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So You Want to Play an Inquisitor?


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#1 venkelos

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Posted 23 May 2012 - 02:39 PM

So, this game suffers from some limitations that the others don't; everyone is a Space Marine. While normally one wouldn't mind getting to play such a badass, every so often, the need for something else arises. Say you have a lady player; it's not as rare as it used to be, and if I can't play women well, what;s to say they have to play male characters well? Maybe you want to play something different, more so than "will you be an Apothecary Space Marine, a Librarian Space Marine, or a Techmarine Space Marine?" Sometimes a player just can't, or won't play a Space Marine. For me, the best answer is often "build yourself an Inquisitor." I have a personal love for these agents of the Imperium; they have SO MANY options, with psychic potential, access to so many of the best weapons options, connections, personality, Skills, etc. Often, when I am thinking of playing DW, I want to request playing an Inquisitor, just because I want to.

Now, we all know this, but here's the question; when you do decide to allow it, how do you build it? I would think that the writers would also know that some players would want to play something else, even in DW, but there are no other options. Would you modify the character build from DW? It leaves them having to requisition stuff, when Inquisitors don't do that; they order, and leaves them with practically no psyker potential, having no access to many of the Powers in the book. Build through DH/Ascension? I know that almost everyone other than me hates that book, and I agree that it did some serious stuff seriously wrong, but it does have the stuff to do it. How have any storytellers who went the Inquisitor PC route do so?

I could easily like to do the DH-->Ascension build, and get much of my dream gear, in order to run with Space Marines, but I don't know how fair it would be to players. Thoughts?



#2 Kshatriya

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Posted 23 May 2012 - 05:23 PM

The Ascension build is likable because it makes you the most powerful character hands-down, and that has its own appeal to it.

I don't allow it, so I don't know how useful my commentary is.

I had a lot of fun with a PC Desperado in a Deathwatch game, but even he made noncombat things way too easy (and pointless) for the Astartes; they had trouble but he could never fail, so why not just have him do all the talking/sneaking/lock opening/etc? And he surprisingly held his own against Tyranids thanks to some nice guns and Talents. Realistically he would have met a sloppy end but he definitely took the challenge out of some situations where Astartes alone would have been fish out of water and would have had to get creative.



#3 Watch-Captain Albus

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Posted 28 May 2012 - 09:56 PM

 We play Deathwatch with a female Ordo Xenos inquisitor. We built that character on a ascended Sage from Dark Heresy: Ascension. It works rather well. The inquisitor is rather weak in combat but has very nice psychic powers and investigative/influence/knowledge skills.



#4 Decessor

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Posted 29 May 2012 - 12:53 AM

One issue with an ascension pc is justifying their presence. Easy enough for an Inquisitor or Interrogator. Not so much for a Judge outside of special circumstances. It's hardly an insurmountable problem, but for the sake of plausibility it has to be addressed.

The more important issue is the balance of power within the party. While the Inquisition and Deathwatch are technically allies, the direct presence of an Inquisitor in a killteam usually means the killteam is working towards that Inquisitor's goals. So you'd want to make sure the rest of the players are fine with a would be Inquisitor PC being the leader of the killteam (in RP terms, not the squad mechanic which I assume would fall to a deathwatch PC).



#5 Morangias

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Posted 02 June 2012 - 09:20 PM

Having an Inquisitor or a Rogue Trader on a DW team unbalances the game horribly. Inquisitor's Influence or RT's sheer amassed might obviate many problems that the DW team is expected to brute force their way through. Need to assassinate the warboss? Why engage the Orks with the whole Kill Team when you can send one guy in scout gear, lock on to warboss' position and blast the whole Waagh to oblivion with a lance strike? The KT can do it on their own sometimes, but they pay Requisition to retain that option, whereas the RT can just fire his lance as often as he wants.

And good luck running any kind of intrigue with an Inquisitor on board. The instant an investigation is needed, the KT becomes bodyguards for the guy actually equipped and skilled to do this kind of stuff.

I played DW with two girls in the group, both loved the idea of playing Marines and performed admirably. It's clearly the better option.


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There is no constancy in flesh, only decay.
There is no certainty in flesh but death.


#6 N0-1_H3r3

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Posted 02 June 2012 - 10:27 PM

I've often pondered (but never had the time to develop myself) the idea of writing up a Deathwatch-specific Inquisitor career - something that takes advantage of an Inquisitor's conceptual strengths without the cross-system mental gymnastics of balancing a near-infinite variety of Ascension Inquisitors against the Battle Brothers of the Deathwatch. While the character wouldn't have access to Astartes-specific Squad and Solo mode abilities, he'd have the advantages of equivalent abilities all his own, derived from the influence and necessary strength of will that defines Inquisitors.


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#7 HappyDaze

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Posted 03 June 2012 - 05:51 AM

N0-1_H3r3 said:

I've often pondered (but never had the time to develop myself) the idea of writing up a Deathwatch-specific Inquisitor career - something that takes advantage of an Inquisitor's conceptual strengths without the cross-system mental gymnastics of balancing a near-infinite variety of Ascension Inquisitors against the Battle Brothers of the Deathwatch. While the character wouldn't have access to Astartes-specific Squad and Solo mode abilities, he'd have the advantages of equivalent abilities all his own, derived from the influence and necessary strength of will that defines Inquisitors.

I would be very interested in seeing that completed one day, especially if the Inquisitor has access to psyker abilities and possibly even more swag (Signature Wargear) than the typical Astartes.


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#8 Morangias

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Posted 03 June 2012 - 01:13 PM

Sounds like a great idea, definitely better than doing a crossover game - not only is Ascension one of the worst balanced rpg sourcebooks I've seen in my life, but the different lines of 40k RPG are about as much compatible as nWoD splats - theoretically you get corresponding mechanics from all systems, but practically the balance is all over the place.

It's also a lot of work, both conceptually and practically - the way DW advancement is set up, it's hard to "borrow" anything from existing advancement charts. Then, there are matters such as deciding whether the Inquisitor should have 30+2d10 base stats the same way the Astartes do, or lower than that - and if lower, does he get a lower advancement cap as well or do we let him buy up the difference by giving him more advances per characteristic? And so on, and so forth.

I'm not trying to discourage anybody here, mind you, just tossing ideas and thinking out loud.


There is no truth in flesh, only betrayal.

There is no strenght in flesh, only weakness.
There is no constancy in flesh, only decay.
There is no certainty in flesh but death.


#9 Algus

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Posted 04 June 2012 - 05:15 AM

Morangias brings up an excellent point.  The general idea of "balance" between the games seems to be that while a non-Astartes with a similar level of experience won't be as strong in battle but they might bring other things to the table in terms of knowledges, skills, etc.  I'd think very hard before allowing non-Space Marines into your campaign.   If it simply isn't going to work out for your group (your players are resistant to playing Marines) then maybe Deathwatch isn't the game to run with that group.  

That said, I still think you can build a great game doing some cross-over stuff.  I've seen several times on this forum where someone suggested using an Adepta Sororitas character if female players were resistant to making male marines.   While it is not a perfect solution, it is a fairly good one.  There's also no real reason why you can't use Ascension but say that character is "not" an Inquisitor.  There are many Inquisitor/Inquisition specific skills and talents you might have to restrict from the character's advancement tables but if you're troubled by the idea of an Inquisitor having to much influence/authority over the characters, simply say that s/he is a high ranking Sister of Battle, Psyker, Guardsman, or whatever.   All you need is five seconds of fluff, "Well Colonel So-and-So of the Legion 501st has fought Xenos a whole bunch of times, so he's coming with the Kill-Team as an advisor/scout/observer/etc" From a storyline perspective, ensure that the Watch-Captain and other authorities commanding your Kill-Team OUTRANK the player (at least initially)

Obviously this takes a little bit of extra leg-work (figuring out what advances you want to allow and which ones you don't, but again that is the problem of running a cross-over.



#10 Morangias

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Posted 04 June 2012 - 09:15 AM

Algus said:

There's also no real reason why you can't use Ascension (…)

There is. Ascension is a godawful mess of imbalance, and an Ascension character playing alongside DW characters will make Astartes look like retards. The Inquisitor, while surprisingly not as broken as some other careers (I'm looking at you, Vindicare and Primaris!) will be no exception here. Except Rank 1 Inquisitor to have a full spread of melee attacks, three Reactions, and tons of skills, not to mention gear above and beyond anything the SM can requisition. And it will only get worse from there on.


There is no truth in flesh, only betrayal.

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There is no constancy in flesh, only decay.
There is no certainty in flesh but death.


#11 Gaire

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Posted 04 June 2012 - 09:52 AM

 I ran a few sessions with a guest PC along for the ride. He wasn't interested in playing a loyalist Marine, so I let him roll up a character from an old game of Dark Heresy as an Inquisitor: Severus the pyrokine. Severus smoked a large number of baddies on his own- including reducing an Alpha Legionnaire to ash and breaking a horde in one action- but for all his work as a blaster, he was definitely a glass cannon. He carried a rosarius instead of wearing heavy armor, so half of my attacks missed, but one swing from a Traitor Astartes' power sword and he was burning fate. Spent all his XP on psychic powers. He had step aside, but didn't often carry a melee weapon at the ready, so when I ambushed the party with Alpha Legion, the Astartes responded admirably, while the Inquisitor was on the ground bleeding out until the Apothecary could get to him. So yeah, psychic powers from DH and Ascension can really break encounters, but there's typically a balancing factor. You just have to exploit it. Keep in mind, most Chaos and Tyranid forces will gun for the Inquisitor first. Tau MIGHT take out the Astartes first, but that squishy human is still an excellent target.



#12 Morangias

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Posted 04 June 2012 - 11:35 AM

All the balancing factors you mention are just bad decisions on part of the player - mostly, not equipping power armor and not taking a Force Sword, but also investing too much into psychic powers (and not especially useful ones from what I gather) at the expense of basic survivability.

Hell, a Rank 1 Inquisitor can wade into battle in a Terminator Armor, which should put him right on par with Astartes in vanilla PA in terms of survival, except perhaps against melta weapons. Though an "ordinary" PA is usually a better choice, as it allows you to take advantage of Step Aside while steal giving a massive amount of protection. A Force Sword is a no-brainer for a psychic Inquisitor - even if you're not a top melee combatant, it's just too good to pass up.

My point being, this character would have likewise been subpar in Ascension, and he most definitely wasn't prepared for a DW game. Which isn't very helpful, because it doesn't address the objective possibility of creating a character in Ascension who will easily hold his ground in Astartes combat while outperforming the Marines in anything else.


There is no truth in flesh, only betrayal.

There is no strenght in flesh, only weakness.
There is no constancy in flesh, only decay.
There is no certainty in flesh but death.


#13 Kshatriya

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Posted 04 June 2012 - 04:51 PM

Morangias said:

Having an Inquisitor or a Rogue Trader on a DW team unbalances the game horribly. Inquisitor's Influence or RT's sheer amassed might obviate many problems that the DW team is expected to brute force their way through. Need to assassinate the warboss? Why engage the Orks with the whole Kill Team when you can send one guy in scout gear, lock on to warboss' position and blast the whole Waagh to oblivion with a lance strike? The KT can do it on their own sometimes, but they pay Requisition to retain that option, whereas the RT can just fire his lance as often as he wants.

And good luck running any kind of intrigue with an Inquisitor on board. The instant an investigation is needed, the KT becomes bodyguards for the guy actually equipped and skilled to do this kind of stuff.

I played DW with two girls in the group, both loved the idea of playing Marines and performed admirably. It's clearly the better option.

I'd worry about Influence if the system for it made any sort of sense, let alone worked. Completely agree with your other points.



#14 Morangias

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Posted 05 June 2012 - 12:55 AM

Kshatriya said:

 

 

I'd worry about Influence if the system for it made any sort of sense, let alone worked. Completely agree with your other points.

Yeah, influence is quite nonsensical. That's why this one time I tried to run Ascension, I switched to Profit Factor rules while still calling it Influence, for fluff reasons. PF still has it's quirks, but at least it doesn't automatically obviate the presence of social characters in the group.


There is no truth in flesh, only betrayal.

There is no strenght in flesh, only weakness.
There is no constancy in flesh, only decay.
There is no certainty in flesh but death.


#15 venkelos

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Posted 09 June 2012 - 01:31 AM

I'd be rather interested in the DW-based Inquisitor build. I, for one have noted that, on the few occasions where I have had ladies playing in my games, the three of them got as uncomfortable playing males as I do playing females. With Sisters of Battle being a bit to out there/fanatical, an Inquisitor, or one of that individual's higher-end Throne Agents would make for a nice alternative, if it proved necessary to not alienate players, especially if it balanced them out, so that Space Marines don't feel overshadowed. I don't dislike Influence, but prefer Profit Factor called Influence, and would hate to see so connected a person limited to the same Requisition system Space Marines are relegated to.

I do kind of wonder though, other than getting ready for a mission, how much social endeavor goes into a Kill Team's job, that the skill monkey Inquisitor can make them feel worthless? Imperials look at Space Marines like gods, the Inquisitor won't be too social with other Space Marines, not knowing all of their fluff, and the enemies aren't often talked to; those aren't the kind of enemies Space Marines are thrown at. Is it a particular list of skills that Inquisitors can outshine them, like better Tech-Use then the Techmarine? I figure usually Space Marines fight, and they'll stay better at that, then Inquisitors, minus gear access.



#16 Morangias

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Posted 09 June 2012 - 04:31 AM

venkelos said:

I'd be rather interested in the DW-based Inquisitor build. I, for one have noted that, on the few occasions where I have had ladies playing in my games, the three of them got as uncomfortable playing males as I do playing females. With Sisters of Battle being a bit to out there/fanatical, an Inquisitor, or one of that individual's higher-end Throne Agents would make for a nice alternative, if it proved necessary to not alienate players, especially if it balanced them out, so that Space Marines don't feel overshadowed. I don't dislike Influence, but prefer Profit Factor called Influence, and would hate to see so connected a person limited to the same Requisition system Space Marines are relegated to.

I do kind of wonder though, other than getting ready for a mission, how much social endeavor goes into a Kill Team's job, that the skill monkey Inquisitor can make them feel worthless? Imperials look at Space Marines like gods, the Inquisitor won't be too social with other Space Marines, not knowing all of their fluff, and the enemies aren't often talked to; those aren't the kind of enemies Space Marines are thrown at. Is it a particular list of skills that Inquisitors can outshine them, like better Tech-Use then the Techmarine? I figure usually Space Marines fight, and they'll stay better at that, then Inquisitors, minus gear access.

To be balanced in DW, an Inquisitor absolutely must be subject to the Requisition rules.

Both Ascension and Rogue Trader take a very cavalier attitude towards equipment. If you want something, you can have it in two sessions tops. Which is (mostly) fine for those games, as stacking up on equipment can only get you so far, and because both the big =][= and Rogue Traders are known for their bling. Also, each and every character has roughly equal access to all the cool stuff, which moderates the internal balance of the party

In DW, equipment is a f***ing big deal, both because Space Marines are unreasonably deadly even with just their combat knives, and because while Astartes are renowned for their superb gear, they aren't exactly known for piling it on particular Battle Brothers. Hence, you get your standard loadout, and whatever you want to better fulfill the specific mission. If you want more equipment, you have to pay for it in exp - that's something completely unheard of in other 40k games, unless you count certain Tech-Priest talents as masqueraded gear (not an entirely baseless assumption, considering many TP toys got rewritten into equipment in Black Crusade, but marginal enough to not impact my point). Basically, the worth of every equipment upgrade is much higher in DW than it is in other 40k games.

Now, if you want an Inquisitor in DW to have the same access to gear he'd enjoy in an Ascension game, you have to make a very important choice. Either you let him requisition superior equipment only for himself, or you allow his unquestionable authority to override the limitations on Astartes players as well. If you choose the former, you create a potential balance concern when the Inquisitor is stacked through the roof with best craftsmanship equipment for every possible contingency. This isn't likely to be a serious balance issue, considering how buff the Astartes are even with their basic gear, but it does seriously undermine the idea that Deathwatch characters are superbly equipped, and thus may drop the willing suspension of belief or just plain destroy the fun of Astartes players.

If you choose the latter, well, you just seriously broke any semblance of balance DW may have had. Forget about the careful selection of best gear for the mission, the Inquisitor has an open tab, so everyone gets relic plasma guns! The mission is too low-key for Battle Brothers to be trusted with holy Terminator armor? Not when the Inquisition is paying the bills - fighting the Orks has never been easier! And since the Inquisitor is requisitioning our gear, we can pool all our Requisition for demanding assets as the mission demands! Yay, orbital strikes and friendly Vindicare snipers providing fire cover.

The solution is to force the Inquisitor to abide by the same rules as Marines, but giving him slightly more Requisition or more Signature Wargear so he can pimp himself out properly without being able to use anything and everything described in the books on a whim. The unquestionable authority of the Inquisition would also need to be represented differently, in a way that helps overcome obstacles but doesn't obviate them automatically.

As for the other point you raise, much depends on the particular group, but Deathwatch has the potential to be intensely social. Combat is the most obvious focus of the system, but it's also the hardest for producing strong emotional reactions. Marines often take combat extremely casually, and often so do players, confident in the knowledge that their characters are way scarier than eighty percent of things they can encounter in the course of the mission. The most interesting DW scenarios are those focusing on objectives other than simple martial victory, and social interactions can play a crucial role in creating tension. An IG commissar will treat the Astartes with reverence and deference, but he's not automatically likely to change the orders handed down by his superiors to incorporate the Kill-Team's plans. Allowing an Inquisitor to use and abuse his Influence on all the NPCs around may cheapen a lot of potential stories.


There is no truth in flesh, only betrayal.

There is no strenght in flesh, only weakness.
There is no constancy in flesh, only decay.
There is no certainty in flesh but death.


#17 Magnus Grendel

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Posted 09 June 2012 - 07:26 PM

You know, for a putative 'Militant Inquisitor', giving them access to squad and solo modes isn't a bad thing - for a suitable price. If they've made a career out of fighting alongside astartes whilst being undeniably soft and squishy, then clearly they're going to know astartes combat doctrine as well as the boys in black.

Let her buy an elite advance - call it 'Inquisitor To The Chamber Militant' - and give her Scholastic Lore (Codex Astartes) and something similar to 'blood brothers' - except rather than counting as the same chapter for squad mode abilties, she counts as another marine for same (so can use codex abilities but not chapter ones)

If you want to pull in an inquisitor, I'd make the following suggestions:

 

1) Don't go with a psyker. DH psychic power work differently to DW psychic powers, which will only confuse matters. Plus the ascension rules make them ridiculously harsh (hello, primaris!)

2) I concur that the same requisition process (ish) should work for an inquisitor - she should be arming up for a specific mission and not be loaded out with a million, billion tonnes of best-quality gear. However, I don't think it's unreasonable she should get more stuff - it's her contacts and authority that make her better than the astartes, not fighting stats.

3) I'd be tempted to use the adepta sororitas palatine archetype for an inquisitor - intelligent, pious, and with a standard issue of awesome wargear (by non-marine standards). Spend your 500 Xp on 'observation mastery' (for inquisitorial fiendishness) and Price of Piety (for interaction stats) or Battlefield Promotion (for command skill) for the transition package. Play down the faith talents unless you specifically want a psyker, although it is quite cool to let them - temporarily - match a space marine through raw hatred of the enemy and willpower. You start with a best-quality bolter and armour (which an inquisitor intending to take to the field of battle would acquire quickly unless they have a deathwish - I have a mental image of Inquisitor Hand from Daemonifuge or Inquisitrix Amberly Vail from the Cain novels here), so don't need to gun yourself up too much, but equally aren't carrying a megatonne of random equipment. Plus, they have the ability to swap their bolter for a sensible but not excessive selection of non-best quality weapons - flamer, storm bolter, I think inferno pistol if you take the celestian option at level 5.

4) If you want to make sure she's not overly dominant in wargear, allow her to requisition wargear and equipment at the same price as the astartes - but she receives good or best quality normal gear. (i.e. requisitioning a best-quality bolt pistol costs 5 requisition - but obviously it'll be a mundane bolt pistol not the scary-as-hell 1D10+9X hand-held howitzer the astartes carry)

5) I would represent influence by giving the inquisitrix her 'influence' score as an extra whack of requisition which can be spent each mission (just like some of the kill-team patrons improve your requisition or standing). However, this requisition is inquisitorial influence and as such doesn't let you plunder the watch-fortress vaults - instead it can only be spent on reserve requisition as guard, navy, astartes or inquisition assets for the mission. Which, amongst other things, lets you pay lots of requisition to acquire the seriously arcane items an inquisitor might take that don't have parallels in Deathwatch. Or have inquisitorial agents as minions to hide behind.

 



#18 Morangias

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Posted 09 June 2012 - 10:45 PM

Magnus Grendel said:

Spend your 500 Xp on 'observation mastery' 

Surely you aren't suggesting giving Inquisitors access to those stupid skill packages? They are broken as hell in Ascension already, but in DW, where your usual marine often pays the same or even more for a single level of a single skill?


There is no truth in flesh, only betrayal.

There is no strenght in flesh, only weakness.
There is no constancy in flesh, only decay.
There is no certainty in flesh but death.


#19 Magnus Grendel

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Posted 10 June 2012 - 07:22 AM

Morangias said:

 

Surely you aren't suggesting giving Inquisitors access to those stupid skill packages? They are broken as hell in Ascension already, but in DW, where your usual marine often pays the same or even more for a single level of a single skill?

 

 

 

Yes. Observation mastery gives +20 to those skills, putting her on a par with the marines. A space marine is at a +20 to start with thanks to +10 for Heightened Senses (Sight) and +10 for Auto-Senses, and comes with awareness in his default bundle of skills. Yes, it makes her better for scrutiny and search, (though the astartes probably have higher perception), but surely that's the point of the throne agent in the party anyway?



#20 Morangias

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Posted 10 June 2012 - 10:57 PM

The point of a Throne Agent attached to a Kill Team is to bring a different mindset and a different set of skills to the table.

The point is not to make Astartes characters look like retards when the Throne Agent buys ten skills at +20 for the price it takes an Astartes to raise one skill to +20.


There is no truth in flesh, only betrayal.

There is no strenght in flesh, only weakness.
There is no constancy in flesh, only decay.
There is no certainty in flesh but death.





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