"Do you have any idea what you possess? This is no simple curio. This is Wraithbone! I dread to think what other relics you misuse. A Yu’Vath glyphshard used as a doorstop perhaps? An Egerian geode pressed into ignoble service as a paperweight? You couldn’t tell a Halo Device from a hat rack!"
- —Last words of Baron Choliz Balmonte, author of The Savage Noble: One Man’s Time Among The Kroot
The Xenographers fancy themselves scholars and explorers, people of cunning and bravery with the mental fortitude needed to master alien secrets with their sanity intact. Within the Koronus Expanse, free from the dictates of Imperial law, Xenographers are found indexing the remains of xenos ruins, disinterring the contents of alien tombs, and entreating extant xenos breeds to parley. It is this firsthand experience that separates a true Xenographer from the poseur students of xenoarcana that pollute the halls of academia with their petty conjectures.
The Imperial Creed instructs all citizens to speak not to the alien, learn not from the alien, trust not the alien, and above all, to ensure the extinction of the alien. Despite these prohibitions, there are many who seek out the forbidden lore of xenos races and covet artefacts of alien manufacture. Within the borders of the Imperium one can always find a handful of academics and eccentrics who are self-proclaimed experts in the realm of xenos lore. For some, it is not enough to cobble together fragments of legendary and gawk over relics of indeterminate history and purpose. For some, the alien is not something to be feared and exploited. For the Xenographer, the inhuman beings of the universe are to be sought out, understood, and harnessed. Far from the centres of Imperial authority, the Xenographer thrives, called to uncharted reaches such as the Koronus Expanse by the siren song of xenos lore to be gleaned from alien races both living and dead.
For a Rogue Trader, a Xenographer is a valuable asset. Who better to advise an entrepreneur in establishing a Cold Trade, negotiate with Eldar Corsairs, or plan the invasion of a Rak'Gol stronghold? When the Lord Captain wishes to hire Kroot mercenaries, his Xenographer knows where to find them and what price will guarantee their loyalty. When the Arch-Militant intends to strike at the heart of an Ork Freebooter fleet, the Xenographer knows where they will be most vulnerable. When the Missionary converts the human population of a heathen planet rife with xenos taint, it is the Xenographer who knows which local traditions are compatible with the Creed, and which are corrupt and alien.
During his travails, a Xenographer not only amasses vast repositories of alien lore, but a collection of relics. Tomes of lore bound in xenohide are bookended with gewgaws and artefacts of outré beauty. Such relics are not collected for their own sake. A Xenographer can name each, state its history, and command its powers with some skill. Xenotechnology is a rare and powerful thing, and Xenographers come to cherish this power, seeking out and claiming such items only to use them to secure more potent examples of alien craftsmanship. The most flamboyant Xenographers openly declare xenotechnology superior to the sanctified devices of the Adeptus Mechanicus. Those who ascribe to this belief had best hold their tongues, should they wish to return to the Imperium and live to brag about their discoveries.
Many doubt the sanity and intentions of the Xenographer, claiming that no human mind can survive grappling with alien logic, and that for any proper Imperial citizen, to see an alien is to desire its destruction. Xenographers have been called deluded, mad, and outright treasonous for their actions. It is no small wonder that the most renowned Xenographers lose their place in Imperial society altogether and choose to "go native," living amongst the xenos breeds they have studied and treated with, and with whom they have earned some modicum of respect and acceptance. The best of these self-imposed exiles act as bridges between Explorers and the xenos with which they share the Expanse. The worst of them become as inhuman in mind and soul as their xenos peers, revelling in the worship of alien gods and fighting against those Rogue Traders, Imperial Crusaders, and Battlefleet Admirals who come to claim alien worlds by right of conquest. Despite their flaunted corruption, there are still those who seek out these race traitors, for their knowledge of xenos, though profane and intimate, is vast.
Thankfully, there are Xenographers who are not motivated by outright fascination with all things alien. There is no weapon in this galaxy more powerful or dangerous than knowledge, and for many Xenographers, it is a weapon that they gladly wield against the enemies of Mankind. For men such as this, there are few sights more cherished than that of a xenos impaled on its own weapon. Like their enamoured fellows, these Xenographers seek out living examples of various xenos breeds. Unlike them, they do so that they might capture and interrogate where others would interview and bargain. When the Xenographer has learned all he can through cunning and force of will, all that remains is to perform vivisection. The pulsing organs and convoluted viscera of the howling subject hold secrets all their own.
- Rogue Trader: Into the Storm(RPG), pp. 100-101