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TheFlatline

What happened to 2nd edition?

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Maybe you guys are doing it already right now, but let's say you bought an actual physical book of your favorite setting and another line gets announced and you're more interested in the splat books than the core book. Why not just buy the PDF for the small differences of the core book and refer to your own core book for the basic rules or something? After that you can just buy the splatbooks. It's cheaper, it's not the same as a physical book when it comes to reading but it's cheaper nonetheless and it's just for some minor things.

 

DH2.0 is currently sold for $29.95 at DriveThruRPG instead of the normal $59.95 price right now.

Edited by Gridash

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My RPG team just came back from a break (we played some Legend of the Five Rings, the roll&keep system gave us cancer, end of story), and since our GM has bought the DH2 rulebook, we were like 'Why not?' and gave it a go. Since we did lots of Beta-testing back then, we were looking forward to see the end product. 

 

First off, I must say, the artwork in the book is gorgeous. Especially those servoskull-thing symbols for the Roles. The new colors are cool too, though we like GW's white/grey/red more. 

 

Second, we are kinda 'meh' about DH2 being OW:Reloaded. Yeah, I guess everyone could see that one coming after the first beta. The loss of some of the cool ideas, like the Skill simplification, the Talent trees and the AP system is pretty bad, but it can't be helped. The positive changes (Psykers, Untouchables) are welcomed, the stuff that remained bad (role/weapon imbalance, clumsy combat) aren't. We aren't a big fans of the Aptitude system either: it was a good fit for Guardsmen, but it does a horrible job at representing the diversity of Acolytes. 

 

Overall, we had a good time for a first session with an Assassin/Desperado1/Desperado2/PsykerSage setup, but it was nothing special. It isn't like DH2 is boring or disappointing... it is just isn't exciting either. Luckily, we love houseruling/homebrewing stuff to make things more interesting  :) !

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Legend of the Five Rings

 

I've been offered the opportunity to play this soon with people I don't really know and I'm curious why you didn't like it.

 

It's a bit clunky and unbalanced. If I recall right (it's been a few years...), it overemphasises either core stats or skills, making it almost entirely worthless to purchase one of the two. I just can't remember which, sorry.

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Legend of the Five Rings

 

I've been offered the opportunity to play this soon with people I don't really know and I'm curious why you didn't like it.

 

 

The game itself is cool, but the roll&keep system generates ridiculous extremes very frequently. Oh, and the L5R magicians are OP like hell.  I would say it is worth a try, you just need a very good GM who can handle scene-breaking rolls. 

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I've heard combat is incredibly deadly. Makes people really think about pulling their steel. I like that in a system.

I'm a bit curious about this. Dark Heresy has a super-involved combat system meant to get people to make tactical decisions along with a big chunk of the book dedicated to cool weapons. This is a trend in most RPGs, at least the non-Indie ones and those with 80s-90s game design. It kind of implies that combat is meant to be a fun experience in the game, or at least a big part of the game.

So why the dislike of having a lot of combat? Is it due to how much time it takes, or because it feels like players become trigger happy and try to murder every problem? Or is it because it tells a boring story? If the players are having fun doing combat, why is it a problem? Also, why not play a game in which combat isn't given such a huge focus? Lord knows if I have a choice between using a chainsaw sword to cut open a mutant or rolling to look at a room I'm going to pick the former. So I guess the question also comes up of why not have a system that makes non-combat as exciting as combat?

This also reminds me of 4th edition D&D doing market research that most people play the game for combat, making a really robust and tactical combat system with class differentiation all about how they play in combat, and getting a ton of backlash over it.

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I've heard combat is incredibly deadly. Makes people really think about pulling their steel. I like that in a system.

So why the dislike of having a lot of combat? Is it due to how much time it takes, or because it feels like players become trigger happy and try to murder every problem? Or is it because it tells a boring story? If the players are having fun doing combat, why is it a problem? Also, why not play a game in which combat isn't given such a huge focus? Lord knows if I have a choice between using a chainsaw sword to cut open a mutant or rolling to look at a room I'm going to pick the former. So I guess the question also comes up of why not have a system that makes non-combat as exciting as combat?

 

As I've groan as a GM rather than a player I've come to hate the way that combat forces players out of character so they consider only the tactical sense of a tabletop. Never said it was a problem, I just like stories, that's what Roleplaying Games are in the end. Advanced storytelling. As soon as combat begins it stops the story and becomes a wargame.

 

If you try and make noncombat as exciting as combat then you get things like the social combat rules in Black Crusade. Turning storytelling and character interaction into a system check removes their point in my eyes.

 

Dark Heresy had the chance to be the same way, but the armor, toughness bonus, and fate point system take away that deadly nature.

Edited by ThenDoctor

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Clunky and detailed has its place if it serves to enhance the experience. In FFG's combat system, however, you can really, really tell it was made by people who have minimal IRL experience or are conciously trying to use an alternate reality's strange physics.  Dito on DnD 4th edition's, at that. Pen and paper is, generally, a roleplaying experience, and when the combat mechanics kill your suspension of disbelief because everything about it screams "no, this does not work like that, this is impossible!", then you tend to avoid combat. In other systems we play(ed), we often went for combat, and they were actually a lot more deadly than the toughness/armour system is (you know, the one where if you build right, you're quasi-immortal against most realistic challenges; it took HEAVY WEAPONS, POINT BLANK to even threaten our only war guardsmen, for example, due to the ridiculous soak mechanic).

 

Unhallowed Metropolis, Shadowrun, Legend of the five rings, Deadlands, all those are incredibly lethal systems in comparison, and I've found myself engaged by the combat in them, rather than bored or facepalming when our resident rules lawyer points out yet another nonsensical oddity he insists on using.

 

In other words, people only tend to gripe about a combat system when it kills their immerison. A lot of gamers won't notice it otherwise. The system works great for them, sure, but, those others who do, well, they'll then say things like "this is crap". It doesn't mean the entire system is trash(it's hard to do d100 "wrong" as is...), but, as a result of the extremely tedious and unrealistic combat system in the WH40k line, I often find myself seeking noncombat or storyline heavier solutions than simply "gut it with my chainsword", while in, say, unhallowed metropolis, I play a bona fide gunslinger who does operate on shoot first, ask later. But that's because combat is three rolls and then either my char is down or the other guy is dead. It doesn't break the flow of the story.

Edited by DeathByGrotz

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@thendoctor

So you feel that it can be seen that combat is more exciting due to its mechanical backing and think making other parts of the game exciting would mean doing less roleplay. So that's kind of an admission that straight roleplay is less exciting for some people. Why not have rules mechanics that incorporate roleplay. Like that specifically codify different kinds of roleplaying things people can do to get mechanical bonuses and specific roleplaying things that the GM can do in return. That way you have the exciting part of mechanics and risk while maintaining the roleplaying part. This doesn't seem like an impossible task.

@deathbygrotz

I think your choice of combat systems is interesting, as I find shadowrun to be EXTREMELY clunky to use, and that it does nothing but detract from combat. This is due in part to poor rule design, having a LOT of miscellaneous rules, lots of modifiers, lots of numbers to keep track of, and lots of rolling. In fact, any combat system that has turns and initiative feels fairly unrealistic as it cuts away from the fluidity and flow of an actual fight.

I guess I've just never really gotten how people can see all of those abstractions and distortions as realistic, but find something like 4E D&D to be too unrealistic. I guess it feels to me like you can go full bore and have a game of it (why are there no combat systems that tie narrative into them?), you can go super narrative for something like apocalypse world, or you can do some nightmarish chimaera of simulationist mechanics that are questionably fun to actually run or play and mostly detract from actually roleplaying.

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I think the problem with the WH40K RPG combat system is that it produces prolonged fights in a rather extensive rules environment. It wouldn't be a problem if the fights were short because extreme lethality/easy auto-win buttons, or preparation had a bigger emphasis (Shadowrun is the best example here: your support crew usually win your fights before they start, so you shoot bullets only to have fun). I would say, combat shouldn't last longer than 3-4 turns - 6 at maximum - with 4 PCs and 6-8 opponents. 

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That and I don't really get how adding "okay, if you get shot once or twice you're probably dead or crippled" actually adds to fun. I think this is an issue of RPGs having a lot of trouble bridging the gap of protagonists in fiction just never getting hit versus those same protagonists destroying anything they hit once. There has to be a better way of accounting for this.

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There are plenty of combat systems that tie the narrative to them. In Seventh Sea  and Unhallowed Metropolis, this is especially explicite, one being a hollywoodesque, flairtastic system that runs smoothly in the narrative and lets you do all kinds of stunts from swinging from the mast on a rope to knocking over a bunch of mooks with a loose sail (albeit with the horrendous kept-dice mechanic...), the other a short, simple, brutally realistic representation of the fluff to the point where you will be extra careful to even engage one zombie head-on, because every fight could kill you. In shadowrun, on the otherhand, combat is complex, lethal and ideally pre-planned from the attacker's end to the point very little can go wrong. Given the system itself is tailored to OCD plotters and planmakers, it fits in very well. If you're a "by the seat of your pants" sort of guy, though, you're going to hate it.

 

I fully agree with Atomaki that the ideal length for a fight is only a half dozen rounds of actual rolling, approximately. What actually happens in those rounds, wether it be a gritty, short exchange of bullets with injured on both sides, or an epic sword fight on the castle walls with manny a horrible quip and pun, etc., that is both system and narrative dependant. FFG's combat system's main problem was already stated there as well, with procuding painfully drawn out engagements, while, at times, evoking extreme danger to the characters fluffwise, or a feeling of being a tiny wheel in the machine. If you're a tiny wheel in the machine, it should not take a turrent based missile launcher to kill you.

 

If you're looking for an epic combat style, and can stomach the kept dice mechanic, Legend of the Five Rings or its various deriatives (Seventh Sea being one), should do nicely. It does that really, really well. Alternatively, you could take a fluid, HPless system and add a certain number of "buffer hits" or HP to it for player characters before rolling for injuries.

Edited by DeathByGrotz

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Hmm... How to weigh in here... To me the most "realistic" and "Lethal" system (for a fantasy game where you're potentially hurling fireballs  ;) ) was actually the old Iron crown rolemaster. The problem was that you had to flip through a dozen combat charts and then a half dozen critical charts to make it work! This tended to make it a bit clunky to use. Oddly enough, the 40k line seems like they tried to reproduce this while pairing down the number of charts!

 

No insult intended but, I wonder how many of the people complaining about realism have any actual combat experience? I do and there isn't a system I've seen yet that doesn't draw the occasional "facepalm". This is because of the difficulty in abstracting to a game mechanic to reflect what actually happens in reality. The truth is it requires a good GM to make any system "work". Real combat is over after the first mistake! It doesn't really matter whether it's blades or guns or bare fists. IRL, People have survived point blank gunshots to the head (Think senator "Gabby" Giffords of Az.) while others have died from one unarmed punch (As in some of the victims of the "Knockout" game in the US.).

 

As a house rule thing: If you want 40k to be more realistically lethal,remove the toughness damage soak! I have done this in a couple of games and it definitely changes the lethality of the game! Fights from cover and at range became the norm!

Edited by Radwraith

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No insult intended but, I wonder how many of the people complaining about realism have any actual combat experience?

 

Most of them. "Combat experience" is not a rare thing.

 

I think the real problem is that 40k has a massive fanbase, and they all expect a variety of things from a combat system. I feel that, where FFG's system does work for a certain playstyle (and does it very well), a collection of optional tweaks and "fast rules" would have been a great improvement. In its core, it's a d100 based, percentile system. You can, by adjusting the values used, create an entirely different experience, without changing very many of the rules themselves. Why not have "gritty", "cinematic", etc. number values at the end of your combat rules section? a TB/Wounds tweak here, a hit location alternative there. A few options to pick from, for your game group, and you have a modular experience that works for a lot of people.

Edited by DeathByGrotz

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That and I feel like "realistic" is a bad way to describe these chart-filled systems. First, it should be noted that real modern combat isn't really that fun, particularly in dealing with injuries and the like. Te closer you get to reality, the less fun it is to play. I think most people want a combat system that lets them re-enact te shoot out from Heat or the sword right from lord of the rings, not the battle for Baghdad. Second, I think that a complicated chart system is better at simulating the behavior of a real fight, but that it does a piss poor job in practice of creating something that feels like a firefight. Looking up a bunch of charts or modifiers or picking out the best modifiers to use doesn't really feel like an action filled fight. It feels like math homework. That and if it creates a fight where everyone just sits in cover shooting back and forth while someone tries to flank, it's boring for the people sitting there and becomes repetitive to play. I feel like a good combat system should reward players doing interesting things rather than punishing them. I do not get the mindset of punishing a player for wanting to do something he or she thinks is cool by killing their character or making it a worse choice than doing something less interesting. In D&D 4E's favor, at least it's combat had interesting tactical decisions baked in that didn't require an excel spreadsheet to run.

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Specifically to radwraith, I know you have combat experience (you've mentioned it several times) but why do you expect realistic combat from the game about space monsters and psychic wizards? Or even the game in which most players start with melee weapons the rules to use them? Wouldn't it make more sense to expect that out of something like "realistic combat simulator" rather than Dark Heresy?

I'm a psychologist by trade, and you don't see me complaining about the lack of realism for mental afflictions given that realistic ones would be far less fun to play (and would be a lot less varied, with most people having PTSD or TBIs). I don't care for how metal illnesses are implemented, but it's for narrative and gameplay reasons rather than realism ones.

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No insult intended but, I wonder how many of the people complaining about realism have any actual combat experience?

 

Most of them. "Combat experience" is not a rare thing.

 

You are correct (Unfortunately! I wouldn't wish that on anyone!). But among the "Internet warrior nerd" crowd it tends to be a little rarer statistically. Those people who do certainly know what I'm saying. I have yet to see a combat system that accurately reflects combat inherently! A good Gm makes all the difference since they can "massage" most systems to give a fairly good "feel".

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I agree with this, really. And truly realistic depictions of what a bullet does, I feel, are unnecessary. We game for fun and not to gorge ourselves on the gorey end of the stick, even when, or especially actually, when we play horror games. Our round does enjoy the risk of character loss during combat, but other rounds do not have as much fun rerolling as we do! For us, it also depends on the game and setting, wether we think it's appropriate to go full on lethal or not. For example, we would play a space marine group entirely different to a far squishier group of inquisitorial acolytes or guardsmen. One would be movie star style, action hero gameplay, the other quite, well, grimdark, to say the least.

 

Other people, however, may do it exactly the other way around. There, I think, we run into the crux of the issue, because most systems only do one thing and address one playstyle. And while this is all well and good in a closed canon where there only really is "one" playstyle (and even then, it doesn't quite hit the mark often enough), an open canon enviornment like Warhammer 40k would benefit greatly from a sleek core system (which it is when you truly trim it down to the bare bones) and a lot of optional content. Say, you want to run a game fast and deadly? Pick these options. You want to be an epic action hero? Pick these options. You want something sort of in the middle? Mix up these modules and see what works best for your round. Here are a few recommendations.

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Specifically to radwraith, I know you have combat experience (you've mentioned it several times) but why do you expect realistic combat from the game about space monsters and psychic wizards? Or even the game in which most players start with melee weapons the rules to use them? Wouldn't it make more sense to expect that out of something like "realistic combat simulator" rather than Dark Heresy?

I'm a psychologist by trade, and you don't see me complaining about the lack of realism for mental afflictions given that realistic ones would be far less fun to play (and would be a lot less varied, with most people having PTSD or TBIs). I don't care for how metal illnesses are implemented, but it's for narrative and gameplay reasons rather than realism ones.

You're misreading me Nimsim! I actually agree with you! I don't expect extensive realism in a fantasy game! I've given suggestions for people that do! It sounds like my "read" on combat is very similar to your "read" on mental illness. In a tactical game I like for people to be able to use "interesting" tactics as much as you do! If my players also happen to be aware of actual "Sweep and clear" techniques than I will try to reflect how that works in the game! This is what I mean by a good Gm makes the game work in ANY system. I have played Rolemaster and I have played Battletech and had just as much fun with each!

 

We agree that real combat is not really all that much fun at all! Most players would much rather play out a Hollywood gunfight/swordfight than try to live through/Relive(?) the real thing!

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Out of interest, how do you guys do the battle parts.

 

Do you use some kind of overlay map with markers and positions / miniatures or just keep everything narrative where you have a (vague?) idea of where everybody is.

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