I've kicked off my Dark Heresy campaign with Edge of Darkness and, while the first session was a lot of fun, my players had quite a few issues that they'd like me to address. I wondered whether some of the more experienced GMs could give me some tips with the following questions/problems:
- They hated the pre-written dialogue and want me to ad-lib and re-write scripted sections. As a first-time GM, can you give me pointers on how to write my own dialogue to fit with the gritty cyberpunk setting while bringing in the imperial faith?
- One player, who is used to World of Darkness, really dislikes the percentile system as his first roll was coming off Charm as a Basic Skill he didn't possess when attempting to pass himself off as a vagrant looking for free accommodation in the Corscala Hostel. I played Draylok as a strung out addict whose curiosity was piqued when four strangers turned up alone on the same afternoon and behaved suspiciously. The players didn't like it that he 'gave them lip', but I kept offering them the opportunity to take a closer look as something seemed to be wrong with him, which they all refused to take. They didn't like to that he made reference to the others as though they knew one another, fishing for information that he could sell on to Luntz. When the fourth player failed his charm roll, Draylok told him that if he wanted charity he could head to the Alms House or ask his friends upstairs. The player went up and told them, leading to the ganger member of the group coming down to beat him and demand he show more respect in future. I was perfectly happy with this outcome as it sets up the 'Room Service at the Corscala Hostel' by giving Draylok a personal as well as financial motive. However, the player who failed the charm roll felt that their entrance had become farcical. Speaking to him afterwards, it appears to be partially due to the relatively low chance of the Acolytes pulling anything off at this level. How would you manage this sort of expectation with such a harsh setting? Should I modify success and failure so as to give something positive and negative each time?
- They managed to find Lili Arbest and find Evard Zed by nightfall. They plan to head to the Workers' Union in the next session, which will mean crossing the sector in the dark. As I'm aiming for a slow-build of the horror elements, I was planning on setting up a bodysnatcher attack some distance away (on Lili Arbest) and have the night air disturbed by a scream that is abruptly cut off. If they managed to locate the area, I would allow them to find signs of multiple footprints from a scuffle and some blood, which they could take a sample from. By the time they get to the Workers' Union I want them to find Draylok with Luntz, who will warn them off beating up his customers and, if they agree, send Draylok packing and invite them to join him for a drink. I'd like to use this as an opportunity for the player who has a high fellowship and was a Commissar before he became a Sanctioned Imperial Psyker, to build a rapport with the gangers. Do you think that this is a good way of balancing opportunities and risks? The Arbitrator character has taken lead thus far, so I'd like to allow them to make use of non-investigative skills in order to bring in the other three players to the fore.
If the above sounds as though the game went badly, that's not my overall impression. They said they loved the setting, the world and the story. Having helped guide them towards a more investigative party, I've also made sure that the players are well-suited to this sort of game; they got on well in person and the group was highly efficient. I used dark ambient music and illuminated the table with candles while there was still some light outside. I'd just like to make sure that the player who wasn't as happy has a chance to get into his character (which currently only has Tech Use as a Basic Skill and has Inspiring Aura as his only psychic power).
Thanks in advance to anyone who can offer me some advice.
Bearer of Words