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Possible to run for only a few

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#1 computertrucker



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Posted 13 December 2011 - 05:18 PM

Hey Curious how hard would this game be to run if a GM only had 2 players? I havent picked up the books yet. However I am thinking about getting a copy over the holidays. I have 2 friends interested in playing, and I am interested in running.

We are planning on testing the system out in January, after I get a chance to read thru it. As I am a truck driver if we like it I might take the game online using Fantasy Grounds Software. To roll dice and set up maps. and such. Ran a 4edition DnD game using the software for about 6 months.

#2 PrinceOfMadness



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Posted 13 December 2011 - 07:21 PM

To me, it would boil down to the following two things:

  • Party Composition: With only two players, you're going to need to work hard to fill in the gaps.  I think for a two-man game a Librarian and a Tactical Marine would be ideal - Librarian for support and heavy damage output, Tactical for a skillmonkey.  Your mileage may vary.  That being said, if your players want to take more specialized roles - like, say, the Devastator - there's nothing wrong with it, as long as they're smart about it.  Which brings me to my next point....
  • Player Intelligence: If your players play smart and tactical then two Marines can take down a wide assortment of threats.  If your players DON'T play smart and tactical, well, they should start bringing backup characters to each session.  Deathwatch is an incredibly lethal system - a single bad night with dice can lead to going through character generation again.  Of course, dice are still less important than player intelligence.  I'll give you an example: in my current game, my Kill-Team recently had to advance through a hallway held by Death Guard Traitor Marines.  The Death Guard had missile launchers, assault cannons, sniper rifles, and cannon fodder with shields and axes.  The Apothecary and Assault Marine quickly closed into melee with the shield guys to minimize enemy fire and utilize their Weapon Skill.  The Tactical Marine jumped behind cover and sniped from a distance.  The Librarian....stood in the middle of the hallway casting psychic powers.  Guess who the Death Guard shot at on their turn?

#3 ak-73



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Posted 14 December 2011 - 02:29 AM

Run an Apothecary NPC as a healbot. Because Marines are so powerful, it can run actually quite well with 3 Marines in total (2 PCs, 1 NPC), easier than in many other RPGs.

Specialties aren't that important, all marines are capable warriors in some way.


However: DW is a relatively complicated game because the players have so many ways of maximizing their abilities. Leaving out squad and solo modes is recommended for the first session with players or gms completely new to the game/system. Devastators/Assaults/Tacticals are the most straight-forward classes.



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#4 Adeptus-B


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Posted 14 December 2011 - 01:29 PM

I'd have each player run two characters. I normally don't like allowing more than one character per player, but a two-man commando team would be pretty lame...

#5 SomVone



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Posted 14 December 2011 - 03:40 PM

 I tried this for what was basically a one-off.

Space Wolf Tactical (when operating alone, I find perception is extremely useful) and Vindicare (mostly fixed temple assassin). GM pulled no punches, and it was a blast.

Unless the players are very good at fighting, smaller amounts of enemies will be very important. Giving out more skills (like demolitions) can help with the smaller size, or just make fewer rolls require skills.

It works, but can be a little weird.

#6 BeyondFandom



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Posted 01 January 2012 - 03:43 PM

If you have the First Founding book, it has rules for Minions, I had considered running a PC-lite game having the rest of the Kill-Team represented by Minions.

#7 Kshatriya



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Posted 02 January 2012 - 10:29 AM

Adeptus-B said:

I'd have each player run two characters. I normally don't like allowing more than one character per player, but a two-man commando team would be pretty lame...

My biggest issue with each player running multiple characters simultaneously generally means inferior characterization of each - it just turns (more) into running the numbers than developing personalities and quirks for each character, which I think is important even in a heavy-mechanics game like Deathwatch.

The GM can always run an Apothecary and maybe something else; seems like a Wolf Scout might be ideal for that - ranging ahead, striking from the flank, being generally aloof and leaving the bulk of decision-making and control to the real PCs...could also work with a member of the Ravenwing.

Or give the PC with higher Int Medicae for free and either give him a Narthecium or reduce the req to like 5 for it.

#8 ZyloMarkIII



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Posted 05 January 2012 - 11:51 AM

Personally, I feel you should abandon the Cohesion system if you're going to run it as a two-person Kill-Team and have the abilities be a once-per-session or once-per-mission deal. The big issue you would have is the number of enemies to throw at them. You have to limit your scale to skirmishes rather than a squad versus hordes of enemies being led by their commander.

#9 igotsmeakabob!!



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Posted 06 January 2012 - 03:16 PM

Sorry, similar question.. would a three-player team of Techmarine, Devastator and Assault work without any NPC assistance? Thanks!

#10 Kshatriya



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Posted 06 January 2012 - 04:24 PM

igotsmeakabob!! said:

Sorry, similar question.. would a three-player team of Techmarine, Devastator and Assault work without any NPC assistance? Thanks!

I really don't see how people successfuly play without an Apothecary or at least someone trained in Medicae unless the only thing they use their Fate Points for is healing. The only way my players can keep going from event to event on a mission is their Apothecary. Without him, they'd be out of Fate and dead if they had 3 combats in the same game session.

For this setup, the Dev will probably slaughter the hordes and his share of solos, the Assault will tear through solos especially once he gets Respected and power weapons, and the Techmarine would be the jack-of-all-trades. It could work. I might give the Techmarine Medicae for free (and maybe give each of the others a free skill too just so they don't feel left out).

#11 Charmander



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Posted 09 January 2012 - 07:07 AM

And that's exactly what they'll do- use Fate.  They'll also tend to be more timid and try to approach combats more tactically to avoid getting shot.  In a given session, I tend to have 2-3 fights.  This is mainly because combat tends to take forever and a day to resolve and the players wouldn't be able to do anything else.

The only real problem having no Apothecary that I've seen, or a small group, is one of balance for the GM.  Creating a not-to-tough-but-tough-enough challenge for PCs is harder when they might be able to heal 1 wound, or they might be able to heal 10, is one more variable in go big or go home damage system of DW. 

In my experience, until you're an expert at blancing (in which case I envy you), you may need to fudge some rolls with a smaller group to keep from wiping them out.  With a Tech, Dev, and Assault you've got a pretty good mix I think; heavy range, heavy close combat, and the 'everything else' guy.  Give your players plenty of opportunity to use tactics to outsmart their enemies and reward them for that, and they can escape combat with only a few scars, saving their wounds for your elites and masters.

#12 Buliwyf Hagnarsson

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Posted 11 January 2012 - 07:48 AM

Personally, were I running a 2 man Kill-Team, either as GM or Watch Captain, I certainly would not treat them as a full Kill-Team.

Recon Missions, wet work requirements, sabatoge, harrassment, retreival: these are the mission types that I would send a 2 man KT on. Would be absurd to expect them to handle the work of full on warfare and confrontation.

Does this change the style of the game? A bit. Does this lessen the chance for glory? Not so much.

Targets with beefy bodyguards are great glories, be it taken out with tact or with brutality. Getting something protected without too much fuss can be as big of a gloat as any KT taking on a Hive Lord.

This would be the way I would solve this, from a GM/Commander viewpoint.

#13 Buliwyf Hagnarsson

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Posted 11 January 2012 - 08:14 AM

To clarify what I was thinking, since I know my advice above was pretty vague, I would engineer the encounters to be more fluid and smaller scale.

Instead of 1 Baddie with 3-4 powerful lackeys with 2-3 hordes of 30+ magnitude, make the fights much more personal.

1 Baddie, 2-3 lackeys, and maybe a horde or 2, specially after the encounter to harrass the smaller KT.

As always, flavor to taste, and be willing to add or subtract from the recipie as needed.

#14 LeSquide



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Posted 13 January 2012 - 05:19 AM

I run for two players. It works fairly well, but I have to be careful with how much opposition to throw in against them, since it can be much easier for them to be overwhelmed. I used a pair of NPC marines to help them out when I want to throw bigger threats at them; it works pretty well, and attaching their ability to direct the NPCs to the Squad Coherence score works well to reinforce its importance.

#15 CruelGM



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Posted 13 January 2012 - 03:19 PM

 Another possibility is to make them a sub-element of the samen KT.

You form a KT with 4 Marines, 2 of them your players, the rest NPCs. At a certain point of the mission, they have to split up because "whatever". Your players go for one side, the NPCs for the other. By this way, you focus on your players and you can quickly rebalance a battle if you realize that you have thrown them to much enemies by making their mates to lend them some fire support.

If you have ever played Gears of War, you will understand me

#16 Bangel Hairybasement

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Posted 15 January 2012 - 01:08 PM

Hey! I run a deathwatch game that usualy has 2-3 players at a given time mostly 2.  This is what rule changes I use when running it.  Firstly I change how coheasion works and have it work like this.  The kill-team is allowed to spend up to their coheasion rating per battle.  This allows them to experiment with tactices and get a feel for what works best and does not pushing the group for over estimating a given situation and losing all coheasion points because of it.  The increase in use of tactics allows you to still keep the game balaced fairly hard, but at the same time demands the 2 players to constantly work as a team.

The current make up for the party is a tactical marine and a librarian.  To compensate for the lack of healing I usualy deploy generaly weaker enemies which will wear the team down rather then bursting them down in 2-3 turns of combat.  Bosses usualy remain the same and unnerfed.  Also because of the lack of an apoc I allowed the tactical marine to pick up medicate.

In my experience the 2 players have done really well against very hard encounters.  They were able to beat the example mission in the book even with the appearence of the hive tyrant at the end.

I know my changes are not perfect but hopefully this will give you some ideas.


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