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Only War or Deathwatch?


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#1 felismachina

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Posted 07 July 2014 - 08:57 PM

After playing and being a GM of dark heresy i got bored. Me and my group tried Rogue Trader but we did not like character power levels. Too much freedom and power. Everybody got bored fast. Now we were thinking about buying either Deathwatch or Only War. What do you people reccomend? Here some crucial info about my group and playstyle.

 

1. We prefer mix of combat and roleplaying

2.I have a female player in my group

3.Most of my group want to be heroes not some blank characters

4.Most of the time we played radical characters in dark heresy and i think our playstyle won't change soon

5.Of five players we have only two people knows the w40k lore rest just know basic info.

 

Nobody can't decide what we gonna play next some wanna play deathwatch others only war. We need some opinions about both of those systems so it will be easier to decide and best place to ask should be here.

 

Not sure if this is right forum to post but i try anyway. Sorry for bad english it is not my first language.

 



#2 H.B.M.C.

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Posted 07 July 2014 - 09:57 PM

If you didn't like the power and freedom of Rogue Trader, then Deathwatch is not the game for you. As much as I love Deathwatch the game is super-easy-mode most of the time as the Marines get so many bonuses to everything they do that most combats present little challenge without the GM going out of his way to make things difficult. It's a wonderful way to tell stories (IMO), but if high power levels are something your group doesn't want, then I'd stay away from Deathwatch.

Only War seems to fit with what you want. There's an element of "faceless characters", but that's due to being part of the Guard. You should be able to mitigate this with strong role playing. Plus Only War has a lot of flexibility in what you play as. If your group doesn't like getting cut to ribbons as line infantry, then try out an armour squadron, a mechanised unit, a scout Sentinel unit, air cavalry, actual cavalry; there are a lot of different ways to play Only War, so finding the right balance that appeals to most people should be fairly simple.

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Matt Eustace. Contributing Author Credits: Church of the Damned, The Lathe Worlds, The Lathe Worlds - The Lost Dataslate, Only War Core Rulebook, Hammer of the Emperor, Shield of Humanity, Tome of Fate, Tome of Blood, Tome of Excess and Tome of Decay.

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#3 Cail

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Posted 07 July 2014 - 11:06 PM

Only War without question. As HMBC mentioned it has the flexibility to let you adjust it to your play style (Let the players do regiment creation together first so they have a say in who they want to be). It's also more accommodating of female players who don't want to gender swap.

As for playing heroes. Only War does that (comrades are the 'blanks') but on a more 'everyman' scale. You might want to consider starting them at a higher XP than the basic though.

The biggest reason for me is the 40k lore issue. Playing a space marine is a very specific thing, and while it doesn't stop you playing the character how you want, understanding what a space marine is is pretty crucial to getting into the mindset and playing the character "right". You're players who don't know the lore won't notice this, but it can really ruin the immersion for ones that do if suddenly someone creates a character that seems out of place.

Thats not to disparage  DW, its a great game that allows players to explore issues that would arise for the astartes (like the ubermensch mentality that might come from being superhuman in a world of men, or how your character resolves with the fact he isn't technically human in the truest sense) but a player group kind of needs to be on board with everything before you go, or you'll spend far too long with someone trying to explain why 'A Space Marine probably wouldn't do that'.

The best example I can give is a group of mine that featured 4 40k hardcore nerds, and one general roleplayer. The other characters built characters pretty in keeping with the general lore without becoming stereotypes of their chapter. The general roleplayer on the other hand, on discovering the Salamanders were black, created 'Brother Maurice' an afro wielding, bling wearing marine who liked to say "motherf***er" a lot.

Racial insensitivity aside, there is technically nothing wrong with a character looking or acting like that in OW from a thematic viewpoint. In Deathwatch, not so much.


Edited by Cail, 07 July 2014 - 11:12 PM.

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#4 Magus Black

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Posted 07 July 2014 - 11:22 PM

To add to the above unlike Deathwatch which pretty much puts a stop to any so of 'radical' behavior Only War is broad enough that you play either side of the fence.

 

You can play a straight-up God-fearing Imperial regiment, fighting Chaos, traitors, heretics, and xenos...or you can play the flip-side of that and BE Heretics and traitors and fight against the Imperial War Machine; your choice.

 

Hells there is nothing much stopping you from making a Lost and the Damned regiment if you feel up for it.

 

Ultimately Only War is a about 'relatively normal' people in the 40k universe taking up arms against the massive amounts of enemies that want to screw humanity over in a figurative or literal way. After that its only what you and your group makes of it.

 

Oh and no gender inequality here, plenty of nice pictures of female guardsmen in every book and no -4Str to had.



#5 Drath

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Posted 08 July 2014 - 12:25 AM

Firstly, if the female wants to be female in game', that can't happen in Deathwatch. Marines aren't female. That's not sexist, that's one of the few bits of solid fluff. Otherwise, I agree with the above, and also find that Only War offers far more character building opportunities in RP, and my group agree out of Rogue Trader, Deathwatch and Only War, that it's our favourite. I would recommend getting some of the expansion books for it too (some have very handy regiment rules, weapons, adventure seeds) etc.


Edited by Drath, 08 July 2014 - 12:26 AM.

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#6 Chaplain

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Posted 08 July 2014 - 12:31 AM

To add to the above unlike Deathwatch which pretty much puts a stop to any so of 'radical' behavior Only War is broad enough that you play either side of the fence.

Exorcists. Space wolves. Blood ravens. Black Shields (hell, a traitor legion marine could serve here if he doesnt support his legions cause and can get the job done). Lots and lots of opportunities for not-so-puritan marines if you are imaginative enough.

Only war just allows you to be human, not the living weapon with needs and feelings different from normal people.
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#7 Tenebrae

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Posted 08 July 2014 - 06:10 AM

I know I'll mostly be mirroring what everyone else have already stated, but even so.

Me and my group tried Rogue Trader but we did not like character power levels. Too much freedom and power. Everybody got bored fast.

So now the issue stands between DW, with more power and potentially nearly as much freedom, or OW with much less power and freedom?

1. We prefer mix of combat and roleplaying

People keep telling me you can have RP in DW, but every time I read it, I'm challenged to maintain that idea. More attention is paid to the background of your armour than to your individual character.
OW can be a bit focused on combat (God-Emperor knows that how my current group plays it!), or it can be played like M*A*S*H, or anywhere in between. And there's plenty of inspiration for non-combat scenes and situations for OW.

2.I have a female player in my group

...which might be irrelevant or important, depending on the individual in question.
As mentioned, there are no female marines.
As for OW, some regiments are gender-segregated. The regiment I play in is mixed. No-one ever questioned it.

3.Most of my group want to be heroes not some blank characters

This can be a bit tricky to answer, due to the multiple definitions of being a hero.
I for one would argue that the Astartes almost by definition cannot be heroes, because of how boosted they are.
On the other hand, members of the Imperial Guard can be a bit faceless, though that's much less of a problem if you stay away from Krieg.

4.Most of the time we played radical characters in dark heresy and i think our playstyle won't change soon

Could be doable with either, though I see it as being easier in OW. Depends heavily on the GM, really.

5.Of five players we have only two people knows the w40k lore rest just know basic info.

You can get inpiration for OW from Full Metal Jacket or about a million other sources.
Astartes are very much a product of the setting.

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#8 venkelos

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Posted 08 July 2014 - 06:52 AM

After playing and being a GM of dark heresy i got bored. Me and my group tried Rogue Trader but we did not like character power levels. Too much freedom and power. Everybody got bored fast. Now we were thinking about buying either Deathwatch or Only War. What do you people reccomend? Here some crucial info about my group and playstyle.

 

1. We prefer mix of combat and roleplaying

2.I have a female player in my group

3.Most of my group want to be heroes not some blank characters

4.Most of the time we played radical characters in dark heresy and i think our playstyle won't change soon

5.Of five players we have only two people knows the w40k lore rest just know basic info.

 

Nobody can't decide what we gonna play next some wanna play deathwatch others only war. We need some opinions about both of those systems so it will be easier to decide and best place to ask should be here.

 

Not sure if this is right forum to post but i try anyway. Sorry for bad english it is not my first language.

 

I'm going to follow the rest, and vote for Only War. here are my opinions why:

  1. Not to diss on the mighty Space Marines, but while it IS possible to have good role-playing in DW, it isn't terribly likely, IMO. Interparty? Sure, but Space Marines rarely relate well to "lesser" beings, and even those Chapters who do see Humans as people are not likely to see people who don't see them as divine often. Lots of adulation and kneeling, which most Space Marines don't care for getting, anyway. Troopers are more likely to have role-playing, with the mechanisms of their army, the people they go save, the people they go fight, and whoever else.
  2. With few people in your group who do know fluff, you COULD pull a female Marine, and probably coast through fine. There is nothing unreasonable about it unless someone is feeling like being a canon-lawyer. That said, Only War doesn't discriminate at all, so you don't NEED a female Marine, or that shoe-horned in Inquisitor.
  3. Even among the Deathwatch, as marines go, you are nobody, and have to earn the respect and reputation of your peers, so you'll climb the ranks regardless of army, and much of what the Deathwatch does goes unrecorded by anyone else, so those songs of praise will be rarely sung.
  4. you'll die in DW. You CAN play radical, especially if a Radical Inquisitor is ordering you, or following you around, but the actual Space Marines you answer to will kill you.
  5. Space Marines aren't ignorant of the universe, Guardsmen are; if you ever get a chance to read the Uplifting Primer... Anyway, you  might have significantly less metagaming in OW, with players who know little of some stuff.

The rules for OW are, overall, better, and the setting gets more new stuff, right now, so I'd vote for the grunts over the Space Marines. More challenge, more possible fun, more chances to actually role-play, and on. I hope you all have fun.


Edited by venkelos, 08 July 2014 - 06:53 AM.


#9 Askil

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Posted 08 July 2014 - 01:39 PM

With approriate GM guidance OW can be a game of big damn heroes, epic scenes, immersive roleplay, characters who are valued and praised for their efforts.

 

It can also be an grinding slog in thick mud, a grim story of faceless losers being thrown into the meatgrinder of eternal war.

 

DW is just murderporn with near-immortal deathdealers with daddy issues and impulse control problems.


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#10 felismachina

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Posted 08 July 2014 - 10:51 PM

A few things i wanted to add. While in RT main issue was not raw character power but rather almost limitless resources party possess. While one of the players really want to try deathwatch rest are strongly leaning towards only war. From things i read and heard it looks like game mechanic is so flexible that it can be easy changed. So players can act like some kind of special commando unit instead of faceless regiment right? Some players are just scared it will be only trench warfare kind of play. Anyway looks like we gonna try OW. Thanks for all the replies.



#11 Tenebrae

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Posted 08 July 2014 - 11:22 PM

 So players can act like some kind of special commando unit instead of faceless regiment right? Some players are just scared it will be only trench warfare kind of play. Anyway looks like we gonna try OW. Thanks for all the replies.

It all comes down to the regiment you play and the order you get from on high.

Tank regiments play very differently from scout regiments who again play very differently from siege regiments.

I play in a grenadier regiment, specializing in assaulting hard positions.

We may not be heroes of the Imperium, but faceless we're not.



#12 Askil

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Posted 09 July 2014 - 12:30 AM

Our group played the line between faceless and heroes perfectly with our penal hunter killers the Luggnum 14th Penal legion.

 

We were a no-luck regiment drawn from a munitorum military prison on a minig colony, as such we were from a range of places and cultures only united by a shared wish to no longer be in prison. Our hunter iller role left us far from the hard slog most of the time and we were lefta lot of latitude in interpreting our orders.

 

As frcharacters we had

 

A stormtrooper sergeant with PTSD who was alomst incapable of making command decisions. 

 

A commissar who had been sent to us due to her general cowardice and tendency to execute her COs and blame them for er failures.

 

An Ogryn with a serious frenzon addiction.

 

A heavy weapons trooper with an unhealthy level of attachment to her weapons... and the Ogryn.

 

A psychopathic medic who sells amputated parts to cannibals.



#13 Oddball351

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Posted 09 July 2014 - 02:41 AM

As a player of Only War I can tell you it is the most fun I have had since Dark Heresy.

Mind you I was GM of 2nd ed WHFRP for the last 3.5 years so not tried Black Crusade.

Despite the regimented nature of it all, its very flexible like people have mentioned.




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