Saturday, 5 April 2014

The Mysterious case of Abdul Goldberg

As we were discussing getting a game in at Oldhammer day, Cheetor and I hit upon the idea of doing one of the scenario's involving the Abdul Goldberg. It only struck me later that we'd probably have to represent this mysterious personage on the board. My brain raced with ideas about how he might look, what figures I could use, either off the shelf or as a base for a conversion. What might he be armed with? What would he be wearing? What kind of pose will I look for? The only place to find clues were to look at the scenario's and see what details I could glean. I also thought it might make a good blog post!

For those not in the know, the Rogue Trader rule book contains a scenario generator. Now this isn't anything like modern 40k scenario's. Not just 'Take and hold' and whatever the other 5 are. Rogue Trader has 100 randomly generated scenario's divided into ten subcategories involving characters and plots, motivations and secrets. There is even an eleventh table to add other unexpected complications into the game. These scenario's are the reason that Rogue Trader is supposed to be played with a GM!

Abdul Goldberg is the only character that turns up in more than one scenario. In fact he turns up in 4. Usually as some kind of complication for the other players underhanded plot. Let's have a look at the first one.

Chart 1 - Reprisal - 81-90

'Abdul Goldberg stole your ship off you -the poker game was rigged and your sure he put something in your drink. Your crew are unhappy - having been turfed from their ship together with their possessions. The ship and its new crew leaves tonight - unless you can steal it back!'

Now this makes me think of one pair of gambling sci-fi heroes straight away.

That's right. Hans Solo and Lando Calrissian. Two rogueish smuggling types made good. Of course, this would make our Abdul the Han character, so a nice shirt, waist coat and low slung blaster and maybe a cool pair of boots. Is Abdul be such a good looking gent? Might be and interesting way to go.


Chart 7 - Raid and Kill - 91-00

Abdul Goldberg has crossed you for the last time-it was pure luck that your paths should cross on this isolated planet outside of Imperial control. He and his crew are relaxing down at Greasy Kim’s Bar and Diner, unaware that you and your crew are ready to pounce. The Diner is mostly deserted, with only a few lonely vac-heads and spacers to witness the fight.

Here we are looking at a good old bar fight. One of the all time greatest barroom brawls is from the 1939 film 'Dodge city'

Brilliant! Of course another good one is from the David Niven version of Casino Royale but we'll stick with this one. We can make two style assumptions from this, our Mr Goldberg looks like a cowboy which is a little dull as this is obviously the inspiration for Han's style but there is the dapper gent that wanders down the stairs and joins in the ruckus. A nice dark blue thigh length coat, neat little tie and a black hat. Again we're looking at a pistol on the hip so we'll will try and stick with that.

Chart 9 - Capture and hold

I'm not sure where this one leaves me but one film that involves a famous double-cross is Point Blank, but that's just famous for smart black sixties suits. Another film it makes me think of is Pacino's Dog Day Afternoon but all this offers style wise is shaggy hair and not so smart 70's suits. Feel free to give me anymore ideas.

And the last scenario

Chart 10 - Oddballl situations.

The obvious image that comes to mind is of classic pirate films. All swashbuckling and sword fights and it's a good place to take inspiration from but another plot I'm reminded of is from the start of Raiders of the Lost Ark.  Here, our hero Indy, does all the hardwork only for the villainous Rene Emile Belloq to sweep in and steal the goodies leaving Indy to run for his life.

This gives us a nice suave linen suit and fedora or a silly ritualistic gown and a turban. So far we have lots of style tips for our Mr Goldberg.

The Turban does bring me to the most obvious clue about Mr Abdul Goldberg. His name. The mix of such obviously opposite, cliched names has a lot to do with the minds image of the character. But what does that say about us if simply use his name as a method of discerning the way he looks? Best avoided I reckon. Besides 40,000 years into the future I'd imagine the origin of names would be shrouded in mystery. 

So based on our rather tenuous evidence we can surmise that Abdul Goldberg is a handsome rogue, probably wearing a waistcoat and a nice tie (future stylee obviously) with a pistol slung low on his hip and cool hat of some description. 

Does that sound like the mysterious Abdul Goldberg to you?


Me neither. 



  1. Hi!

    Utterly excellent article on the nefarious Goldberg! I must admit of thinking of him as some sort of reoccuring villain who pops up from time to time to put a spanner in the works. Somewhat like a cross between Lando, Blofeld and any manner of villainous types.

    I had even been planning on fielding his older brother Lucian as the resident crime boss in my own campaign setting!

    All the best!

  2. Ha, brilliant!

    For unknown reasons, at some point in my youth I decided that Goldberg was one of the Adventurer miniatures; either Chainsword, Bolter and Power Glove or Chainsword and Missile Launcher visible here:

    Coincidentally, theottovonbismark mentioned to me years ago that those figures are how he imagined Sterner Regnix, a character from the old "Laser Squad" Amiga game.

    Abduls dastardly behaviour has often strongly suggested Belloq to me, even before I saw this cool post, maybe with the de rigueur bionic eye. Dapper, smug and unruffled, a punchworthy sort of creep.

    Are you interested in using a Citadel model from some era or other for Goldberg, or can the net be thrown wider? For example, I have a Hasslefree "Privateer Godwyn" penciled in as an actual Rogue Trader at some future point and he would be a passable Goldberg type I think. Only passable though. It doest quite click with whatever vague notion of the guy I have in my head.

    It would definitely be cool to lock it in for the Oldhammer day though. How cool would it be to be the guy who defined the appearance of Abdul Goldberg as well as the Sensei?

  3. Thanks guys. I quite like the fact that everybody has their own idea of who Abdul Goldberg might be. I'd hate to have pinned him down. I'm certainly not sniffy about using non-citadel figures, in fact I was just looking at one if the Lead Adventure minis to use as part of my own pirate crew today. That hassle free figure does scream rogue trader so go for your life. I think there was one on tales from the maelstrom with a head swap. My current thinking for our game is the last scenario, it means we can base it on whatever terrain is available. One of us is trying to get our loot out of the ground and into the back of the Van (or dropship in this case) and the other is determined to stop them. I was thinking about adding a roving tv crew makings tri-d docu-drama as a distraction to both sides. We don't need to go down the route if actually putting a face to Abdul Goldberg, in fact maybe that's who the tri-d camera crew are wandering around looking for!

  4. My 2 creds. Obviously a bit of conversion would be needed. I always envisioned him as wearing a turban, being fat and having a beard for some reason:

    Perhaps one of the Zanzibari Characters:

    1. All of those are good calls but the mention of foundry ranges made me think of the colonial ranges. Some nice figures in the character packs on these two pages

    2. Keeping Goldberg anonymous has an appeal as does a scenario where several players each have a model that claims to be Gldberg :)

      I have a news team painted, but they look a little more modern than futuristic. EM4 make a more futuristic pair of newscasters and Warlord/Mongoose have a "Vid Vulture" in their Judge Dredd line that fits the bill too.

    3. Yeah, I kind 'I'm Sparatacus!' kind of thing, thats just what i was thinking. How about one gang are in the middle of the table at the dig site (with some kind of massive X marking the spot!). They have a lander parked nearby and there are a couple of servitors lugging the loot in x number of crates to the lander (this'll give us some kind of time limit, unless someone shoots the servitors and sends them haywire!). The rest of the gang are digging and/or guarding. The other gang springs an ambush in order to get the loot/revenge. The Tv crew turn up looking to find the infamous Abdul goldberg, moving around randomly looking for interviews and distracting everybody from the business of shooting each other.

      As far as tv crew, is this the EM4 ones you were on about? in which case that's the ones I was thinking of too but I did see these as well

  5. I had completely forgotten about that Gridiron orc camera crew... very tempting. That EM4 crew is the one that I was talking about, plus these two that came from a Frothers Sculpting competition (apologies for the poor image quality).

    Im more than happy to leave you work out the scenario mechanics if you like. Im available for bouncing ideas off of, but you can have creative control. I just need to know what easily-packed-on-to-a-plane sorts of scenario items (servitors for example, maybe some suitable crates. Although a lander is on my to-do list, its too bulky for bringing via air) that I need to be working on.

    1. I've just finished an Arvus Lighter so we'll use that. I reckon all you need to paint and bring is your gang of pirates. I was thinking a Minor Hero as your Chief, two champions and 8 grunts. Special weapons and equipment to taste and off we go!

    2. That sounds great. I have six or so of the old Olley Mercenaries/Pirates who will do well as grunts and add some of that retro authenticity. Adding a few more reprobates from other sources to bulk them out should be enjoyably easy.

      It all sounds very good and it gives us something to work towards. We can hammer out further details later as required. Im looking forward to it already Colin, nice one :)

    3. Sound. I've got 8 from the old Pirates range plus a couple of other figs for the Champions but I've yet to find a suitable captain. I'll get there. I have had other ideas in case anyone else wants to join in but I'll reign myself in!


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