So, I've been GMing a Rogue Trader campaign for a little while now. We've only been through 5 sessions so far, but it's been all kinds of awesome! We're running the Lure of the Expanse campaign, which is turning out to be surprisingly good for an adventure book. The flaws mentioned above haven't really surfaced for me. I keep track of the rules and calculations on my side of the table (which I realize not all GMs are able or willing to do), as long as the players keep track of their own bonuses and penalties using a couple of simple handouts I've given them. It runs very smoothly. Combat turns are over quickly, and combat is fast and deadly.
Just to emphasize how cool the game can be, here's a little recap of what happened at the end of our last session. Be aware that it contains some mild spoilers from one part of the Lure of the Expanse campaign.
The players had been escorted into the rather primitive "mansion" of the leader of a large band of deserters from the Imperial Guard. The house was built out of gnarly wood fastened with vines from a local swamp, and didn't look particularly solid or luxurious, not to mention the fact that part of it was balancing precariously over the edge of a large crater. Their primary goal was to get a visual on a jewel the leader (calling himself King Komitzar) used to psychically control his population, and to obtain it, preferably through trade, if it turned out to be what they were looking for (as part of a larger quest). Their secondary goal, and also the one they openly presented to the guardsmen, was to initiate mutually beneficial trade with the planet.
The trade negotiations went reasonably well, even though King Komitzar (let's call him KK) accused the players of being bounty hunters sent to bring him back to the Imperium. The rogue trader, slick as always, managed to calm things and noticed that when he gave some subtle hints towards the jewel around KK's neck, KK grew angry and threatening. Despite this obvious clue, the rogue trader (Mordechai is his name) went all out and asked if the jewel was available for trade. Enraged, KK ordered his 10 armed guards to shoot the foreigners on the spot. Bad idea.
The group's arch-militant stepped forward with his hellgun, firing it semi-auto into KK, melting his flesh and fusing him to his "throne". The guards and KK's concubines did their best to attack, but barely made a dent against the vastly superior armor these intruders carried. The arch-militant killed the concubines and three guards in a hail of hellgun fire, while the navigator revealed her third eye to the remaining guards, exposing them to the horrors of the Warp and causing them to jump to their deaths (the throne room had one side without walls), rip out their eyes, or just die on the spot. With the immediate threats under control, the rogue trader snatched the jewel away from the burning corpse of KK and led his group to the roof while the arch-militant remained behind to guard the stairwell leading up to their position. There was only one way out, and they could hear large amounts of guards cocking weapons and preparing to charge from that direction.
However, the rogue trader had an ace up his sleeve. The group's void master was waiting with a gun-cutter (a rather large and well-armed shuttle) about a kilometer away. When the shit hit the fan, he had fired up the engines and was flying at great speed directly towards the group. Using the gun-cutter's auspex scanners he could see the groups of guards through the walls of the building, even from a long distance. Firing one shot from the twin-linked cannons on the cutter, he completely destroyed part of the building, including the stairwell and several of the guards preparing to climb it. Unable to get up, the remaining guards fired their weapons through the roof, almost hitting the arch-militant who dodged out of the way and tossed a stun grenade back at them, silencing them for a while. Sensing that the situation was reasonably under control, he withdrew up to the roof along with the rest of the group while waiting for the airlift.
On the roof, the group noticed a large group of people running towards the mansion, fury visible on their faces. The void master noticed as well and fired two shots into the front of the building. As the doorway exploded in front of the mass of people, they all stopped in shock. The void master's satisfied smile quickly turned to horror as the entire front of the building collapsed and the entire structure started to tip over the edge of the large crater it was balancing on. With the counterweight gone, the entire thing was about to fall into the depths of the crater, rogue trader and retinue along with it.
A few amazing feats of piloting later, the void master lined up the back of the ship with the now very unstable roof of the building, allowing the rogue trader and the navigator to jump to safety. However, as the arch-militant was about the jump the entire building started collapsing. The void master reacted like a pro and dropped the gun-cutter along with it, letting the arch-militant make one final, desperate jump to safety, which he made with style. Closing the shuttle doors behind them, the gun-cutter accelerated away from the stunned people who had just seen their entire leadership literally collapse and fall before them.
The mission had been a success, even though the trade deal hadn't worked out. The rogue trader was in possession of the jewel which would allow the group to finish their mission.
why I love Rogue Trader!