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DisrespectedCleric

Problem Reigning in a Game

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Hi everyone, I was wondering if some of you more lore-wise individuals could help me out here.

 

I will try to put this delicately.  I am having a problem with the way something in a Dark Heresy game is being portrayed and I am going to try to come to the GM with a persuasive argument why I think it's wrong and I need some resources to support that argument.  Either it will be resolved or it won't be and I'll act accordingly without any particular prejudice.

 

Here is the problem, I have tried to parse it briefly and without including some extraneous and inflammatory comments that have nothing to do with the 40k universe.

 

I'm in a game that has met 3 times, one session being half cell creation half Meet the Inquisitor (well not the actual Inquisitor, but his Interrogator possibly, maybe not even that high we don't know).  At that point everything was fine.

 

Short version is, the character  I made was a doubter who saw a heretical cult start capturing and sacrificing the character's friends and family in horrific ways.  Upon seeing what the heretic has done, the character snaps, starts flipping out and killing cultists, and resolves the crisis of faith with the Emperor winning out.

 

I as a player don't care whether in universe the Imperial Creed is true or just or valid, what's important is my character has embraced it as a hedge against an existential crisis in the aftermath of a horrible traumatic event.  So on the surface the character is a caricature of every hierophant ever made, but underneath is motivated by something sympathetic and personal.

 

The problem is, every.  Single.  Person. We Meet. is an apostate of the Imperial Cult.  Literally no one we meet in the Imperium, not our Inquisitor himself even, believes that the Emperor is their god.  And that would be fine if they at least pretended like they believed it, but they don't even do that.

 

Everyone we meet from miners to NPC adepts to NPC priests, literally everyone we meet talks down to my character and asks me how I can seriously worship a corpse in a machine and goes into a tiresome rant against religion is dumb and you're dumb, etc. like you'd read on Reddit.  And they all know automatically I'm a feral worlder and they reference me as living in the Dark Ages, and of course not being from Terra or having any knowledge of it I say what is that, and they point that as proof of how stupid I am.

 

Some of these people, I killed with a grenade because I could get away with it (isolated mining planet where people were dying mysteriously).  After two sessions, during the debriefing, I told our handler two names and said one is a dangerous heretic who controls resources on this planet, the other is a false priest not devoted to the service of the Empire and they need to be cleansed.

 

The Throne Agent or whatever he's supposed to be then foams at the mouth and tells me he is sick and tired of my Feral World Emperor God worshipping nonsense.  I had to lower my Fellowship by 20 points permanently as punishment and I'm spending the next session in prison.

 

I broke character at that point and said this doesn't make any sense, that's not how the Imperium works.  The GM said not everyone is going to believe in the Emperor and I said I know, but they're going to pay lip service to it.  I also pointed out you can't just lower stats and take away freedom because you personally have some weird issue here.  He said well you play stupidly, your character doesn't make a bit of sense and preaches a weird religion no one with any sense will believe, and you are throwing grenades at people and tattle taling on them when they don't believe you.

 

At that point the Assassin player piped up and said no, he's playing it smart and the character makes perfect sense.  He is killing these heretics when he can get away with it and letting more competent people handle it when he can't, and that "weird religion" is the law, you believe it or GTFO.  I calmed down when someone else agreed with me.

 

The GM argued I'd never betray another priest, at which point our Psyker player broke character and argued yes, that's exactly what he would do, that's the point of his character, to root out corruption in the Imperial church.  The Psyker pointed out the Ecclesiarchy is huge and I owed that planet's priest nothing.

 

The GM said he'd not lower the Fellowship stat, but everyone I interacted with I'd take a penalty with because of my "bull ####".  I said that was nonsense and I was going to prove to him that most people in the Imperium do in fact believe in the God Emperor or at least pretend to.

 

So, if I can bring persuasive proof that I'm right and he's wrong, he's supposed to change how people talk to me going forward.  It has to be first party proof, published, in the current edition.  I'll try to do this, but after this if this continues I'm out, the GM just has issues as a person I think.

 

For the record I think he's interpreting the setting incorrectly.  The book seems to make it pretty clear.

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   Your GM sounds like he has an extremely personal grudge against religion and is bringing it into the game. The fact of the matter is that the majority of imperial citizens do worship the Emperor in one way or another (dependent on the culture of their home world). What your GM is doing is basically making everyone a heretic, including the inquisition which 33% of exists purely to destroy heresy. Thusly, he has effectively rewritten the entire point to playing Dark Heresy and turned it into Black Crusade 2. It sounds to me like you have a GM that explicitly wants the game to be something it is not and is abusing his position of authority (ironically, he has become the very thing the players are supposed to be hunting. A HERETIC!!!!)

 

   If you have any of the codexes, specifically the loyalist human ones, use those to show how the cult of the emperor has been established and how it interacts with citizens. The Imperial Guard books are especially good for showing that loyalty to the Imperium and its dogma is the norm. Point out the existence of the inquisition being proof of this (why would there be an Ordo Hereticus if the majority of the population, including inquisitors, did not believe in the emperors power?) In Only War and any IG codex you can use examples of the commissars to show that the Imperial Guard is fiercely loyal and takes active measures to ensure that this remains so. Don't forget all the space marines who constantly reference their loyalty and devotion to Him on the Golden Throne. For that matter, what would be the point of maintaining the Golden Throne and the corpse of the Emperor if everyone believed that he was nothing impressive?

 

EDIT: I forgot to mention that punishing your Fellowship tests because he doesn't like your character is a very abusive thing to do to a player. In fact, adding negative modifiers is more heavy than reducing Fellowship outright because modifiers come in 10's, so he could be effectively reducing your Fellowship by 10 or 20, maybe 30 points, whereas the other way around he'd probably only get away with a -5 Fellowship before other players took notice of this and spoke up again.

Edited by Frosty71

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There are a few place I could point to that talk about the beliefs regarding the Emperor's divinity (or mainstream belief therein); off the top of my head, I'm sure there will be some things in the faction section of the Inquisition chapter. Maybe he could let you know which faction he sees the Inquisitor as belonging to?

Honestly, though, it seems you have an abusive GM. If they want to run a game set in an alternate version of the 40K universe, that's their prerogative, but at the moment they're trying to force their interpretation onto you without any discussion with the players. The game is meant to be collaborative, and really this is something that should have been brought up before you even started making characters. If this is how your GM acts, with aggression and demanding you come up with some proof on something which is an established and key fact in the setting, you should try and find another group to play with.

Additionally, if he's doing it from a point of view of a personal dislike of religion... he's missing the point anyway! The totalitarian tendencies of the Imperial Creed is already critical of organised religion, this is an interesting theme (one of my favourites in Dark Heresy) he could actually explore through the game. I believe there's a section in Disciples of the Dark Gods about the Temple Tendency which would be a good vehicle for exploring this? This is a 'rival' cult to the Imperial Creed, and will make the Acolytes explore what they have been indoctrinated to believe.

EDIT: For the record, the section on the Adeptus Ministorum on page 310 of the new rulebook makes it pretty clear that just about everyone is part of the Imperial Creed or are declared heretics and marked for destruction.

Edited by unitled

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Oh wow...

 

I usually encourage respectful, friendly dialogue as the solution to group issues. But... I'm not convinced that would be worth the effort for you. I'd recommend finding a different group.

 

I mean, your GM is exhibiting two behaviours that screams sh*tty gaming experiences at me: he's unable to separate his personal feelings about real world issues from fictional ones, and he's being massively abusive in ways that flat out wreck the system you're trying to use as a gaming framework.

 

I really doubt talking it out is even possible. But I wish you luck however you deal with this. Though I want to remind you than no gaming is better than bad gaming.

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...and goes into a tiresome rant against religion is dumb and you're dumb, etc. like you'd read on Reddit.  

Awful!

I think you're going to have a hard time turning this game around. If your GM is so emotionally immature that he feels a need to crusade against religion even in 40k, I strongly suspect that neither you or your compatriots are going to be able reason with him. He obviously has some issues to work out.

Related: Dark Heresy definitely seems like the kind of game where respect/love for the 40k setting is a critical component of getting things to work right. Otherwise, it slides into parody, players get alienated by the grimdarkness & medieval cultural parallels, etc.

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If your GM will allow the use of DH1 material then there's the section in the Core, Inquisitor's Handbook, and a lot of Blood of Martyrs that deals with how the creed is interpreted by citizens of the imperium. 

 

Again it's in one form or another, but the majority know what the emperor is, that he sits on a golden throne on a place called terra and that only because of this is basically the reason they're alive, or at least allowed to continue to live.

 

If you want to be a jerk, which is what I feel he's being, right back at him then I suggest getting a flamer and burning anyone you think is a heretic.

 

Calling your character stupid because of being a feral worlder or a priest is just antagonistic. I mean you're sure to find a few people that don't like either, more so because of the nature of your work exposing you to the darker elements of your galaxy, but being openly antagonistic is silly.

 

Personally your character sounds quite interesting, having picked up the cloth not due to birth but do to events in your life, and you sound like a capable an acolyte as any understanding your limits and helping where you can. Your GM on the other hand sounds ignorant.

 

Ask him if he'd be ok with you running a few sessions with how you interpret the setting, let him play a jerk, have him see people's reactions to the idea of a nonbeliever, you might have him meet a little group moved in from the Calaxis called the Red Redemptionists as well.

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IMO find another GM. I understand that every person have his vision about 40k myself included but everything can be ok if it can be explained and fit in setting. I did strange things in my sessions. Like space marine who fell in love with one of female chapter serf or entire regiment of IG where every one commited tech heresy. But in all that thing it could be explained. Marine had some failed indoctrination procces which let him to feel higher emotions and remeber his childhood. And IG regiment was on isolated planet where every knew something about technology before empire rediscovered them. Anyway it still can be fit into setting. Making everybody a heretic won't fit. As for lowering fellowship, well i am strict GM and sometimes give players penalty but never if they act like character. Seriously just *BLAM* this GM for extra heresy ;)

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Yeah, I'm going to second the people saying this is a personal problem with your GM. He honestly sounds like a caricature, so I'm wondering how he views your behavior and how he sees the situation, but I'll take what you're saying at face value. You need to talk with the guy outside of the context of playing a 40K game (ie no discussions on lore and so on ) and ask what he has against your character and you. I'm kind of wondering if you yourself are religious, in which case the GM is being extremely inappropriate and discriminatory. Let the guy know that you're trying to roleplay an interesting character and that he's being completely unfair about targeting you, punishing you, etc. Ifthe GM doesn't relent, the best thing to do is quit the game and offer to start your own with the other players.

Basically, it sounds like there's more to this under the surface, and that what is there indicates the GM is bringing personal issues into the game. On the other hand, if he thinks you as a person are overly preachy and you are playing a preachy character , he may see it as you trying to target him. Talk it out. Be willing to compromise a bit, but also be willing to quit. No gaming is better than bad gaming.

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Some people really can't keep their own personal **** out of games and settings, and I'm pretty much going to parrot everyone here.

Your GM is an idiot. Find another one.

A 5-minute reading of any WH40k material would show him "persuasive proof" that he is wrong and you are right.

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I'm going to agree with the majority here... your GM is a jerk and you should find, or start, another game without him.

 

However, as for the proof you asked for, as unitled suggested, page 310 of the core rulebook is a place to go. I would specifically cite the second paragraph which reads in part:

 

In the 41st Millennium, the Ecclesiarchy holds sway over the hearts and minds of all but a few of the Emperor’s subjects. The Adeptus Ministorum is a galaxy-spanning order based on Terra, but with cardinals, preachers, and countless other officials tending to their flocks across the galaxy, the Imperial Creed is subject to countless local and regional variations and idiosyncrasies. By dint of its ubiquitous presence across the entire Imperium, it has its own culture and traditions evolved over the centuries.

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Totally agree with the majority here.  There's no way one can completely separate their personal beliefs from the game, but this guy (the GM) seems to not be able to separate his own beliefs from the game at all.

 

No matter what one thinks of the setting's tendency towards fascism, religious extremism, etc... it's a part of the setting, and a HUGE part at that.

 

I guess you should talk to your GM, but I (agreeing again) don't think this is fixable.  Beyond your GMs real life politics/opinions his actions towards you as a player are pretty unacceptable.  That's a big part of running the game.  You get all the power, but the trade off is that you get all the work and you have to keep your players happy.

 

Note:  Mind you, this is coming from someone who doesn't run the game straight up either, but this GM is just being an absolute clown.  Has he read the book?!?

Edited by LordPasty

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AND, as a friend of mine just pointed out... if this GM wanted to do Space Opera with DH, he probably should have said so in the first place.  Even then, berating your players (or even their characters to such an extreme), is ridiculous.

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The glue of the Imperium is the believe in the God - Emporer, in all it's different variations. Every citizen believes in the Emporer or at least a substitute, which can be interpretated as an incarnation of him. If someone lacks believe or is a heretic he won't admit it. If he would do such a thing or even be suspected to, he would get investigated and likely burned. Who would investigate such things? ... the inquisition ;)

Yes, there are different types of inquisitors, mostly divided in puritans and radicals. But all have faith in the Imperium and the Emporer. Even radicals who use deamon hosts and chaos objects do so in the believe to pursue the Emporer's will. An Inquisitor who does not believe in the Emporer is fallen and a heretic. He could work as an antagonist... Otherwise it would work against the basic premise of the game.

Edited by Ripplo

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Your GM is punishing your character mechanically for actually roleplaying your character? I would recommend getting out of the game. Unless there are details left out, like an actual altercation erupted between hierophant and interrogator, this is the sort of bad GMing that transcends genre, and will continue to show itself again and again in this game or any other. A new GM might just be rough around the edges and improve over time. An abusive GM will only grow more abusive.

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Wow! Just...Wow! Run from that Gm! Go fast! Go far! Assuming you are telling the whole story (And I have no reason to believe your not!), this is abusive ignorance in full display! As others have noted, the 40k universe is heavily predicated on the Imperium being a largely facsist and theocratic culture! The Irony is that they are still the "good guys" (Comparatively). The abuse and Ignorance your Gm is showing is inexcusable! You should leave that game immediately or better yet "kick" the Gm!

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As others have said (and assuming your depiction of the situation is accurate), check out from a game run by a very poor GM.  The only thing i'd add is, your other players appear to agree with you, so, perhaps take them with you?  

 

It doesn't have to be acrimonious either.  I recently went through a group split; two sides of a group that just didn't get on and had different views of what they wanted from the gaming experience.  The group split fairly peacefully.  It can be done if everyone is open and mature about it.

Edited by Luddite

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It sounds like your GM is a bit of a control freak that needs to loosen up a bit and allow the imagination of the players to play a bigger role in the game.

 

If you don't get along with your GM there is really nothing for you do in that game. However, if the only thing that is wrong is that no one seems to believe in the god emperor, maybe should accept that and do your missionary work a bit more subtle.. :-)

Edited by Alox

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I'm pleasantly surprised nobody has come to the defense of the GM. Good job, everybody.

 

As others have said, your GM has some issues and is doing a lot of things that throw up red flags. Your fellow players sound cool, having recognized his bad behavior for what it is. Keep them around, boot the GM from the group, and find a new GM (it could be you!).

 

Also, I recommend reading over the Geek Social Fallacies and seeing how many of those ring a bell in this situation. Particularly number 1, when you kick your GM to the curb.

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Find a new GM/group. He is bringing his real world views into the setting. Perverting it in the process. Sorry to hear you are having these issues. I encourage my players to have elaborate back stories and game plots woven around them. It makes my job as GM much easier. He is a fool to discourage you. 

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Dude, you really should just bring that character into the play by post I've started on this forum. I'd love to see him in action and I usually reward people for being in character anyway.

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