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Classless Dark Heresy to Only War adaptation


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#1 Tom Cruise

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Posted 04 May 2013 - 06:59 AM

Yes, yet another stab at converting Dark Heresy to the more up to date Only War ruleset. I've seen many of them, and a lot are quite good, but none really hit on what I wanted to achieve, so I took a stab at it myself.

The major break between this adaptation and most others I've seen is that I've attempted to utterly do away with the Archetypes system. This adaptation is completely classless, you aren't pigeon-holed in any way, shape or form. I believe this lends itself better to Dark Heresy, as work in the Inquisition can take hundreds of forms. There's no home worlds, no classes, no packages of any form, you get to hand pick every aspect of your character. Some may dislike this approach; it's definitely not for everyone. I primarily made it for my group, who are the types who tend to work out a detailed character concept before they've even touched a character sheet, then mould the character around it. To that end, this also lacks statistic rolling; it's all manual allocation (I may add rolling options in the future, if anyone really wants it that badly).

 
To get any use out of this, you'll at least need the DH corebook and the OW corebook. Black Crusade is mentioned, but only for a couple of talents. Also, this is very much a beta; there's been no playtests yet. I'm basically posting it here for some constructive criticism before I jump into running a campaign with it.
 
Here's the link (128kb bookmarked PDF): https://mega.co.nz/#...fgu75HbNC6Qd1E0
 
Please, be relentless with criticism. I welcome it.


#2 MADDOGmjb

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Posted 04 May 2013 - 09:13 AM

Here's my take on the "classed vs. classless" approach of 40k RPGs.

Only War works fantastically as a classless system, simply because on some level, the characters are all similar. They all are Guardsmen and they all are from the same regiment. Therefore, the differences between them are much less than grabbing 3-4 random people possibly from entirely different planets, which is what Acolytes basically are.

All the skills and talents in Only War are geared towards Guardsmen, so it makes sense that every character would be able to learn any skill, albiet some are much easier to learn than others, depending on the soldier's specialty. That's not true for Acolytes.

A group of Acolytes are usually assembled explicitly to have complimenting skills, so each contributes something different to the team. After all, if the Inquisitor just wanted firepower, he would requisition a battalion of local PDF troopers. Acolytes are selected from a broad range of backgrounds and skillsets. It is BECAUSE of this, not despite it, that their skill sets are limited. Reflecting the themes of oppression and ignorance in the 40k universe, there is no way that a scum from the underhive of Scintilla would ever learn the secrets of the Mechanicus's augmetics.

The skill trees may not be perfect and you may desire to tweak them, but I firmly believe they serve an integral purpose to the system. To remove the "classes" from Dark Heresy would change the very fabric of the game itself. Just because you're now the new toys of a powerful Inquisitor doesn't mean you gain unlimited ability to absorb knowledge. Your background and inherent abilities don't change.

 

tl;dr It's about scope. Classless works in Only War because everything in the system is geared towards Guardsmen. Dark Heresy focuses on a far broader range of possibilities and types of characters. Allowing them to learn anything they desired simply wouldn't make sense.



#3 Tom Cruise

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Posted 04 May 2013 - 07:49 PM

I complaetely understand where you're coming from, and you raise a good point.  A classless approach isn't perfect for every Dark Heresy group, it can leave people utterly lacking in direction. I made this conversion primarily for my own group, and the main goal is to allow complete freedom in the actual character concept. No matter how many elite advances or alternative ranks you throw at a character, classes do, ultimately, pidgeon-hole a character to some extent. My group are the types to come up with a character concept in full detail before they've touched the dice or the character sheets, and they can find it frustrating too be limited by the structure of a career path. Essentially, I made this system for people like that.

Your point about certain knowledge being something say, a Scum, would never actually end up discovering. I fully recognise that.  This conversion definitely isn't intended for people who are going to take advances without significant consideration for how and why their character would know this sort of information. If players are the type to take advances just because it'll make them be able to power through an investigation that much easier, the system isn't for them. Basically, this is intended for players who are heavily invested in the roleplay aspects of the game, and would be benefit from removing any restrictions in their ability to fully realise their character concept mechanically.



#4 MADDOGmjb

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 03:56 PM

I read through your .pdf and nothing jumps out as being broken or "wrong". However, it's just REALLY boring.

There's no flavor whatsoever. If you wanted to do a more free approach to character creation/advancement, I think there's better ways to do it. Have characers choose their archetype, and simply require that every advance be justified in character. Essentially, anything that's not in the advancement tree would be an Elite Advance, waiving the additional xp fee. That is functionally the same as your system but provides a little more flavor than just "everything is the same cost, make whatever you want".



#5 Tom Cruise

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Posted 08 May 2013 - 07:12 PM

I can see where you're coming from, but the thing is my goal WAS to strip it of all the "fluff". Essentially, I made this for groups like mine, who are focused on the roleplay aspects of the game to the point that the lack of fluff doesn't affect them in the slightest, as they provide it themselves. It's difficult to use archetypes or any sort of pre-packaged background without pigeonholing to some extent. I want complete freedom in character concept, not just mechanics.

I get that this kind of system isn't for everyone, but it works for my group, and that's my priority. I just thought I'd share it for whoever wants to use it themselves.



#6 MADDOGmjb

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Posted 09 May 2013 - 06:28 AM

Fair enough. I'm not trying to dissuade you or your group from playing the game how you enjoy it best. I'm trying to motivate you to improve your system, though I think it's fine as it is. I'm sure your guys enjoy the elegant stripped-down simplicity that you're allowing them.

I'm interested to see someone else's opinion of your system.



#7 Morangias

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Posted 18 July 2013 - 10:12 AM

Strangely, as much as I was a fan of the classless advancement when BC came out (and still adore how neatly the Alignment system handles things), I've recently realized that building DH characters by sifting through a dozen books for background packages, elite advancements and alternate Ranks gives me much more joy, and makes me end up with character ideas I'd probably never have got on my own.

 

That's not to dissuade you from your idea. If it works for you and your group, go for it! Personally, were I to convert DH to a table-less system, I'd have stuck with the Aptitudes system from OW and added a few unique Talents to each Career to maintain the elements of choice and the theme of everyone contributing something different to the team.


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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