Soloman reacted to N0-1_H3r3 in So what do you think would happen?
I've only seen this because it was quoted, and I'll try and restrain the more vitriolic parts of my vocabulary... Personally speaking, I incorporate the Heresy material as much as possible because I regard it as the 'closest-to-truth'. I've thought on the best way to express this approach, and have finally come to something.
40k background is perceptual, rather than factual - there's no facts in any 40k source, only perceptions and opinions, the equivalent of witness testimonies and historical treatises, subject to authorial bias, misremembered details, and incomplete understandings of the details.
That in mind, I regard the Heresy material (produced by both Black Library and Forge World) as akin to eyewitness testimony on the events of the Unity, Crusade, and Heresy eras, while 40k sources (collectively representing perceptions from ten thousand years later) are closer to historical texts on ancient events, influenced by generations of misconception, bias, and revisionism (history is written by the victors, as the saying goes).
The two are not mutually exclusive - the events of the Heresy as understood by the contemporary Imperium are more important to the shape of the Imperium than the events as they actually happened.
As I understand the original Imperium (as opposed to the second Imperium built from the ashes of the first), there are a few considerations to make. The Age of Strife represents, at least on Terra, a time of brutal internecine warfare driven by nationalist or religious sentiment, the greed of tyrants, and the wages of sorcery. The notions of faith, magic, and daemons are sources of distress on Terra, so along comes the Emperor, slaying the tyrants, and crushing the churches (this can be seen in Graham McNeill's short story "The Last Church" in Tales of Heresy), 'saving' people from the 'darkness of superstition'.
It's really good propaganda, and like a lot of wartime propaganda, being brash and overt and extremely direct is desirable; there's little room for nuance or political debate. The notion of Imperial Truth - the triumph of reason over superstition, and the banishment of the Long Night (the colloquial term for the Age of Strife) - is a way to 'preach' the expulsion of religion from this new society, a faith for the faithless.
But that kind of thing is never entirely effective. Belief in the Imperator-Dei, the Emperor-as-God, springs up quickly in the wake of the burning of old faiths, and isolated pockets of old worshippers continued their practices as best they could in silence. Faith cannot be killed so easily.
So, with Terra united under the Emperor's banner, his attentions return to Mars. While the details are couched in mystery and mythology, the Emperor is believed to have imprisoned the Void Dragon - defeated in the distant past by the Emperor (and presented as the origin of the "George and the Dragon" myth) - beneath the surface of Mars. He'd had plans for the Red Planet for a very long time. His return to Mars is a show of grandeur and spectacle, an act to demonstrate his power and the righteousness of his rule. Mars is invaluable - it has infrastructure and manufacturing capabilities that Terra does not, having not only maintained industry but also sent exploratory missions into the galaxy during the Age of Strife (founding the earliest Forge Worlds).
Their faith is, on the surface, incompatible with Imperial Truth, but the Martians are insular and secretive, and their religion is focussed on knowledge and understanding. The Cult Mechanicus, then as today, is a mystery cult, with its members granted knowledge through elevation, and elevation through knowledge - its adherents do not preach or proselytize, and they do not seek converts because their beliefs are built upon the idea of knowledge only being for the worthy.
The Mechanicum of Mars can keep their faith, because it is a faith in science, and because the Martians are too valuable to the future of the Imperium to war against. As the novel Mechanicum suggests, belief in the Emperor-as-Omnissiah seems to be one of the defining differences between those who sided with Horus and those who remained loyal to the Imperium - those who turned had become resentful of the strictures of the Treaty of Mars, while those who remained loyal believed the Emperor to be the living embodiment of their faith.
During the early days of the Imperium, Lorgar Aurelian, Golden Son of the Emperor and Primarch of the Word Bearers, penned a work that would define the nascent and scattered 'cult of the God-Emperor' - the Lectio Divinitatus, a holy book for a new religion that was spreading with every expedition and exploratory mission. His words - and the credo that "The Emperor Protects" - are widespread but hidden, existing even amongst the serfs and crew of Astartes vessels (because of the Emperor is divine, so too must his children).
While Lorgar eventually turns from the religion he once supported, the belief persists in those who had found it. When the Heresy breaks out, some Traitors tend to take worship of the Emperor as vindication of their beliefs that the Imperium is corrupt, while believers in the Emperor's divinity regard Horus' betrayal as being not only reprehensible, but blasphemous.
While the Heresy novels do not yet provide the full details - we're not even half-way through a conflict that spanned hundreds of thousands of worlds and many years - we know a few things about the end of the war.
Malcador was dead, having given his life to take the Emperor's place on the Throne while the Master of Mankind confronted Horus. The Emperor was installed in the Golden Throne, safeguarding mankind in near-death. The remaining Primarchs were embittered and fractious, uncertain of how to proceed. Sanguinius - beloved by all, and closest to the Emperor in spirit and vision - was dead, and the leadership he had provided during the war was gone (this is covered in Codex Blood Angels as well as "The Unremembered Empire"; Sanguinius was chosen to lead the loyalists, the second Warmaster). The next few decades were spent clinging to the ruins of the Emperor's dream and purging all trace of the traitors from the galaxy - an age known as the Scouring. The Imperium was in ruins... and only one thing, really, had survived the desolation, in spite of everything.
Faith. Belief in the Emperor's divinity amongst those still loyal to the Imperium had managed to persist, giving people something to hold on to as daemons and monsters waged war on the Imperium.
And, while it took time - it would be centuries before the earliest form of the Adeptus Ministorum would form - this faith in the Emperor became the bedrock of Imperial unity.
In a way, the Imperium from after the Heresy isn't the same civilisation as the one that the Emperor founded. It's a civilisation built from the ruins of the Emperor's dream, and one that only superficially resembles the empire that was forged by the Legiones Astartes during the Great Crusades. It is an empire built upon forgotten lies, and misremembered truths, and an incomplete, fractured interpretation of an immortal's vision.
Soloman reacted to N0-1_H3r3 in So what do you think would happen?
I started out in 1993, early in 2nd edition (I was seven, nearly eight at the time), but my access to materials back then was limited. Still, looking back on it, the 2nd edition material is a lot less bleak and grim than the material that preceded and succeeded it - RT-era was an eclectic mix of whatever dark sci-fi and fantasy inspired the authors originally, which slowly coalesced into something more, but I tend to find a lot of the 2nd edition material, while great for expanding a lot of the details, somewhat bland in terms of tone. I'm far more comfortable with the overly-grandiose and "more dark fantasy than science fiction" tone that came from 3rd edition onwards, particularly the tendency to present things much more in an "in-universe" style, though the quantity of details was lacking during that period. Similar can be seen with Warhammer Fantasy - the early form of the setting (still preserved in 1st edition WFRP material) was dark humour and eclectic low fantasy, the middle period (4th and 5th edition WFB) was bright red in every sense, while 6th edition onwards (including WFRP 2nd and 3rd editions) have tended back towards the darkness of the earlier editions, but with a greater allowance for epic heroism in spite of the gloom.
Broadly, I'm a neophile in this regard - I like new ideas and new developments and new interpretations, and I like the challenge of an expanding worldview, adapting my pet theories and personal interpretations with each new addition. All through my time working on this little corner of the 40k universe, I'd refer to old material frequently, but always with an eye to how it should fit the tone of the setting today, and often alongside newer sources - for example, a major inspiration for a lot of the White Scars and Salamanders rules in First Founding were novels, Codex entries, and the Index Astartes articles about those Chapters, but I looked back to the Rogue Trader material I've collected to see if there were any valuable nuggets of information to draw upon even further back (turns out, most of the modern depiction of the White Scars only dates back as far as the late 90s - then-White Dwarf Editor Paul Sawyer defined much of their style with his own army, in the early days of 3rd edition 40k, while a lot of the Salamanders material with any detail comes from the Third Armageddon War campaign).
Soloman reacted to N0-1_H3r3 in Dark Heresy Second Edition Review
This is purely speculation on my part, but I'm pretty sure that the 'paid beta' is due mainly to a licence restriction. The Star Wars RPG betas are only sold as printed books, which seems like a similar (but stricter) restriction - it's a compromise between FFG wanting to do an open playtest, and the companies that own the IP not wanting anything "given away for free" (and in the Star Wars case, Disney not wanting anything sold as PDFs). Remember, FFG play in a lot of other people's sandboxes. This places constraints and results in some unpleasant decisions.
I don't expect you to listen - honestly, I don't think you've ever actually paid attention to any opinions other than your own during any discussion on this board that I've been involved in (I still recall your utter outrage that The Soul Reaver had an adventure in it, when it was written, developed, and marketed as an adventure book, or your apparent abject fury that the contents of the wargame codices haven't been perfectly translated over to the RPGs in a single book. I wasn't involved in the development of Dark Heresy. This is purely my interpretation of events from an outside perspective, albeit one with experience of how the industry - and FFG in particular - work.
Dark Heresy 2nd edition is designed and developed. The not-quite-end-result is the first version of the Beta, which was released to a polarised community - some people loathed it, some people loved it. It needed work, yes... but that's the point of beta testing.
At some point during this, the outcry against the new rules was such that the decision was made to drop numerous elements of it. However, games development is time consuming and expensive, and deadlines don't go away just because you need to go back and redo some things. There wasn't the time to go back and rebuild the scrapped elements from scratch - even rewriting only a quarter of the book is a couple of months work and several thousand Dollars spent just on writing (based on FFG's standard page layouts and the higher writer's rate for their experienced writers). Failing to get the game out by GenCon is a significant problem as one of the bigger RPG publishers in what is basically a cottage industry, so time is a concern.
So the second playtest's changed material is now taken from the Only War rules - which, given that a significant portion of the community had been calling for "compatibility with previous games", seems like a reasonable decision to make. It's also a **** sight quicker and cheaper than starting from scratch. Elements of that were further changed during the second beta - the psychic power rules are now in a new iteration from where they were at the start of Beta 2, for example.
Copy-pasting... it's a surprisingly valuable technique when you're considering cross-game compatibility, because having three versions of a rule say slightly different things in three different books causes problems. I will admit to having done it, though I always endeavoured to paraphrase, and to write the text out again rather than actually using Copy-and-Paste. When you're doing discrete chunks of rules in repeated format - such as individual psychic powers, copy and pasting the format each time saves a lot of time that could be spent on content rather than structure. It's a useful tool in the right hands.
DH2 does seem rushed, yes. I won't refute that - that's my opinion of it too. But I also understand the reasons for it being in this situation - a community that was utterly divided over a set of changes, and who have remained divided after FFG chose to listen to one section of the community, because there is literally nothing that FFG could have done that would have appealed to everyone... and trying to appeal to everyone tends to mean that you fail to appeal to anyone.
What I'm still wondering about is why people stick around. Because honestly, if all you're going to do is fill threads with this same argument... what's the point?
Soloman reacted to N0-1_H3r3 in Dark Heresy Second Edition Review
A 400 page rulebook at FFG's standard words-per-page for the 40k books is roughly 335,000 words. A quarter of that is 83,750 words. Assuming you only get one person to work on it, that's doable in a month if you're quick or you push at it. It's obviously quicker if you've got a few people working at it, but that comes with its own issues, namely ensuring that everything fits together again once it's been rewritten by that small team of people. Thing is, games development isn't just writing - there's a lot of work that slows down the process of putting words on the page. Not to mention that most writers I know will be juggling multiple projects or fitting in the writing alongside a full-time job (with the exception of the last couple of things I wrote for FFG, everything I did for the 40kRPGs was done in evenings and weekends around my day job) because RPG writing really doesn't pay very well. It's a labour of love.
And that's just the writing. That doesn't cover approvals and all the other things that get done to a manuscript after the writer has handed it in. A couple of months overall seems a reasonable estimate.
Soloman reacted to N0-1_H3r3 in Dark Heresy Second Edition Review
Not quite. Only War was changed to a standalone game early enough in the process that it was given a full development cycle. I worked on it, and there was never a point during my time working on it where it was anything other than a full-blown game. That change happened much, much earlier. DH2 changed tack during the beta. That's late in the process.
Yeah, money. Because making books is expensive, and it is only getting more expensive. Because a company is only as successful as its cash flow, and having a load of money coming in that hasn't arrived yet doesn't help if you've got bills to pay now. Because not selling the book you've spent tens of thousands of Dollars producing means that you've got copies sat in a warehouse costing you even more money, or copies sat on store shelves not selling, which makes those retailers less likely to order copies of your next book for fear of having more stock they've bought but can't sell. The profit margins on RPG books are tiny, and because the global market for even a big RPG like D&D or 40k is tiny, print runs are small. This drives up costs-per-unit more, because you can't afford to print too many more than you need in case they don't sell and just end up costing more money to store.
GenCon is like Christmas for hobby games publishers. Getting a game out at GenCon means it sells more, it gets attention in the biggest hobby gaming event in the world (I'd say press attention, but there is almost no actual hobby games press), and it makes the company look better because they've got shiny new things to sell to the tens of thousands of people who've travelled from all over the world to be there. It's like movie studios and computer game publishers announcing their new titles at SDCC - it's the way to get a lot of good attention.
Soloman reacted to N0-1_H3r3 in What happened to 2nd edition?
D&D actually has some very solid historical reasons for including encumbrance rules, even if the reasons for those rules are no longer as applicable as they once were.
The original version of D&D - being more a particular form of wargame than an RPG as we might understand them today - contained a number of basic principles no longer present in the game that heavily influenced the style of the game. The main one is very straightforward: you don't get XP from killing monsters, you get it from bring home the gold. Gold = XP. Overcoming and avoiding threats was the principal focus of the game, and you were never expected to enter a fair fight unless somebody made a mistake - you scouted out locations, used henchmen and hirelings to provide backup, and learned from past experience (the idea of metagaming - using out of character knowledge to influence in-character decisions - didn't exist, and players were expected to learn from their characters experiences with regards to which monsters were the biggest threats and how to face them). The likelihood of character death is so high because facing threats head-on with a plucky four-man-band of heroes is - in context - really, really stupid.
Gold as XP leads naturally to encumbrance - if gold and other treasures have weight and encumbrance, then there's a limit to how much you can carry before you're slowed down. Being slowed down meant that you faced greater risk on the return journey: more chances for a random encounter to spoil your day, because the journey took longer. So characters can only carry so much because it means they have to make meaningful decisions about how much to carry home (and thus how much they can gain from the adventure).
The game's tone and style has changed over the editions, which has made elements like the encumbrance system less relevant than they once were, and this impacts games which can trace elements of their style and tone to early D&D (which includes 40kRP games, as they're derived from WFRP which in turn takes a lot from early D&D).
As for "if it's not useful, don't use it"... honestly, that's been a part of RPGs since the beginning - D&D owes its roots to Free Kriegspiel, a form of wargaming where the players barely interact with the rules directly (the referee's job is to interpret player decisions within the framework of the rules, in order to speed up the game). As most RPG concepts, particularly more traditional ones like the 40kRPGs, owe most of their style to D&D, this seems quite relevant. Within that context, the rules are meant as a tool for the GM to use for resolving the players' actions and decisions - they're not like the rules of a board game, where they're procedures for play which are always applicable, but more akin to a set of guidelines to be adapted to whatever circumstances arise during play. Obviously, different games naturally approach things differently, but it's always worth considering the origins of the form.
Soloman reacted to N0-1_H3r3 in What happened to 2nd edition?
I note that you completely ignored a fairly pertinent sentence in the post you responded to: "That consideration, IMO, should heavily influence the way we evaluate and consider RPGs. Consider each medium on its own merits, rather than imposing the standards of one medium on another."
I'm not saying that an RPG cannot be critiqued, nor have I made any attempt to do so. You're the one choosing to infer that from my posts, and argue against that particular strawman. I'm saying that the criteria under which we regard RPGs should consider that an RPG is fundamentally more a toolkit than a complete product - an RPG rulebook is the tools with which people play an RPG, rather than being the game in its own right. Criticism of RPGs - which isn't exactly a flourishing field of game journalism - should account for the fact that an RPG ruleset is different to other kinds of game.
Now, I'm going to back out of this pitiful excuse for a discussion, because it's honestly not worth the time or effort to remain even slightly involved in this relentless bitching.
Soloman reacted to N0-1_H3r3 in Modifying Weapons
There's colossal room for nuance when it comes to the Adeptus Mechanicus and their monopoly on technological knowledge. Fundamentally, it's difficult to say anything meaningful about the Adeptus Mechanicus that isn't riddled with exceptions and sub-clauses, due primarily to the fact that it is as much a collection of feudal/technocratic fiefdoms built around a Mystery Cult (that is, in the Greco-Roman tradition, a religion where only initiates are permitted to engage in rites and rituals) as it is anything else.
As enshrined in the acts of the Emperor Himself during the earliest days of the Imperium (it's arguable that the Imperium did not exist until the alliance between Terra and Mars was established), the Priesthood of Mars are the guardians of technological knowledge. It is law, it is scripture, it is a fundamental and unshakeable part of the way the Imperium has operated for more than a hundred centuries.
An aside here - this is often a difficult thing to grasp with 40k. Ten millennia is a colossal length of time. It's a length of time that eclipses recorded human history, and stretches back to eras only theorised about by anthropologists. The founding of the Imperium is as far away from the people of the late 41st Millennium as the discovery of agriculture is from us. More than that, the people of the Imperium - are further away from us chronologically than we are from the first human civilisations. The human frame of reference in the 41st Millennium is the Imperium, and it has been the Imperium for so many generations that the very notion of a time before the Imperium is so ephemeral as to be entirely irrelevant - eras before the coming of the Emperor are myths, eras of darkness and despair to be banished by the Master of Mankind.
Back to the topic at hand. Technology is a nebulous term at best, and one that incorporates basically everything from stone knives, the 'domestication' of fire, and the invention of clothing. The Mechanicus cannot possibly have an absolute monopoly on all technology - it is utterly impossible. What they can have is a culture of intellectual isolationism.
As mentioned before, the Adeptus Mechanicus is built around a Mystery Cult - the only members of the religion are initiates. Knowledge is heavily restricted within the Cult Mechanicus, with every rank of power coming with a commensurate level of knowledge and understanding. Knowledge is power in the Cult Mechanicus, literally - those who are knowledgeable gain in power, and thus in knowledge. This priesthood is the ruling body on all Forge Worlds, and the hierarchy of the Cult Mechanicus also becomes the government of the domains of the Adeptus Mechanicus. Each Forge World is ruled by a single Archmagos, a ruling priest who commands subordinate Magi and other members of the ruling priesthood (Magi, Genetors, Artisans, and Logi), who each in turn command subordinate members of the ordinary priesthood (Electro-priests, Enginseers, Transmechanics, Lexmechanics, and Rune Priests). Every Priest - ordinary or ruling - will possess a dedicated attendant force of non-initiated labourers, menials, thralls, servitors, and so forth. Ruling Priests will logically have far larger workforces, and have the authority and influence to maintain a standing defensive force (Skitarii).
Incidentally, this a good justification as to why Skitarii are so difficult to define as any single thing - every force is subject to the particular proclivities of the Ruling Priest that owns them, rather than to some centralised military authority.
The Cult Mechanicus communicates using the Lingua Technis - a distinct language from the various forms of Gothic that are spoken in the wider Imperium. Several novels over the last few years have put forward that the Lingua Technis isn't rendered as a traditional spoken language (or 'fleshvoice' - a language capable of being pronounced by an unaugmented human being), but is rather presented in high-capacity bursts of binary code projected and processed as sound. This makes a lot of sense from the perspective of the Mechanicus - two Tech-Priests can communicate large amounts of precise information very quickly using bursts of binary, which has the added advantage that the uninitiated (those without the necessary implants to process that noise as data) cannot hope to understand what they're saying. Trying to eavesdrop on Tech-Priests (already defined as a group who keep secrets from outsiders) is akin to trying to read a DVD by staring at it - the information is in no form that you are able to process.
The thing with language, of course, is that it shapes culture. The Adeptus Mechanicus are the guardians of technology. There's obviously a cut-off with regards to what is defines as "technology" here, because clearly you don't need a Tech-Priest to make fire or bash things with sharpened rocks. The ideal point is any period where humanity develops machines that function in a sufficiently complex way that it takes a reasonable amount of instruction and education to understand how they actually work. That's the ideal point for the Adeptus Mechanicus to step in. The development of the STC is a particularly good one, as Mars was supposedly the birthplace of STC technology anyway (and thus maintained STC technologies during the Age of Strife, while Terra, which had no such technological 'safety net' reverted to barbarism)
On a cultural level, anything beyond a particular level of sophistication is the preserve of the Adeptus Mechanicus. It is their responsibility to maintain such machines. Manufacturing certain technologies for widespread use can be licensed out, provided to outsiders under the oversight of an initiate into the Cult Mechanicus (manufactories producing Lasguns or Chimeras under the watchful optics of a Tech-Priest), and technologies used on a massive scale need instruction to use and maintain properly.
I've always imagined that this works in a couple of ways. Workers who interact with machines regularly are given simple instructions for care and use of those machines - the machines are, afterall, more valuable than the people operating them. These instructions are clear, step-by-step instructions for specific tasks, performed by rote. You don't need to know how the lighting in your home works to change a lightbulb, afterall. That these process instructions are framed as litanies and rites emphasises the importance of them to a civilisation defined by their collective faith and superstition. Whether or not a person believes in the 'machine spirit' isn't relevant - what matters is that the instructions contained within the litanies work. More complex repair and maintenance tasks may be handled by lay-technicians - people given the responsibility for doing all the technical jobs that are too menial for an actual Tech-Priest to do. Tech-Priests themselves are widespread, but they're also busy both with their duties to the wider Imperium and with their own research into the mysteries of technology.
Machine spirits are, of course, a highly contentious matter on their own. I personally take it that while some 'machine spirits' are a convenient anthropomorphism of technology (no different from chastising your car or your computer when it doesn't work properly - the device has no persona to appeal to, yet so many people do it anyway - or characterising the particular flaws and quirks of a machine as 'likes' and 'dislikes'), others are automated systems that subtly influence a machine's function. The largest and most complex devices - Land Raiders, Astartes aircraft, Titans, and Spacecraft - have vast arrays of cogitators and organic pseudo-brains that give the machine rudimentary autonomy akin to the mind of a trained animal, allowing them to be interfaced with more simply - a Titan's Princeps communes with his Engine as a cavalryman might interact with his steed - and which tend to pick up stray neural patterns from past users over centuries, giving them a personality of sorts.
Thing is, for so many generations, this has been the case. The most complex technologies have been the preserve of the Adeptus Mechanicus for so long that many of the terms used to describe them no longer exist in the common vocabularies of Gothic. The Cult Mechanicus have their own exactingly-precise terminology for such concepts and systems, but that terminology is in a language that unaugmented humans can't process, let alone understand. There's a language barrier restricting the access of technology, and this is just how the Cult Mechanicus wants it - you can't share the Cult's secrets if the secrets you know can only be accurately expressed in a language that nobody outside the Cult can possibly understand you.
The Tech-Priests themselves aren't superstitious, but rather instinctively obstructive - they build complex machines that lack the user-friendly interfaces we're accustomed to in order to put a barrier between people and machines. They interface with cogitator networks through neural data-shunts and noospheric perception and haptic response systems, because the idea of putting it on a screen where anyone can read it is both inefficient (why waste processing power presenting information in a form that flesh can comprehend?) and dangerous (only the chosen few need to perceive this data). They talk - to the uninitiated - about machine spirits and rites and litanies partly because it's the way that the Mechanicus chooses to communicate a select amount of knowledge with outsiders and partly because the fact that the actual technical knowledge is in a language that doesn't directly translate to Gothic makes any other way of presenting ideas in a 'fleshvoice' even more inefficient. They're initiates into a Cult of secrets... so there's a large degree of deliberate obfuscation and being deliberately mysterious when it comes to the Adeptus Mechanicus. And, of course, the biggest secret there is that the Mechanicus have gaps in their knowledge - their understanding of the 'canon' of STC data is incomplete, with elements pieced together from scavenged schematics, fragments of data on ancient storage devices, and reverse-engineered relics, and new finds are carefully scrutinised for their authenticity and purity of purpose before being accepted into the STC canon (I use 'canon' here in the traditional religious sense - consequently, you could infer that illicit technology is apocryphal). The Quest for Knowledge - the fundamental goal of the Cult Mechanicus - is driven by the pursuit of knowledge, with the basic notion that all knowledge already exists, it merely needs to be recovered and understood.
Yes, humans outside the Adeptus Mechanicus will dabble with machinery and study the sciences of old. If they get caught, odds are that their research will be stolen and their bodies will be repurposed into a Servitor (because you never know when someone will stumble onto a good idea). But there are far too many of these petty Hereteks around for even the tinest fraction of them to be stopped. So curious people will carry on experimenting with technology, especially in places far from a Tech-Priest's unblinking cybernetic gaze. It doesn't always end well, because manufacturing processes for the most advanced technologies are relatively inefficient compared to how they were in ancient days, so a lot of the best technology is less reliable than it should be.
Soloman reacted to guest308838 in Actual Tank-Based Campaigns...?
I gm’ed a long running rpg campaign about a French Gearkrieg walker crew. Their main roles were reconnaissance, infantry support and anti-walker/vehicle. By mixing & matching these main roles, you could create diverse adventures.
If you limit your tank-based campaign to massed tank battles, you indeed run the risk of repetitive encounters. My advice would be to focus on single tank adventures as much as possible.
While ideally tanks are used in platoons or companies (for mutual support), in reality often single tanks are used for a variety of tasks.
You can have your tank support infantry on a variety of missions including city fighting, enemy emplacement suppression and whatnot.
You can have your tank escort vital convoys. They can be attacked by a chasing mad max style pack, face a road block or encounter fleeing civvies. Each adventure would be distinctly different yet still based on an escort mission.
You can have your tank perform reconnaissance which includes getting out of the tank for a closer look (which can lead to many nice dismounted missions). FYI, German WWII tank battalions had actual tank reconnaissance platoons because they could properly determine if terrain was suitable for tanks (which half-track recon couldn’t) and were less vulnerable to enemy fire.
The Germans in WWII would use tanks on flatbed railcars as gun emplacements to provide firepower to trains traveling through partisan country…These could be obsolete tanks or tanks on their way to frontline units. Once again, this basic mission could lead to numerous variants; the railroad is blocked, a station is occupied by the enemy, fuel hasn’t arrived and the train is stalled, a senior officer halts the train and commandeers the escort troops to (re)capture a town/free his general etc…
Another fun variation is having your vehicle commandeered….Senior officers would commandeer a tank if their own was disabled. There are examples of tank advances in which a depleted (German) company attacks. Due to breakdowns and losses, the final assault it finally undertaken by 1 company commander and his 4 platoon commanders, all riding commandeered tanks…
Having a gung-ho or cowardly senior officer “take over” your tank for a while is a nice change of pace…
Just add (dismounted) adventure options to these military missions and you have a fun game.
In the end, you are not simulating an actual tank unit. You are out to have fun. So adventures need not be confined to what is logical for a tank but squarely aimed at what is fun, with or without the tank!
Soloman reacted to Chaplain in Actual Tank-Based Campaigns...?
Check out "lebanon" movie - while recieving mixed feedback because of real-world political issues it is basically a ready-to-play superheavy tank crew adventure on the battlefields of spinward front with npc's, pre-generated characters and a good storyline.
Totally agree with Torog - check out that movie.
Now, if you have enough material for inspiration and are writing your very own tank campaign you might want to consider the following:
-Combined arms warfare and warrior brotherhood. That flyboy you voxed for desperate danger close airstrike is the guy you rescued from behind enemy lines with a swift strike towards crash site. Those truck colums you escort through the hostile territory are mechanics - those guys with faces and uniforms black from sacred oils, without whom you would never even start your engine.
-To hell and back. Either sent on a recon mission or cut off from your main force the tank and its crew are alone on enemy territory with limited fuel, ammo and provision unless they get it somehow. Oh, and your Comrade is wounded - none of you tankboys are good at medicae, but even that dumb main gun loader understands that if you don't get him to friendly hospital he's dead.
-Furnace of war. Tank campaigns allow you to affect the outcome of events on a strategic level if you are spearheading a massive assault, making a breakthrough for huge masses of infantry surrounded by enemy or providing support for awe-inspiring avatars of Machine God. Well, even if you are just rolling dices most of the time you can do it with pathos and gravitas.
- In a trench-rat's shoes. Yup, that's cheating but if the tank can no longer fight but the crew makes their escape - it is a good opportunity for a short change of style in an ongoing tank campaign.
- Innocence proves nothing. You were having good time with your hellhound tank, and when the major said we're going to redeploy somewhere for combined ops with sisters of battle you, having not seen a woman for 2 years now, believed it to be a good thing. But you got yourself an archbishop with unhealthy fire in his eyes for operation commander, zealots who value your life only slightly more than that of an enemy for brothers-in-arms and mass murder of barely armed civilian population of a city with flamethrowers for mission objectives. This is not the war you are used to and there is more and more evidence that whole operation is either a huge mistake or deliberate set up made by some heretic trying to make his bloody sacrifice and frame you
Soloman reacted to Fgdsfg in Chirurgeon .. what is that about?
In my own system, I devised a system for "special uses" and added an additional way to use skills, called "Composite Skill Test".
Basically, for some actions, you need to have multiple skills, and you test at the lowest of that skills. I'll give an example from my Skill Texts document, I just need to find it first...
When I get around to Medicae, I'm definitely going to do things like forensics. Also, I used Embalmeer instead of the Embalmer that is in DH1, but Mortifactor sounds way better.
Soloman reacted to GauntZero in Chirurgeon .. what is that about?
The way I handle this, is that you need to have a matching scholastic lore skill or trade to use certain sub-skills.
So no Chemistry use of medicae, if you dont have SL (chymistry), no autopsy without trade (mortifactor), no logic-decyphering without SL (cryptology) and no repairing with Tech-Use without CL (Tech) or even better trade (Technomat) for complex issues.
This works quite well for our group.
Soloman reacted to gdiddy in What happened to 2nd edition?
What happened? FFG was afraid of angering their base by changing too much. They listened to the loudest complainers and took the least risky option. They released a bland copy paste of an existing product with new fluff and had the temerity to charge $60 for this lazy product. Adding insult to injury, they bound it with squig spit.
At Gencon, they realized they had a turd in the bed with DH2e. They treated it like the failure of design and imagination it was, whispering its announcement like a Xanthite invoking his first daemon.
I'll be the first to admit that the char gen and fluff is good. But these are literally the only parts that were not Ctrl+V from other FFG books. It's a shame Huckelbery and Gerber made such a mistake motivated by fear.
I have heard it theorized that since GW is currently looking at another quarter of horrible sales, the entire 40k property is on shaky ground. The FFG license might not survive a GW merger or buy off. It just doesn't make sense for FFG to care about a shaky license that is not that popular when they can rake in the cash star wars and game of thrones.
I bought Dark Heresy, Rogue Trader, and Only War books. I might borrow DH2 from a friend who is foolish with their money.
Soloman reacted to Nimsim in What happened to 2nd edition?
I had one post get erased by accident, so I'll be brief. The beta forum had 2-3 dozen posters on it, and only about 2-5 people mentioned wanting to just have Only War rules. There were several people (about 2-5) responding to that saying that they would not find a book like that worth buying. In other words, public feedback only had a minority of people wanting to just have Only War rules.
You have to make the same amount of assumptions to conclude that private feedback significantly differed from public feedback as you do for most of the other explanations. I think it's dumb to conclude that the reason for the rules change was done out of spite. However, the idea that FFG was running behind on its beta, concluded that lots of people disliked it, and decided to just scrap almost everything and re-use old assets is more reasonable.
So unless FFG speaks about what kind of feedback they received or how their design decisions were made, this is just going to remain a mystery.
Soloman reacted to Covered in Weasels in What happened to 2nd edition?
I think FFG has taken the BC/OW rules to their highest evolution at this point. If they want to make a better rule set, they have to throw out backwards compatibility to fix everything that has been wrong with the system from the start. Making a new game system is hard and I understand why FFG took the course they did, but I was still disappointed when they reverted to an OW clone and discarded any and all good parts of the beta.
The different Perils tables for each discipline, reworked weapon stats, and changes to Fear and Burning are particularly missed.
Soloman reacted to Fgdsfg in What happened to 2nd edition?
If you want to be cynical about it, what basically happened was that people had very strong, very legitimate complaints about a wide range of changes, and when poked at, someone in charge felt insulted or indignant, and instead they copy-pasted Only War.
As Adeptus-B said, they pretty much threw the baby out with the bathwater. While the combat system in the DH2 Beta was wonky as all hell, the Action Point system could easily have worked well, the Fatigue system was better, etc, etc, etc. The DH2 Beta had some really good ideas and a lot of really terrible ones - and they ended up scrapping all of it.
And now we're back at trying to work out RAI between systems due to copy-paste inconsistencies (I'm a bit flabbergasted that Degrees of Failure/Success mechanics were never adjusted after BC/OW changed how it worked).
Soloman reacted to herichimo in Horde: Magnitude/Damage, Hits and Flame????
The first thing you need to know about hordes is the following:
A single point of magnitude, does not necessarily equal a single character.
A magnitude 30 horde of Fire Warriors may actually be only 10 characters.
On the other hand a magnitude 30 horde of Gaunts could easily be 30 of the buggers.
Then a 30 mag Horde of Rippers could be more kin to 60 or more (since they are swarms in the first place).
1 mag/body in every instance is just plain rediculous.
Magnitude is a thematic method to deliver large numbers of low quality (compared to Astartes) enemies without having to keep track of 100 individual characters. A 10 man squad of Fire Warriors could be M30 capable of making 3 shots a turn at +2D10 damage each, then later its only M29 so its nearly as tough to get rid of, but only makes 2 shots. By using the magnitude a GM can tailor and modify the enemies to suit the story he's trying to tell at the time.
The second thing to know is: You don't have to ALWAYS use magnitude.
Magnitude is there to help GMs represent large numbers of, what is essentially, combat fodder for space marines. In Dark Heresy a party is bound to fight on average 1-6 enemies at a time depending on power levels of the party and enemies. In Deathwatch, the kill team may end up fighting entire battalions at a time. Magnitude allows the GM to throw 100 or more enemies at the party without having to track and roleplay 100 individual characters. That being said, powerful characters, such as commanders etc. are not to be used as hordes. Sure they may attached to (or hide within) a horde but they are still their own single selves. Its also egregiously rediculous to have more than one commander in an area, if the only thing you can come up with to challenge your players is putting the most powerful units together into a horde to +1 the power and make them hard to kill - you need to talk with some other, more experienced GMs to come up with more convincing (and more difficult) challenges.
The Third thing is: Hordes are characters.
While they may be made up of many numbers of individual characters, when part of a horde they meld into one super-character. BUT, the horde can still do any of the things a normal character can do (excepting dodge or parry). They can use Defensive Fighting, Walking Fire, they can get and benefit from cover (as long as there is cover appropriate for the individuals making up the horde, and enough for them all), and any other special ability, talent, or equipment the idividuals have access to. The basic stipulation with hordes is the entire group is doing the same thing (think of a leader, demogogue, or simply group think driving their actions). The player characters are not the only characters able to use all the normal rules in the game, NPCs, even as Hordes, can as well.
The last thing is: Characters in hordes do not track their own wounds.
When using Hordes, you don't track all the damage you deal the horde. ONLY the number of Hits which would cause damage. This is why multiple magnitude/character in a horde is important. A frag grenade averaging 4 damage a hit on a squad of guys with 15 health each doesn't necessarily KILL all 6 or 8 guys the frag hits, but most if not all the characters in that Horde are suffering some kind of damage from fragmentation or blast which lowers their fighting ability. Hordes are more of a thematic tool than a precision one. It lets the GM paint a picture with all the things happening instead of simply being a stenographer for the other players. When using Hordes, you don't care how much damage an individual character takes, because it isn't about an individual, it's about the Horde as a whole. If the Horde breaks up and the individual characters are still around, you as the GM can give them however many remaining wounds and ammo you see fit to fit the narrative you were giving.
Brother Tragh tosses his frag grenade over the barricade into the enemy squad which is a M25 Horde. Brother Tragh does 9 Magnitude damage. The GM says, "Your grenade lands in the middle of the enemy unit and explodes. You see, of the two closest to the blast, one man is obviously dead and another seriously injured. You see several others sporting fresh wounds from fragmentation and some seem shell-shocked from the blast." The horde is droped to 16 magnitude which causes their attacks to do 1d10 less damage and one fewer attack, but the players can imagine it is because the enemies are all wounded and hurt, but not necessarily all dead.
DO NOT EVER TELL YOUR PLAYERS HOW MUCH MAGNITUDE A HORDE HAS. In fact, don't even tell them it's a Horde. Hordes are a tool for the GM, not a calculator for min-maxing players. When confronting a number of enemies simply tell them how many guys are there and, if they ask, if any of them seem part of obvious squads. Keep all the math and figuring to yourself, don't even tell them how much damage the player's attacks have dealt, instead describe to them how powerful the attack looked. If a single shot almost put a guy into crit you can say, "The shot tore through his shoulder and rent a large wound in him, but somehow he is still standing."
Soloman reacted to DJSunhammer in Need ideas for an extensive rebuild of Deathwatch
So a while back I decided to create an all new set of house rules for Deathwatch. My focus was largely on creating a better Aptitudes system and applying it to Deathwatch classes and Chapters. That was a relatively simple task, but it didn't take long for me to start adding a ton of extra stuff. I've redone a large part of the armory to be shaped more like the 40k TT rules and added some of the iconic flavor text (Eternal Warrior and Rapid Fire, oh my!) I think I managed to make a decent, simplified Wounds system and fixed the old DH 2.0 Rate of Fire rules in a positive way. But that isn't what I need help with.
When I started to rebuilt the classes I realized that I couldn't just stop there. I had to rewrite the basic character creation rules entirely, including every Chapter of Space Marines. To make matters worse, I decided that I didn't want to use the old, awkward power armor histories. What I've started doing is adding a set of four unique power armor histories for each Chapter. This is what I need the most help with, I've finished a few of the Chapters but I'm already out of ideas for new power armor histories and I want to start play testing these rules soon. I want to finish all of the Chapters before I start.
Here is a link to the Chapters page. I really wish I knew how to link to the Google Docs folder containing all of the material I've written, but apparently Google Docs got redone into something new and absolutely terrible.
Soloman reacted to Fgdsfg in What exactly constitutes an unaware target?
In a nutshell, it's never actually explained what constitutes an unaware target, to the best of my knowledge - it's left up to the GM.
That being said, I think it's ridiculous to say that because an opponent is engaged in combat, he is automatically aware of all enemies around him. It would be reasonable to assume that once you have attacked them from a certain direction or position, they would be aware of you, even if they cannot pin-point your location, and would do their best to avoid your attacks.
I would also say that it would be reasonable to say that if you are hiding in the general direction from which your friends are already attacking, they would be somewhat aware of you as a group attacking from a direction.
However, sneaking around at the periphery of a battlefield or going building to building, beating Awareness Tests, staying in concealment and taking pot-shots should absolutely be viable. I'm sad to say that there's really not much of an argument you can raise in terms of RAW, against your GM, but I cannot fathom why he would think that simply because someone is engaged in combat, they gain the Unnatural Senses Trait.
Soloman reacted to Minimejunior in Space Hulk- Only War to Dark Heresy
Outline of Campaign:
A great imperial fleet is about to make a warp jump onto a great crusade where glory for the imperium awaits. However, as they reach the Mandeville Point, an unrecognised ship is hanging just above a nearby planet. One ship is sent to investigate, confiscate any valuable assets and scuttle the ship before catching up with the rest of the fleet.
As the rest of the fleet makes the Warp jump, the ship (which he unfortunate players are upon) goes to investigate. Upon entering they find a peaceful community more then willing to act on the emperors work. But then things turn for the worse. Troops go missing, reports of fire fights acorss the ship. As for what starts as what appears to be a simple rabble of rebels with guns turns to be a cult.....a genestealer cult.
I later intend a Dark Heresy group sent by their inquisitor to ascertain the fate of certain personnel some years after the event of the only war campaign.
To run this, I am using various space hulk templates from the board game and different coloured lights in a dark room and will be downloading sounds to add the emphasis and even a countdown timer.
How does this sound to people? Positives/Negatives? Suggestions?
Soloman reacted to Kshatriya in Melted face. way to recover?
I dunno. Marines see horrible injuries all the time. I don't think it'd faze them in the same way it'd faze a woman on the street. I'd think seeing a commander who survived a terrible injury, bears the scars for it, and continues to serve nobly would be even more inspiring in some ways.
Soloman reacted to Old Man Winters in Your Funny Deathwatch Storys.
Just started up a campaign following Final Sanction with a Space Wolf Librarian, Black Templar Tactical, Dark Angel Apothecary and finally a Dark Angel Assault marine who decided to emulate Cypher by duel-weilding pistols and ignoring his jump pack.
They all did well and made it to the Broodlord's lair mostly intact despite leaving every pdf soldier/nobel/good hearted citizen to die in the campaign. The Broodlord began to wreck them proper, throwing the Templar against a wall and almost doing the same to the Space Wolf before Assault Marine saved him. Long battle short, it came down to the Apothecary to finish the Broodlord off, everyone else all but dead from the fight. Considering he only had a bolt pistol and a chainsword with a WS of 36 (rolled badly at character creation) and the Broodlord was only about half-dead, he decided to go balls to the wall.
Taking out the bomb he recovered from the rebels attempted bridge bombing a session before, he began to use every fate point he had to grapple the Broodlord and try to attach the bomb to it's chest. After being knocked down to three wounds, the bomb was finally attached and he rolled away to the edge of lair. Just to rub it in, our player wanted to do a one-liner before he set the bomb off. I gave it to him and he used the appropriate "It's been a blast..." line before clicking the button.
While the Broodlord died in a 80s action movie type of way, it also set off the promethium tanks located in the factory, causing the entire building to go up in flames. After much discussion, we all agreed that only the Apothecary survived the explosion in the end (a reward for the quick thinking and awesome one-liner). I gave them the option of burning a fate point but they turned down, figuring they just re-roll and impressed enough to let the Apothecary earn his Sole-Survivor Badass award.
Still trying to figure out how to do the follow up with Oblivion's Edge now that he is alone...maybe another Deathwatch team shows up? At this rate the Apothecary will just blow up the Hive Ship by himself, spouting another one-liner.