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MalachiBlack

Optimizing to keep up?

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I am totally new to this game, so let me know if I totally boffle any of these terms. When going through character creation, we rolled my stats and I got these ten numbers to add to my base values:


 


5 5 7 7 8 9 9 9 11 15


 


He seemed to think this was really bad. I think most of the other scores rolled by the other players were pretty above-average. I am used to games where the base scores don't matter TOO horribly much in the long run. I proceeded to design a Warrior from a Feral World, background pending. The general idea was to make someone who was an Unarmed Specialist (rips things with his bare hands) who was coerced into doing this line of work due to an explosive collar around his neck.


 


The DM seemed fine with the concept, but I sense that he is worried I won't do so well. In the opinion of others, will below-average base stats set me back a large amount? And if so, are there certain classes/skills/talents I should try and optimize for?


 


We currently have a Psyker and Assassin. I am really up for playing anything, I just enjoy designing something that compliments the party. I don't want to hold the rest of the team back, but I am also curious if the DM might be overthinking it because this will be his first game. Thoughts?


Edited by MalachiBlack

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I mean, for an Unarmed Specialist, your combat stats seem awfully low. That would concern me if I were your GM. The dice seem to be suggesting you play a social, back-line character rather than a front-line fighter. Of course, Characteristics aren't everything, but they do draw some guidelines. My advice would be to first see if you can re-roll everything if you want to stick with the Unarmed Specialist concept, else find a less combat-oriented angle.

 

Did you happen to roll for your Divination, Superstitions, Mementos, and whatnot? Sometimes I like to leave my character concept open until I see what options I get. I'm more than willing to help you reach a fun character concept, but I'd like a little more information first.

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Divination, I got the one that was +3 to willpower but with a drawback. Something with Insanity, but I can't pull the name off of the top of my head.

 

I actually don't particularly care what sort of combat character I have, I was just trying to make one that was combat focused. The rest of the group designed combat-centric characters and are the sorts to seek out the violent answers, so I didn't want to have to make the one social butterfly. Of course, you could argue that a group of fighters would need a social butterfly. At the same time, the DM is the sort that will cater the adventure to the group. So, if there is a bunch of combat characters, it'll be very combat focused. If I have a social character, he'll throw in social challenges, which will be boring to the rest.

 

I personally enjoy roleplaying a wide variety of things, so I am good with whatever. Superstitions and Mementos, I do not think so. 

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Playing to your character's existing strengths, I would suggest going the Flamer route if you want to be combat-viable. Weapons with the Spray quality bypass the fact that you have low BS, essentially inverting the enemy's Agility to use as your Ballistic Skill. The Flame quality make up for your otherwise low Damage since you won't be able to get the Full Auto capabilities of other weapon types.

 

"Only the insane have strength enough to prosper"

sounds like the Divination you got. Your character can hone in on Willpower advances and Insanity points to resist Fear pretty well.

 

This optional chargen supplement is separate from the book, but has some inspiring fluff to make characters with.

 

 

Which books are your GM pulling from? I can offer more (and more specific) options based on what you have access to.

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Ask your GM if you can just use point buy and curse dark heresy for using a random roll down the line system by default in the year 2014. That and you rolled almost 2 standard deviations below the mean, and are in the bottom 2.8% of stats, which is really bad. If your GM tells you not to use point buy, just use it anyway, and claim you re rolled the character, because random rolling for core stats is garbage. If the GM makes you roll in front of him, I suggest that rather than rolling you just place each due on the table in the value you want and getting into an argument over what constitutes "rolling."

And this is why people during the beta thought random rolling as the default was a stupid idea.

Edit: if you and your GM are for whatever reason married to random rolling of stats, use this system instead:

-Roll 2d10 5 times

-For each result, take both it and the difference from 20 (eg if you roll an 8, you'd have an 8 and a 12).

-Either apply each pair one after the other (e.g. Apply the above 8 to weapon skill and 12 to ballistic skill) or apply each pair to to characteristics opposite each other (eg first pair goes to weapon skill then influence, second pair to to ballistic skill then fellowship, etc.) not if your GM is being reasonable, just apply the numbers to whatever characteristic you want.

-using the above system, you'll always end up with a slightly below-average character (when compared to rolling), stat-wise.

Consider though that the other players likely still got luckier than you and will have more effective characters than you throughout the game all because they got lucky on rolls made before the game even starts. Meditate on how some people think this is not flawed game design.

Edited by Nimsim

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Those stats are really sucky for an unarmed fighter. I would actually play it unplayable because the unarmed fighter is a pretty bad conception to begin with, so you need good stats to make it work. You really need that WS/S/T/AG/WP (at least three of these in any combination) at 35+, don't even bother with less. 

 

Otherwise, you will need Agility, it is pretty much your primary stat. Pick Agility as the leftover Aptitude (from having Toughness from both Feral World and Warrior). Weapon Skill and Strength comes after that, and finally Toughness and Willpower. Perception is also good, but far from essential. You can leave Intelligence and Fellowship behind, you won't need those. This is pretty much the order you would like to take your Characteristic Advances: first Agility, then WS+S (these are going to be cheap and easy), then T and WP. 

 

For Background, I recommend Outcast. Fits the concept and gives very nice bonuses. Take the Fieldcraft Aptitude, it will help a lot. 

 

Skills-wise, Dodge is a must. Max it out ASAP. Acrobatics, Athletics, Awareness and Stealth will be also very useful. Also think about Operate to make yourself useful for the whole party. Best thing is, if you follow my advice for taking Aptitudes, then all these Skill will be cheap so you can advance in them quickly. 

 

For Talents, aim for True Grit, Step Aside and Preternatural Speed. Takedown and Hard Target are also good. 

 

As a general guideline, focus on defense (the kind that let you avoid stuff) first, then go for speed, and finally for offensive power. Your damage output will be pretty low even with Unarmed Specialist unless you can get your hands on some Best craftsmanship Synthmuslce (good luck for that), so don't force it unless you have some spare XP to burn. Really, your job will be something like tying up your opponents while the Psyker and the Assassin make the DPS rolling. 

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 I believe you can reroll one of your stats, but the second roll is final, even if it's worse.

 

 As others have said, it's better to focus on defense first with this concept. Without getting stuff like Synth Muscle and Unarmed Warrior talents you won't be hitting too hard when it comes to your forte, you'll need to stay alive until you're able to punch jaws off and faces in and a good Dodge roll will go a long way. Things like Athletics and Awareness are good to take as well, so you can give chase and use your knuckles to break the legs of any Heretic trying to run away after a gunfight.

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Those stats are really sucky for an unarmed fighter.

Those rolls are really bad for anyone. All but 2 are below average.

 

 

 I believe you can reroll one of your stats, but the second roll is final, even if it's worse.

This is a bad rule. Every game I've ever played that used random rolling has let the players roll 1 extra set, discard the lowest, assign as desired.

 

My advice is to take Nimsim's advice. Randomly rolling competence and speciailization (low WS? Hope you didn't want to play a melee guy!) is a garbage mechanic and should be side-stepped.

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Those stats are really sucky for an unarmed fighter.

Those rolls are really bad for anyone. All but 2 are below average.

 

A purely social character might get along with them just fine: 11 for the Perception, 8+3 for the Willpower, and 15 for the Fellowship. Or a dedicated sniper: 15 for BS, 11 for Perception and that's it, you don't really need anything else. Or a turbo-psyker, they only need Willpower anyway. 

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The key to successfully using random rolls for character generation is not to create the concept for your character until after the numbers have been rolled. Random rolling makes a character that is born, not designed, a fact that is supported by the fact that Homeworld is the only choice one can make before rolling stats. For this philosophy I would actually also recommend rolling specific characteristics in order.

Too many GMs do not reflect on what effect the choice of characteristic generation mechanics has on the game as a whole. I disagree with Nimsim dismissing random rolling altogether, but I would say that "optimizing" is certainly not a word that should be uttered near random rolling - then point buy or an array should have been used. Also, why not simply ask the GM nicely to roll a new set, seeing it is so far below average?

Edited by Johkmil

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The key to successfully using random rolls for character generation is not to create the concept for your character until after the numbers have been rolled. Random rolling makes a character that is born, not designed, a fact that is supported by the fact that Homeworld is the only choice one can make before rolling stats. For this philosophy I would actually also recommend rolling specific characteristics in order.

Too many GMs do not reflect on what effect the choice of characteristic generation mechanics has on the game as a whole. I disagree with Nimsim dismissing random rolling altogether, but I would say that "optimizing" is certainly not a word that should be uttered near random rolling - then point buy or an array should have been used. Also, why not simply ask the GM nicely to roll a new set, seeing it is so far below average?

I would be fine if random rolling was for homeworld/background/role and then went with my system of 2d10 and 20-2d10 in order to get characteristics. That would give you a random character to build a concept around. I am completely against random rolling that is strictly meant to find out if one character is better than another. This is especially egregious in a game like DH that has such a long and involved character generation (with lots of decisions for players to make!) that basically forces a bunch of investment on a possibly garbage stat block like the OP's.

Random rolling for concept/general abilities=fine and dandy

Random rolling for how good your character is=bad bad bad

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I agree with you with that clarification, Nimsim. 
I would say random rolling works when the DH2 character creation system is used in order, i.e. first choose Homeworld, then roll stats, then find out what kind of paths a character with that particular skillset would choose. Included in that must be the assumption that someone too unskilled would never make it to the Inquisition. 

Note that the DH1 system of having background packages able to minmax your concept really collides with the idea of random rolling, becoming concept-savers instead - the Guardsman who lacked Willpower so much that he had to survive the Mara Landing Massacre is not an organically grown character.

Rolling to find out "How well will my character concept work?" is absurd.

Edited by Johkmil

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I agree with you with that clarification, Nimsim. 

I would say random rolling works when the DH2 character creation system is used in order, i.e. first choose Homeworld, then roll stats, then find out what kind of paths a character with that particular skillset would choose. Included in that must be the assumption that someone too unskilled would never make it to the Inquisition. 

Note that the DH1 system of having background packages able to minmax your concept really collides with the idea of random rolling, becoming concept-savers instead - the Guardsman who lacked Willpower so much that he had to survive the Mara Landing Massacre is not an organically grown character.

Rolling to find out "How well will my character concept work?" is absurd.

This exactly. You have a system which presents players with a ton of choices about tier character concept but then by default has something like 40-50% of tier actual effectiveness be up to random chance. Point buy should have been the default. I'd also revise my suggested random rolling system to have the player roll 2d10, choose a stat to add that to, choose another stat to add (20 - the result) to, and continue for all ten stats. This would add the random factor while maintaining player choice an character parity/effectiveness.

You do realize that there's a point buy method as well right?

I mentioned using it in my first post. The issue is that random rolling is given as the default, and is poorly implemented and out of like with the rest of character creation. You get to situations where someone unlucky like the op has to "nicely ask" the GM to have a chance at a character who doesn't suck.

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You do realize that there's a point buy method as well right?

 

Personally, I really hate point-buy, because it inevitably ends up with min-maxing.

 

My preferred methods are to either go with a preset statline with free distribution, or simply rolling an extra dice, discard lowest, reroll if below a certain threshold, with free distribution.

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I'd just determine the total points from all characteristics that would reflect an above average character.

 

Let the character roll his characteristics, count up the total points and if it's below the previous mentioned points then spread the difference evenly amongst all characteristics.

Edited by Gridash

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When it comes to re-rolling, I normally don't like to do it. It seems like it defeats the purpose of rolling, to get a set of stats and then creatively come up with a character concept that works with those stats. I asked the DM if he would rather me re-roll, and he immediately said that is what he wanted me to do. So, I re-rolled and came up with...

 

10 8 15 15 16 19  6 12 12 16

 

So, from what I can see, that is much better. I also decided that I wanted to try and design a Tech Priest named Octavius, ha. Completely opposite direction from what I originally planned, but I figure the team needs someone who isn't combat-focused. I was going to try and make this guy a knowledge bank/skill money of sorts (Infused Knowledge) with plenty of fancy augmentations. If anyone has any general design tips when it comes to making a Tech Priest sort of person (Voidborn homework, the Tech background, Sage role) then I am all ears. 

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Let's see... 

 

For a skill monkey, you will need Intelligence. Lots of it, so that 19 has a good place. Agility and Perception are also important (I dunno, did you roll these numbers in order? Because that '6' for Perception is bad news bares then.). Fellowship and Influence are also cool. Willpower is optimal. The rest is 'meh'. 

 

Here comes a problem though: you absolutely need Fieldcraft as one of your Aptitudes. Don't even try to make a skill monkey without it. Currently, you don't have it, and that's a massive flaw in the character. I think you should drop the Mechanicus background for Outcast. For the leftover aptitude (from the Voidborn/Sage Intelligence), take either Agility (if you don't want to absolutely suck in combat) or Fellowship (if you want some social stuff rolling too). 

 

Skills... yeah, you want everything here that requires Intelligence or Perception: Medicae, Awareness, Survival, Scrutiny, Security, Tech-Use, Navigate, Logic... preferably in this order. Then either Stealth + Sleight of Hand (if you have Agility) or Charm/Deceive + Inquiry (if you have Fellowship). 

 

You will be mostly useless in combat, prepare for that. It is very likely that if the others are so combat-focused, then you will be quite unpopular with the occasional moments when you can shine. Because of this, I would take Agility and include stealthiness in the concept, people will like you more with good Stealth in your arsenal.

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While Fieldcraft is useful, I would not recommend switching to Outcast if the idea is to make a Tech Priest, as you lose the Mechanicus Implants - you simply are no Tech Priest without them. Logic and Lores more than makes up for anything you can buy with Fieldcraft. A lot of players (and too many GMs) fail to see the extreme usefulness of a knowledge monkey that can solve the puzzle by sheer mindpower without the need of messy bullet-to-the-knees - a Sage, if you will. 

As for stat distribution - 19 is going in Intelligence, certainly. I would recommend a high Willpower, although that can vary from campaign to campaign. Toughness is always nice, gives you some well-deserved staying power as well as the ability to carry all that heavy Mechanicus equipment.

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He actually is having us just assign the points where we want to put them, so I can just plug them into whatever stat works best!

 

Cool! Then I would say that you should distribute them like this:

BS 28 | WS 26 | S 32 | T 30 | AG 35 | INT 39 | PER 36 | WP 32+3 | FEL 35 | INF 36

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You do realize that there's a point buy method as well right?

 Personally, I really hate point-buy, because it inevitably ends up with min-maxing. My preferred methods are to either go with a preset statline with free distribution, or simply rolling an extra dice, discard lowest, reroll if below a certain threshold, with free distribution.

How is fixed statline with free distribution any less min-maxing than point buy? People will still put their highest possible stats where they feel it matters and the lowes where it doesn't.

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How is fixed statline with free distribution any less min-maxing than point buy? People will still put their highest possible stats where they feel it matters and the lowes where it doesn't.

 

 

I think Fgdsfg didn't mean that with free distribution, minmaxing is made impossible. But you have to agree that point buy gives even more freedom than free distribution of randomly rolled numbers.

 

if you would have rolled: 19 18 15 12 10 8 8 7 2 and you would have wanted to create a warrior-kind of guy, you would still have to make some hard choices concerning BS, WS, S, T and Ag.

 

Another advantage of free distribution of randomly rolled numbers is that there is no such thing as a true "dump stat". Sure that two over there is going to be put in fellowship or intelligence, but you're not rewarding the player for doing so. With point buy you can't really stop a player for putting 0 points in a number of dump stats to max out other ones.

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How is fixed statline with free distribution any less min-maxing than point buy? People will still put their highest possible stats where they feel it matters and the lowes where it doesn't.

Point-buy allows you to fully max out whatever you want and place all points at given brackets - such as no-one will ever have a Toughness not dividable by 5, etc. Statlines still force you to make a choice, even though yes, they will still place their highest score in their most relevant stat.

But obviously, you'll always do that with any kind of free distribution. This makes perfect sense, because it stands to reason that characters with a certain set of characteristics gravitate towards certain specializations, careers and professions.

 

With pure, free point-buy, you will (practically) always end up with 20 Willpower and 0 Ballistics Skill, and that sniper character will practically always end up with a 0 in Fellowship and a 20 in Ballistics Skill, and so on and so forth. Depenidng on the points pool, you might even end up with multiple 0's and multiple 20's. Set statlines prevents this completely.

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