In Warhammer 40k Rogue Trader, players take on the role of an unlikely heir of the von Valancius dynasty. It’s never clarified how you’re related to the current Rogue Trader, Theodora von Valancius, but it is stated that you, Edelthrad, and Kunrad are all non-immediate relatives of hers. During the prologue, both Theodora and Edelthrad die, leaving you to become the new Rogue Trader.
What the game doesn’t answer until much later is: “Who killed Theodora von Valancius?” and when it does, it never goes towards a satisfactory or even logical ending.
Theodora von Valancius’s mysterious death
During the coup on the voidship, players are tasked with finding Lady Theodora in her chambers. Except there’s one problem: she’s already dead. Someone had managed to shoot faster than her bodyguard, Mort, who Abelard says had literally lightning-fast reflexes. Theodora’s desk is littered with strange shards and a note from the Lord Inquisitor, Xavier Calcazar, telling you to pickup Heinrix in Rykad Minoris.
Theodora’s death is hardly brought up again. It’s not even a quest to find out what happened to her since the game handwaves it as being part of the attack, except for one thing: Even Kunrad is surprised when you tell him Theodora is dead.
Despite the fact that you and Kunrad would be prime suspects because you had the most to gain from the deaths of Theodora and Edelthrad, what’s clear is that neither of you killed Theodora. It needed to be someone else with a motive, the combat skills to pull a fast one on Mort, and someone that Theodora trusted enough to allow into her chambers.
It’s always the ones you least expect
Remember how Idira gets upset at how you all move on so fast from Theodora’s death? Turns out she’s right about that. Despite being part of Theodora’s personal retinue, Sister Argenta doesn’t even seem surprised that Theodora is dead nor is she particularly distraught. As the game goes on, we learn that the shards are part of a heretical blade that we can use to side with Chaos towards the end of the story.
It’s in Commoragh when the bomb finally drops. Players learn that Sister Argenta killed Theodora von Valancius because she believed that the Lord Captain was a heretic.
Sister Argenta, in a moment of weakness, confesses that she killed Theodora because she saw her with a heretical artifact. Turns out, she murdered Theodora (and poor Mort) for suspecting them of being heretics. Sure, it’s confirmed later that Theodora was up to a whole lot of heresy, but Sister Argenta didn’t know that when she killed Theodora. Her blind faith is shaken by her guilt and her entire spiritual crisis throughout the game is because she can’t reconcile her morals and conscience in her black and white world.
Shocker, but then again, Sister Argenta had the perfect storm of motive, ability, and opportunity. It’s already a meme in the community that she’s unbelievably good with a gun. Theodora never saw it coming.
The game basically acts like it didn’t happen
Sister Argenta confesses early in the Commoragh quest so the only one around to hear it is you and Abelard. You’d think Abelard would have a stronger reaction but he’s about as pissed as you would be if you couldn’t make a morning coffee. Jeez, you’d think he was in on it.
Anyway, the game never brings it up again. You can’t even come to Heinrix and get some help with your assassin situation. You can’t even talk to Argenta about it. Yikes.
There’s a whole trial scene where your companions drag Yrliet before you once you get back to the voidship, but it’s jarring how Argenta seems to forget that she should be in the same spot. You never get a chance to punish her at all which just goes to show how hard the game falls off after Chapter 2.