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TheLostNavigator

Guilt

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Greetings

In a recent mission, my PCs were clearing the living quarters of a ship. Having found several families, innocents and pilgrims they moved on. One thing leading to another, they were forced to flee from a horde of mutants from the black holds, past the passageway leading to the innocent families. The last thing they saw was the horde spilling down the passage. My question being, should the recieve some sort of guilt penalty for allowing the death of 28 families of men women and children? The PC are new and lack ant insanity points, except for a mind cleansed assassin.

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I'd say ask them if their characters would feel bad about essentially guaranteeing the deaths of innocents. If they say something like, people die or no one is innocent then give them corruption. If they say yes, then give them insanity. They're also new to this sort of thing so maybe roll on the shock table. It's a good chance for a shard of memory on the mind cleansed assassin as well.

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Innocence proves nothing...

 

Seriously: If they have low/no IP this is a good time to maybe roll some Willpower and hand out a few IP for failing the test. If they have more IP I'd say they'd been through worse already.

 

Definitely not a Corruption issue; no cosmic evil, daemons, sorcery, or whatnot involved.

 

Good role-players can easily build some nice interaction between themselves and/or some NPCs over this event.

 

As a GM you might want to set up a similar situation in the future, where PCs have to chose between risking their mission or sacrificing the 'innocents'. If they remember their previous internal guilt trip it could create a memorable encounter.

 

Just some thought off the top of my head.

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The later effects of Corruption are definitely a result of the Warp - but I could see a GM assigning Corruption Points for a player character's "way of thinking" if he or she does not have any CP yet, as this would illustrate the purity of the mind slowly being eroded, essentially laying the foundation for actual Warp Corruption.

 

That's just my interpretation of what Corruption means, though, and that it can subconsciously be "invited" by a lack of morale.

 

 

This makes me wonder what level of Insanity Points would be "standard" for people living in the 41st millennium. Depending on where and how the player characters grew up, they may already be accustomed to "life being cheap", which is a fairly important element of the overall setting. Existing experiences - regardless of whether they have already existed before the campaign begun, or have been accumulated over past sessions - should certainly make it possible for characters to come away from something like this without suffering any mechanical repercussions.

 

It also reminds me of something I read in GW's own d100 Inquisitor game once:

 

Years of strict discipline and adherence to the chain of command make Imperial Guard Veterans ideal tools for an Inquisitor. The horrors of war and years of following orders have long since erased any thoughts of mercy or compassion and expunged the slightest trace of guilt or conscience. Veterans know that as long as they follow orders, they themselves are innocent of any sin they may commit.
Such men will follow orders to the letter, and an Inquisitor needs such ruthless and merciless servants on occasion; men who will fire on innocents if necessary, who will not baulk at killing the young, old and infirm if they are a threat. Alien domination, daemonic possession and heresy has no respect for those it affects, and an Inquisitor and his followers must be prepared to do whatever is necessary to overcome it.

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I'm with Green Knight: roll Willpower or gain Insanity Points.

Be very careful about bringing Corruption Points into things that don't have anything to do with the Warp. It isn't what they're designed for, and the result can easily become that your PCs gain CP much too fast.

This makes me wonder what level of Insanity Points would be "standard" for people living in the 41st millennium.

Well.. By RAW Hivers essentially start the game suffering from hypervigilance - a common symptom PTSD.

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I would never ever bring corruption into the equation when dealing with simple moral dilemmas. I know arguments can be made to the contrary, but to me corruption represents something deeper and more fundamental; it brings on bodily corruption and eventually you'll lose your humanity in a very literal sense. You don't get that for letting some innocents die. Especially not in the 41st Millennium.

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Was there anything the Acolytes could have done to prevent this? From the sound of things, even if they'd held the line, this would have happened anyways. Were this modern day, I could understand the insanity points, but..... Warhammer 40k? In the line of work an Inquisitor is in, having entire Hive cities of civilians wiped out isn't a massacre, it's Tuesday. Now granted, Acolytes are not fully trained Inquisitors, but I can't imagine the Inquisition wouldn't condition its Acolytes to deal with the "guilt" (I use guilt questionably here, as the Acolytes are not technically guilty if they couldn't have prevented this anyways) of losing civilian lives.

 

Now, if they stumble across what's left of the families after the fact, that might be a different matter entirely, but just being left with the understanding that a bunch of civilians just got killed doesn't necessarily seem like it'd be worth insanity points, or, if they have to make a Willpower test, would at least confer some manner of bonus.

 

Of course this is all hinging on the idea that the mutants were going to come and eat the families anyways, and that the Acolytes couldn't have stopped them anyways. I'd agree insanity points would be in order, if the Acolytes were directly to blame for it.

Edited by ColArana

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I wanted to give them some IP for the guilt of leaving the families, as they could have prevented it, but didn't, due to silly antics and want to give them some repercussion to them effectively failing the mission and having to be bailed out. I would definately consider this too minor an event to bother them IF they had some IP, but they are clean, aside from the Mind Cleansed, who will suffer IP due to the rush of shattered memories. I just wondered how far to take the 'life is cheap' theme.

I was thinking that the possible gain of corruption could be attributed to them attracting the gaze of Chaos, paving their path to damnation, but I think some minor IP shou,d be sufficient.

Thanks

Edited by TheLostNavigator

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Insanity points is not just a question of "how normal is it for you to see people die" (which is, even in the normal life of an imperial civilian, certainly not THAT often and that much), but how much it sits right in the head of the character. He saw a masse of inhuman things rushing towards them, killing anyone in their way without question and overwhelming the place. It is worth one or two insanity points for sure. 

My players gain IP for coldly executing prisoners in their first times. Then IP rises slower and slower.

That's why jaded is an important talent.

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Insanity points is not just a question of "how normal is it for you to see people die" (which is, even in the normal life of an imperial civilian, certainly not THAT often and that much), but how much it sits right in the head of the character. He saw a masse of inhuman things rushing towards them, killing anyone in their way without question and overwhelming the place. It is worth one or two insanity points for sure. 

My players gain IP for coldly executing prisoners in their first times. Then IP rises slower and slower.

That's why jaded is an important talent.

 

By this logic, all Space Marines must be stark raving lunatics that go around frothing at the mouth, given they regularly march into battle against masses of inhuman things, generally interesting in wiping out all life that isn't them. 

 

Let alone someone like Inquisitor Kryptman who seems to have made a career out of chasing inhuman space locusts that spit their own digestive systems as a weapon, and without the benefits of Space Marine augmentations.

 

You're right, these are things that would cause serious disturbances to normal Imperium civilians.

 

You are not normal Imperium civilians. You have been selected for Inquisitorial duty, and (presumably) trained in some way to prepare yourself for what you are going to be dealing with. The Inquisition doesn't take on people that they think would turn into screaming basket cases at the sight of a Hormagants shadow.

 

If Acolytes gained IP for coldly executing a prisoner, Assassins should practically start with at least one mental trauma.

Edited by ColArana

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By this logic, all Space Marines must be stark raving lunatics that go around frothing at the mouth, given they regularly march into battle against masses of inhuman things, generally interesting in wiping out all life that isn't them. 

 

Well, looking at some certain Chapters ...  :D

 

 

I think he has a point - at least as far as I interpret Insanity and Corruption, they should be (relatively) easy to gain at first, but harder later on, as things simply start to lose their "shock value", so to say. An automatic minor version of the Jaded Talent, if you will.

 

In OP's example, and starting from ThenDoctor's suggestion, I could see it go like this:

 

Character feels pity, no Insanity (0-9): gain 1d5-1 IP

Horrified by the tremendous loss of life, the character will forever remember these moments, in the following weeks reliving the incident in nightmares, often awakening in the midst of night, soaked in sweat.

 

Character feels pity, low Insanity (10-39): nothing happens

Deep down, the character experiences a tinge of sadness at the lives prematurely extinguished in this horrible incident. However, already accustomed to the galaxy being a violent place, they choose to accept this turn of fate rather than letting it erode their resolve, finding strength in discipline and faith, and a renewed conviction that their work aims at preventing a recurrence of this sad episode.

 

Character does not feel pity, low Corruption (0-9): gain 1d5-2 CP

Chaos preys on those weak of character, and a distinct lack of compassion for their fellow humans may yet open the door for corruption to take hold and fester should the character ever come into contact with the Warp, for a mind without faith is a soul unarmoured.

 

Character does not feel pity, medium Corruption (10-30): nothing happens

The character's mental barrier against corruption is already eroded. Nothing but actual Warp taint would deepen their Corruption.

 

 

Note that my interpretation of Corruption here is based on certain mindsets either encouraging or resisting Warp influence, which is not supported by the Dark Heresy core rulebook. As per the RAW, Corruption can only gained via direct exposure to daemonic presence or similar Warp phenomena (including proximity to sorcerous rituals) and does not distinguish between, say, a hive ganger who kills victims for sport, a decadent noble who enjoys sadistic games with unwilling slaves, and a devout farmer living a harmonious family life.

 

Which is a bit sad, really.

Edited by Lynata

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You are not normal Imperium civilians. You have been selected for Inquisitorial duty, and (presumably) trained in some way to prepare yourself for what you are going to be dealing with. The Inquisition doesn't take on people that they think would turn into screaming basket cases at the sight of a Hormagants shadow.

 

I'm not so sure. In the games I played in (and will GM), this isn't really the case. Most of the players were picked out off other adeptus-branches and are dumped into the action quasi immediately. The strongest will survive. Those who cannot adapt, perish and are replaced.

 

Which is a bit sad, really.

 

:D

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By this logic, all Space Marines must be stark raving lunatics that go around frothing at the mouth, given they regularly march into battle against masses of inhuman things, generally interesting in wiping out all life that isn't them. 

That or you read my post where I say (I rewrote it here in capitals)

 

 

 

My players gain IP for coldly executing prisoners in their FIRST TIMES. Then IP rises slower and slower.

 

And, also, remember that the insanity tracks is applied to Dark Heresy taking into account that Dark Heresy characters are somehow normal men and women. It's the same for the corruption track. They are scaled to the concept the game represents.

 

In black crusade, there is a place that states that you can use a character that got 100 corruptions points in another game and start it at 0 in BC. Remember that a chaos space marine starts at very low corruption points. If you don't take into account the scale for each concept of the game, you can't compare; if I see it with the logic you seem to present here, black crusade characters, at their beginning, haven't been exposed to the warp.

Space Marines are Space Marines, they do not perceive the world as a normal man perceives it, they've got biological, cultural and endoctrinal bias. 

 

And to some point, yes, Space Marines are violent psychopaths if you look at their psychology from a human perspective.

Everything in this universe is a question of scale.

That's why a level 1 black crusade character isn't compatible with a level 1 dark heresy character, also. They represents different scale, different concepts. They can cross scales (at high level for some), but they do not originate from the same.

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I'd say ask them if their characters would feel bad about essentially guaranteeing the deaths of innocents. If they say something like, people die or no one is innocent then give them corruption. If they say yes, then give them insanity. They're also new to this sort of thing so maybe roll on the shock table. It's a good chance for a shard of memory on the mind cleansed assassin as well.

 

Nah, no need for that.  They are Inquisition operatives.  The death of innocents is a small price to pay - one they should be willing to pay without hesitation - if it furthers the ends of their mission.  Surviving would certainly be a suitable end to further (can't stamp out heresy when you're dead).

 

Exceptions:

 

1. If they stood there and watched the mutants rip the families to shreds, roll on the shock table and hand out some insanity.

 

2. If 1, and they also enjoyed the show, roll 1d10 corruption... and link them to a site where they can seek psychiatric help.

 

3. If they needlessly led the mutants to the families, but had other options, then I'd say straight corruption - probably 1d10.

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I would make characters take a willpower test, with modifiers depending on the character. If a character is very religious, they would possibly get a +0 or even -10, for fleeing when he should have given his life in service of the god emperor to destroy the mutant. A guardsman on the other hand would probably not even care to begin with, having seen so much killing and sacrifice, and would get a +20. It depends how much experience they have. It is the grim dark universe of 40k, so killing a bunch of families isnt anywhere near as bad as it is today. Overall I would not make it very hard for someone, as it IS 40k, and a normal persons life is meaningless compared to the will of the god emperor, and living is a lot less important. If you die, then it is the will of the god emperor, or maybe if the families had been stronger in the faith the god emperor would have protected them.

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Overall I would not make it very hard for someone, as it IS 40k, and a normal persons life is meaningless compared to the will of the god emperor, and living is a lot less important. If you die, then it is the will of the god emperor, or maybe if the families had been stronger in the faith the god emperor would have protected them.

To me, the fact that life is cheap is one of the horror elements of the setting. That the deaths of the poor civvies doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things makes their deaths all the more terrifying.

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