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Lionus

General thoughts on Askellon

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I have just read through Desoleum. Again, can not understand initial claims in this forum. If you read carefully and think about what You are reading it it is very deep and considered. Fascinating grim civilization. I do not rember so many insights into different aspects of society mechanizm in DH1 core book in Scintilla. Gangs is just one aspect of that now. There are many other layers of life shown. Very inspiring and considered. From DH1 at first glance I remember only nobility duels but here You have so much more information. The look and atmosphere of that is very obvious as well. Just read carefully about transport, different hive parts or sancioned workers brotherhood.

Edited by Shemov

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And even some gangs that are bound to nobility by oaths - that allows for quite interesting scenarios.

 

I also really fell in love with Desoleum, although I like Port Aquila VS Terminus Prime constellation a little better still.

 

In such a sector, you could also easily play characters that are mercenaries and neither working for an inquisitor, nor a Rogue Trader. A group hired by trade cartels VS other trade houses (Shadowrun style).

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Just started reading chapter about Askellon and I have no idea why is it considered generic and boring, it has nice gothic/baroque/grimdark feel. Pandemonium might be another warp storm, but Tyrant Star at the DH1 Core was also generic Ultimate Mystery of Doom. I especialy like the idea of planets slipping from Imperial control and another hardcore/ass Sector Governor.

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I completely agree. FFG had little reason to depart from the Calixis Sector, DH 2E could've been set in 1 particularrly interesting and crucial solar system that added much to the sector.

 

Nope. It's set in ANOTHER system that's falling apart, it really doesn't have a shtick.

 

The Calixis sector has CULTURE. The Calixis sector is supposed to be an Imperial success story. But even then since it's been conquered it has old families and old feuds and vendettas. There are many cracks and venues for the heretical to exploit.

 

The Koronus Expanse is MYSTERIOUS. It's hard to get to, and it's the wild west. It's almost completely unexploited, there are countless riches to be made and lost, countless cultures to discover and conquer.

 

The Jericho Reach is very high powered. There are multiple threats who threaten to tear the system apart and it's on the verge of slipping out of the Imperium's hands.

 

Each of these settings is evocative. It feels real, like there's so much else out there to fit in the paradigm but in it's own unque way,

 

What does Askellon have going for it? Not much.

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As a fan of Dark Souls 1, Dark Souls 2, and Demon's Souls I actually love this new sector.  It is doomed and no matter what you do the sector is lost.  The old age of Imperium is dying and only a handful of people are fighting to keep order.  Eventually they too must leave the sector, or become lost to the growing warp storm.  There are many things you can do with this.

 

Hell I am grabbing the Blood of the Martyrs book to make custom cult powers.  Some of those noble families might not be align with Chaos and are seeking alternatives.  Still heresy, but could be useful as well.  Up to my players if they want to use these cult abilities, or not.

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It won't be hard to port of the Calixis sector. I generally take bits and pieces I like from the printed setting and use it in my own, but the info on the Askellion sector is sparce. 

As far as the Oath Bonds go, I imagine it as being feudal dialed to 11 and becomes less and less effective the lower you go, because there's really no way that this type of system would work correctly across the entire hive without more technology on the lower hive levels to monitor the vastly increasing population.  Add a dash of good, old-fashion corruption all around, and it's a normal day in 40k. 

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Speaking personally, the source material in both DH1 and DH2 for their sectors is perfectly suitable.  DH1 might have had a slight edge, but I think that might as well be nostalgia as any actual indication of quality.  At the time of publishing DH was doing something that we really hadn't seen before, and just getting to immerse yourself in the WH40K setting was a powerful thing for many of us. 

 

That said, what really hooked myself as a GM and my player group were the adventures because they took this grimly iconic setting and breathed it into RPG life.  Edge of Darkness was just awesome on so many levels.  A well-crafted introduction to setting and mechanics.  House of Dust and Ashes leading into the Haarlock epic saga was also potent, even if the ending was badly fumbled (in my opinion).  Time will tell if the DH2 adventures can provide that same level of punch.

 

But the actual sector setting info is what it is.  DH1 had story hooks for every planet.  So does DH2.  Those hooks are just considerably more Cthulhu/End Times than it was in DH1.  Since that's what this new sector is all about, I would say its within the theme they've set out.  If that's not your cup of tea its ridiculously easy to dial it back a bit and turn Askellon from apocalyptic and into something with a different theme.  Wild Space Askellon?  Frontier sector, with a rich history?  Done and done.  Does it require even an iota of rewriting?  Not really.  The data and hooks are all still there, but how you perceive and present it is all that's changed.

 

I will say this:  Calixis was monolithic.  It was established.  It had hundreds of Inquisitors, and seethed with a thousand, thousand plots.  Anything the players did was likely to be swallowed by all the setting noise or countered by any number of rival factions.  As a GM it was a wonderful setting, with a massive amount of material and story ideas.  For my players, probably not as much.  After all, most of them didn't devour the books in the same way I did. 

 

In comparison, Askellon really puts the focus on player actions.  The grim dark is heavy, but ironically I think Askellon gives the players more impact.  I think that's a worthwhile thing to consider.  Its not necessarily about being better or worse than Calixis, but I do think its closer to the freedom and empowerment of Rogue Trader without the sandbox.  I think its a pretty good compromise personally.

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I found it /tg, but wanted to share it since its tremendously more useful than the warp-view map in the rulebook. 

 

Edit: And no, it was made by a fan - not official at all, but it corresponds more or less to what we have of the sector so far.

Edited by Cogniczar

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So to address the original query - 

 

At first I didn't like the Askellon Sector on first glance. But I began to read a bit between the lines, and eventually i've come full circle. This is why; essentially, Juno sold me on the sector. Its quintessentially post-soviet Russia. Formerly a power house in a sharp decline, with a surging criminal/underground element represented by the Consortium and Faceless Trade. The sector itself is founded on the remains of a precursor human civilization, and signs are abundant everywhere of cataclysms in the past. 

 

I honestly think FFG is setting us up for some Men of Iron shenninigans in the future. Never mind the Pandomenium - wait until some intrepid Rogue Trader goes digging in the wrong site. STC fragments to lure us in, Men of Iron to rain on our parades.

 

^^. That's my thoughts.

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Personally, I think the point of the map is to show that the sub-sector is so saturated with warp energy it affects the whole sector. I think the saturation actually causes distance between worlds to bend... Travel is really imprecise. Nothing can be predicted and it's dangerous to travel anywhere. The map itself is only to give you relative points and distances between worlds.

I like the setting, but I think they went to extremes only to differentiate itself from the prior setting. In this setting, you're required to use everything at your disposal to fight chaos because it is a losing battle. Inquisition is not well represented so each Inquisitor feels an enormous amount of pressure on them and feels like the are drowning in enemies. In fact, they likely are.

It's great that Calixis is still out there for those that want to run a more vanilla campaign, but I think Askellon offers an interesting alternative.

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