In 1983, an advert appeared in the First Citadel Compendium ('An Irregular Journal') for a forthcoming game from Games Workshop, called 'Rogue Trader'.
Written by Rick Priestly, the text on the advert promised:
- Spacecraft Combat in Deep Space
- Space Sectors
- Space Lane Encounters
- Planetary Encounters
- Journeying to Planets
- Roleplaying the Ship's Crew
- Advancing your Ship's Crew
- Bounty, Commerce, Piracy
- Systems and Repairs
- Alien Trade
- Encounters and Technology
- ...Can you survive an encounter with Dr Gostalo's Amazing Inter-Galactic Psycho-Circus?, Can you handle Fear and Loathing in Los Asteros? can you uncover the fate of Herst Crabble's Fabulous Skystar?
This juxtaposition of the arcane with the irreverent is for me, the heart of what 40k was, and still is - the phrase 'Grim Dark' had yet to be taken seriously, this was the age of the anti-authority, punk ethos in the game (as can be seen through the depiction of the Space Marines sat in a bar with almost- Vietnam style scrawling on their armour), offsetting the sheer horror of constant war and the cheapness of life.