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Covered in Weasels

Fear rules from the cancelled beta

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Hello all,

 

While the first (cancelled) iteration of the DH2 Beta was plagued by a number of problems, it had a few good innovations that I wish were incorporated into the new edition. This post covers one such innovation: a total rework of the Fear system.

 

The RAW Fear system in Dark Heresy is far too complicated for my group. Whenever we encounter a monster with a Fear rating, gameplay stops for a few minutes as everyone makes their Willpower checks, tallies up their DoF, remembers whether or not they need to gain Insanity or Corruption (and rolls for those too), THEN rolls on the Shock table. Many of these Shock effects require the player to roll additional WP checks every round until they Snap Out Of It, and some are so nasty that they can render a character useless for an entire combat. While it's funny the first time the Guardsman faints in terror when he sees a mutant, these wildly swingy fear effects lose their novelty quickly, and my group was in the market for an alternative.

 

Enter the Fear system from the cancelled beta. IMO this system is much more elegant and allows the GM much more freedom in creating his/her own enemies. In this system, creatures still have a Fear rating from 1-4 with the same WP check penalties as in DH1, but additionally the creature has one or more keywords that describe how its fear affects people. I use the words "victim" to describe the character making the WP check and "creature" to describe the character causing the check.

  • Cowering: The victim is dazed for a number of rounds equal to DoF. Dazed is no longer in the core rules -- in normal DH terms, a dazed creature only gets one action a turn and can't take reactions.
  • Fleeing: The victim runs away from the creature as fast as possible for DoF rounds. If he/she can't flee, the victim is dazed and suffers -20 to all tests for the duration.
  • Manic: The victim gains one Insanity point per DoF.
  • Warp Shock: The victim gains one Corruption point per DoF.

Additionally, a character gains one level of Fatigue whenever he fails a Fear test. This is especially important under the new Fatigue rules, where characters are only affected by Fatigue after accumulating several levels of the condition.

 

And that's it! There's no need to cross reference the Shock table or make Snap Out Of It rolls every turn -- the creature's stat block tells you everything you need to know. Handling Insanity and Corruption gain is also streamlined. While the Fear effects are still very potent, they don't lock a player out of an entire combat in the same way as the old rules.

 

The rules encourage the GM to come up with his/her own nasty variations of Fear for use on unique enemies. For example, a horrific monster could cause hysterical blindness in its victims, or a daemon of Khorne might make people Frenzy and attack the closest person, friend or foe. This gets my GM brain racing, and my players will certainly not like the results...

 

As for narrative time instances of Fear, I'd probably combine the Manic rule with a -10 penalty to all actions while in the presence of the Fear-causing object. This is basically the same as the DH1 method for handling narrative-time Fear but without the need to roll again for Insanity points.

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This sounds a lot more improved. He had our Tech-Priest become horrified and untrustworthy of one of our characters after her, erherm, little transformation. She's a very odd xeno who can shapeshift and mimic people, perfect for DH2, but her true form scared the everloving **** out of the tech-priest, and, despite going on three missions with her, he now doesn't trust her and can't sleep anywhere near her.... Makes no sense. I like these a lot better, and will show them to my GM. Thanks for the post!

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She's a very odd xeno who can shapeshift and mimic people, perfect for DH2, but her true form scared the everloving **** out of the tech-priest, and, despite going on three missions with her, he now doesn't trust her and can't sleep anywhere near her.... Makes no sense

 

What makes no sense? Discovering that a friend is in fact a monstrous beings that you can't laid eyes on?

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Yeah...  That makes all sorts of sense.  A shapeshifting Xenos is pretty much the trifecta of what the Ordo Xenos is worried about in the first place; that's an alien, something that can infiltrate Imperial society and do terrible things with such access and apparently has the green-light?  

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She's a very odd xeno who can shapeshift and mimic people, perfect for DH2, but her true form scared the everloving **** out of the tech-priest, and, despite going on three missions with her, he now doesn't trust her and can't sleep anywhere near her.... Makes no sense

 

What makes no sense? Discovering that a friend is in fact a monstrous beings that you can't laid eyes on?

 

You see, he had already seen her 'true' form, if you will. But the way she consumed a heretic to gain his memories made him scared of 'her', not the gore, not the fact that he had already seen her like she is, and not the very disgusting noises she was making. Fear has never really been very realistic, but you know, this is a game. If he had been scared of the gore, or seeing his 'friend' eat, yeah, that'd make sense. Oh well, he's fine now. 

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Yeah...  That makes all sorts of sense.  A shapeshifting Xenos is pretty much the trifecta of what the Ordo Xenos is worried about in the first place; that's an alien, something that can infiltrate Imperial society and do terrible things with such access and apparently has the green-light?  

I don't even try to understand what my GM does sometimes. Also, were directly under the Ordo Hereticus, and our Inquisitor protects our precious friend from being killed. She's actually really useful, managed to talk down a few guys from combat with my character and her's combined efforts. Still, if anyone finds out who she is, we really have no choice on the matter. Killing the witness is necessary, or we can just ship them off to the Inquisition. Oh, forgot to mention the bomb in her head, which doubles as a tracking device. She isn't going anywhere.

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I like this new fear. Is there some kind of a list of cut out rules from the beta?

 

Besides, here are two Talents i invented using those beta fear rules:

 

"Sanity is for cowards"

Tier 2

Character may choose to take DoF number of Insanity Points instead of Cowering or Fleeing

 

"I will not faulter. With His help, or without it..."

Tier 1

Character may choose to take DoF number of Corruption Points instead of Cowering or Fleeing

Edited by Commediante

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I like this too and will probably use it in my upcoming campaign with a Talent along the lines of what Commediante wrote above:

Sanity is for the Weak

Tier 2

Prerequisites: Willpower 30

Aptitudes: Willpower, Defence

When the Character would be Cowering or Fleeing from a Fear effect, she can choose to instead gain a number of Insanity points equal to the Decrees of Failure on her Willpower test. If the source of Fear causes Warp Shock, she also gains that many Corruption Points. She also suffers a -10 to all Tests while in presence of the cause of the Fear.

Edited by Enthrope

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