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Xathrodox86

A sceptical GM returns to Dark Heresy, needs some advice for FUN games

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Some time ago I've created this topic: https://community.fantasyflightgames.com/topic/104364-dark-heresy-frustration-intensifies/

 

Now, belive it or not, I'm planning to give DH a second chance. I'm talking about the first edition in case anyone's curious. However for the game to work this time, a couple of things must be dealt with.

 

For starters I wanted to ask you about useful homebrew rules that you employ in your games. Last time I've run a 100% vanilla game and as it turned out that wasn't a good idea. Overflow of easy cash (let's loot everything!), ridicolously easy combat (Gunslinger and Scum were literal Gods of the battlefield) and waaaaay too much authority given to acolytes are just a few of things that pissed me off to no end and ultimately made me hate DH like no other system. And I'm a 40K nut in general, so you can probably guess that it's hard to discourage me from anything Aquilla-related

 

Now I don't want to repeat those same errors in my upcoming game. This means that I'll probably dispense with "experience equals new rank" like was in the case of our Guardsmen and Arbitrator PC's, who very quickly leveled up to Captain/Marshall (or close to those ranks). That means there won't be any looting (the entire team had carapace armour, bought with money from looted lasguns and flak jackets).

 

Finally I plan to really emphasize (without screwing them of course) just how much the accolytes should NOT rely on combat, even if they are awesome killers like aformentioned Gunslinger or Crimson Guard. Problem is, I don't really know how to do that. I don't want to highten the difficulty artificially ("yeah, you've been hit by a sniper from 5 miles away") or throw a Chaos Space Marines (was really close to actually doing this last time, but I was affraid that my murderlytes would kill him in a turn or two) or somesuch. How do you make your combat challenging for the players, without killing them in the first two minutes of engaging the enemy or making it feel like a breeze to them? Bear in mind that my guys are rather well equipped and trained. They are in the middle of their exp-trees.

 

I'd love to hear about your home rules and ideas about running this game. I really want to convince myself that this time it won't be a dissapointmentm, but I need your help in this.

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Alrighty, this is a fairly big one. First off, I'm going to say that the current campaign I'm running is going to be the last one in 40k using any ruleset made by FFG or Black Industries. I'm quite fed up with the poor design and a combat system that is just utterly horrendous. It's so bad I'm actually going back to Shadowrun 4.

 

1. What house rules do you use?

 

http://www.darkreign.org/downloads/26-02-2015/advanced-dark-heresy-20

Battlefleet Gothic for space combat.

https://community.fantasyflightgames.com/topic/174831-accounts-of-black-crusades-using-tome-of-decay-rules/this for Master of Orion level play.

And a modification of Conspirary X's Research and Development rules for tech priests delving into xeno- or archaeotech. (Unisystem is great; check it out)

A variety of small, on the fly fixes, when my players do something the rules don't "allow".

https://community.fantasyflightgames.com/topic/180361-being-on-fire/page-3what you find here for fire and fear.

 

2. How do you prevent looting?

 

-I don't, but in places where it won't raise eyebrows, you won't be the only ones looting.

-You can't carry everything unless you have a vehicle

-Having a vehicle means maintaining the vehicle

-Gun regulations regarding the buying and selling of weaponry should exist on most civilised planets

-Selling something you've obviously stripped from a bunch of people the newscast has reported killed is something you need a fence for or a shop owner will vox the police.

-What you get from your money is personal equipment. If you, as a cleric or an arbite, feel the need to loot and pillage, you're too stupid to live, because your first address, when you need a gun, should be your precinct or a temple.

-The inquisition supplies basic mission critical gear, usually IG grade, if combat is expected, or officio assassinorum style disguise stuff, if they're supposed to be subtle.

-Customs checks at planets exist. Bringing in a weapon may require an appropriate cover story and forged papers.

 

3. Acolyte Authority:

 

Hahahahahaha...how about "critical mission failure"? Nothing sends cults into hiding faster than word that the inquisition is on the planet. Nothing makes assassins employed by said cults, or full blown daemons, try to kill you in your sleep faster than flashing your rosette around, which, at grunt level, you honestly shouldn't have. Nothing gets you incarcerated quicker than claiming to be with the inquisition without a rosette.

Acolytes have the authority their cover identities for the mission provide. Create a scenario where they have to work with the machine, because not making waves is the best way to get information, rather than flashing their badges all over. If you're sending a cleric, a scum, a tech priest and an arbite somewhere without some form of "excuse" people are very quickly going to wonder who these heavily armed blokes asking questions are. And then, they get noticed, and the initiative is entirely in the hands of whomever they're investigating. It's as simple enough as destroying any evidence and creating a completely legit facade to throw a party like that off your tail. Or just have them shot with a sniper rifle from a few clicks off. People will say that's "horrible GMing", but that's only true if you don't warn them that being overt makes them a HUGE target for the opposition. I mean, in our last chaos game, we actively hunted the Inquisition. Acolytes mean easy pickings and potentially vital information for chaos followers, let alone, if you luck out, the chance to get your hands on an actual rosette, with which you can completely wreck a few systems.

 

TLDR: "Hail, I am inquisitorial acolyte MacObvious van Dense!" gets you killed really, really fast. And not in ways you can necessarily defend yourself against properly. Your defense is being a sneaky bugger.

 

3. Ranks:

 

I've honestly always seen them as more of a gimmick name for levels and maybe an orientation for NPCs to be around that XP range than anything else. Ranking up in your mother organisation while working for the inquisition should be next to impossible. Instead, the inquisition gives you appropriate papers and an identity, and you are that person for your next mission. That can be anyone from a janitor to a general, depending on what the Inquistor deems will be most effective. The actual ranks within the inquisition are fairly simple: Acolyte, cell leader, interrogator, inquisitor.

That's it. It should take considerable time and testing before being made interrogator.

 

4. How do you make combat challenging?

 

I run it to the best of the capabilities of their opposition. That's what it really boils down to.

Take time to aim, make called shots for the head, lay down suppression and use the environment. If possible, pick the place of engagement. Retreat if the PCs are in advantage and come back later to hit them where you have a better position. You can make literally any enemy lethal, if you play its strengths and give it a proper plan. Don't worry about overkill either. You need to do at least 15+TB+Armour damage to properly kill an acolyte. It's next to impossible to gut them on round 1, even with a headshot from a sniper rifle. But you can make them sweat.

 

A couple of examples from my campaigns:
-Eldar warp spider: Made abundant use of its teleporter and meltabombs. It also spun up people in boobytrapped monofilament cocoons and had their screams for help lure in a character. The end result was a legless techpriest hung from the ceiling by her own mechadendrite, a ruptured gellar field, 200 dead crew via random terror ports in the living quarters and a severely damaged bridge from the final confrontation. From ONE Eldar. 

-Killsquads with properly defined rolls and a plan of attack. Flak, flashbangs, autoguns and a flamer are actually enough to make most parties sweat. Toss the phosphor grenade into the room, half action enter, dude in the hallway opens up with suppression, guys inside flip on their exterminator cartidges.

-The party is trying to stop a gene stealer cult from leaving the system in an freighter filled with prometheum. They opt to blow it up from the outside to make sure they get everyone. Obviously, the psychic nids notice that, never mind the ship has sensors to detect boarders. -> Zero G combat, trying to prevent genestealer hybrids from killing the demolitions crew. Added risk? Being punted off into space by anything hitting you with enough force. Works both ways, and it's interesting and hilarious.

-The group is infiltrating a feudal world facility with a syntheticum locked up in a vault. If they go in as high tech folks, the creature will probably be moved and they'll never find it, so they need to look local and have local weaponry. They're smart and add mono upgrades and ther subtle high tech things to their gear. They find out that primitive net catapults (webbers) on overwatch can nearly get you wiped if you make too much noise on the way in.

-Hive gangs done right. Why are they fighting "fair" against the PCs? They should be shiny and chrome, and tossing ugly, ugly things like homemade incendiaries, nailbombs or trying to run them over in tech heretical vehicles a la Mad Max. Weaponised forklifts, barrel-catapults full of rabid, hungry rats (or ratlings, for kek-factor), etc.

 

5. How do you avoid combat-focused games?

 

You don't, if that's all the party is interested in. As said above, kicking in the door and screaming about the Inquisition is one huge way to never find anything, ever. It should reflect on their chances for promotion, eventual assignments, and have them go from hunter to hunted eventually, because their identities, if they go to far with this, will become common knowledge among local, and possibly foreign, cultists.

 

One of my players has asked me to add that:
"that bit  is a good way to get the REST of the Inqusition going after you. Blunt, obvious and more grimly FAILING Inquisitors/Acolytes are usually bumped off for the good of the Inquisition as a whole,or [by] the Offio Assassinorum, or whatever other Inquisitor happens to be on planet, or even planetary governers who don't want idiots on their planet, etc."

I think it's a good point that merits mentioning, especially given that actually almost caused a party wipe, when the squad leader got cocky and started accussing the governor of heresy without more than vague suspicions as proof. Shake-down tactics vs. the ruler of a world? Well, live and learn from your mistakes...

Edited by DeathByGrotz

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Many of this has come up before. Here's my own two shells:

 

Looting: Carry limits apply. The time it takes to sell the stuff (finding a place to do so) takes away from the investigation. Last but not least, some of the items may be deemed "tainted", which should affect at least some of the characters. If you had an Arbites in your last group, and they did not interfere, his/her player did a lousy job at portraying a religious and dutiful Schola-born character, unless they've got a good story for this behaviour, but even then the Inquisitor who recruited them would probably be aware of it, so ask yourself if it all adds up.

 

Also keep in mind that most players might feel a need to loot because the game handles like a classic D&D dungeon crawl in this regard, rather than a team of elite agents funded by the most powerful organisation in the IoM. The stipends they get are rather pitiful and barely pay for ammunition and other consumables, completely outweighed by the stuff they can find on the corpses of whoever they've gunned down. Instead, perhaps consider offering them access to an Inquisitorial armoury, where players can requisition basic items if they can adequately convey their need. These items are expected to be returned and they may not be modified, thus maintaining an incentive for players to save up for their custom gear.

 

Authority: Make it clear that the more they show off their true identity as Inquisitorial agents, the more their enemies become aware of it. Don't discourage it entirely, just adapt the ongoing story based on how likely word is to get out, and how the player characters' targets might react to it. Also keep in mind that, in all likelihood, most characters won't be "in uniform", as this would mean they'd have to check in with (for example) the local Arbites precinct to avoid random patrols accusing them of impersonating an officer of the Imperium.

 

There are some characters who might travel in uniform without drawing much attention, such as a Ministorum Cleric or a Sister Sororitas, or even some special background packages such as the Chaliced Commissar, but this is actually where I think one of the true challenges of social interaction in Dark Heresy lies: How will such player characters use the authority of their "public badge" (which can also include assuming a guise; my Assassin once donned the uniform of a Major of the local PDF) without revealing that they are, in fact, working for an even higher authority, and can they work around revealing their actual objectives to all but one or two local contacts who might help cover up their investigation?

 

It's a game in itself to balance cajoling with pressuring, or how the characters want to play the many cards they have at their disposal.

 

I'd still recommend getting rid of "level = rank", though. Sometimes it may fit, if you include lots of downtime and/or have the Inquisitor fast-track their career, but I still think rank should be a result of the narrative, not their XP. I'm also convinced that the duty of an Inquisitorial operative is a full-time job - which means that not only would most of the characters not return to their "old life" in-between assignments (with the possible exception of the Sister who is on "detached duty" and merely borrowed from her convent), but whatever they choose to represent during a mission is entirely up to the player characters themselves, and how well they can sell that idea. For all you should care they could decide to disguise as a Lord Solar or the Ecclesiarch, as long as they can get people to buy it. With all the strings that come attached to such vaunted positions, obviously ... after all, such (mis-)representation is very much a double-edged blade, even if (or perhaps especially) the locals believe them.

 

The Inquisitor's Handbook has a special section for cover identities, btw. Definitely a good read!

 

Lastly, for combat, I'd approach this subject from two angles - first by making it clear that bloody encounters may have consequences that transcend corporeal injuries, and perhaps by making subtle adjustments to the mechanics.

 

Don't try to dissuade the players from combat or even a "martial gamestyle" too much, as this is also a valid way to play the game (the Inquisition is shrouded in secrecy, but many Inquisitors don't mind dropping the subtlety), IF the players are aware that such an approach will trigger more brutal and open responses from some of their enemies, or drive others into the underground never to be found again. Depending on the world in question, ammunition may also be a problem - stuff like calibre size may not be covered by the rulebook, but if you as the GM want to curtail the use of autoguns, this would be an entirely realistic and sensible approach, and as a bonus you can make people realise one of the premiere advantages of las weapons.

 

Many players have also criticised combat for not being deadly enough, although I'd call this a "late game issue" that should not be a problem for you at the start of your game. In my opinion, it comes down to characters possessing effectively three layers of soak before they even receive notable injuries - Toughness, Armour and Wounds. Toughness and armour stack, which can quickly invalidate entire categories of weapons to the point of absurdity, making the game feel "less 40k". It comes down to personal perception and preferences, but if you agree, maybe check out some alternatives suggested by players, such as my plug-in from GW's own d100 game here?

 

Hope that helps, and good luck with your game!

 

 

[edit] ninja'd!

Edited by Lynata

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Wow. First of all - thank you! These are truly some awesome ideas and I will defiently use every, single one of them. 

 

I love the ideas for combat and how it can fug up even a very strong character, if he's not ready.

 

Now think about it, the group of 5, heavily armoured and wildly diversed individuals DO seem a bit suspicious... Very suspicious indeed.

 

As for looting: there was once a situation. My PC's Arbiter (of all people) decided to tore off 5 flak armour sets off dead mercs and tie them to his back, travelling merchant style. I know that he will attempt similar things in the future. Now I can't tell him that "no, you can't do it". However this is an exploit and should be dealt with. Any ideas?

 

Similar situation, when it came to exploiting terrible game ruels, occured when during the final adventure of "Purge the Unclean" our Metallican Gunslinger dropeed from the top of the cave (at least 3-4 stories) on the warp bombed that was ticking below. He knew full well that with ridicolous and very forgiving rules for falling he'll be ok (he had a ton of TB) and what did you know? He was ok. Then, for the rest of our campaign, he bragged that "he almost died while falling on that bomb, so we can't his character OP and a Mary Sue" (which it was by the way).

 

These kinda things were the reasons why I've decided to drop Dark Heresy in the first place, crappy rules not whistanding. I don't want them to return. Is there a way to avoid similar situations? Share your thoughts with me.

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As for looting: there was once a situation. My PC's Arbiter (of all people) decided to tore off 5 flak armour sets off dead mercs and tie them to his back, travelling merchant style. I know that he will attempt similar things in the future. Now I can't tell him that "no, you can't do it". However this is an exploit and should be dealt with. Any ideas?

 

You mean besides why the next person he'd walk by might be more than a little curious why this guy is carrying five suits of bloody body armor on his back? Not to mention I think the people he tries to sell it might ask how he is doing this? If I were a shopkeeper in 40k, I might accept a guy selling one suit of body armor. Five sets? I'm going to be more than a little suspicious why he was carrying around the other four, and probably call in the authorities.

 

Also. Five sets of flak armor would be incredibly heavy. A single flak cloak is 8kg, so five of them would be quite heavy. Especially when you're accounting for the Arbitrator's own armor and gear....

 

You could also do what my own GM does and give him penalties to agility tests for carrying that much gear. No it's not in the rules, but it's common sense that if a guy's literally strapped five suits of armor to himself he's gonna have a bit of trouble moving nimbly. 

Edited by ColArana

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Haha, wow, five sets of flak armour....You know, constant behaviour like that is a good way to earn the "enemy" talent from your own organisation, because you're an embarressment.

 

As for the falling situation, a massive, kinetic impact on a (fairly primitively built usually) 40k warhead should give a percent roll against its detonation. Nevermind it's quite possible the PC, even if he isn't somehow injured, gets a part of him stuck in a warp-fused abomination, which may mean "fun" like d5 corruption every round.

 

Now, per se, I don't actually mind dropping several stories unharmed if you make the roll. 40k is a cinematic and very nonlethal system, and that kind of movie star stunt is perfectly fine if you got the dice for it. My issue is more that doing it right on top of a probably armed warhead is probably pretty terminal and worthy of a TPK or one of those situations where you just stare at your players like they've done something incredibly stupid for a bit, then calmly tell them that it'd be a good idea for everyone to burn fate so the thing doesn't detonate on an impact like that.

 

(Amusingly enough, one of my players who is pretty much reading over my shoulder at the moment is calling for the looting arbite to be shot and stripped of rank for consorting with an underworld fence to sell damaged, stolen equipment. I'd agree if it was a regular law enforcement officer, and while I have no source that it'd be against regs for an arbite, and it could be argued it isn't because it's completely outside of their purview, I'm inclined to agree that, eventually, it will kill their career and may cost them their badge if they persist.)

Edited by DeathByGrotz

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Haha, wow, five sets of flak armour....You know, constant behaviour like that is a good way to earn the "enemy" talent from your own organisation, because you're an embarressment.

 

As for the falling situation, a massive, kinetic impact on a (fairly primitively built usually) 40k warhead should give a percent roll against its detonation. Nevermind it's quite possible the PC, even if he isn't somehow injured, gets a part of him stuck in a warp-fused abomination, which may mean "fun" like d5 corruption every round.

 

Now, per se, I don't actually mind dropping several stories unharmed if you make the roll. 40k is a cinematic and very nonlethal system, and that kind of movie star stunt is perfectly fine if you got the dice for it. My issue is more that doing it right on top of a probably armed warhead is probably pretty terminal and worthy of a TPK or one of those situations where you just stare at your players like they've done something incredibly stupid for a bit, then calmly tell them that it'd be a good idea for everyone to burn fate so the thing doesn't detonate on an impact like that.

 

(Amusingly enough, one of my players who is pretty much reading over my shoulder at the moment is calling for the looting arbite to be shot and stripped of rank for consorting with an underworld fence to sell damaged, stolen equipment. I'd agree if it was a regular law enforcement officer, and while I have no source that it'd be against regs for an arbite, and it could be argued it isn't because it's completely outside of their purview, I'm inclined to agree that, eventually, it will kill their career and may cost them their badge if they persist.)

 

That's golden and I really like the idea. Be sure to thank your player for me, as I agree - now that I look at this situation, he should have been shot. :D

 

Your ideas are great and I will implement them. I know that DH is (unfortunately) a very non lethal system and I plan to change that. Not to say that my players will drop like flies, but I really want to emphasize just how bad of an idea a shootout can be. All it takes is one bullet and... game over, in real life at least. I don't want super heroes. I want acolytes, humans who are not on the top of the food chain. Not weakilings, but not ubermensch either.

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Tbh, if your goal is that, shadowrun 3rd or 4th edition with the extra grit/black trenchcoat rules variant should be right up your alley.

 

She also dug up this little passage:

 

"Abstractionism is a term applied to a condition of criminal deviancy in Arbitrators who come to see the letter of the law inadequate to the task of executing their duties in an expedient manner
 The worst stray into vigilantism, meeting out punishment and death for perceived or even potential crimes rather than real ones. This creed is considered a vile heresy, a breaking of the Arbites oath, and a crime punishable by death if discovered."

 

Her trail of reasoning is that an arbite who believes his emperor-given income is insufficient, and thus loots to supplement it, is guilty of abstractionist heresy and thus worthy of execution.

 

 

Thanks for the props, btw, :D

Edited by DeathByGrotz

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Tbh, if your goal is that, shadowrun 3rd or 4th edition with the extra grit/black trenchcoat rules variant should be right up your alley.

 

She also dug up this little passage:

 

"Abstractionism is a term applied to a condition of criminal deviancy in Arbitrators who come to see the letter of the law inadequate to the task of executing their duties in an expedient manner

 The worst stray into vigilantism, meeting out punishment and death for perceived or even potential crimes rather than real ones. This creed is considered a vile heresy, a breaking of the Arbites oath, and a crime punishable by death if discovered."

 

Her trail of reasoning is that an arbite who believes his emperor-given income is insufficient, and thus loots to supplement it, is guilty of abstractionist heresy and thus worthy of execution.

 

 

Thanks for the props, btw, :D

 

That's... really awesome! This girl knows her stuff. Imperium of Man is a rigorous, institutional hellhole, in which any deviancy is considered HERESY and therefore punishable by death. Arbites with a Punisher syndrome will most definetly attract attnetion and not the right kind of attention I might add. ;)

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Yeah, it's definitely something I'd build up to in stages, though. Immediate execution tends not to go over well, especially if it's something the players should have known in character but didn't. A due process of reprimand from a superior, maybe a last warning and then trial and execution generally works better and gives players a chance to change their behaviour. If they still don't, well, should've played a scum instead of an arbtie, or tried harder not to get caught, really.

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Personally, I'd argue the guy isn't a real Arbites anymore. He may have been once, but right now he's working for the Inquisition, and the local Marshal probably would not want to mess with that. However, this throws up another interesting chain of reasoning:

 

To even be considered for such punishment the character would first have to be identified as an Arbites. Is he travelling in uniform?

 

If not, consider the environment. In some parts of the Imperium, nobody would bat an eye about armed vigilantes carrying loot through the streets. In others, security enforcers would descend upon them. A busy Hive is not the same as the temple district on a Shrine World.

 

If yes, or if the Arbites is identifying himself as one upon being stopped by security, he will get in trouble for pretending to be an Arbites when he clearly does not belong to the local Precinct. If they can verify he is an Arbites from elsewhere, they will ask him what he is doing there, possibly even assuming he's a deserter.

 

Should he disclose he's with the Inquisition, they will try to verify that, and the Inquisitor will know his team fragged up, because this reveal could have been averted, and the team attracted unnecessary attention. A stern message will follow, potentially including veiled threats as to the characters' future if they don't manage to get better at this.

 

But honestly, I'd first take the player aside and explain to him OOC that this is not how Arbites should behave, and if he can justify this in any way.

Edited by Lynata

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Personally, I'd argue the guy isn't a real Arbites anymore. He may have been once, but right now he's working for the Inquisition, and the local Marshal probably would not want to mess with that. However, this throws up another interesting chain of reasoning:
 
To even be considered for such punishment the character would first have to be identified as an Arbites. Is he travelling in uniform?
 
If not, consider the environment. In some parts of the Imperium, nobody would bat an eye about armed vigilantes carrying loot through the streets. In others, security enforcers would descend upon them. A busy Hive is not the same as the temple district on a Shrine World.
 
If yes, or if the Arbites is identifying himself as one upon being stopped by security, he will get in trouble for pretending to be an Arbites when he clearly does not belong to the local Precinct. If they can verify he is an Arbites from elsewhere, they will ask him what he is doing there, possibly even assuming he's a deserter.
 
Should he disclose he's with the Inquisition, they will try to verify that, and the Inquisitor will know his team fragged up, because this reveal could have been averted, and the team attracted unnecessary attention. A stern message will follow, potentially including veiled threats as to the characters' future if they don't manage to get better at this.
 
But honestly, I'd first take the player aside and explain to him OOC that this is not how Arbites should behave, and if he can justify this in any way.

 

 

Funny thing about that - he does walk in a uniform all the time. Not only that but he also describes and announces himself as an Arbitrator every, single time he has the chance. Pushed around a lot of Magistrate too (they were later revealed to be cultists and tried to kill him) AND he finally got caught by a bounty hunter because he was widely known by then in the whole Calixis. Mind you they didn't know that he was working for the big I, but still... This player is very good, but he likes power and influnece and thinks that Arbites = power incarnate. That's why he's flashing his badge all the time, and on every opportunity. Back then I didn't mind that. Hell I thought that this was normal. After your arguments however... ;)

 

Oh and Marshall may not have a jurisdiction over him, but an Inquisitor who've just found out that his men isn't working very subtly certainly does.

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Tbh, if your goal is that, shadowrun 3rd or 4th edition with the extra grit/black trenchcoat rules variant should be right up your alley.

 

She also dug up this little passage:

 

"Abstractionism is a term applied to a condition of criminal deviancy in Arbitrators who come to see the letter of the law inadequate to the task of executing their duties in an expedient manner

 The worst stray into vigilantism, meeting out punishment and death for perceived or even potential crimes rather than real ones. This creed is considered a vile heresy, a breaking of the Arbites oath, and a crime punishable by death if discovered."

 

Her trail of reasoning is that an arbite who believes his emperor-given income is insufficient, and thus loots to supplement it, is guilty of abstractionist heresy and thus worthy of execution.

 

 

Thanks for the props, btw, :D

 

That's... really awesome! This girl knows her stuff. Imperium of Man is a rigorous, institutional hellhole, in which any deviancy is considered HERESY and therefore punishable by death. Arbites with a Punisher syndrome will most definetly attract attnetion and not the right kind of attention I might add. ;)

 

Well maybe not, after all the Arbites do have Mortiure, and I could see a Arbite who worked for the big I endup with this mindset.

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Tbh, if your goal is that, shadowrun 3rd or 4th edition with the extra grit/black trenchcoat rules variant should be right up your alley.

 

She also dug up this little passage:

 

"Abstractionism is a term applied to a condition of criminal deviancy in Arbitrators who come to see the letter of the law inadequate to the task of executing their duties in an expedient manner

 The worst stray into vigilantism, meeting out punishment and death for perceived or even potential crimes rather than real ones. This creed is considered a vile heresy, a breaking of the Arbites oath, and a crime punishable by death if discovered."

 

Her trail of reasoning is that an arbite who believes his emperor-given income is insufficient, and thus loots to supplement it, is guilty of abstractionist heresy and thus worthy of execution.

 

 

Thanks for the props, btw, :D

 

That's... really awesome! This girl knows her stuff. Imperium of Man is a rigorous, institutional hellhole, in which any deviancy is considered HERESY and therefore punishable by death. Arbites with a Punisher syndrome will most definetly attract attnetion and not the right kind of attention I might add. ;)

 

Well maybe not, after all the Arbites do have Mortiure, and I could see a Arbite who worked for the big I endup with this mindset.

 

 

Yeah, but he's not a Moriture. He actually started out as a corrupted official. That said maybe I'll make him an offer to join the Moriture. It could certainly help.

Edited by Xathrodox86

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My ways to deal with looting:

 

Carry limits (already mentioned)

 

Weary shop owners/fences (already mentioned

 

Low prices: A fence or shop owner who takes your stuff will pay you 10-25% of the new price. Why so low? Because he can sell used stuff for half the price (it c/should be considered Poor Quality) and he still wants to make a profit/living.

 

A moderate/generous supply from their Inquisitor: My group usually has the chance to borrow relevant equipment (small and medium guns, ammo, light armour, disguises, surveillance gear, ...) from their Inquisitors armoury. Of course they have to give them back after the job or get reduced pay for wasted equipment. All the things they buy with their income is their private stuff and their own responsibility.

 

Replacement body-parts: When you loose a limb in service for the =I= you get a standard quality replacement. After all, one-handed or -legged experienced Acolytes are of limited use. (My SoB lost both eyes to a whitches curse (they exploded) and got them replaced. An Imperial Noble who owed the group a favor or two forked over the Thrones to upgrade them to Best Quality.)

 

Make friends: My group usually does their best to impress their superiors and other high-ranking people they meet in order to collect favors and/or goodwill. By the Throne they make enough enemies as it is by squashing those cults and aliens. See the example above what they can be used for.

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My ways to deal with looting:

 

Carry limits (already mentioned)

 

Weary shop owners/fences (already mentioned

 

Low prices: A fence or shop owner who takes your stuff will pay you 10-25% of the new price. Why so low? Because he can sell used stuff for half the price (it c/should be considered Poor Quality) and he still wants to make a profit/living.

 

A moderate/generous supply from their Inquisitor: My group usually has the chance to borrow relevant equipment (small and medium guns, ammo, light armour, disguises, surveillance gear, ...) from their Inquisitors armoury. Of course they have to give them back after the job or get reduced pay for wasted equipment. All the things they buy with their income is their private stuff and their own responsibility.

 

Replacement body-parts: When you loose a limb in service for the =I= you get a standard quality replacement. After all, one-handed or -legged experienced Acolytes are of limited use. (My SoB lost both eyes to a whitches curse (they exploded) and got them replaced. An Imperial Noble who owed the group a favor or two forked over the Thrones to upgrade them to Best Quality.)

 

Make friends: My group usually does their best to impress their superiors and other high-ranking people they meet in order to collect favors and/or goodwill. By the Throne they make enough enemies as it is by squashing those cults and aliens. See the example above what they can be used for.

 

Having friends is always a good idea and I will encourage my players to create a web of contacts and connections. However I don't like the idea of them having a literal armoury at their disposal. In my mind DH is a game when the Accolytes themselves are treated more as useful tools than normal people. When the situation will allow it, their Interogator will grant them some nice toys, but toehrwise it's stub pistols and lasguns, not Tranters and Bolters.

 

By body parts you mean that they should pay for better augs right?

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Oh, a low-powered campaign then? Well, nothing wrong with it, as long as the players enjoy it. :)

 

I would probably have barred some classes in that case, though; it's no fun playing an Arbites if you cannot access their toys, and there are always player expectations attached to such a role. Coincidentally, this would have also dealt with the authority issue.

 

Also keep in mind that the characters just being tools is a double-edged sword. Granting players more independence and cutting them loose from tight contact with immediate superiors invariably also places more responsibility on their shoulders, requiring them to come up with their own plans instead of being led on a leash. Whether this is actually more fun depends greatly on the personalities and creativity of the players involved - but it's why I favour games where the Inquisitor is a player character, too (besides that being how the Inquisition operates in GW's original material).

 

More responsibility also means more opportunities for epic and memorable frag-ups or brilliant player-made plans, after all. ;)

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My ways to deal with looting:

 

Carry limits (already mentioned)

 

Weary shop owners/fences (already mentioned

 

Low prices: A fence or shop owner who takes your stuff will pay you 10-25% of the new price. Why so low? Because he can sell used stuff for half the price (it c/should be considered Poor Quality) and he still wants to make a profit/living.

 

A moderate/generous supply from their Inquisitor: My group usually has the chance to borrow relevant equipment (small and medium guns, ammo, light armour, disguises, surveillance gear, ...) from their Inquisitors armoury. Of course they have to give them back after the job or get reduced pay for wasted equipment. All the things they buy with their income is their private stuff and their own responsibility.

 

Replacement body-parts: When you loose a limb in service for the =I= you get a standard quality replacement. After all, one-handed or -legged experienced Acolytes are of limited use. (My SoB lost both eyes to a whitches curse (they exploded) and got them replaced. An Imperial Noble who owed the group a favor or two forked over the Thrones to upgrade them to Best Quality.)

 

Make friends: My group usually does their best to impress their superiors and other high-ranking people they meet in order to collect favors and/or goodwill. By the Throne they make enough enemies as it is by squashing those cults and aliens. See the example above what they can be used for.

 

Having friends is always a good idea and I will encourage my players to create a web of contacts and connections. However I don't like the idea of them having a literal armoury at their disposal. In my mind DH is a game when the Accolytes themselves are treated more as useful tools than normal people. When the situation will allow it, their Interogator will grant them some nice toys, but toehrwise it's stub pistols and lasguns, not Tranters and Bolters.

 

By body parts you mean that they should pay for better augs right?

 

 

I have a list of their enemies and friends, and if appropriate give them the free Talent to better represent that. Among other things they got Hatred (Dark Eldar) for free after crossing the Kabal of Crimson Woes seveal times. And yes, they hate them too.

 

As for the Armoury: I see the Inquisition as a powerful organization despite its rather small size, and they like all power groups in the 40k-setting stockpile weapons. armours, tools (and secrets). And they use them just like they use the acolytes. I as the GM and their superior give them what i think is approrpiate for the job.

Infiltrating a cult in the underhive? Cover identities, patchwork armour, low-grade weapons usually used in that hive, maybe a vox-bug to listen into those secret meetings.

Taking a look at a noble's indiscretion? Other cover identities, good clothes, armour and refined weapons for those that have to carry one according to their new identity, far more and superior surveilance gear. Can think of something else and explain why you need it? If so, convince me.

I don't mollycoddle them and give them Inquisitorial Stormtrooper Carapace with grenade launchers and assault rifles unless i send them after the Pilgrims of Hayte on an extermination mission.

Appropriate ... but maybe a bit stingy ^^

 

I replace any lost limbs during service (not their down-time) with a standard replacement part. Upgrades in quality, modifications, or extras they can pay for themselves.

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I did exactly the same thing, until they've started earning/looting enough that they could buy practically anything. Metallican Gunslinger bought himself a caparapce breastplate and a bolt pistol for the best quality chainsowrd he nicked. Arbites ran around in his full carapace with thermal vision and special oxygen supply, packing two tranters with sawed-off shotguns, loaded with flachette ammo. It was like that on EVERY SINGLE MISSION. I was pissed, mainly at myself for allowing for something like that.

 

As for the character restrictions: I will certainly not allow them to pick either the afformentioned Gunslinger and the Crimson Guard. They are OP to the extreme. Are there any more broken classes that I should be aware of? One of my players likes to powergame and seek the best available solutions for his characters.

 

Also we'll be using Advanced Dark Heresy 2.0. It should help balancing the game.

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Is the Gunslinger really that bad? I thought codex creep was not a thing in this game until the 3rd or 4th supplement.

 

Are there any more broken classes that I should be aware of?

 

I'm assuming you're not going to want to touch Ascension. :D

 

(although parts of it were actually very nice, such as the adjusted XP/rank table)

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As for the character restrictions: I will certainly not allow them to pick either the afformentioned Gunslinger and the Crimson Guard. They are OP to the extreme. Are there any more broken classes that I should be aware of? One of my players likes to powergame and seek the best available solutions for his characters.

 

The Templar Calix Psyker is an alternate career rank right for munchkining, considering it changes the values of your characteristic advances. I could very easily see a powerplayer maxing his Psyker's Intelligence, and then switching to Templar Calix for cheap Weapon Skill advances. Also comes with a free Force Weapon which is absurd, considering you can take the rank at rank 4.

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Truth be told, I wouldn't consider the crimson guard broken, but I'm fairly alone in that opinion over here with my haywire rifle and handbook on twenty easy ways to kill a techpriest. For me personally, it would be more a fluff decision. If you want a low powered, gritty, street level game, look at the fluff of things and decide if it fits your atmosphere. Crimson guard, tech priests in general and templers calix, for example, don't really fit the atmosphere. The metallican gunslinger definitely does, and I would argue is an absolutely lovely trap for your PCs, since it confines them to pistols, where enemies may well be completely out of range and toting something so simple as a lasgun, which -suddenly- poses a problem.

 

Carapace and bolt pistol honestly do not seem horribly overpowered either. It seems to me more that the players want iconic 40k weaponry, when put like that. Now, for covert ops, this may be problematic, because bolt pistols and such are not only weapons, but status symbols. This doesn't mean the character shouldn't be carrying it at all, but the look requires a specific approach, and if they do not, say, pose as the upper crust, or cannot plausibly pull off posing as the Imperium's 1%, they are going to end up on everyone's radar as "investigators" fairly quick. This can be both good (people may come to them with issues) and bad (people will expect them to solve these issues) in the same incident, but when trying to track down an insurrection, usually is bad.

 

I'm not really sure if I could call your players munchkins either. With the examples given, if they are powergaming, they're not really doing it efficiently. So I wouldn't really worry too much about their group. Carapace is adorable, but nothing a firebomb can't solve nicely, and literally anyone can make those. Worse, with sawed off (WHY?!?) shotguns and pistols, they're operating in exactly the range where a couple of teenagers in t-shirts with molotov cocktails could TPK them.

 

The real problem seems to be more the murderhobo/SWAT team style approach. You can't really curb that by telling them "no". That just tends to make people get all antagonistic. Instead, give them issues to solve where their guns and gear are more a hinderance than an asset. For example, you could put the assignment on a pleasure world, where they are tasked to get close to and earn the trust of a notable rogue trader suspected of heresy.  Or, put the investigation in a sororitas convent, where men armed to the teeth may fit in, but the problem is more theological in nature and some sisters may even refuse to speak to them if they start kicking in doors...or kick back in power armour. Third option is putting them on an astartes recruiting world, where outside agencies engaging in lethal jurisdictionary measures will draw in serious ire. Blunt, perhaps, but it should teach them that sometimes, subtle is the best approach. In other words, give them a mix of covert ops sans their gear and overt ops in full kit, where their gear may get them in deep **** if used incorrectly.

 

Thing is, they clearly want to use that uber dakka. So, in the middle of things, it helps to have them function as a fast response team to xenos invasions, space hulk discoveries etc.. Let them get it out of their system occassionally, too. It varies the tone and pacing of your campaign with more nonviolent operations.

 

TLDR: Mix it up. Sometimes, big armour and big guns is good. Sometimes it really isn't. Your players will eventually get the idea of when something is appropriate, if you manage to be consequent about repercussions when they mess it up.

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Yeah, but he's not a Moriture. He actually started out as a corrupted official. That said maybe I'll make him an offer to join the Moriture. It could certainly help.

 

Did he start with the Justice, Not Law from RH as background package?

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