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New GM, New 40k Gamers,Which Game?

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#1 PsychoPuppy



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Posted 04 February 2014 - 08:48 AM

Hi guys!


New here, and planning on running a 40k RPG for some friends of mine in the near future. We've all played various RoPRGs before but never 40k. This is abit of a jump off as we've also never played together and the players will be going in blind, I figure it's best to give them a setting none of them know well rather than one or the other having lots of knowledge.


So I'm trying, primarily, to work out which of the games to use. I have Rogue Trader and Dark Heresy at my disposal, and am intending to buy a GM set for the game I decide on.


I'm not sure which to play, however. It seems to me that Dark Heresy would allow for a very set group of people that I can direct with the Inqusitor, but Rogue Trader seems like it would allow for player mistakes more readily. I'm also curious about the "pre packaged" adventures, as I'd like to start with one that is designed for new players and GMs so we can learn together.


Does anyone here have any suggestions?

#2 Cogniczar



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Posted 04 February 2014 - 08:54 AM

It's like you say, Dark Heresy is much better suited for new groups that need some direction from a source of authority (The Inquisitor, most often in control of the GM) as oppossed to the more sandbox nature of Rogue Trader (which will be mostly party driven).


The question is, since this group is largely an unknown to you: Are you more comfortable assigning the players a task to accomplish? In DH terms, this is a broad mission or narrow, but ultimately left for the players to handle in whatever manner they wish. If you are more comfortable setting the scene and allowing the players absolute freedom, Rogue Trader handles very well. Instead of a central task to complete, the Rogue Trader will be motivated by a mixture of wonderlust, profitable endeavors, and the call of the expanse, and fits very much in the tone of 'Adventure for adventure's sake'. 


Another point is the difference in agendas. DH will be focused on stopping heretical forces, with often concrete 'bad guys', while Rogue Trader encompasses the moral grey areas of the 40k universe. Should the Rogue Trader take advantage of a planet he has discovered? Or should he earmark it for the Administratum to get tithed heavily (and taken advantage by the Imperium instead)? How much can he get away with by negotiating with the Tau?


Some food for thought.


Edit: For Dark Heresy, Edge of Darkness is a great, great scenario to run. Needs a little read through first though. 

Edited by Cogniczar, 04 February 2014 - 08:55 AM.

#3 Lynata



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Posted 04 February 2014 - 09:45 AM

Ave Imperator.
I'd say it is primarily a question of what your group thinks is more interesting in terms of gameplay and theme:
Dark Heresy is focused on investigating heretical cults or ancient mysteries, and challenges not only the characters' brains and brawns, but their very soul. They will become part of a highly secret organisation protecting the Imperium from threats both natural and un-natural, both from within and without, and will regularly interact with just about any branch of the government and its many Adepta, from Imperial Guard officers and Arbites Judges all the way to Ecclesiarchy Cardinals and Space Marines. Their journeys will take the players into places like dark underhive junkyards, a noble lord's dining room, a Forge World manufactorum and many more. And each of these locations is likely to have its share of dark secrets waiting to be uncovered.
Rogue Trader, on the other hand, is a grand endeavour aimed at amassing ever more wealth and influence by just about any means imaginable, with dauntless industrialists (ab)using the lack of established law and order on the fringe worlds of the Imperium and much farther beyond to stake their claim on the riches of worlds that have never been touched by mankind before .. or whose native inhabitants find themselves unable to resist the strategies of the cunning entrepeneur who knows how and when to apply the power of a massive multi-kilometer starship equipped with weapons of mass destruction, contacts made and groomed with Imperial officials, mercenary forces and underlings, or the untold riches plundered from elsewhere for investment into a new venture.
How much player agency you grant your group depends entirely on you as their GM. Even though by default the Inquisitor is supposed to be an NPC, you can easily run a Dark Heresy game with one of the players as a junior Inquisitor - which might even appeal more to players who join this game with expectations gained from GW studio material or various BL novels about the Inquisition. And just like that, even though by default the Rogue Trader is supposed to be a player character, you can easily run a RT game that sees this position filled by an NPC, who entrusts his inner circle of officers (the players) with specific missions to pursue. The latter is how my own game of Rogue Trader started, even though the NPC Rogue Trader's daughter is a player character and we expect her to ultimately inherit daddy's ship in the course of the campaign.
As far as pre-made starter adventures are concerned, I believe all of FFG's 40k RPGs have a Free Introductory Adventure which might be a good starting point. Just google for the PDF downloads; they should be hosted somewhere here on this very site!
PS: Also, get the relevant player's handbook for whatever game you ultimately decide upon. For DH it'd be the Inquisitor's Handbook, whereas RT has ... Into the Void, I think? They tend to include a ton of useful stuff, much of which actually ought to be in the core rulebook already, and they are really the only books aside from the main ones I'd consider "must haves".
Good luck!

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#4 Covered in Weasels

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Posted 04 February 2014 - 09:50 AM

Like Cogniczar said, your choice of game really depends on what kind of game you want to run. Dark Heresy is a much more low-powered game and often involves lots of investigation and mysteries. It's kinda like Call of Cthulu In Space in that regard.

Rogue Trader is much more sandboxy in nature and lends itself well to exploration and large-scale operations while allowing for D&D style searches for alien relics. It also heavily features space travel and combat. It has a bit of a Star Trek vibe, but without any of those silly Prime Directives and restrictions to keep you from exploiting alien races for fun and profit.

And if you start with Dark Heresy, I HIGHLY recommend the Edge of Darkness adventure from the FFG website. IMO it's one of the best intro adventures available for any RPG system.
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Synonymous names include: Buried in Ferrets, Enveloped by Ermine.

Currently GMing a Dark Heresy 2.0 game and inflicting untold misery upon Martin Lockheed and company.

#5 Magnus Grendel

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Posted 05 February 2014 - 05:02 AM

Thirded. Edge of Darkness is superb.


Dark Heresy is a good starting rules-set, if only because it's a very basic rule-set compared to Rogue Trader or Deathwatch. If people are new to the system, get them started on early, not-too-high level DH characters and then start throwing in the talents, traits, elite advances, massed combat rules, etc, etc.


You'll notice, for example, that the free intro adventures for Rogue Trader and Only War don't include any of the 'special' mechanics - there is no ship combat in one and in the other your comrades are all conveniently badly wounded and out of action before the action starts...

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