So, after being pretty frustrated with a certain 40K roleplaying system, I decided to give this thing a try and ran a game in our FLGS last night. Despite some setbacks, it went amazingly! It was only my third time running a Genesys game, so some of the confusion was on me - I do need a few seconds to interpret the particularly tricky pool every once in a while.
I ran the first session of my homebrew sandbox-ish adventure where the Acolytes are a freshly formed 'Last Resort' cell in a hive city on a world lying in the path of an oncoming Tyranid Hive Fleet. The (very, VERY) radical Inquisitor in charge has contacted them via a pre-programmed servo-skull, proposing a most sinister mission - the hive they're in must fall, so the rest of the planet starts crumbling down with it over the course of a few solar years; all just so the 'Nids are denied as much biomass as possible, all without the already stretched sector Navy having to spend resources on an Exterminatus. The cell was provided with info about a few most straightforward ways to 'glory' (overthrow the Hive governor and make sure a weaker one gets the local throne; indirectly support one of the local Chaos cults by wiping out two others; or just blow the entire place sky high), some additional background info on the city, and a pointer at a shuttle they will receive access codes to once the process gets going. A Void-Born Psyker, a Feudal World Guardsman, a Forge World Assassin, a Highborn Cleric and a Fortress World Arbiter started their common path to damnation or ascension there.
What followed was a rather tense confrontation between PCs about their agenda, culminating in a nice compromise plan of "Let's trash some cult or that one fight club in the Lower Hive, get recognition for it, use our acquired notoriety to get close to the governor and convince her to get off the planet with us; or just shoot her if she declines". In the middle of the planning process the party found their not-so-safehouse being attacked by a hired gang, whom the Acolytes proceeded to butcher with a well-thrown grenade and a liberal application of telekinesis, further getting info about the cult that hired the thugs from the unconscious body of the last surviving scum with telepathy. After that they pooled in their starting cash and spent most it on getting some bits and pieces of equipment from the black market and stormed the cult compound pretty thoroughly - only getting bogged down in the cult leader's private sanctum with his two Mutant Abominations blocking their path, almost killing the party's Cleric, but the firepower and liberal use of frag grenades eventually (barely) prevailed.
Well, that's the fluff out of the way. Now onto some mechanical aspects, from combined reactions of the players and me.
SYSTEM. All be damned, but the system in general works better for DH than the actual DH. In six hours of gameplay never was there a moment where a player felt as useless as they would be with a similar character in DH1e or 2e - they still failed miserably almost half the time, but it always made sense and led to tangible outcomes, propelling the story forwards. As a DM, it certainly helped me both keep up the desperate atmosphere and introduce just enough levity on the fly; while the players were definitely happy to feel their own agency even in failure, all by providing me with ideas on interpreting their results. So - a definite 'Aye' for Narrative Dice System there.
BALANCE. Haven't had any significant issues in one session, although Psychic Powers in general felt a little bit too potent to me - a psyker managed to come out of Character Creation with 2 points in both Telekinesis and Pyromancy and one more in Telepathy, hasn't failed a single psychic check over the course of the game, Pushed 3 times on every check and never ran into PotW. Devotional Icon psychic implement might be just a touch too strong IMO.
EQUIPMENT. Apart from the aforementioned Icon, the only issue I could point to would probably be the Variable weapon trait - after the three-mode lasguns in OW, this felt a bit lackluster. I would honestly expand it to give another mode - adding Pierce (+)1 and Unreliable on top of the first two Variable settings.
CHARACTER OPTIONS. Not too many, not too few, nicely done in general. Characters felt really distinct just with their own spreads of skills and tier 1 talents, even without Elite Advances being in play. A minor gripe one of the players voiced though was the absence of the mechanical differentiation of the languages present in the original FFG WH40K line - Low and High Gothic, Hive and Ship dialects and so on. I personally wouldn't be really bothered with it, but the obvious solution to me would be to put one or two languages as starting languages for each of the Home World options and have a separate Tier 1 talent to acquire more.
What would be nice, though, are some new uses of Story Points. I personally like how every human archetype in Genesys Core has their own unique way of interacting with those, and feel kinda bummed about there being so little additional use for Story Points in DH/Genesys. If nothing else, I'd come up with some way to use Story Points as minor (and major in case of SoB and such) acts of faith.
NARRATIVE TOOLS. Sadly, we haven't had the chance to test any of those yet (even the Fear checks were all successful), but I'm already eyeing up the Influence/Renown mechanics to use later. I'd probably keep them behind the scenes for now, just to use as guidelines for myself.
Well, to sum it all up, it was quite an outstanding experience for both me and the players. The gang agreed to play for a few weeks and we'll see where it brings their little cell.