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New Rogue Trader Designer Diary: The Dark Frontier Part 1


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#1 FFG Ross Watson

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Posted 17 April 2009 - 06:32 AM

Hi Rogue Trader fans!

I just uploaded a new Rogue Trader designer diary, discussing some behind-the-scenes thinking about the project, and highlighting the cool new Rogue Trader wallpapers available for download!



#2 Peacekeeper_b

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Posted 17 April 2009 - 06:55 PM

Which begs the question, will a revised version of Dark Heresy be released that contains the streamlines rules? Or is Rogue Trader a necessity to play the updated Dark Heresy as well?

Another reason why I prefer a RULE BOOK over a setting and rules book combined.



#3 Cynical Cat

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Posted 18 April 2009 - 06:36 AM

Peacekeeper, take a deep breath and relax.  Dark Heresy and its various supporting pieces have been in the hands of players for a nearly a year and a half in which all sorts of wierd and strange situations and questions have come up..  There's been two errata.   There's a whole subsection on this very site dealing with rules questions.  This isn't the case of two different rulesets, this is the case of the rules being cleaned up and corrected.  If there's any new changes in the book that apply to Dark Heresy, I'm sure they'll be printed in an errata pretty quickly.  Even if Fantasy Flight weren't to do that (which is massively unlikely) I'm sure there will be a thousand different fan collections of errata at Dark Reign.  



#4 Da Boss

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Posted 19 April 2009 - 12:30 AM

all looks good to me :) have pre ordered

thanks



#5 Peacekeeper_b

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Posted 19 April 2009 - 07:24 AM

Cynical Cat said:

Peacekeeper, take a deep breath and relax.  Dark Heresy and its various supporting pieces have been in the hands of players for a nearly a year and a half in which all sorts of wierd and strange situations and questions have come up..  There's been two errata.   There's a whole subsection on this very site dealing with rules questions.  This isn't the case of two different rulesets, this is the case of the rules being cleaned up and corrected.  If there's any new changes in the book that apply to Dark Heresy, I'm sure they'll be printed in an errata pretty quickly.  Even if Fantasy Flight weren't to do that (which is massively unlikely) I'm sure there will be a thousand different fan collections of errata at Dark Reign.  

I hate being a jerk, but thanks for adding nothing to the conversation, question or topic. There is nothing wrong with me wanting an updated copy of the rules in Dark Heresy format. And not just as a printed up PDF of erratta that is 25 pages long.

I understood long ago, back when BI was doing 3 RPGs that the rules were going to be compatible and not different subsets or diversions, but all the same, some of us are not interested in Rogue Trader as the new De Facto setting, and I for one would like to have the newer concised rules in a Dark Heresy core book as well.

 



#6 Cynical Cat

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Posted 19 April 2009 - 07:43 AM

Peacekeeper_b said:

Cynical Cat said:

 

Peacekeeper, take a deep breath and relax.  Dark Heresy and its various supporting pieces have been in the hands of players for a nearly a year and a half in which all sorts of wierd and strange situations and questions have come up..  There's been two errata.   There's a whole subsection on this very site dealing with rules questions.  This isn't the case of two different rulesets, this is the case of the rules being cleaned up and corrected.  If there's any new changes in the book that apply to Dark Heresy, I'm sure they'll be printed in an errata pretty quickly.  Even if Fantasy Flight weren't to do that (which is massively unlikely) I'm sure there will be a thousand different fan collections of errata at Dark Reign.  

 

 

I hate being a jerk, but thanks for adding nothing to the conversation, question or topic. There is nothing wrong with me wanting an updated copy of the rules in Dark Heresy format. And not just as a printed up PDF of erratta that is 25 pages long.

I understood long ago, back when BI was doing 3 RPGs that the rules were going to be compatible and not different subsets or diversions, but all the same, some of us are not interested in Rogue Trader as the new De Facto setting, and I for one would like to have the newer concised rules in a Dark Heresy core book as well.

 

There's nothing wrong with you wanting a shiny updated DH, but being petulant about it isn't attratice.  You're not going likely to get one in the near future..  Fantasy Flight doesn't have unlimited resources.  You're going to have to content yourself with errata updates until they get around to new edition of DH with all the latest edits.  Demand is going to be limited as most people interested in the game will already have a copy of DH and many won't want to shell out money for another huge hardback tome that they essentially already own.  That's the economic realities of the situation.  It's not going to be on the front burner and whining about the second 40K rpg out of the gate being tweeked and improved isn't attractive.  That's the nature of being the second game.  You learn from making and playing the first. 



#7 Peacekeeper_b

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Posted 19 April 2009 - 04:58 PM

Cynical Cat said:

 

 

There's nothing wrong with you wanting a shiny updated DH, but being petulant about it isn't attratice.  You're not going likely to get one in the near future..  Fantasy Flight doesn't have unlimited resources.  You're going to have to content yourself with errata updates until they get around to new edition of DH with all the latest edits.  Demand is going to be limited as most people interested in the game will already have a copy of DH and many won't want to shell out money for another huge hardback tome that they essentially already own.  That's the economic realities of the situation.  It's not going to be on the front burner and whining about the second 40K rpg out of the gate being tweeked and improved isn't attractive.  That's the nature of being the second game.  You learn from making and playing the first. 

Which is why I am in the "put out a core rule book after Death Watch comes out with the finalized, most recent updated revised rules that isnt game specific but 40K in general" corner. It is far more economic to release one book of rules, then to sell the same 200 pages of rules or the same variation of the same 200 or so pages, into three separate role playing games.

It saves them on printing costs, it saves the fans on book prices and it will sell (in general) more units.

Even though I am already thier financial slave and will be buying RT as soon as I see a copy, as well as DW and probably a good deal of their supplements for these two games, others are not as wasteful with their cash and are less likely to plump down $50 over and over again for what is basically the same (more or less) rules stuffed into another hardcover book with a different "setting".

 



#8 Peacekeeper_b

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Posted 20 April 2009 - 05:28 AM

I want to apologize to Cynical Cat. Ive been a bit stressed getting out of Afghanistan and seem to have focused that on the list for some reason.

But hey, we all have our heresies!



#9 Redeucer

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Posted 20 April 2009 - 10:59 AM

Peacekeeper_b said:

Which is why I am in the "put out a core rule book after Death Watch comes out with the finalized, most recent updated revised rules that isnt game specific but 40K in general" corner. It is far more economic to release one book of rules, then to sell the same 200 pages of rules or the same variation of the same 200 or so pages, into three separate role playing games.

It saves them on printing costs, it saves the fans on book prices and it will sell (in general) more units.

Even though I am already thier financial slave and will be buying RT as soon as I see a copy, as well as DW and probably a good deal of their supplements for these two games, others are not as wasteful with their cash and are less likely to plump down $50 over and over again for what is basically the same (more or less) rules stuffed into another hardcover book with a different "setting".

I'm with you 100% on this, PKB.  I've also stated elsewhere where I'd like to see a core rulebook and then setting books for DH, RT, and DW.  These aren't exactly the best of times.  I need to be frugal with my "fun money" and having to pay out for the same rules over and over just to play a new setting is likely to prevent me from buying DW for sure.



#10 N0-1_H3r3

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Posted 20 April 2009 - 12:16 PM

Redeucer said:

 

I'm with you 100% on this, PKB.  I've also stated elsewhere where I'd like to see a core rulebook and then setting books for DH, RT, and DW.  These aren't exactly the best of times.  I need to be frugal with my "fun money" and having to pay out for the same rules over and over just to play a new setting is likely to prevent me from buying DW for sure.

The problem with the "one rulebook, several setting books" approach is that those people who do only want to buy a single game (say, Rogue Trader), while ignoring the others, end up having to buy two books, for what will generally be about 50% more expense than buying a single big rulebook with integrated setting material (and those that do buy all of the books end up buying more overall anyway - a rulebook and several setting books... and as we all know, 2x 256 page hardbacks in this industry are together generally more expensive than 1x 512 page book, so it wouldn't exactly save money either). IMO, a rulebook for any nongeneric game is nigh-worthless without any setting material anyway, and the 40k universe is sufficiently broad that a single "generic" 40kRP rulebook would have to be agonisingly shallow and lacking in worthwhile nonrules content (which, as far as we've been told, is one of the reasons for the more specific seperate games - try to encompass the whole 40k universe in appropriate detail in one go, ignoring for a moment that 'appropriate detail' is something that varies from person to person, and you'll need a vast pagecount, if not a small stack of often-contradictory encyclopedias)

Fine, you and many others may have preferred an approach similar to that taken by White Wolf with the revised World of Darkness games... but personally, I can't stand that approach, even from the perspective of someone who will buy all three games - the fact that a seperate rulebook distinct from the setting material is required to play is one of the reasons I've never attempted to get into White Wolf's latest rehash of their games (the other being a general distaste for a setting that in the past always seemed overly pretentious to me).


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#11 Xisor

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Posted 21 April 2009 - 03:35 AM

Though in principle I admire the ... tidineess of PKB's preferred approach, I must agree with N0-1's, that the present 'level' of detail is about right.

I would hope that the 'core' rules content of Rogue Trader will represent a streamlining and better-codified version of those in Dark Heresy. Making them as...modular or transportable as possible is an important thing to do (thus increasing market appeal of all the games and expansions), but trusting the players to be able to fudge/smooth any of the rough edges is also important.

The (to my knowledge) unique outlook of the 40k setting is the key thing to stress in the books. Keeping an enticing and enjoyable core volume is important, with all the 'extra detail' expansions being there for folks who need/really want 'em. I'm hardly convinced that the 40kRPG ruleset is unique, modular and 'wow' enough to warrant a 'stripped down' core book.

However, I do find the idea of a small, compact and setting- and lore- free 'core rules compendium' handbook* to be very endearing. Like the sorts that GW have in their 40k/FB boxed sets these days. A sort of value product for those who want a stripped down version. Thus not a compulsory (bland) core rulebook, but a book of only the core rules. 

* As in small enough to be a proper handbook, not a comprehensive guide to everything ever.



#12 Peacekeeper_b

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Posted 21 April 2009 - 05:44 AM

Well my hope is after Deathwatch a updated Dark Heresy will be released with the refined rules included.

I would also like to see other 40K books, such as a Necromunda themed, a Xenos themed and a Imperial Guard Themed RPG.



#13 Redeucer

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Posted 21 April 2009 - 08:50 AM

N0-1_H3r3 said:

Redeucer said:

 

 

I'm with you 100% on this, PKB.  I've also stated elsewhere where I'd like to see a core rulebook and then setting books for DH, RT, and DW.  These aren't exactly the best of times.  I need to be frugal with my "fun money" and having to pay out for the same rules over and over just to play a new setting is likely to prevent me from buying DW for sure.

 

 

The problem with the "one rulebook, several setting books" approach is that those people who do only want to buy a single game (say, Rogue Trader), while ignoring the others, end up having to buy two books, for what will generally be about 50% more expense than buying a single big rulebook with integrated setting material (and those that do buy all of the books end up buying more overall anyway - a rulebook and several setting books... and as we all know, 2x 256 page hardbacks in this industry are together generally more expensive than 1x 512 page book, so it wouldn't exactly save money either). IMO, a rulebook for any nongeneric game is nigh-worthless without any setting material anyway, and the 40k universe is sufficiently broad that a single "generic" 40kRP rulebook would have to be agonisingly shallow and lacking in worthwhile nonrules content (which, as far as we've been told, is one of the reasons for the more specific seperate games - try to encompass the whole 40k universe in appropriate detail in one go, ignoring for a moment that 'appropriate detail' is something that varies from person to person, and you'll need a vast pagecount, if not a small stack of often-contradictory encyclopedias)

Fine, you and many others may have preferred an approach similar to that taken by White Wolf with the revised World of Darkness games... but personally, I can't stand that approach, even from the perspective of someone who will buy all three games - the fact that a seperate rulebook distinct from the setting material is required to play is one of the reasons I've never attempted to get into White Wolf's latest rehash of their games (the other being a general distaste for a setting that in the past always seemed overly pretentious to me).

With all due respect, N0-1, WW isn't the only one that has found this to work well and been successful with it.  Pinnacle's Savage Worlds, SJG's GURPS, Hero System, and D&D (Players Handbook and GM book basically is similar) to name a few.  There are some nice benefits to this approach.  While you may need to buy two books to run a particular setting, players only need to buy the basic rules book to know what they are doing.  You end up with more people buying the basic rules set because it is now afforable.  The particular setting books the GM buys and the player only if they want to, can afford it, like collecting, etc.  It ends up selling more copies of the core rule book because now people will buy it to run something that may or may not be set in DH, RT, or DW.  Say like... Necromunda.  FFG can leverage this to plan other expansions beyond DH, RT, and DW as well.  You can put enough information in a basic rules book to give people information and flavor on the 40K setting without being too bland.  Another benefit to this approach is that you can segregate player and GM information better (as in the case of D&D).

No insult or provocation is intended with these words.  Merely providing a counterpoint to your points, N0-1.  A good healthy debate on this probably isn't going to change anything anyway, but it's good to have a friendly discussion of the pros and cons of each viewpoint.



#14 Peacekeeper_b

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Posted 21 April 2009 - 09:29 AM

I agree Redeucer.

I mean look at the basic 40K rule books for the TT game, held within there is plenty of basic information for a generic 40K setting. Sure it wont be a refined as Dark Heresy and what not (or Rogue Trader on its release), but its a start.

But its a moot point, its not going to happen that way.

I have to say I am actually in the middle of this argument. I think you can have a 40K core book successfully, but I also dont think its as simple as teh D&D, BRP, GURPS generic rule books, as 40K must have a setting, otherwise it isnt 40K, its just SPACE THE RPG with Orks.



#15 Redeucer

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Posted 21 April 2009 - 09:36 AM

Peacekeeper_b said:

I agree Redeucer.

I mean look at the basic 40K rule books for the TT game, held within there is plenty of basic information for a generic 40K setting. Sure it wont be a refined as Dark Heresy and what not (or Rogue Trader on its release), but its a start.

But its a moot point, its not going to happen that way.

I have to say I am actually in the middle of this argument. I think you can have a 40K core book successfully, but I also dont think its as simple as teh D&D, BRP, GURPS generic rule books, as 40K must have a setting, otherwise it isnt 40K, its just SPACE THE RPG with Orks.

I agree with you there too, PKB.  I don't think a true generic rule book would work well either.  But just looking at DH and IH, plus whatever else they add in RT and DW, there would be more than enough to make a nice hefty core rules book with background on the 40K setting.  Then you could even have an expansion like they are doing with Ascension that includes expanding RT and DW.

Oh well.  One can only dream.



#16 N0-1_H3r3

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Posted 21 April 2009 - 12:25 PM

Redeucer said:

Pinnacle's Savage Worlds, SJG's GURPS, Hero System, and D&D (Players Handbook and GM book basically is similar) to name a few.  There are some nice benefits to this approach.

Oh, I'm well aware of that - the White Wolf/WoD example was just the one that sprung to mind first. As it stands, though, I wouldn't exactly count Savage Worlds, GURPS, the Hero system or D&D in the same vein, though - 40kRP and World of Darkness are alike in that there's a distinct setting that the rules are written for... while Savage Worlds, GURPS, Hero and D&D are all (to varying degrees) setting-neutral or otherwise generic. The Mongoose version of Traveller is similar in this regard - the main rulebook contains a few nods to the Classic Traveller Universe, but the game is presented and marketed as a generic sci-fi RPG.

Personally, I can't touch a generic RPG system without feeling compelled to significantly adapt it to fit the specific nature of the setting I'm playing in (and sometimes not even then - I cannot stand GURPS, and I've never been inclined to touch Savage Worlds or the Hero System). I can't play generic or setting-neutral games 'out of the box' so to speak, and while this is an asset at times (I've done plenty of work tweaking and setting-tailoring d20 Modern over the years), I measure the quality of a system based on how little I feel compelled to houserule (remembering that there's a distinction, albeit a fine one, between houseruling to make something work more appropriately for a given game, and houseruling to add new or more detailed content that isn't necessary). In my opinion and experience, the broader and more generic something attempts to be, the blander and less interesting it is...

So, in that regard, Dark Heresy (and the model established by Dark Heresy) works because it isn't generic, because there's an assumed basic setting to which the rules have been tailored (with means enough to deviate from it if necessary with a little imagination)... for me, a generic 40kRP would have been appealing mainly because it's a 40k RPG, but Dark Heresy sits alongside WFRP and Fireborn as one of my favourite RPGs ever, while I doubt that a generic 40k RPG (and I've seen a number of versions over the years, including a couple of my own attempts) would be anywhere near as satisfying to my particular sensibilities.

There is the other angle as well - rule refinement. RPG rules can only change so much through errata, before the errata and FAQ sheets end up being worth an entire chapter in their own right, and the natural lifecycle of most hobby games seems to be half a decade or so... as GW demonstrated with the refinements made to their Lord of the Rings wargame between the first three editions only a year apart each, a game system can be more thoroughly and more effectively cleaned up and smoothed out with more closely staggered releases. Rogue Trader has the same potential here - the game isn't a new edition, but it's an opportunity to clean up the rules in a more significant manner than really feasible through errata and FAQs alone. One rulebook and an array of setting books lacks that advantage, though how important or significant you consider that advantage to be is, obviously, a matter of personal taste.


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#17 Redeucer

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Posted 22 April 2009 - 02:07 PM

N0-1_H3r3 said:

 

Redeucer said:

Pinnacle's Savage Worlds, SJG's GURPS, Hero System, and D&D (Players Handbook and GM book basically is similar) to name a few.  There are some nice benefits to this approach.

 

Oh, I'm well aware of that - the White Wolf/WoD example was just the one that sprung to mind first. As it stands, though, I wouldn't exactly count Savage Worlds, GURPS, the Hero system or D&D in the same vein, though - 40kRP and World of Darkness are alike in that there's a distinct setting that the rules are written for... while Savage Worlds, GURPS, Hero and D&D are all (to varying degrees) setting-neutral or otherwise generic. The Mongoose version of Traveller is similar in this regard - the main rulebook contains a few nods to the Classic Traveller Universe, but the game is presented and marketed as a generic sci-fi RPG.

Personally, I can't touch a generic RPG system without feeling compelled to significantly adapt it to fit the specific nature of the setting I'm playing in (and sometimes not even then - I cannot stand GURPS, and I've never been inclined to touch Savage Worlds or the Hero System). I can't play generic or setting-neutral games 'out of the box' so to speak, and while this is an asset at times (I've done plenty of work tweaking and setting-tailoring d20 Modern over the years), I measure the quality of a system based on how little I feel compelled to houserule (remembering that there's a distinction, albeit a fine one, between houseruling to make something work more appropriately for a given game, and houseruling to add new or more detailed content that isn't necessary). In my opinion and experience, the broader and more generic something attempts to be, the blander and less interesting it is...

So, in that regard, Dark Heresy (and the model established by Dark Heresy) works because it isn't generic, because there's an assumed basic setting to which the rules have been tailored (with means enough to deviate from it if necessary with a little imagination)... for me, a generic 40kRP would have been appealing mainly because it's a 40k RPG, but Dark Heresy sits alongside WFRP and Fireborn as one of my favourite RPGs ever, while I doubt that a generic 40k RPG (and I've seen a number of versions over the years, including a couple of my own attempts) would be anywhere near as satisfying to my particular sensibilities.

 

 

Hmm...  Interesting.  Thanks for the perspective, N01!  I appreciate it.  Because I usually find the opposite problem with systems.  That unless I can take a system and use it for any genre, it's usually because the system is fatally flawed in some aspect.  The genre specific ones usually have some aspect to them that is just a gimmick that ends up causing problems.  Scion is a prime example.  Having to roll literally dozens of dice.  Granted this is a fairly extreme example, but it gets the point across for what I have found with genre specific rules.

And that's one of the reasons I am playing DH.  I think the system itself is fairly well laid out so that it could be adopted to any genre.  It has some problems (like psionics, starting characters skills, class lock) but over all, I think if you were to strip out every reference to WH40K from the rules, you would still have a fairly solid rules system and could adopt it to any genre you want (yes, including supers).  But then percentile systems tend to scale pretty well no matter what you want to do with them (Runequest, Claw Law/Spell Law/etc. CoC anyone?).  The fact that the WH40K flavor is steeped through the book I think is the only thing that makes it not generic.  If you took it all out, you would have a good generic RP system.  In fact, you could use it for WHFRP as well.  So why not take advantage of it, make it a 40K RFP system (or WH RP system), then put out different setting books?  GW would also get add on sells for all the material they put out, which I think is their goal.  And FFG gets a system that can be stretched beyond a limited 3 setting scope.

N0-1_H3r3 said:

 

There is the other angle as well - rule refinement. RPG rules can only change so much through errata, before the errata and FAQ sheets end up being worth an entire chapter in their own right, and the natural lifecycle of most hobby games seems to be half a decade or so... as GW demonstrated with the refinements made to their Lord of the Rings wargame between the first three editions only a year apart each, a game system can be more thoroughly and more effectively cleaned up and smoothed out with more closely staggered releases. Rogue Trader has the same potential here - the game isn't a new edition, but it's an opportunity to clean up the rules in a more significant manner than really feasible through errata and FAQs alone. One rulebook and an array of setting books lacks that advantage, though how important or significant you consider that advantage to be is, obviously, a matter of personal taste.

 

 

But in a way, that is also an argument for a more generic system.  Then you can put out the revised rules that would still play with the existing setting/genre books.  Savage Worlds has gone through at least three different iterations (more depending on how you want to look at it) of their system since it started in Deadlands went to Savage Worlds, then to Deadlands Reloaded (with the Savage Worlds Explorer edition core rule book that came out afterwards with all the new rules changes).  The individual setting or genre books were still valuable and playable with the new rules.  This definitely makes the players happy as they don't need to go out and buy two, three, or more books when the rules change across all the settings.  They buy one revised book and get back at it.

Setting books also can provide individual setting tweaks in the individual books depending on the flavor you are going for.  For example, mana points to use spells if you want that type of system, or non if you want a more high powered system.

Oh well.  Thanks for the excellent discussion, N01!  I appreciate you taking the time!



#18 Cifer

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Posted 23 April 2009 - 01:17 AM

That does remind me... is there any chance of getting the first Rogue Trader picture (big starship against a blue/purple starry background, with "coming Gen-Con 2009") as a Wallpaper?






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