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Asymptomatic

Non-Standard Item Use

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First, I want to admit upfront that I have never actually played any of the Dark Heresy games, am unaware of a GM's burden, and could be considered a combat-inclined power-gamer. That being said, I am fairly well versed in the mechanics portions of many source books. I am posting here to see how people react to my interpretations of written rules so I can adjust my expectations accordingly if I ever do enter a real game environment. At the moment, these are the foremost questions I have:

 

1) A recent topic I discussed with a GM was cameoline/chameleoline treatments to weapons. It is implied in several books that hard armor could be camo-treated. Then, if armor meant to deflect bullets and lasers can hold out for a mission or two, why not treat a sword or an axe with it? While the non-combat benefits of hiding a weapon and such are assured, I pitched for an in-combat benefit as well. As written, the weapon would have a blurry shape that could theoretically make it harder for opponents to Parry, though the wielder still has a telegraphic swing. My request did not go over well. How would you react to a request for a chameoline weapon?

 

2) The Privacy Field (from Radical's) and the Vox-Privacy Field (from Book of Judgement) have similar effects, their implied uses being to hide from prying eyes and ears. My first thought, actually, was that these items are great for a combatant who wants to hide from gunfire. Since they are explictly stated to block vision, deploying a field prevents people from aiming normally and would realistically make BS tests quite hard if not inapplicable. Both GMs I lightly prodded with this use shut me down immediately, though I was not expecting much either. While it is understandably unbalanced, what do you think of this use?

 

3) Lock-Punches (also from Book of Judgement) fling the user 2d10 metres away on a spectacularly failed Tech-Use test. Jumping even 2 metres up is impressive, let alone 20. With proper preparation, the Lock-Punch could be a cheaper, more accessible jump pack. This use inverts the good and bad case scenarios, trying to pass off the misfire as the true benefit. Again, I was denied this use. What is your take on using a failed test this way?

 

4) A more generic concern is that certain weapon fluff adds non-standard bonuses to specific weapons. Take the Mordian-Pattern Power Sword (Rogue Trader Core) for example: its description gives it a +5 to Parry that no other vanilla power sword has. Compare that to the Only War (Core Book's) listing of a Power Sword that otherwise has completely identical stats. Without referencing multiple books, a player can easily lose out on unique fluff that gives one piece of equipment a tangible edge over another. How would you address discrepancies between these kinds of items?

 

 

My main goal when creating a character is to be unique which, to me, means iconic equipment. One GM brought up was that if I (as a character) start using items strangely, people will start doing the same. He "politely suggested" that if I possessed a chameleoline melee weapon, so would every enemy I faced and theirs would explicitly be better than mine. Another potential concern is that what I ask for sometimes may be viewed as tech-heresy, since I ask for a lot of odd things, though I am not versed in that subject. For me, even the smallest boon is important; I fight for every last bonus I can squeeze from a given home world, weapon, and the like. Consequently, I believe most GMs would hate me. I would greatly appreciate feedback from the seasoned minds of this forum. Thank you for your time.

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1. Certain things are only for armor for just that reason. That being said I don't think it's be effective, You're still swinging the weapon, they can see your body using it and it still looks like a mass moving towards them. Non combat, sure, but wearing a camoline cloak and not having your weapon out dves the same thing.

 

2. I'd allow it, but I wouldn't allow you to fire back, as I feel that the disruption is only effective if you aren't doing anything in return.

 

3. If you purposefully fail to use tech properly then the Mechanicus would want your head on a pike. It's sacred and shouldn't be treated like an abused loved one. That being said I'd have you take falling damage because Jump Packs are made for that, the tech you want to use isn't.

 

4. That's why you're only supposed to use one line. They're all balanced differently rather than with each other. I'd address it by saying that you can't get ahold of that pattern in this area without an incredible roll and at least some minor side mission working for a rogue trader.

 

Your GM isn't wrong in saying that if you start doing it the enemies might start to. That and a lot of things you suggest are a form of tech heresy, and the mechanicus doesn't take kindly to that sort of thing.

 

I get what you're going for but squeezing out bonuses for stuff your character shouldn't even know about let alone get a hold of just isn't practical. It plays more towards the concept you're simply a grouping of numbers rather than an actual being with a history. Not necessarily wrong, but it's not how I play.

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Okay, here are my thoughts as a GM on the matter

 

1) Might give you a bonus, yeah, maybe a -5 to an enemy's parry, but also a -5 on your WS, since you can't exactly estimate the length of your weapon. Feints would get a +10 bonus though. Also, anything that has one of a few traits (Unnatural Senses, as well as probably from beyond/Daemonic) would laugh in your face and shred you regardless. 

 

2) Privacy Field I'd be cool with, that thing probably takes a few moments to set up. Privacy Field is one "of those Items" of the book of Judgment which belong to the dreaded "Power Curve" Type of Items. Considering it's a Servo-Skull which can break due to any number of reasons, I might or might not be cool with it. 

 

3) Good Idea, but hell, be prepared for me rolling for falling damage EVERY SINGLE TIME. "Being thrown away a few meters" is anything but controlled, after all. Also, you'll almost always be prone, so try charging into enemies that way :D

 

4) The Comparison between Rogue Trader Equipment and the Equipment of any other system is moot, since they're technically different system. If your GM is nice, then, yeah, go for it, but for me as a GM, we have a list of sanctioned items, anything else is mostly GM-Fiat. 

 

On the matter of Tech-Heresy, well, the more you tinker especially with the complicated Equipment of yours and the more you use it for NOT it's intended purpose, the more you're coming under suspicion, but the line is very blurry. 

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1) That was one GM's reaction, yes. However, if using just a chameleoline cloak, a sniper rifle protrudes out of the character's little stealth tent. It would make sense, to an extent, to chameleoline the rifle as well to remove that weakness. Combining the Compact upgrade with chameleoline would make for an interesting concealable firearm. Putting chameleolined gun on Forearm Weapon Mounting gives a character some theatrical flair, what with outstretched arms firing half-visible guns and all. Still, chameleolining every last piece of gear could be tech-heresy and/or excessive. Yeah.

 

 

1) Reading your take on chameleoline weapons, that makes sense. However, that makes me think of ways to avoid the WS penalty, probably in the form of some kind of helmet auspex. Then again, a GM could craft scenarios where every opponent could see the blade somehow and render the modification useless.

 

 

2) I find it interesting that both you and darkforce below accept this use of a Privacy Field, though this only makes 4 real GMs I have talked to. Yes, one GM's reason for the rejecting my use for Privacy Fields was due to stray bullets hitting the servo-skull or case. They'd also always hit it on the first try. My original use for the privacy field was actually for a melee assassin. He would dart around in combat and put the field up once he got to a target to silence any screams with the added bonus of discouraging retaliation by gunfire. Does that change your rulings?

I noticed that you dropped a few quotation marks in your reply, darkforce. Although it is deviating from the goal of this post, may I ask which items you refer to as "dreaded 'Power Curve' items"?

 

3) Catfall and Leap Up do a pretty good job counteracting the effects of a lock-leap. A lock-punch is "best used" to fling oneself directly upward since Sprinting is generally going to cover more distance than a horizontal fling and vertical distance is harder to achieve. Though, as ThenDoctor mentioned, intentionally failing a Tech-Use test is going to tick off some people. Some really important people. Honestly, pursuing this particular use is not a good idea from the roleplaying side of the game, but I appreciate your inputs.

 

4) Allow me to put it another way. Using Rogue Trader's (Corebook) and (Into the Storm), I have a Shield from the former and a Combat Shield from the latter. The vanilla shield gives 2 AP to Arm and Body, weighs 3kg, and imposes an extra -10 on the Defensive quality for a whopping -20 to attack with it. On the other hand, the Combat Shield gives 3 AP to Arm and Body, weighs only 1kg, and only suffers the standard -10 to attack with a Defensive weapon. Why would anyone take the normal Shield when, for mirrored stats and Availability, the Combat Shield trumps it as written? In this case, the fluff damns one shield while the other gets off scot-free. For other items, some get unique fluff bonuses where their competition don't.

 

 

Thank you for your feedback. Now my main question is "what exactly counts as tech-heresy?" Regarding the Privacy Field situation, I am technically using the item "properly", just not in the circumstances it was likely designed for. Would applying chameleoline be considered heretical, and if so, why? Are Low-Tech weapons exempt from tech-heresy, or are they still considered machines? I am not satisfied with samey standard-issue equipment, so I am really pushing for some individuality. Maybe I need to ease off on the throttle, but then I am left with a sense of missed opportunities.

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Well let me throw my 2 thrones in

 

1.  I can see the benefits of Chameleoline coating on sniper weapon to help hide you from counter snipers, but on a melee weapon I can't see it really giving a penalty for parry but I also see you having penalty to hit as well you don't have exactly see your own swing either. 

 

2. Interesting idea, but unless you use the 1 from BoJ, you have a fixed area that enemies may slip out of, and well I would guess you are going to set area, and you will have to set it up before you go to battle works great from an ambush, and remember that radius also blurs your line of sight too.  You won't know the otherside has a brought up reinforcements.  Now a Stummer makes things quiet.  but won't block LOS.  If you use the 1 from BoJ then I would say the Servo-Skull has to be above the blur zone, so it could be targeted from the outside.

 

3. I will admit that the failure of a Lock Punch can kick you up in the air or along a path.  But if I need to Go up 15m, the random kick isn't as helpful if I only jump 6m.  If that against a solid wall with the only opening 15m up, it going to hurt.

 

4. Different lines and fluff, if your GM allows you to gain access good for you.

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2) I'd allow it but state that until in place the servo skull still has a chance of alerting the target, even then someone might notice the target is no longer making noise and get on alert.

 

3) I guess, but still building yourself for that use is silly and screams of powergaming. I'd make sure the mechanicus gave you a stern word on the proper use of tech. After the warning then they'd get rough.

 

4) Notice the descriptor, Combat, one's made for fighting. Even then it's about avaliability, and if they even own the book. I have a running rule of if I don't have the book it doesn't get used. I tend to state what books are allowed because as Dark Heresy grew in supplements they kept trying to compete with the other lines and jumped up the stats of their items creating a nasty case of earlier items being blatantly replaced with plain better items.

 

For instance I never allow the use of The Lathe Worlds. Any sane person can see why.

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1) Reading your take on chameleoline weapons, that makes sense. However, that makes me think of ways to avoid the WS penalty, probably in the form of some kind of helmet auspex. Then again, a GM could craft scenarios where every opponent could see the blade somehow and render the modification useless.

 

I can't imagine any way to incorporate an Auspex like that which would not impair your vision in other ways that isn't made up by modern-day standards (remember, we still have to think from the perspective of the Character and Lore), but feel free to convince me otherwise.

 

2) I find it interesting that both you and darkforce below accept this use of a Privacy Field, though this only makes 4 real GMs I have talked to. Yes, one GM's reason for the rejecting my use for Privacy Fields was due to stray bullets hitting the servo-skull or case. They'd also always hit it on the first try. My original use for the privacy field was actually for a melee assassin. He would dart around in combat and put the field up once he got to a target to silence any screams with the added bonus of discouraging retaliation by gunfire. Does that change your rulings?

 
I noticed that you dropped a few quotation marks in your reply, darkforce. Although it is deviating from the goal of this post, may I ask which items you refer to as "dreaded 'Power Curve' items"?

 

Not at all. In fact I think the Privacy Field might even be a liability in that case, as it tells everyone who isn't half-blind "HEY SOMEONE NOT WANTING TO BE SEEN HERE!" which will likely cause a suppressing barrage, a good old nade or a burst of hot promethium. Cameleoline Cloak is far more useful in that scenario, with less risk of Tech-Priests running amok. But for taking out single Guards? Hell, why not?

 

 

3) Catfall and Leap Up do a pretty good job counteracting the effects of a lock-leap. A lock-punch is "best used" to fling oneself directly upward since Sprinting is generally going to cover more distance than a horizontal fling and vertical distance is harder to achieve. Though, as ThenDoctor mentioned, intentionally failing a Tech-Use test is going to tick off some people. Some really important people. Honestly, pursuing this particular use is not a good idea from the roleplaying side of the game, but I appreciate your inputs.

 

True, but... why not just take a grappling hook, combined with a clip/drop harness? Again the far more simple and reliable solution. 

 

4) Allow me to put it another way. Using Rogue Trader's (Corebook) and (Into the Storm), I have a Shield from the former and a Combat Shield from the latter. The vanilla shield gives 2 AP to Arm and Body, weighs 3kg, and imposes an extra -10 on the Defensive quality for a whopping -20 to attack with it. On the other hand, the Combat Shield gives 3 AP to Arm and Body, weighs only 1kg, and only suffers the standard -10 to attack with a Defensive weapon. Why would anyone take the normal Shield when, for mirrored stats and Availability, the Combat Shield trumps it as written? In this case, the fluff damns one shield while the other gets off scot-free. For other items, some get unique fluff bonuses where their competition don't.

 

 

Eh, that's by far the least problem Melee-weapons have in terms of sidegrades and differentiation. Too many weapons are just direct upgrades, with no system being in place to make certain weapons better in certain conditions. However, at least in the group I GM, Items with special fluff tend to be harder to get on a narrative level, as "current state of the Calixis-Sector" factors into availability of the various items, with some Items being flat-out not available unless under certain circumstances (I doubt you can just go into a shop and buy a Power Sword.). Players will probably hate the increase in price on firearms when Severus starts his little secession in the periphery...

 

 

Thank you for your feedback. Now my main question is "what exactly counts as tech-heresy?" Regarding the Privacy Field situation, I am technically using the item "properly", just not in the circumstances it was likely designed for. Would applying chameleoline be considered heretical, and if so, why? Are Low-Tech weapons exempt from tech-heresy, or are they still considered machines? I am not satisfied with samey standard-issue equipment, so I am really pushing for some individuality. Maybe I need to ease off on the throttle, but then I am left with a sense of missed opportunities.

 
 
As I see it, you should probably turn it down a bit and look for simpler solutions, as they have the habit of being more reliable... y'know, the more complex a plan is, the more things can go wrong (unless it's made by Tzeentch).
 
Addendum Power Curve Items
Leatherwort: +2 Armor, adds with anything, Vox-Legi Shotgun, a shotgun with more stopping power then A BLOODY BOLTER, only two name two of my most hated items from the Book of Judgement. Oh, and pretty much anything from the Lathe-Worlds turns a Tech-Priest into a machine of carnage, bloodshed and... pretty much anything else, if you use the right Alternative Ranks. Also Alternative starting-rank for Guardsmen including free Implants every second rank, a free slightly-downgraded Power Armor, overall beefed up weapons, blah blah blah I'll just stop ranting here, nothing good will come from that. 
 
Edit: Guess I should invest some XP in Scholastic Lore (FFG-Forum Software) <_<
Edited by darkforce

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With these examples, I am more aiming to explain my thought process more than to argue specific rulings. The situations I listed are to illustrate what I do while I read books:

  • Mishmash existing item concepts (e.g., chameleoline weapons)
  • Find uses for items outside their intended arena (e.g., combat-oriented Privacy Fields and lock-punch catapults)
  • Add a positive spin to failed tests (e.g., lock-punch catapults)
  • Select weapons based on qualities that make them unique to similar weapons (e.g., guns that are more effective as improvised weapons, bonuses to Parry, etc.)

Back in my first days of Dark Heresy, I dreamt of Lightning Mirker's (Acreage Lightning Gauntlet + Mirker's Greaves, both from Inquisitor's). The GMs I spoke with approved of the idea and it satisfied me knowing I made something unique. It is this kind of feeling I am chasing, though on a larger scale.

 

Sidestory: Mirker's Greaves are pieces of Leg armor that function as knuckle dusters. The Exotic Lightning Gauntlet is fluffed to use a special alloy to make Shocking weapons that are battery-free. Combining the two makes handsome-looking greaves that leave lightning trails when running or kicking. Fancy, unique, and not horribly game-breaking. I think.

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As I mentioned in my post above, I would like to move away from arguing these specific cases, but I appreciate your replies. Yes, Lathe Worlds is quite a nightmare. I already have a bit of a beef with Tech-Priests since their whole package (Talents, Implants, connections, etc.) is almost entirely preferable due to how the numbers play out. Bloody Tech-Priests get so many boons and their weaknesses are covered up by their sheer utility. Flying Power Armor Tech-Priests, bah.

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Again this all comes down to how a GM wishes to run things, they have final say even past arguments. They're allowed to present their universe in any form of semi continuity within reason. Obviously they should be at least open to discussion, but not everyone is open to the concepts of bending rules in a system they're running.

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With these examples, I am more aiming to explain my thought process more than to argue specific rulings. The situations I listed are to illustrate what I do while I read books:

  • Mishmash existing item concepts (e.g., chameleoline weapons)
  • Find uses for items outside their intended arena (e.g., combat-oriented Privacy Fields and lock-punch catapults)
  • Add a positive spin to failed tests (e.g., lock-punch catapults)
  • Select weapons based on qualities that make them unique to similar weapons (e.g., guns that are more effective as improvised weapons, bonuses to Parry, etc.)

Back in my first days of Dark Heresy, I dreamt of Lightning Mirker's (Acreage Lightning Gauntlet + Mirker's Greaves, both from Inquisitor's). The GMs I spoke with approved of the idea and it satisfied me knowing I made something unique. It is this kind of feeling I am chasing, though on a larger scale.

 

Sidestory: Mirker's Greaves are pieces of Leg armor that function as knuckle dusters. The Exotic Lightning Gauntlet is fluffed to use a special alloy to make Shocking weapons that are battery-free. Combining the two makes handsome-looking greaves that leave lightning trails when running or kicking. Fancy, unique, and not horribly game-breaking. I think.

 

I like the Lightning Mirker's, very unique.  My 1st unique weapon was the Acreage Throwing Spikes, so I see where you were coming from.

 

And well have you looked at playing an renegade Tech Priest who does dabble in well "Questionable" tech programs?  Some of your ideas are interesting.  Like the lock-punch catapults, if you could have more control in the distance launched I could see it use.

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Heh, I'm mostly writing what I'd do if stuff like that came from my players. My basic approach is the following pattern:

 

1. Check if it is something the character can reasonably think of (No development of new types of Plasma-Weapons which don't overheat, for example, as that knowledge is essentially lost and if a character were to do that, he'd have to journey from Forge World to Forge World, working decades to be allowed to take a look at the blueprints etc etc and so wouldn't be an actual adventuring PC)

 

2. Listen to what problems the thing might have during it's development and throw a few more at them to see how they solve it. Some of those problems might not be visible at first :)

 

3. Solved all problems, tests successful? You may now keep whatever you created. Overall it means that simple inventions (like your shocking mirkers greaves) are pretty simple to build. 

 

I also go by the Motto of "Fluff is free", so if you want a Rainbow-colored Lasgun, hell, why not? As long as the Item in question does not change it's basic function, it's fine with me. 

 

When it comes to mechanically different Items (especially weapons) I tend to create them myself, but player's ideas do inspire me occasionally. 

 

One of my players in a Rogue Trader Campaign once build an artillery-cannon in order to shoot the nukes they acquired on another planet, to use them in the war they were fighting on another world, Player of the Explorator thought "We just put this pipe here and it should work out." Luckily for them, they did not fire it. The results would've been devastating, but not exactly for the enemy. 

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I would like to thank everyone for their replies. My main take-away is that Tech-Priests' opinions are just as important as a GM's, particularly when it comes to modifying and (ab)using technology. Uniqueness is good, but sticking to standard gear is safer. This topic is more or less closed, but I will be floating around the forum to pitch my ideas again for reactions. Until next time.

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