the faith could grow. Her valour and faith continues to hold sway among the citizens on the worlds she restored to the Imperium. In some places, the faithful revere her as blessed, hoping that she would someday become recognised as a saint. Agents of the Ecclesiarchy have even collected evidence that suggests some worlds harbour madly devoted cults of followers who worship her as a deity of war.
- Saint Castor the Obviate - The remover of obstacles and patron of truth. Legend has it that this Missionary endured all manner of undignified public punishments upon the Feudal World of Maccabeus Quintus, including five attempts to cut off his head. Each one failed until he pointed out an error with the guillotine's mechanism. According to the legend of his beatification, the people of Maccabeus Quintus were so impressed by his pious devotion that they rose up in support of the Imperial Creed, casting down their planetary government to much rejoicing. Acolytes of the Inquisition often call upon Saint Castor to watch over interrogations, smile upon investigations and speed answers to the minds of researchers.
- Balthios D'Harn - Balthios D'Harn spent most of his early life ministering to the downhivers of Desoleum, until a mission into the wastes revealed to him the many societies there that existed without the Emperor's Word. Shocked and appalled, Balthios felt a divine calling to the barren wastes, to bring the light to those who wandered in darkness. Ever since his epiphany, he has crisscrossed the barren sand and rock in an attempt to bring the Truth to the scattered peoples of this desolate realm. His life has been in dire jeopardy more often than he cares to remember, but each time the Emperor has protected His faithful servant, and he has in fact brought several of the smaller tribes into the Imperial fold.
- Uriah Jacobus - There are many types of Missionary: from the young, fervent hopefuls stepping out to spread the word of the Imperium for the first time, to the ancient, toughened members of the Missionarus Galaxia. Uriah Jacobus is of the latter breed; an instinctive survivor who has fought in countless battles against alien savages and Chaos worshippers as he performs his duties on the fringe of the Imperium in the Bakka Sub-sector. Jacobus is a grizzled man famed for his hardy endurance, no-nonsense practicality and quiet, but solid, faith. He is as stubborn as a mule, but his talent for bringing lost worlds back into the fold of Imperial rule is unsurpassed. Some in the Ecclesiarchy believe that the Emperor himself guides Jacobus, whilst others, most notably the Sisters of Battle who are required to support him in hostile war zones, simply think he has a knack for finding trouble. When the bullets start flying, Uriah Jacobus can be found at the forefront of battle, muttering to himself as he blows another cursed enemy to oblivion with the Redeemer, his trusty shotgun. Jacobus carries with him the Banner of Sanctity, a holy symbol said to have been blessed by Sebastian Thor, and all who see the old man fighting in the thick of battle are inspired to great feats of courage and bravery. By the age of fifty standard years he had brought fifteen human worlds into the fold of the Imperial Cult. He was declared Protector of the Faith in the 40th Millennium after delivering the people of Solstice from a Genestealer infestation. After the events on Solstice, Uriah managed to convert a half-dozen more worlds before he finally died of a lung-destroying virus on the Death World of Gorang.
- Missionary-Abbot, Prelate Orland Skae - Leaving the relative comfort of his post in the high churches of Scintilla six solar decades earlier, Orland Skae felt his vocation to preach the Emperor's word. He eventually found his way to the Agri-world of Iocanthos. His slow but genuine gains have merited further promotion and support from his distant superiors, eventually becoming impressive enough to garner greater resources from the Ecclesiarchy. This, in turn, has been enough to allow for the establishment of Iocanthos' first cathedral. If Skae is successful, he will be named its bishop by his masters -- Iocanthos' first of that rank. But pride and burgeoning ambition, however, have been Skae's downfall. Drawn to an ancient valley in search for a site to build this cathedral, Skae was well aware that legend spoke of a former stronghold of the old gods. Determined to eradicate these so-called "old gods," Skae was slowly corrupted by a daemon who called itself Tsylak, the Dancer at the Threshold. Whispering in Skae's mind, fanning the aims of his desire for greatness, the daemon has eroded Skae's sanity, bending the abbot's own plans for the cathedral to secretly fulfill its own designs.
- Tablor Zul - Once a Missionary, this faithless Traitor became the self-proclaimed king of the moon Zul's Landing, located in the Calixis Sector.
- Codex: Sisters of Battle (2nd Edition), pp. 29, 34, 55, 62
- Dark Heresy: Core Rulebook (RPG), pp. 282, 361, 363, 378, 389
- Dark Heresy: Blood of Martyrs (RPG), pg. 17, 36, 41
- Dark Heresy Second Edition: Forgotten Gods (RPG), pg. 51
- Rogue Trader: Core Rulebook (RPG), pg. 56
- Rouge Trader: Faith and Coin (RPG), pp. 6-23