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Any actual RP?

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#1 HeroesHeadquarters



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Posted 02 March 2013 - 07:57 AM

So I'm just wondering, is there any actual RP in this, or does it feel like a hack n' slash like 4th ed D&D? I would think it would be difficult to RP as a space marine, since they're all basically programmed from birth.

#2 DJSunhammer



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Posted 02 March 2013 - 08:50 AM

There is as much RP as you put in the game, or as little, and Space Marines have plenty of character to RP. If you want to see some go read some of the Horus Heresy novels. The first few are great, but so are some of the later novels.

#3 UberMutant



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Posted 02 March 2013 - 09:02 AM

This game is excellent for Roleplaying oppertunities, the idea that space marines are just mindless automatons programmed from birth is very much the wrong one.

An example: Our arguing kill team got involved in a firefight. The glory seeking Ultramarine fired into combat hitting his ally, the space wolf and wounding him lightly in the leg. After the mission he went to the Wolf and apologised in an off hand manner. The Wolf picked up a bolter, shot him in the leg and as he stepped over his fallen body grunted "Apology accepted".

Each chapter has its own traditions and beliefs, some more radical than others and this works very well into the game. Everyone will have a different approach to a task, way of treating allies and enemies and personality. One Ultramarine will be strict and by the book while another might be jovial and fair.


Like any game, Deathwatch is what you make of it but the RP oppertunities are always there.

#4 macd21



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Posted 02 March 2013 - 01:52 PM

HeroesHeadquarters said:

So I'm just wondering, is there any actual RP in this, or does it feel like a hack n' slash like 4th ed D&D? I would think it would be difficult to RP as a space marine, since they're all basically programmed from birth.

The 'programmed from birth' thing is incorrect. Space Marines vary widely. While they do undergo serious training and indoctrination they all have their own personalities. They all come from different cultures that shaped their development (remember that most chapters don't take novices until their teens, IIRC). Each chapter has stereotypes that can be used to build a character, but you can certainly stray from the cliches without breaking cannon.

#5 Adeptus-B


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Posted 02 March 2013 - 09:59 PM

What they said. Deathwatch does lend itself to combat-heavy gaming, but there are no real limits on roleplaying opportunities. People heavily trained to excell at a particular job are still, ultimately, people, after all- and given the way that Killteams usually operate out of contact with the regular military chain-of-command, there are plenty of situations where individual personalities come to the fore in determining the best way to persue mission objectives.

#6 Lynata



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Posted 03 March 2013 - 03:12 PM

I think it depends on two things:

1. the creativity, focus and immersion of your players

2. said players' interpretation of the Space Marines

Many players have very different ideas on how a Space Marine "should" be portrayed or what kind of personality they have. Personally, I think that the high level of indoctrination as well as the many decades or even centuries of living only for war coupled with a monastic regimen does leave its marks upon an Astartes' psyche - they are indeed very far removed from being the boys they have once been recruited as.

On the other hand, this does not mean they become mindless servitors. I think I see it more as a sort of "forced alignment" that will make differences between two Space Marines from the same Chapter being somewhat subtle and often not as easy to discern as between the behaviour of, say, two random Guardsmen recruited from the same city. The Space Marines' resolve and no-nonsense attitude can reinforce this "first glance" perception.
However, Deathwatch actually makes it easy for people, for in most games the characters will come from all sorts of different Chapters. Needless to say, differences between Chapter cultures would then provide an "easymode" approach for people to base their portrayal on - although I would still suggest not to concentrate entirely on Chapter culture but still think about possibilities on what could define the character even amongst his own brethren. Otherwise you just run the risk of becoming a walking cliché, which is hard enough to avoid as is.

All in all, this is an issue no different than what players who would wish to portray a Commissar, a Munitorum Storm Trooper or a Sororitas are faced with, as these characters are similarly indoctrinated and it takes a bit of "skill" to flesh out personal perks that walk the thin line between making these characters somewhat unique whilst still respecting what seems appropriate for their profession. It can be done, it's just something that not everybody manages to pull off. Which of course brings us back to point 1. ;)

Without doubt, DW focuses on combat, but there is no real reason that there cannot be time for the players to actually role-play rather than roll-play their characters, be it within the squad or when interacting with allies, enemies and bystanders - in fact, I would say that this is even more of a challenge and at the same time that which will truly make a game memorable.

For inspiration, perhaps turn to various novels or movies which attempt to portray a similarly idealised version of heroes, and watch how the characters act there. Like King Leonidas in "300".

Good luck. :)

#7 Tacitus05



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Posted 04 March 2013 - 08:24 PM

If you read alot of the Horus Heresy novels, they help to see different "characters" of space marines there are.

#8 Baradiel



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Posted 05 March 2013 - 06:05 PM

I ran a campaign where the kill team went to a world under invasion by Chaos, and among the hive population arose a supposed Saint. I didn't even intend for it to happen, but there was serious conflict among the PCs, and some great RPing as a result, over it all. The Black Templar was all about a violent religious movement, while the Golden Dragon Chaplain (DIY chapter) and the Dark Angel wanted to execute him.

#9 RavnR



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Posted 06 March 2013 - 03:12 AM

Sadly, I've seen this question pop up all over the internet, and frankly it boggles my mind.

Of course you can play any RPG like a MORPG, and it seems like many people do from what I've read (both on these forums and others), but I think that is cheating yourself from a lot of fun. Yes; Astartes are combat oriented, but they do have personalities, likes, dislikes, motivations and so on.

When I think of Astartes, I think of them like knights of different religious orders, and I encourage my players to play something more than an archetype.


[edited for spelling]

#10 Alekzanter



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Posted 07 March 2013 - 10:58 AM

I'll put this here. I had put it on the Only War forum as something that could fill "dead space" in a gaming session, like when a few players miss a game. It's not something terribly involved or campaign altering (relatively speaking). The specifics can be altered to reflect a Deathwatch game/setting.


Sometimes; and only sometimes; no one is trying to kill you.
In the quiet pre-dawn, there is only latrine duty.

Several fire-teams have not come back from the night patrol. Of course there has been the occasional snap-whip of a far-off las-rifle, but nothing significant to indicate they fell afoul of recon infiltrators. In fact, chances are very low they could have encountered any opposition elements; Tacticae Plotters are certain of this.

The squad is tasked with tracking down their compatriots. Their last known coordinates (during vox check) put them approximately 15 kilometers out, verging upon an expanse of reed-forest (these trees resemble birch trees, but with the biggest trunks only 10-12 centimeters wide, very tall with the foliage clustered near their tops, and spaced irregularly…as plants are wont to grow…no closer than 2-3 meters). Extremely heavy rains fell through most of the night, and these men may have taken refuge from the elements, perhaps even cut off by flash flooding. This doesn't explain their vox silence, however.

Rather than empty/burn half-drums of piss and feces all morning, the squad are happy to take the assignment.

Approaching the forest, the PCs can see the trees in the distance; white flakey bark, broad leaves a pale ochre color. The surrounding landscape is moderatedly flooded to a depth of 20-30 centimeters, a result of the previous night's rain. Things are quiet. Too quiet. No buzzing insects, no chirping morning birds, no crackling gunfire in the distance. Even with the use of amplivisors, the PCs can make out no sign of the missing fire-teams. There's not much else around, except the forest of reed-trees, nowhere to hide except in the shallow flooding. Perhaps their comrades found a mound in the forest, and are now flooded in.
Still, nothing on the vox.

As the PC near the verge they think they can hear voices, tinny and indisticnt, coming from somewhere deep within the forest. Only bits of words: "…peror…", "…desti…", "…oming assau…". As the PC close upon the forest boundary, one of them notices a swath of snapped trees, their trunks bent and broken about a dozen centimeters above the water line. An AFV has been through here, bending the boughs low and snapping the trunks, their lenghths laying in a tangled mass and pointing toward the center of the forest. Perhaps their comrades have been penned in/trapped by a unit of enemy armour… Yet…the fallen trees are long, long dead.
The squad's vox pips. No amount of dialing clears the wash of static…except for a moment or two of indistinct, tinny voices, and in the unnatural silence of the surround they echo with a hint of a word, maybe two; "…ith you you oo oo…".

(Depending on their approach; stealthy, blundering; the PCs may glimpse figures darting through the trees, moving to flank and surround them. These are their compatriots, though the GM is encouraged to play up and drag out the ruse of enemy recon infiltrators. They withdraw if approached, and flee if pursued, always maintaining a lead if possible, but always toward the verge of the forest, never toward its heart. The farther away from the heart of the forest the PCs move, the less their vox pips and tings with half-heard voices… Their unkown "foe" are seemingly leading the PCs away from the vox source, but don't say that, let them figure it out on their own. The GM might have the PCs make appropriate Tests for vox operation; perhaps if the roll is particularly bad the vox burns out; or Navigation, things meant to distract and/or disorient the PCs, but make them Difficult [-20] Tests, do not give them the benefit of close rolls, and let them choose to spend Fate on re-rolls or not, all this to increase tension and suspense, a sense of "what the fek…?" When the PCs are high-strung and their trigger fingers are good and itchy…)

Note: It is possible a "friendly-fire incident" could ocurr here; if so, don't let it derail the encounter. In fact, the man you just shot in face has survived the attack with nothing more than a slightly bloody nose…

A vox horn, like those mounted on the hull of an AFV, squeals loudly, vibrating the leaves on high and setting the PCs' teeth on edge. There is a wash of mid-range static, and a voice fades into hearing; the voice is deep and sonorous, yet comforting, commanding and confident, not like the Commissars, more like the perfect father all men wished they could have. The voice is so powerful the vox horn strains to carry the lows, and there is an occasional buzz that washes the words, but…

"…en en en men that are of Man, hear me, heed my words, and trust in my knowing owing owing… i i i I am your Emperor, your savior or or or… oo oo oo you are destined for glory ory ory and and greatness, you must forget your fears and have faith in my guiding hand during the coming assault ault ault ault…"

There is more…but…is this real? Stealing forward through the trees, the PCs finally manage to glimpse the bulk of the AFV. It sits at the base of a small hill, its path through the trees at an end. It is old, obviously long abandoned, collapsed upon its frame and splitting with rust, and its pattern is barely recognizable. Its cracked and sagging vox horn vibrates to the cadence of the otherworldly voice.

The hulk is surrounded by the missing fire-teams, listening intently to the words echoing through the reed-forest. The PCs feel…scared, on edge, not becuase there is a perceivable danger, but because the setting is implausible. The voice fades away to echoes, and echos fade to silence once more. The missing fire-teams welcome their comrades-come-looking. Questions are asked; why have you not returned to camp? What just happened here?

The fire-teams were worried the PCs might be enemy scouts, and attempted only to lead them away from this blessed place. They claim their voxes burned out when they tried to zero-in on the "transmission". They all claim to have followed the sounds of static into the forest. It is the divine voice of the Emperor, and the men are comforted by His words, His attention, and they do not want to leave this "holy" glade. It is quiet and peaceful here, and the Emperor speaks to them from His Throne On Earth. And they are affraid. The voice spoke of a coming conflict, and they do not want to die. They are waiting for the Emperor to tell them what they must do.

Any PC climbing into the hulk of the AFV can easily confirm that it is a complete wreck, and nothing is salvagable, including its vox.

Is this the real deal?
Or is it a trick of the Ruinous Powers?

You, the GM, must decide.


I intentionally left the pattern of AFV vague so GMs could choose something approrpitae to their setting.

Perhaps there are no bodily remains of the crew, or perhaps only the vox operator remains, his desicated husk slouched in his seat, vox headphones on his hed…and if the PCs lift these for a listen, maybe they hear the voice more clearly?

The missing fire-teams may be split in their assessment of the situation; half (or more) of each team wants to stay and hear more, the others think it's an enemy trick. Is there a Ministorum Priest in the PC's squad? What does he think? It can be a very delicate  situation, and the PC may find themselves split as well.

The big questions: Does anybody tell Command? Will they think everybody's gone bazonkers and put them in straight capes? What are the long-term implications of this event. Are the missing squads (and the PCs) now "lucky" talismans of the Regiment? Is the squad assigned to hold the area against enemy encroachment until the Imperial Cult can send someone to investigate? Will there be a desperate stand against an overwhelming enemy in the presence of the God-Emperor's sight, or is it all a hoax?

Or is it battlefield stress finally catching up with everyone?

#11 Boss Gitsmasha

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Posted 10 March 2013 - 07:42 PM

I can confirm there was roleplaying the last time I played Deathwatch. The Ultramarine character stole all the glory, while everybody else silently cursed themselves for not being blessed with Roboute Guilliman's sacred gene-seed.

"Oomans are pink an' soft, not tough an' green like da Boyz. Dey'z all da same size too, so dey'z always arguin' about who's in charge, 'cos dere's no way o' tellin' c'ept fer badges an' ooniforms an' fings. When one o' dem wants ta lord it over da uvvers, 'e says 'I'm very speshul so'z you gotta worship me', or 'I know summink wot you lot don't know, so yer better lissen good'. Da funny fing is, 'arf of 'em believe it an' da uvver 'arf don't, so 'e has ta hit 'em all anyway or run fer it. Wot a lot o' mukkin' about if yer asks me. An' while dey'z all arguin' wiv each uvver over who's da boss, da Orks can clobber da lot."

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