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Playing Deathwatch without GM?

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#1 kburn



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Posted 13 October 2012 - 11:11 PM

Never played ANY RPG before. Was always interested, but never had the time. Painted up a whole Tyranid and space vampires army, but never played, only paint and read the fluff. Realised What I wanted was not to bash 2 armies together, but to immerse myself in the universe.

Anyway, don't know, or want to know any gaming groups yet for Deathwatch. It's only me and my wife playing. We're closet nerds, and no one else we know are interested in this sort of thing. (Not too sure if my wife is interested either, TBH, or just doing it to keep me happy, but she plays castlevania a lot)

Anyway, I have Mythic GM-Emulator and Deathwatch (plus the errata), and First Founding. Since I have so many miniatures painted, what I thought I'll do is focus heavily on the combat/mission part of the game. Going to get a spaceship tileset to play spacehulk sort of missions, and do up plasticard buildings to play in open areas. I have a billion tyranid figures painted up.

Wife is playing Raven Guard assault marine (Bought the figure off forgeworld), so she'll be playing a non-Mary Sue character, as Raven Guard are famed for being selfish. I'm playing spess vampire Techmarine, with servitors friends (later on). Not too sure how to make such a character non Mary-Sueish though. I was thinking of making him something of an insane self-destructive rager. Whenever he's angry, he takes it out on the RG, or his own sevitors, literally fighting and beating them up, or tearing off his servo-arm/replacement arms. Seems a bit Mary-sueish though.

I was thinking of starting the first session with character creation with my wife, use mythic to work out some sort of story, which will end up in the kill-team going somewhere on a mission. Then I'll draw up the maps, objectives, etc on my own. Second session will be played on a board, with the marines fighting, killing enemies etc. If it was to get to a certain building, etc, the 3rd session will be fought out in the building, then the subsequent session will just be dialogue using Mythic, post-mission, which will lead them to another place to fight more people.

Anything missing? Am I doing it right?

#2 herichimo



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Posted 14 October 2012 - 04:46 AM

Well, the point to an RPG is the roleplaying. The GM is there to roleplay all the badguys and do interation. With all the options and strategies enemies can use in combat the GM is what really keeps things fair. A GM is more likely to use that neat combo available to an enemy when a player is on his last wound than the player would if he were controling the enemy.

Huzzah for getting into the game to enjoy the background and environment. Most of us who joined prior to early 4th edition are right there with ya.

Bullocks for ya though, since GW is destroying their own IP in their intense move away from a "company which makes a game " to a "company which makes expensive miniatures". Nothing of the background pf the rich and involved 40k universe created by the likes of Andy Chambers, Jervis Johnson, and Gav Thorpe that attracted so many of us is sacred to the latest "miniature designers" nowadays. Pretty much anything is possible and nothing is disallowed as long as it allows them to make a new overpowered $100 kit they believe all the players will want.

#3 TechVoid



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Posted 14 October 2012 - 05:15 AM

herichimo said:

Well, the point to an RPG is the roleplaying. The GM is there to roleplay all the badguys and do interation. With all the options and strategies enemies can use in combat the GM is what really keeps things fair. A GM is more likely to use that neat combo available to an enemy when a player is on his last wound than the player would if he were controling the enemy.

I always liked the idea to think about gaming without a GM. Luckily, there exist a few (nontheless called) RPGs without a GM.

I guess one has to come up with a good game mechanic to treat the influence gamers have on each other. I mean, just rolling some dice in a combat is not an issue. The active players rolls for his character and the passive players for the opponents.

More interesting are the plot elements. You need some kind of influence, challenge rating and maybe reward system for a player. For example one player introduces the mission for the evening and takes the role of the watch captain during the briefing.

Afterwards, the players are on their mission and everybody has the option the throw an obstacle at them, thus including himself. The question is: based on what? And why?

Maybe the group should sit together and come up with some opponents and obstacles to make sure everybody agrees on the threat level, creating some sort of 'threat pool'. Or everybody has listened to the mission and each player thinks in secret about an obstacle or enemy he seems to fit or which would be 'cool to encounter'. Then written on the sheet of paper, everybody puts his idea into the Threat Pool, a cup or something similar…

During the game, it is up to the players to draw from the pool of opponents and obstacles and play it.

Maybe one could argue, that at the end of the mission the Reknown or Experience Points are reduced proportional to the remaining opponents in the Threat Pool, since the mission was not challenging enough! Thus the players should have a keen interest in facing multiple threats during their mission!


-- TechVoid.

#4 bogi_khaosa



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Posted 14 October 2012 - 06:28 AM

I used to do this in the back yard as a kid all the time. :)

#5 Egyptoid



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Posted 18 November 2012 - 10:52 AM

Look at the boardgames like Castle Ravenloft, or Wrath of Ashardalon.

They are a way of running basic adventures. Simply, each player controls their own dudes,

plus some of the enemies. On each turn, you move your own trooper plus what ever monsters menace.

It is a cooperative venture versus the game itself, not each other.

Somehow that could be adapted for GM-less play, I think.

#6 Kasatka



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Posted 21 November 2012 - 03:32 AM

 Deathwatch is unfortunately a roleplay, rather than 'rollplay', heavy game so i think that running without a GM is going to be impossible without cutting out the majority of the core game as it was intended.

There are so many aspects of an average game or campaign that need to be kept secret from the players, that without an impartial abritrator (GM) it will boil down to knowing 100% what is coming up and thus being able to deal with it perfectly. 

My suggesting would be this - alternate between one of you controlling the enemies and one of you controlling the player characters. Maybe make 2 player characters for each of you, so there's a part of 4. I used to do a similar thing with the old Inquisitor game from Games Workshop. A friend and i would make a warband each, though one would be full of lots of weaker guys, and the other would have fewer, but better equipped veterans. Then using a mixture of necromunda, gorkamorka and generic 40k terrain (the old plastic bulkheads and coloured card - oh how i miss it!) we'd play games of Inquisitor at 40k scale, not the 54mm scale that it was intended. Obviously this detracted a little from the more roleplay side of the game but it allowed us to have skirmish scale games like 40k, but using far more fleshed out rules (you could climb, swim, stealth etc). Games would regularly end with the elite warband trouncing the gangers/guards/militia/cultists, but it was always fun.
Maybe you could adapt that to Deathwatch?

Only the insane have strength enough to prosper.

Only those that prosper may truly judge what is sane.

#7 kjakan



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Posted 26 November 2012 - 03:16 AM

In any kind of roleplaying game, all it takes is for one or more guys to put together an adventure and for everybody to join in as a player. You can have all the mystery and surprises that make up a normal role playing game session, except that some players are "in the know".

For example, Andy has an idea for a mission where the Kill Team needs to extract a number of important dignitaries on a planet that is being invaded by Chaos forces. He makes note of the following main sites:

  • The Landing Zone where the Kill Team starts the mission
  • The Aministratum HQ where the Kill team must rescue the planetary governor.
  • The Ecclesiarchial Cathedral must convince the arch confessor to leave his flock and carry the fight another day.
  • The Mechanicum Forge where they must detach the Tech Magos from his control node.
  • The Extraction Zone where the Kill Team must fight off hordes of enemies while their Thunderhawk is inbound to pick them up.

For each site he draws a map and adds some enemies for the Kill Team to fight: a group of servitors at the landing site, crazed mobs at the administratum and so on. He also prepares a number of "roaming enemies" that are added to whatever rescue-site the players happen to be visiting last to represent the invading forces responding to the presence of the Deathwatch.

Finally he defines the mission objectives and works out a requisition rating for the mission and the game is ready to play.

The challenge, really, is adjudication. The idea of each player controlling a group on enemies is good - I'd look into that since it gets all the players involved.



#8 Ansalagon



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Posted 11 February 2013 - 09:25 PM

Well, we are a group of 3-4 players (depending on circumstances) so we take turns playing being GM.. And the Gm still plays his own character too.. granted whoever plays GM have to be careful not to focus on his character… But so far it has not been a problem :)

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