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On playing Apostates and questions about the Archetype


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#1 Iskarott

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 04:07 PM

I've recently begun playing Black Crusade, and I've picked the Apostate Archetype because I prefer characters heavier on roleplaying and knowledge skills. However, to be quite honest, I find them to be an absolute mess and I was wondering if perhaps I could be enlightened. I'll start with the elast important and work forward.

1) The Chaos Symbol Pendant and Unholy Tomes are the only gear in the game without description or stats. Why were they even mentioned? It seems like they're such common items that any heretic would have them. It seems so inconsistent to have only one class have "useless" items.

B) Given how little attention is paid to social combat and the investigative side besides "These are how you do skill and characteristic checks", it seems like they really don't have much afford to them in terms of a future. While it's open advancement, if you play their strengths few talents work for them, and even fewer items. The only long term paths open to them seem a focus on cults (Which drastically alter a game and require such leadership that it pretty much makes you an NPC or are just a background thing to help with knowledge)  or Chaos Rituals were quite honestly seem like the worst deal ever.  After awhile though, what's the point in even bothering with normal cultists? You incite a rebellion or two, it's not like everything in a game can be about that.

C) They're incredibly situational and every single one of their abilities is indirect. (A direct ability is purely mechanical, an indirect always requires the person running it to create situations for them as they have no direct effect). I'm okay with this because the situations they shine in are important and necessary, but it is a major pain those situations the rest of the party is going to be bored in. (Negotations/Talking or Lore Checks/Research) which is kind of frustrating. And most Daemon/CSM seem immune to social combat.

Basically, after play testing and examination, I feel like little thought was put into the Apostate. It's almost as if they went "Ex-Imperial Guard/Assasin, Heretek, and Psyker done, I'm tired." "Let's take the Adept and give them _Even Less_ to work with" "Sounds great, no one will bother with this.". Though you'll excuse me if I'm missing something vastly great about the Archetype. It seems like after a few ranks it gets phased out with ease.

I sincerely appreciate any help or advice offered. I don't mean to sound jaded or downtrodden, but I've tried everywhere on the internet to figure out what to do with my Apostate and what to aim for, and beyond the "Beyond a cult leader, force the game to be about your politics and 1000's of followers replacing the others or reitre to an NPC" or.. Kind of sitting in the background running skill checks while being useless 75-80% of the time. (Assuming 5 people, and the Apostate getting 20% dedicated to their style of game)

Thank you again for any help.



#2 Cymbel

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 06:35 PM

I can see what you mean and it mainly applies to the type of game, if you are running a more social and undercover heretics, they truly shine. Another is to have them be a false prophet in the Imperium, they lead the folks astray, incite a rebellion, serve as an opening wedge to an assault (or just some kind of extraction, whether it be a VIP, artifact, psyker, etc.). That all said, they seem the weakest in parties with Marines, which focus on combat, but in an all human group they can really shine IF the GM gives them a chance.



#3 BrotharTearer

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 11:57 PM

 

1) They're just listed fluff items. That they have no mechanical benefit doesn't matter much, as other archetypes has such items too. Besides, you're pretty free to add other such fluffy items at will GM allowing.
 
B) Social combat is coming in the Tome of Excessm, Investigation rules are in the Tome of Fate and I'm sure you and your GM can work out how to make social roleplaying more enjoyable and the character more useful (apart from investing in Charm, Decieve etc, where your social power heavily comes from).
 
Rituals have their place, but it's not for every situation, and it's most likely not a conversation tool for an Apostate (and psykers are best at it, especially Tzeentchian ones due to cheap forbidden lore).
 
C) There's not many "social" things you can do in combat. But that's not really what one would expect one to do, either? Inspire Wrath to buff the melee combatants of the group (Hatred is a nice talent) is the only thing I can think of. Command assuming you have followers you're commanding in the combat. If you don't want to increase the combat potential of your own Apostate then you'd probably want to invest in Minions to do that for you, so you have some kind of more potent character to play in combat situations.
 
The bottomline is, if the campaign is combat-heavy an Apostate might not be the best choice if you're not going to focus on combat-centric advances. If the campaign is more RP and less combat, then it will most likely be one of the better foundations to work with.
 
In your position, assuming it's some more combat potential you're after, I'd probably get a decent starting BS score, invest in a reliable and good ranged weapon (combi-bolter/hellfire bolts for example), Inspire Hatred (assuming there's melee combatants in the group) and then go the Minion route. Of course, that has an high Infamy prereq (50 for Greater Minion, which is what you want for combat, or Minion if it's something that can tear up stuff in melee with Swift Attrack etc).


#4 Cifer

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Posted 18 February 2013 - 03:05 AM

As long as your campaign is "five heretics against the Imperium (which recognizes them as heretics as soon as they see them)", the Apostate will be useless. Then again, in such a campaign, I wouldn't play anything except for CSMs, Psykers and CSM Psykers.

However, looking at the published adventure Hand of Corruption, that's a true playground for Apostates.

 

SPOILERS AHEAD:

 

 

 

How do you get to the prison planet? Have your apostate negotiate for a passage, either via regular ship or via Slaaneshi Cult. How do you infiltrate the planet? Best have your apostate do most of the talking, presenting himself as a wandering Imperial dignitary with the rest of the party as his croni- er, entourage. How do you incite the needed rebellion? I'm sure the Apostate can supply a few rousing speeches. And how do you keep the planet when the Necrons get up? Have the Apostate broker a truce with the Imperial Guard and AdMech factions so they distract the enemy while the main party enters the catacombs.

 

SPOILER END

 

All in all, Black Crusade is a game where you constantly have to maneuvre, always trying to play to your own strengths and never letting the enemy get at your weaknesses. If you're an apostate, your strength is the social game while your weakness is combat. So whenever combat seems inevitable, why not try to seed division among your enemies beforehand? Why not even bring some over to your side? If the guard commander despises the imperial governor and hopes for a high position in the regime that succeeds the current one, maybe he won't be quite as effective in defending it…



#5 Iskarott

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Posted 18 February 2013 - 07:16 AM

 

Thank you very much for your replies! I really do appreciate the prompt responses that you guys gave! 
 
A) After going through the books, actually, only two human Archetypes seem to have these meaningless items. Because they're so rare, I assumed I missed something. The Apostate for his "Unholy Tomes" + Pendant and the Q'sai for his "Grimoire". These are the only starting gear without stats. I assumed I was missing something because of this, but it seems they really are just fluff items. It just seemed odd since they're the only fluff items mentioned. I suppose it's just there. I'm not upset they have no mechanical benefit, they just seemed out of place, and I wanted to confirm.
 
B) It's not my concern about being useful in Combat (As I acknowledge there is no way to do and keep my role), but it's my concern to have a long term use. Rousing Chaos Cultists and identiftying an artefact is a great first mission but then it isn't so great as the scale of the adventure escalates. Given that in the long term generic chaos cultists become pretty much worthless and CSM/Daemon seem above being charmed, I'm not sure where they're going to end up. There is no real item or talent goal to dream of. The bonuses to skill checks are great, but I'm not sure how useful justbeing good at talking and knowing will be at 5000 EXP. Does it carry on enough that I'll be useful at high levels? I suppose I will have to wait till Tome of Excess for more. I was not aware of the inquiry rules and will check them out. My question is generally. "Where do I go from here? What do I do to keep myself useful? Am I basically reliant on the DM finding ways for me to help?"
 
C) I have not played long term, so I don't know about their long term prospects. I can't imagine what role they would play in a high level campaign, or where they go. This is my major concern. If anyone has played an Apostate long term and could tell me how they stayed useful over the long term, I would appreciate it. I'd like to stay useful and fun to play over the long term but I feel like I never get beyond being one or two failed social checks from someone humiliating and ruinign me, and then the only retribution I can manage.. is to find someone else to beat them or take the hit. I would really appreciate if I could get some guidance on staying useful.


#6 Cryhavok

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Posted 18 February 2013 - 10:21 AM

I have two suggestions for a character trying to get some gecent combat ability for really cheap. The first is flamers. They take nothing more than proficiency to use and can decimate hordes in short order. The second is be the get away driver. It takes agility and the operate skill of choice, but agility is also useful for dodge and is slaaneshi which could be very useful for that archetype. Also vehicular homicide is fun, and roleplaying chase scenes is awesome. It takes less investment than other methods, and makes you harder to kill to boot.

#7 Cifer

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Posted 18 February 2013 - 11:35 AM

B) It's not my concern about being useful in Combat (As I acknowledge there is no way to do and keep my role), but it's my concern to have a long term use. Rousing Chaos Cultists and identiftying an artefact is a great first mission but then it isn't so great as the scale of the adventure escalates. Given that in the long term generic chaos cultists become pretty much worthless and CSM/Daemon seem above being charmed, I'm not sure where they're going to end up. There is no real item or talent goal to dream of. The bonuses to skill checks are great, but I'm not sure how useful justbeing good at talking and knowing will be at 5000 EXP. Does it carry on enough that I'll be useful at high levels? I suppose I will have to wait till Tome of Excess for more. I was not aware of the inquiry rules and will check them out. My question is generally. "Where do I go from here? What do I do to keep myself useful? Am I basically reliant on the DM finding ways for me to help?"
 
Why would generic cultists become useless? If you've got one or two against the enemy Grey Knight, sure. If you've got one or two regiments of them that keep the Imperial Guard off your back while the CSMs deal with that Grey Knight, things just got a lot less tense.
I'd say that Apostates actually become more important as the scale of the game escalates. Maybe there are some uncharmable guys out there (though Cold-Hearted only provides immunity against seduction and a +20 bonus against Charm and not all CSMs have even that), but that still leaves Deceive and possibly (depending on the threat you can muster) Intimidate. There comes a time where the CSM might still be able to fight the enemy general. But can he fight the general and his army? The apostate doesn't have to - he just corrupts the general's aide and has him poison his master. Or indeed turns the general and with him the entire army.
So… no, with Black Crusade, at least the way I'd play it, you're not reliant on the DM. You're reliant on yourself to always spot the weak point of an organization, to always be willing to take the initiative and prepare for any circumstances you can think of.
 
Would you care to describe the scenarios and compacts you've played in? I really can't think of too many instances except for straight classic dungeon crawling where an apostate might feel useless.


#8 Iskarott

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Posted 18 February 2013 - 12:20 PM

I've spoken a great length with my Storyteller about my concerns and the things that have been brought up here. He's given me his word that he'll make me useful, and that is enough for me now that I understand the class a bit better.  We;ve discussed the fact that being a full on leader is implausable because of how it subverts a game. (Nobody has ever liked characters with lots of followers) and causes a lot of problems, so we've decided to focus on possibly a network of background informants. He's also promised to maintain the usefulness of my fellowship skills as time goes on with Daemon and others as well. We've agreed that the character can't exist in vacuum. If you just give him a world and say let's go, there isn't a lot he can do unless you start creating books for him to read, people for him to speak too, and things to get involved in. Things can be worked out in time. But unlike thee other charactrs, everything depends on what happens in the game world. He's as useful as the world chooses to make him. 

We also agreed that the Apostate does require quite a lot of guidance at high levels. While people talk about deceiving generals and supply lines, there is a great deal to that if your DM doesn't play it loose and fast socially. (My Stoyteller is great but maintains a world where there is a lot of work and subversion required to do that. As much as doing ti for real). The other issues is everyones examples involve the same things. Subverting a world for chaos rebellion. But that can't be every single game goal. I'm trying to find my use when we're exploring a strange chaos world, dealing with foes not easily subverted like Daemon, and what I kind of power I strive for as a character. (Warhammer 40K in general tends to make my character type look useless or sniveling. Usually both.) What I've come to accept is that all I can do is wait and see and play against the stereotype. It may end in my storyteller apologizing to me for not using me enough, or I could find myself with an active and important role and an advancement that blindsides me.

Thank you for your help. While I'm still a little concerned, I'm going to hold out until further games. Now that I accept the only way is to depend on the storyteller/GM, and hope that devotion, intelligence, and wit are acually valuable attributes and have their own power. I'm wary of suggestions of  grand displays of prowess because often times they exist just so GM's can be nice, so I was trying to rely on simpler things such a those in the book. I accept now it's not that easy for the Apostate, and they have to try to engage the story as much as possible and hope the story engages them as much back.

 



#9 BrotharTearer

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Posted 18 February 2013 - 11:51 PM

I still believe you're just too worried and see problems where there are none. It's not productive, really.

You want to be helpful in combat? Get a decent BS and a good weapon and shoot stuff. Throw in some Dodge and a BC Conversion Field (everyone wants one of those, the game is deadly and stray shots may kill), hell you can even wear Power Armour if that makes you feel better, and blast away during combat. Then use your skills outside of combat where the rest suck. Apostates are far from as bad as you seem to think they are. For ranged combat you only really need a good BS and a good weapon, as there's very few talents that makes shooting better from the baseline (Mighty Shot being one of the things which increase damage by BSB/2).

Even one Minion with proper gear and Talents will be almost as effective as a PC in combat. A Greater Minion can be a psyker, and you should know what that means for effectivity. Usually only Champions and Apostates who reach that Fellowship as everyone else doesn't bother.



#10 Cifer

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Posted 19 February 2013 - 01:25 AM

But unlike thee other charactrs, everything depends on what happens in the game world. He's as useful as the world chooses to make him.

How so? What can a CSM do when there's noone to shoot? Everyone is dependent on the game world not being completely devoid of stuff that can be interacted with.

 

But that can't be every single game goal. I'm trying to find my use when we're exploring a strange chaos world, dealing with foes not easily subverted like Daemon, and what I kind of power I strive for as a character.

Regarding Daemons, I've just read up on them: At least in the demo adventure, they're not immune to intimidation and presumably can be deceived as well. With the strange chaos world, your character's job would start long before you set foot on it by hunting down every scrap of lore known about it. Then, you round up some members of the Cult of the Crimson Attire to be sent into any possible trap before your characters blunder into it. And finally, if there's anything on the world that doesn't attack your group on sight, you can try to reason with it.



#11 Iskarott

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Posted 19 February 2013 - 08:14 AM

 

I still believe you're just too worried and see problems where there are none. It's not productive, really.
 
You want to be helpful in combat
 
I'm sorry if I've given you that idea. My current party has more then enough combat powers. Chosen, Champion, Heretek, Sorceror, Apostate. And I don't see the Apostate as made for combat. He has an excellent base of skills and high social and intelligence stats. His expertise is in the "Investigation" and "Interaction" phases. Which is why I chose the class, I enjoy playing someone based around knowledge and creativity. And this is the role I'm interested in filling. 
 
However, I feel that while the other Archetype continually gain new and more powerful ways of doing things, such as new weapons and psyker powers.. I find it hard to quantify what the Apostate gains as well. I can only assume that he gains easier access to information and knowledge, and that he is able to persuade or charm even Daemons themselves into acting for him.  I've realized this is because you can't quantify it. Because it really depends on the information given. Perhaps the Apostate is given information to blackmail a daemon into giving him an artefact or to incite a parish to start worshipping the chaos gods and convert others as well. But you won't find their upgrades or even real suggetions of it in the books because their power exists only in the context of the game world. It isn't visible on the sheat of the player.
 
Regarding Daemons, I've just read up on them: At least in the demo adventure, they're not immune to intimidation and presumably can be deceived as well. With the strange chaos world, your character's job would start long before you set foot on it by hunting down every scrap of lore known about it. Then, you round up some members of the Cult of the Crimson Attire to be sent into any possible trap before your characters blunder into it. And finally, if there's anything on the world that doesn't attack your group on sight, you can try to reason with itf
 
I meant specifically that daemon mastery tests are much better left to those with Psy Potential. The rest I believe I cleared up in the above paragraph. I was trying to find obvious visible upgrades within the source material..
 
But unlike thee other charactrs, everything depends on what happens in the game world. He's as useful as the world chooses to make him.
 
I guess a better way to put it is that the Apostate is an extremely reactive class. Unless their is knowledge created by the gamemaster, interaction and investigation scenarios created by the GM, the Apostate can't do anything. They lack the power to directly enforce their will on others and have to constantly react and support others. Comparitvely, a CSM can shoot people, beat up people, the heretek can create new technology and gain new xenos/heretical tech, and the psyker/sorceror learns new spells to change reality. The things they want are written in the book. The things they fight are given stats or rules for stats in the books. The opposite of the Apostate.
 
At best, the Apostate gains secrets others will do favours for or is able to convince them theys share he same caus  but has to doubly watch his back. He can't survive violent betrayl because he can't survive any force used against him unless he has people to protect him.He has nothing but words to do so, either his or other peoples he's heard, and words can only do so much, before everyone realizes you have nothing to back them.  Especially in the grimdarkness of the 41st century with its jadedness and all the magic and tech out there in it. The apostate is the classic example fo a leader whose more dependant on his troops than they may be on him. His only hope is continue to be the only one with his knowledge and his networks can produce secrets he can act on or exploit, and that inquiry and investigation at a basic human level remain the focus because that is his talent. 
 
But I've accepted that is also because his victories are never his own. He simply helps others achieve their means or stops them from achieving them. He never does so himself. 
 


#12 htsmithium

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Posted 19 February 2013 - 04:52 PM

i accually just got done running a game with a brand new apostate and turns out he was quite handy during combat- after using inspire wrath he hid and started messing with the npcs heads- that guard squad shooting at you -hack into there vox network and redirect the squad. or on some really good roles  convince them you are accually on there side and that other squad over there are the heritics. being usefull in combat is about more than just raw damage output- some times its about shaping the field for your buddies to really dish out the hurt.


 ding dong mala mortuus est,

quem veteres strigam

impii strigam

ding dong impiorum strigam mortuus est.


#13 Plushy

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Posted 19 February 2013 - 07:53 PM

Fun concept: the Apostate's ability allows him to fit the idea of a fallen Inquisitor perfectly, using the clearance people think he stil has to get what he needs and push past people. He'll have to be damn good at talking to keep the ruse up, no one will question his knowledge of dark subjects, and his "retinue" is expected to be eccentric.

Drug-crazed assassins, strange tech-priests, unstable psykers, and even Space Marines are hardly out of place following an Inquisitor around. If you tell people that you're a member of the Ordo Hereticus hunting down some heretics (which you technically are, but to recruit instead of destroy), Ordo Malleus looking for some cursed artifacts (that you want to use), or Ordo Xenos with some "Deathwatch" Marines (actually some evil renegade bastards.)

There's so much more to the Apostate than just "cult leader."


My apologies to anyone I offend; FFG staff, playtesters, and forum users alike. 

 

Please check out my Dark Heresy to Only War conversion! You can find it on the main Only War forum. I'm always looking for more people to playtest it!


#14 Cifer

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Posted 19 February 2013 - 09:58 PM

In our last campaign, our Apostate pretty much single-handedly got us a void-ship. She managed to get hired as Confessor and then over the next few months systematically made sure that more and more loyalists in positions of power got replaced by chaos cultists. Finally, she implicated the captain as a xeno sympathizer, the crew mutinied and when the dust settled, one of the new members of the officer's council (our Renegade) suggested that in these difficult times, the only possible choice for a new Lord-Captain would be the Confessor. Ousting the rest of the loyalists was quickly accomplished.

Of course the Apostate is all smoke and mirrors, but this is 40k we're talking about. When worlds can die at the flick of some administratum bureaucrat's quill, the pen really is mightier than the sword.



#15 Iskarott

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 08:04 AM

I appreciate the support and help, and I think I've wrapped my head around the class. For the most part, I'll just see where he goes wirh an open mind. But you've helped me at least understand the kind of scenario and situations I benefit from and can seek. I've finalized a lot of the character now and I'm feeling pretty good about them. After a lot of talking with my DM, I'm feeling secure in my role and continued usefulness. 

Art of my character, Barkabbas the Apostate of Chaos Undivided: http://i.imgur.com/rNbfvfl.jpg



#16 Plushy

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Posted 22 February 2013 - 04:59 PM

Iskarott said:

I appreciate the support and help, and I think I've wrapped my head around the class. For the most part, I'll just see where he goes wirh an open mind. But you've helped me at least understand the kind of scenario and situations I benefit from and can seek. I've finalized a lot of the character now and I'm feeling pretty good about them. After a lot of talking with my DM, I'm feeling secure in my role and continued usefulness. 

Art of my character, Barkabbas the Apostate of Chaos Undivided: http://i.imgur.com/rNbfvfl.jpg

Mind if I repost that art to my blog? I'll cite you as source.


My apologies to anyone I offend; FFG staff, playtesters, and forum users alike. 

 

Please check out my Dark Heresy to Only War conversion! You can find it on the main Only War forum. I'm always looking for more people to playtest it!


#17 Iskarott

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Posted 23 February 2013 - 08:00 PM

I didn't do it. A friend did but I'm sure they won't mind.






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