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Decessor

A query about the DH2 system

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This only answers...what it shouldn't be (and it's not a One-And-Done roll, either. It's the narrative the game master invokes with every npc, context clues, scrutiny and awareness rolls, inquiry and interrogation, application of skills and delivery and critical thinking skills...sometimes). How else would you quantify the investigation nature of the game besides the fellowship based skills, investigaiton skills, disposition tables and modifiers, subtlety track and other elements of the game CPS and the bandwagon gloss over?

 

This is what I keep wondering when I hear the "one and done investigation" argument, but I've never been able to articulate it as well as this.  

 

I'm not sure what you mean by "quantifying" an investigation. I honestly have found the best way to run an investigation is to actually run the matter to be investigated with yourself in your head, and maybe roll a few dice where appropriate. Then you proceed step by step, make note of who knows what and what other parties get involved until someone calls the inquisition or the inquisition notices on their own. It's fairly straightforward and doesn't need many rules beyond a somewhat sane skill system. Abstracting and keeping track of dispositions is an unnecessary step you can simply omit. You are far better off making short cliff notes of the interaction instead. It allows you a clearer memory of what occurred later on, as well as a more organic portrayal of NPCs. Abstracts tend to inadvertedly lead to categories, where everyone with disposition X is the same. It's a counter-intuitive approach. The same is true for subtlety. Every environment is different. Instead of using an abstract score, clearly define the environment instead.

 

I tend to use something like this checklist:

 

1. What is the theme of the world?

2. What ecological factors of significance are there, if any?

3. What is the current political situation?

4. What is the current economical situation?

5. What general laws exist?

6. What customs exists?

7. What is the average citizen's disposition, factoring in the above?

8. What is the ruling class's disposition?

9. How competent are the authorities?

10. Does organised crime exist? And how?

11. What is the "threat" and how does it tie into the above?

12. Who are prominent personalities? Quick list of name, three positive and negative traits each as well as function.

13. Who are the PCs likely to meet? Jot down three merchants, three police, three [insert important faction on planet here] as above.

14. If one or more of your PCs are from this environment, make sure to needle them about what they envision it as to prevent SNAFU. Why is this at the end? Simple: It's easier to have setting discussions when you have your notes intact and present.

 

I also, rarely, roll in investigations. Generally rolls come into play for forensics, hacking and other secondary avenues of investigation, while the face to face interaction is something I generally RP. In some cases, like suspect interrogations, I may have the PCs roll to see if they can make him or her crack, but if they've done their job correctly, wether he does or not should not matter. 40k is even easy mode there, because you can literally rip knowledge from a dead man's brain. I'll also note that social skills can and should use "assists", even from folks without the skill trained. I recently had a prisoner in a cell with three sororitas and a redemptionist cleric. I gave the one asking the questions a +30 for the roll, because that much witch burner in your face is -scary-, wether they're trying to be or not.

 

As for the dicerolling side, ergo searching for clues, it amounts to awareness tests per person, per room, and may have perception based follow-ups on a variety of tradeskills and secondary skills that sadly no longer exist in DH2e. If someone is excessively thorough, such as methodically scouring every inch of a room, they may even find things you simply cannot plausibly miss even on a failure (though more subtle stuff may go unnoticed of course). Furthermore, my players are free to roll an Int+skil check at any time to ask if what they can plausibly extrapolate from a situation. For example, Int+Wrangling was used to assess how a guard dog would react and likely be trained.

 

You can put a lot of dicework into investigations, without actually resorting to something so horrific as the subtlety track that lets players game things in an abstract manner that makes me cringe at the table. I'm personally really glad my players only do that when we're in "timeskip" mode, because if someone was like "I burn X influence to decrease our subtlety score" instead of "I walk into the bearau of investigation disguised as a janitor with a murder cogitator stuffed in my cleaning utensils." I'd feel I was doing something horribly wrong as a GM. It also leaves me hanging entirely as a storyteller. Basically, it's assumed the inquisition "somehow" erased the tracks. Great. I'm oh so not impressed by your complete reliance on apparently more competent agents, especially since I don't know what the player has done until he tells me, and a system like that kind of encourages not even thinking about the steps necessary to disappear in the shadows or fabricate a false identity.

 

TLDR: Create an environment. Be the criminal for a bit. Take notes on the crime. Then run the game.

Edited by DeathByGrotz

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This only answers...what it shouldn't be (and it's not a One-And-Done roll, either. It's the narrative the game master invokes with every npc, context clues, scrutiny and awareness rolls, inquiry and interrogation, application of skills and delivery and critical thinking skills...sometimes). How else would you quantify the investigation nature of the game besides the fellowship based skills, investigaiton skills, disposition tables and modifiers, subtlety track and other elements of the game CPS and the bandwagon gloss over?

 

This is what I keep wondering when I hear the "one and done investigation" argument, but I've never been able to articulate it as well as this.

How else would I quantify investigation? Well, I'm no game designer, but...

-create some kind of social combat system for interrogating a subject that also addresses the nature of often having multiple party members. Include different actions to take, a method of tracking progress, an integration with existing social skills

-have the same kind of set up but for investigating a room crime scene or the like for picking out clues and piecing things together. Things like giving guidelines for a GM to construct a scene the same way they are given combat fuidelines.

-rather than having a list of skills for things that characters may do, have the skills work more like combat abilities and give them mechanical abilities that differ depending on what kind of encounter is occurring.

And for that matter, while we're improving things.

-combat that focuses on scarcity and in the moment tactics rather than all of the decisions being made before combat in the form of equipment and talent options.

-have all of the above tie in to the themes of corruption and insanity rather than having them be tacked on subsystems.

Basically, the issue is that the game is a series of unrelated subsystems that often work at odds with each other and give mixed messages to the players about how the game should be played. As is, the game effectively hands the players cattle prods and asks them to play chess instead, given how much of the book is taken up by combat.

Basically, the game part of dark heresy needs to embrace more than just the combat section, and it needs to be unified across the player experience. Also, it needs to take into account that your average combat will have dozens of rolls made to do the same thing, while an investigation is a one and done deal of making the single skill roll or not. Given the terrible odds of success in the game, it's no wonder that players resort to violence.

 

Uhm... Have you actually read the "Narrative tools" section? Because, it seems to me that this is exactly what the rules are trying to quantify. Different approaches to both social and physical investigation techniques. Scrutiny and awareness are used to find physical clues. Logic (Yes is it's a skill!) can be used to string clues together if the players can't actively work them out themselves. The Social skills can be used for interviewing witnesses and interacting with a myriad of other persons and finally, Interrogation when you are actually questioning a suspect!

 

None of these skills are meant to be "one and done" with any particular subject but should rather be a series of rolls that build on each other until a conclusion is reached! Kinda like the mechanics of combat if you really think about it!

 

I really don't want or mean to engage in personal attacks but: No system is perfect! It is up to the Gm to understand the ruleset and apply it. Some of the griping here, most notably the poster that suggested the rules screamed "Ignore me!" Seem not to be willing to look at the RAW in the first place. If you feel some of the rules don't apply to a particular situation, you improvise, you adapt, you overcome! (With thanks to Gunny Highway! :) ) The rules are a mechanical framework for a situation that is not nearly as cut and dry as combat. I think the devs didn't do so badly there. In fact, Even back during the beta, that was the one section that got nearly universal acclaim! (Before the trolls started berating everything DH2 of course!)

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This only answers...what it shouldn't be (and it's not a One-And-Done roll, either. It's the narrative the game master invokes with every npc, context clues, scrutiny and awareness rolls, inquiry and interrogation, application of skills and delivery and critical thinking skills...sometimes). How else would you quantify the investigation nature of the game besides the fellowship based skills, investigaiton skills, disposition tables and modifiers, subtlety track and other elements of the game CPS and the bandwagon gloss over?

 

This is what I keep wondering when I hear the "one and done investigation" argument, but I've never been able to articulate it as well as this.

How else would I quantify investigation? Well, I'm no game designer, but...

-create some kind of social combat system for interrogating a subject that also addresses the nature of often having multiple party members. Include different actions to take, a method of tracking progress, an integration with existing social skills

-have the same kind of set up but for investigating a room crime scene or the like for picking out clues and piecing things together. Things like giving guidelines for a GM to construct a scene the same way they are given combat fuidelines.

-rather than having a list of skills for things that characters may do, have the skills work more like combat abilities and give them mechanical abilities that differ depending on what kind of encounter is occurring.

And for that matter, while we're improving things.

-combat that focuses on scarcity and in the moment tactics rather than all of the decisions being made before combat in the form of equipment and talent options.

-have all of the above tie in to the themes of corruption and insanity rather than having them be tacked on subsystems.

Basically, the issue is that the game is a series of unrelated subsystems that often work at odds with each other and give mixed messages to the players about how the game should be played. As is, the game effectively hands the players cattle prods and asks them to play chess instead, given how much of the book is taken up by combat.

Basically, the game part of dark heresy needs to embrace more than just the combat section, and it needs to be unified across the player experience. Also, it needs to take into account that your average combat will have dozens of rolls made to do the same thing, while an investigation is a one and done deal of making the single skill roll or not. Given the terrible odds of success in the game, it's no wonder that players resort to violence.

Uhm... Have you actually read the "Narrative tools" section? Because, it seems to me that this is exactly what the rules are trying to quantify. Different approaches to both social and physical investigation techniques. Scrutiny and awareness are used to find physical clues. Logic (Yes is it's a skill!) can be used to string clues together if the players can't actively work them out themselves. The Social skills can be used for interviewing witnesses and interacting with a myriad of other persons and finally, Interrogation when you are actually questioning a suspect!

 

None of these skills are meant to be "one and done" with any particular subject but should rather be a series of rolls that build on each other until a conclusion is reached! Kinda like the mechanics of combat if you really think about it!

 

I really don't want or mean to engage in personal attacks but: No system is perfect! It is up to the Gm to understand the ruleset and apply it. Some of the griping here, most notably the poster that suggested the rules screamed "Ignore me!" Seem not to be willing to look at the RAW in the first place. If you feel some of the rules don't apply to a particular situation, you improvise, you adapt, you overcome! (With thanks to Gunny Highway! :) ) The rules are a mechanical framework for a situation that is not nearly as cut and dry as combat. I think the devs didn't do so badly there. In fact, Even back during the beta, that was the one section that got nearly universal acclaim! (Before the trolls started berating everything DH2 of course!)

Sometimes I feel like I'm the only person who actually read that section, particularly during the beta. The "universal acclaim" was mostly "hey these sound like good ideas" and then no comment on how they actually functioned or could be used. Almost like people ignored them in favor of poring over the combat rules. For all that the narrative section suggests "well maybe you could use this skill like this," it ignores the fact that repeated skills do not connect to each other in any meaningful mechanical way, with the result for such being "you succeed or fail and the GM makes up a result that allows you to continue solving the mystery in spite of failing." At least combat requires the use of resources and has a constant threat around in order to make it exciting mechanically. The narrative section is effectively one long variation on general guidelines for interpreting skill rolls without much in the way of specifics. It has the beginnings of a good system with the idea of combat encounters and adventure structuring, but is held back by the fact that the rest of the book is just copied from the old rules and thus can't actually be custom built to do anything with those ideas.

Also, I really don't think that combat, of all things, is really that much more cut and dried than interrogating a subject or studying a crime scene. I think it's a lack of imagination on the part of you and other posters who are used to rpgs having a detailed combat system (so of COURSE all rpgs should have turn based d&d combat because what else could there be?) and haven't seen that same rules detail applied to other important parts of the game (everything else must be hand waved or else it ruins roleplay and there is no way to make mechanics encourage roleplay and vice versa).

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Hopefully the impending release of Enemies Within will help out with this.  It seems pretty clear from what has been written so far that the book will introduce and develop a mechanical system for investigation.  I'm also hoping for a system (although it'll probably be a later book, if ever) that lets the PCs build NPC organizations.  Each step away from scene dressing hanging on a combat simulation is a step in the right direction!

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My hope is that they playtest it. I think a lot of the problems with DH2e's mechanics come from a lack there-of or a lack of honest feedback in the testing process. For example, I generally toss my own stuff on /tg/, because it allows people to rip it to shreds, which helps me make it better.

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As said, as far as long campaigns go, if you have a group that doesn't compulsively optimise, you should be more or less fine.

 

If you do get (un)lucky with your aptitudes, though, you may have a bunch of people who have gotten some of the most powerful tier three talents for their role for cheap, while the rest of the party is lagging behind(this is because there is little proper balancing beyond 'tiers' and some tier three talents from advancement paths can be almost negligble for your gaming experience, while others such as, oh, True Grit are extremely powerful); or, you've gotten a party full of optimal builds and they cap out fairly early. Combat builds even sooner than others, because there isn't much you need to be effective in combat in DH2e beyond a decent gear selection and a method to negate damage and a big gun. This is where the skill reduction actually hits investigative builds hard. They have very few things they even need to bother investing XP in, but they end up rolling only on these few talents. By condensing, one creates a far, far lower glass ceiling, in other words. You can reach it easily, through the specialisation inherent in aptitudes, IF your selection was good or optimal for your role in the party.

 

Unfortunately, I have no real clue how to fix this, beyond paying attention in chargen and keeping an eye out for combinations that max out early on. Challenging your PCs in ways that go outside their respective aptitudes can help somewhat, I suppose.

 

You may run into problems in venues the rules barely touch, same as we did, though. I'll list a couple pitfalls:

 

1. Crafting

The 40k line's crafting rules are quite rudimentary. If you have a cogboy, or a chem pusher or something similar in your party, he will want to make his own things in a longer campaign. The problem is, he can only select existing items and is effectively limited in his creativity to whatever the GM deems possible, rather than having a set of rules and abilities he can apply to create an item. This is generally only a problem with between session timeskips, though, and can be solved with decent communication.

 

2. Requisition:

The system is exploitable to no end. It's barely existant as a rules construct, and just enough that you can easily get top tier gear, no questions asked. Common sense and simply saying "no, not on this planet" or "there is no plausible way you could afford this as a hive ganger at this point in your career. If you want to steal it, it's more something we should actually run as an adventure since there might be -consequences-." help fix this.

 

3. The Askellon Sector

 

Sooner or later, one of your players is going to suggest Exterminatus, or ask why it hasn't been done already. If you're playing there, have more than one answer ready.

 

4. Warp Travel/ship combat:

 

Rogue Trader or Battlefield Gothic help quite a bit here, but sadly, the non-RT RPGs basically make one of the riskiest forms of FTL a trivial affair, or one the PCs can barely effect. The appropriate Navigation skill exists, I think, but what happens on a failure is cut fairly short. ErrantKnight has a neat warp travel table in the RT section somewhere that fixes this nicely. I use it for my DH1 campaign as well.

 

 

 

FATE and how it works:

 

I'm assuming you know you can DL it for free on their website.

 

Basically, FATE eschews standard RPG statlines in favour of players picking what their character is good at specifically,namely various player-defined Aspects that can modify dicerolls when the situation calls upon them, in a positive or negative manner. For example, the aspect "compulsive counting" may give a modifier to creating a solid logistical network, while in situations where time is of essence, it would be a drawback. Then there's "stunts" a character can learn, which are selected from a list (or created via set guidelines provided in the rules), that provide boni to specific tasks as well. So, your character is a collection of Aspects you picked that define him, a skill selection he's good at and stunts which let him do specific things with those skills. Everything that happens in the game is handled with aspects, stunts and skills, including combat. FATE also has no XP. When the party or character reaches a significant moment in plot or character development, the GM can allow a greater or minor advancement, which lets you swap around your skill values (because they can detoriorate if you neglect them), learn entirely new skills, new stunts, change an aspect etc.. Your character is essentially a product of the causality of its backstory and the narrative, in other words. That is what FATE does, in a nutshell.

Of course, if you really like the weapon/gear customization of Dark Heresy, and the cool ways that different powers allow you to break the rules, Fate will disappoint. In Fate, your equipment will typically amount to one or two aspects, with the rest being narrative based. For the most part, special powers will always utilize the rules in the same way (gain a reroll, gain +2 to a roll, gain extra ability to take damage, etc). In order to have interesting abilities in Fate, you need to assign them a cool narrative effevt rather than a mechanical one (eg psychic flames adding a +2 to Attack versus psychic flames allowing you to melt anything given time). Also, Fate doesn't really add anything to the whole "investigation" aspect of dark heresy. Given how important equipment is to the setting, Fate would be a poor choice for dark heresy. That said, Fate would be a good way to balance out a party with space marines, regular soldiers, and rogue traders, because it handles scaling extremely well.

 

Ignoring the bias, Fate seems very robust for the solely-Narrativist gaming style. I'll need to check it out one day to see how it measures up to the gamist and simulationist experience - which I have a strong inclination to believe it'll fall short to deliver. 

 

 

 

 

This only answers...what it shouldn't be (and it's not a One-And-Done roll, either. It's the narrative the game master invokes with every npc, context clues, scrutiny and awareness rolls, inquiry and interrogation, application of skills and delivery and critical thinking skills...sometimes). How else would you quantify the investigation nature of the game besides the fellowship based skills, investigaiton skills, disposition tables and modifiers, subtlety track and other elements of the game CPS and the bandwagon gloss over?

 

This is what I keep wondering when I hear the "one and done investigation" argument, but I've never been able to articulate it as well as this.  

 

I'm not sure what you mean by "quantifying" an investigation. I honestly have found the best way to run an investigation is to actually run the matter to be investigated with yourself in your head, and maybe roll a few dice where appropriate. Then you proceed step by step, make note of who knows what and what other parties get involved until someone calls the inquisition or the inquisition notices on their own. It's fairly straightforward and doesn't need many rules beyond a somewhat sane skill system. Abstracting and keeping track of dispositions is an unnecessary step you can simply omit. You are far better off making short cliff notes of the interaction instead. It allows you a clearer memory of what occurred later on, as well as a more organic portrayal of NPCs. Abstracts tend to inadvertedly lead to categories, where everyone with disposition X is the same. It's a counter-intuitive approach. The same is true for subtlety. Every environment is different. Instead of using an abstract score, clearly define the environment instead.

 

I tend to use something like this checklist:

 

1. What is the theme of the world?

2. What ecological factors of significance are there, if any?

3. What is the current political situation?

4. What is the current economical situation?

5. What general laws exist?

6. What customs exists?

7. What is the average citizen's disposition, factoring in the above?

8. What is the ruling class's disposition?

9. How competent are the authorities?

10. Does organised crime exist? And how?

11. What is the "threat" and how does it tie into the above?

12. Who are prominent personalities? Quick list of name, three positive and negative traits each as well as function.

13. Who are the PCs likely to meet? Jot down three merchants, three police, three [insert important faction on planet here] as above.

14. If one or more of your PCs are from this environment, make sure to needle them about what they envision it as to prevent SNAFU. Why is this at the end? Simple: It's easier to have setting discussions when you have your notes intact and present.

 

I also, rarely, roll in investigations. Generally rolls come into play for forensics, hacking and other secondary avenues of investigation, while the face to face interaction is something I generally RP. In some cases, like suspect interrogations, I may have the PCs roll to see if they can make him or her crack, but if they've done their job correctly, wether he does or not should not matter. 40k is even easy mode there, because you can literally rip knowledge from a dead man's brain. I'll also note that social skills can and should use "assists", even from folks without the skill trained. I recently had a prisoner in a cell with three sororitas and a redemptionist cleric. I gave the one asking the questions a +30 for the roll, because that much witch burner in your face is -scary-, wether they're trying to be or not.

 

As for the dicerolling side, ergo searching for clues, it amounts to awareness tests per person, per room, and may have perception based follow-ups on a variety of tradeskills and secondary skills that sadly no longer exist in DH2e. If someone is excessively thorough, such as methodically scouring every inch of a room, they may even find things you simply cannot plausibly miss even on a failure (though more subtle stuff may go unnoticed of course). Furthermore, my players are free to roll an Int+skil check at any time to ask if what they can plausibly extrapolate from a situation. For example, Int+Wrangling was used to assess how a guard dog would react and likely be trained.

 

You can put a lot of dicework into investigations, without actually resorting to something so horrific as the subtlety track that lets players game things in an abstract manner that makes me cringe at the table. I'm personally really glad my players only do that when we're in "timeskip" mode, because if someone was like "I burn X influence to decrease our subtlety score" instead of "I walk into the bearau of investigation disguised as a janitor with a murder cogitator stuffed in my cleaning utensils." I'd feel I was doing something horribly wrong as a GM. It also leaves me hanging entirely as a storyteller. Basically, it's assumed the inquisition "somehow" erased the tracks. Great. I'm oh so not impressed by your complete reliance on apparently more competent agents, especially since I don't know what the player has done until he tells me, and a system like that kind of encourages not even thinking about the steps necessary to disappear in the shadows or fabricate a false identity.

 

TLDR: Create an environment. Be the criminal for a bit. Take notes on the crime. Then run the game.

 

 

 

Wait, so you guys are criticizing Dark Heresy 2nd Edition for being 'One-and-Done Roll' for investigations, and then offer as your solution 'don't use rolls, use imagination' as the alternative? I mean, I can't...follow this logic. Are you guys pandering for a more structured ruleset, or are you going for less-than offered in the core rulebook?

 

Gah, I'm so confused by the swinging pendulum of posts here. XD

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Basically a reassessment of priorities for those rolls where you actually should be rolling, as opposed to a vague handwaived result. It's mostly the influence system and a reduced skill collection that are my gripes for investigative scenarios. Influence, because it lets you handwaive roll and skip things that might be exceptionally plot relevant if you actually had to think on -how- you're doing it, and the reduced(as well as at times prohibitively expensive) skills because many that are now missing, I have seen used by my players to piece together the bits of an investigation. For me, the focus is off. What I would mean by "one and done" are "solve it all" infamy checks. When I speak of not enough skills, I mean the condensed list which provides fewer options than previously, and fewer options mean fewer avenues of investigation. Investigations live and breath from the many many possibilities at hand for the players, some of which are their skills. Reducing the number of possibilities stunts these scenarios, because while a catch-all skill for something like scruitiny might seem easy to run, it doesn't provide as much inspiration as a slew of cheaper, more specialised skills, and that may give some players problems, especially if fiddling out clues isn't their thing in the first place, and they've never watched CSI or something similar.

 

I am all for omitting rolls, where unnecessary, because the players have done something to -ensure- a success, which is entirely possible when scouring a crime scene (it takes a different resource there, namely time; and you don't always have unlimited time...). But when the success of something is called into question a skill check should be quick and easy, either because you have a concrete and extensive list of modifiers you can just look up (great for newer GMs) or the system itself is constructed in such a manner that it lets you easily and swiftly gauge the results and just slap down a modification in a second or so. From what I have seen, the skill descriptions in the 40kline are a bit more vague than I'd like, and often don't actually apply, at all, to investigations, beyond a select few investigative skills.

 

I don't actually coordinate anything or even talk to Nimsim outside these forums, so I doubt we're 100% on the same page. We usually aren't. For example, I am perfectly cool with my players horrendously failing in an investigation. You don't always win.

Edited by DeathByGrotz

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The best way to sum up my complaints with the lack of mechanics for non-combat rules is to compare the number of specific modifiers for combat (which add up to, what, two full pages worth?) vs. the specific modifiers for non-combat Skill rolls (which consist of vague advice that "-the GM can assign bonuses or penalties, if they want, or whatever...").

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The best way to sum up my complaints with the lack of mechanics for non-combat rules is to compare the number of specific modifiers for combat (which add up to, what, two full pages worth?) vs. the specific modifiers for non-combat Skill rolls (which consist of vague advice that "-the GM can assign bonuses or penalties, if they want, or whatever...").

 

This is a good measuring stick for both the relative importance of combat vs. investigation of the system and the low amount of effort put into the rules for investigation. The rules are telling players and the GM that combat is the focus of the game and the GM sections are low-effort, vague tack-ons with no clear unifying principle.

 

I'd also like to bring up the fact that every combat action is resolved with 3-4 rolls, while investigative things are a single roll. In combat you roll to hit, roll damage, target gets to dodge, maybe is set on fire, etc. Whereas non-combat rolls amount to "OK you pass" or "Sorry you fail". That difference also communicates a lot about the importance of each. Combat is very detailed because combat is the core of the game.

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The best way to sum up my complaints with the lack of mechanics for non-combat rules is to compare the number of specific modifiers for combat (which add up to, what, two full pages worth?) vs. the specific modifiers for non-combat Skill rolls (which consist of vague advice that "-the GM can assign bonuses or penalties, if they want, or whatever...").

 

This is a good measuring stick for both the relative importance of combat vs. investigation of the system and the low amount of effort put into the rules for investigation. The rules are telling players and the GM that combat is the focus of the game and the GM sections are low-effort, vague tack-ons with no clear unifying principle.

 

I'd also like to bring up the fact that every combat action is resolved with 3-4 rolls, while investigative things are a single roll. In combat you roll to hit, roll damage, target gets to dodge, maybe is set on fire, etc. Whereas non-combat rolls amount to "OK you pass" or "Sorry you fail". That difference also communicates a lot about the importance of each. Combat is very detailed because combat is the core of the game.

Another good measure is that the psychic powers, which are about reaching into an infinite reservoir of primordial chaotic and entropic energies to reshape reality in terrifying ways amounts to more than half of the powers being a variation on "I shoot them with my mind laser/my mind shield blocks their laser. That and look at the number of suggested tactics and actions for combat versus what is suggested for skills. Combat gives you a bunch of detail, and assumes you the player will need to be guided through the combat by choosing a menu of actions. Anything else the game assumes you will just make it up and then roll once with a modifier. And people wonder why so many players just want to kill everything in the game.

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Clearly there are people who prefer to handle mystery and investigation through mostly roleplaying and there are people who prefer a more mechanical approach.  It could simply be that the developers thought that most of their target audience was of the former mentality.  Whether they were right or wrong, I can only guess.  My only points of data are the people in this forum (who seem split or perhaps somewhat leaning towards the mechanical side) and the people whom I've played with (who've all been exclusively in the "roleplay it out" camp).  

 

Hopefully the new investigation rules will be well-written but not too entangled with other mechanics.  That way the people who want them will have them and the people who don't will be able to easily ignore them.  

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I don't believe the one excludes the other. Ideally, your rolls will fit what you're RPing and add a chance of failure, when appropriate, to keep things suspenseful and entertaining. My players like to feel their skills and stats matter, so I accomodate them in an otherwise mostly RP heavy and narraitive game, by letting rolls determine if and how well they succeed, or fail. I absolutely loath OOC wrap-up mechanisms like the acquisition system, mind. They add nothing to the game for me. When I ask for checks it's on the spot, after an action that warrants it.

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Ideally, your rolls will fit what you're RPing and add a chance of failure, when appropriate, to keep things suspenseful and entertaining. My players like to feel their skills and stats matter, so I accomodate them in an otherwise mostly RP heavy and narraitive game, by letting rolls determine if and how well they succeed, or fail. 

 

That's how I run as well.  I guess I'm just not understanding what the people who want more investigation rules are looking for exactly. 

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That's how I run as well.  I guess I'm just not understanding what the people who want more investigation rules are looking for exactly. 

 

 

A game that does what it says it does. I don't know exactly what that would look like because I am not a game designer, but DH2 ain't it.

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Ideally, your rolls will fit what you're RPing and add a chance of failure, when appropriate, to keep things suspenseful and entertaining. My players like to feel their skills and stats matter, so I accomodate them in an otherwise mostly RP heavy and narraitive game, by letting rolls determine if and how well they succeed, or fail. 

 

That's how I run as well.  I guess I'm just not understanding what the people who want more investigation rules are looking for exactly. 

 

Something to help them interpret skill checks appropriately, from what I read. It is true that there is a lot of (unnecessary imo) detail put into combat, which could easily have been put to cobble together some tables full of examples for skills in various situations. When I was new to RPGs, I found such things helpful at the very least, to get a vague idea of what difficulty to assign to a check or how a result should be interpreted. DH's seem to be too vague to be helpful in that regard.

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Ideally, your rolls will fit what you're RPing and add a chance of failure, when appropriate, to keep things suspenseful and entertaining. My players like to feel their skills and stats matter, so I accomodate them in an otherwise mostly RP heavy and narraitive game, by letting rolls determine if and how well they succeed, or fail.

 

That's how I run as well.  I guess I'm just not understanding what the people who want more investigation rules are looking for exactly.

A game that focuses either on being fun and strategic to PLAY with rules that blend narrative and gameplay (eg the mechanics ALL add to the story in addition to having a strategic component for play). What I don't want is a glorified yes/no coin flip for the majority of the story. I would argue that the reason why folks don't like the idea of having a mechanical backing for things like social combat is that they're used to seeing bad or tacked on systems. The reason why these things feel like an intrusion into the story is because the game is based on the simple roll a die and get a yes or no mechanic that effectively has no gameplay at all. There's a reason why in board games the modern design has mostly moved away from rolling dice to decide outcomes. Hell, even wargames have moved to card based combat now. Why not have a game that does that? You get a hand of cards with different combat situations in them that you then have to leverage or overcome with your abilities. I dunno, I'm rambling.

The point is, you have this core mechanic that amounts to yes/no and hand wave everything else that is frankensteined onto the Byzantine combat system with a bunch of vestigial limbs in the form of sanity systems, subtlety systems, etc. For me, it ends up feeling like you might as well just not use the dice and make things up, but then there's all this other crap you need to memorize and keep track of all so you can go back to getting the coin flip yes/no answer. The subtlety system is emblematic of this problem: you have pages of rules (not all even in the same section) that go into intricately subtlety from 1 to 100 with several overt specific examples and the rest being hand waved, with an end result of those numbers having no actual mechanical impact beyond the GM having a number from 1-100 to make things up about. Similarly, you have this big glut of modifiers and rules exceptions and restrictions and time limits that give an end result of either succeeding or not and the GM making up an outcome based on the number.

The question is, why bother tracking all of this minutiae that doesn't offer a benefit for the work put in? Why not just have the rules for dark heresy be:

1) make up a character in dark heresy

2) make up 5 skills they're good at

3) roll a d6 and add 1 if you have the skill. Add 1 more if you have a good bonus or 2 if you have a great bonus (or subtract for penalties). You succeed if you roll 4+.

That system would allow you as well the GM to do everything that folks have described on how they handle investigations. It gets out of the way and just lets you roleplay. Why not just use that if all you do is hand wave everything?

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Why not just use that if all you do is hand wave everything?

What is it that you think we're handwaving?

Everything that happens after "yes your roll succeeds" or "no your roll fails."

Edit: and from the sound of it, most of what happens before as well (eg what modifiers to apply).

Edited by Nimsim

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Why not just use that if all you do is hand wave everything?

What is it that you think we're handwaving?

Everything that happens after "yes your roll succeeds" or "no your roll fails."

Edit: and from the sound of it, most of what happens before as well (eg what modifiers to apply).

 

 

Oh, ok.  I have a little bit different connotation of 'hand-waving' in the context of GMing.  To me it means glossing over unimportant details which have no significant bearing on the current story.  For example...

 

Player:  "How are we going to get the shark guts off of the side of the Thunderhawk?!  It's got to be starting to stink and attract flies!"

 

DM:  "Eh, don't sweat it.  If you give her about half an hour, Arzt can rig up an improvised power washer or something."

 

 

Are you talking about improvising and making judgement calls and things like that?

Edited by Vorzakk

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Another good measure is that the psychic powers, which are about reaching into an infinite reservoir of primordial chaotic and entropic energies to reshape reality in terrifying ways amounts to more than half of the powers being a variation on "I shoot them with my mind laser/my mind shield blocks their laser"...

 

Gawd, don't get me started on spells psychic powers...

 

What is it that you think we're handwaving?

 

Difficulty, modifiers, benefits/consequences of Degrees of Success/Failure, and the possibility of retries must all be guessed by the GM; there is no codified standard (unlike almighty combat).

 

This debate really makes me wonder what went into the Game Designer meetings when they were developing DH2. "Everything in DH1 works great, but I had this vague idea for 'narrative damage' instead of Hit Points that I've been toying with..."

Edited by Adeptus-B

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Why not just use that if all you do is hand wave everything?

What is it that you think we're handwaving?

Everything that happens after "yes your roll succeeds" or "no your roll fails."

Edit: and from the sound of it, most of what happens before as well (eg what modifiers to apply).

 

Oh, ok.  I have a little bit different connotation of 'hand-waving' in the context of GMing.  To me it means glossing over unimportant details which have no significant bearing on the current story.  For example...

 

Player:  "How are we going to get the shark guts off of the side of the Thunderhawk?!  It's got to be starting to stink and attract flies!"

 

DM:  "Eh, don't sweat it.  If you give her about half an hour, Arzt can rig up an improvised power washer or something."

 

 

Are you talking about improvising and making judgement calls and things like that?

Your example I would say is more about redirecting players. It's good to do if you have something better planned, but bad to do if your players are inadvertently providing you with an adventure hook. I will say that given the states intent of DH to be an investigation game, it doesn't really provide much mechanical incentive for players to stay on track and the whole story pretty much rests on the GM to guide them through.

Handwaving would be more like Adeptus describes above, and Id also add that any time you're describing the results of most skill rolls you have to hand wave them based on the results (eg figuring out what 2 degrees of success on a skill roll does better than 1 degree, or making a failed roll more interesting than "you failed, you or someone else can try again").

If you'd like an example of a system that I think actually blends theme and mechanics extremely well, check out mutant: year zero. It is about a group of mutants living in a community in a statement wasteland in which everyone is a mutant, but sterility means that the community is dying off. It's the groups job to go out in the world and find resources which they use to improve the community and in turn give in-game resources to use on their characters. The dice system is all about managing resources as well, and failed rolls can be redone by pushing them, which decreases some resources, but also increases others. Social dynamics are reinforced by players actually creating existing community relationships to start, and getting xp based on how they manage those relationships. Basically, the game is completely built around exploring the wastes and building a community, and it's rules all serve to both reinforce themes of scarcity and sacrifice, while actually rewarding and requiring that level of exploration and community building in order to survive and do well. And this is a game that still has ammo tracking, combat rounds and initiative, equipment, injury tables, tracking time down to the hour, and so on. It's a pretty amazing combination of game and story.

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I have to admit, after reading everything past my last post, I'm really, really confused on what exactly the conversation has gotten into.

 

For those voicing a desire for narrative mechanics, what would you like to see (without the trollish bias please). I'm genuinely interested to hear something that wasn't written up in a self-defensive tense and with a moment's thought put into it. How would you envision narrative-mechanics that would appease -you-. I ask this earnestly, and I just don't want to see another post going 'I want more narrative rules, but I'll explain a system that has less!'.

 

Please leave out the commentary on how much more expansive the combat section is in comparison. It's fairly irrelevant to the narrative mechanic, and other than providing a comparison of page count, it offers nothing else really to figuring out what exactly is desired.

 

And before anyone says im just being facetious, I am not. I am genuinely getting confused by what I see as a bit of back-and-forth reasoning that doesn't really voice a strong, solidified idea other than, 'This is poo. Me no like'. 

Edited by Cogniczar

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For those voicing a desire for narrative mechanics, what would you like to see (without the trollish bias please). I'm genuinely interested to hear something that wasn't written up in a self-defensive tense and with a moment's thought put into it. How would you envision narrative-mechanics that would appease -you-. I ask this earnestly, and I just don't want to see another post going 'I want more narrative rules, but I'll explain a system that has less!'.

 

Okay, I'll try. I'd like to see investigation rules (and non-combat rules generally) with:

  • Definite,  quantified effects of skill checks and bonuses/penalties, rather than vague advice for the GM to take their 'best guess'.
  • Non-combat effects that emerge organically from the rules, including automatic effects, rather than relying on GM fiat.
  • A skill system that allows for at least some depth of strategy, rather than a boring 'one-and-done' system. This should include both the option of multiple strategies to optimize the chance of success with a test, and options in case the test fails.

All of these things exist within the combat rules, but none exist within the non-combat rules.

 

For example, let's say the PCs need to 'slice' into a cogitator system (i.e. hack a computer) to find an important clue. The party has the character with the highest Tech Use Skill make a roll and... well, that's pretty much it. Even if the act of hack- oops, slicing should be a dramatic high point of the investigation, there is nothing in the rules to facilitate making it anything other than an undramatic single die roll. And if the roll fails (which is very likely)- then what? It's entirely up to the GM to contrive a solution to move the narrative foward, with no help from the rules system.

 

Compare that to the strategising and dramatic back-and-forth of combat- do you see why I'm disappointed with the non-combat rules?

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Thank you Adeptus-B, that's the best explanation thus far from your point of view and I can finally get a grasp at what you are talking about. 

 

 

For those voicing a desire for narrative mechanics, what would you like to see (without the trollish bias please). I'm genuinely interested to hear something that wasn't written up in a self-defensive tense and with a moment's thought put into it. How would you envision narrative-mechanics that would appease -you-. I ask this earnestly, and I just don't want to see another post going 'I want more narrative rules, but I'll explain a system that has less!'.

 

Okay, I'll try. I'd like to see investigation rules (and non-combat rules generally) with:

  • Definite,  quantified effects of skill checks and bonuses/penalties, rather than vague advice for the GM to take their 'best guess'.
  • Non-combat effects that emerge organically from the rules, including automatic effects, rather than relying on GM fiat.
  • A skill system that allows for at least some depth of strategy, rather than a boring 'one-and-done' system. This should include both the option of multiple strategies to optimize the chance of success with a test, and options in case the test fails.

All of these things exist within the combat rules, but none exist within the non-combat rules.

 

I can see where you are heading with this, but I have to disagree to a very small amount. Disposition makes the attempt to turn social conflict into a multiple step process, where peer talents and other skills change the dynamics of the outcome. 

 

Otherwise, I can see your desire for effects to emerge organically from the rules for these non-combat skills, but how exactly would you do that? Tables? Expansive charts? This is the point I'm trying to make - other than expanding the skills with sub-sets of additional rules, how exactly are organic results supposed to be handled? I have yet to hear a way for that to be done other than desiring it to be done so.

 

"

 

Compare that to the strategising and dramatic back-and-forth of combat- do you see why I'm disappointed with the non-combat rules?


Combat isn't something I'm going to compare it to. You can't strategize a skill in any system.  

Edited by Cogniczar

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I beg to differ. Let me post a WIP excerpt from something I'm working on with my group. It's very rudimentary and I'm actually messing with it and a dice-o-meter at this very moment, so if anything's unclear, bear with me. It's just to underline that strategic skill use -is- perfectly doable:

 

Alternatively, we propose the following.

 

First and foremost, stats are linked together. When one is rolled, another may play a part as well. Typically, you roll Stat+Skill for skill checks, for example. Some stats have a second characteristic in brackets behind the primary one. This means that you subtract the one in brackets from the main characteristic and apply the difference as a modifier to the test.

 

Example: Sewing Ag (S). If Kronor's Ag is 41 and his S is 67, he applies a -26 modifier to all sewing tests. Alternatively, if he is more agile than strong, he gains a bonus instead of a malus.

 

In situations where an entire crowd is effected by something, or people are acting in cohesion, a character wishing to lead the group and coordinate them in their task can use his Soc stat to do so, rolling Soc (Men) on the same skill the group is using and applying the net difference in just how much he succeeded or failed as a bonus or malus to the group's check. This can apply even if the entire group thinks he's an idiot, and actively ignores him on a failure, simply due to him being exceptionally hard to overlook and potentially irritating. In such cases, another character may try to get the group back on track with an appropriate Soc(Men) check, either on the skill itself, or the social skill of their choice. Commissaring, is also possible, either through outright using one's weapon [WS (Soc) or BS (Soc)] or threatening to do so [soc(BS) or Soc (WS) ]. Generally, when such actions are in opposition, the modifiers are added up against another and the end result benefits the course of action or task focused on by the winner, while anyone choosing to instead follow the loser's instructions gains the same difference as a malus.

 

Soc and Men are placeholders for "social" and "mental". May well leave em with exactly that name, though.

 

In the last paragraph, you have the basics of how to strategically manipulate a group of people using skills and devices.

Edited by DeathByGrotz

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