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Xathrodox86

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

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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.

 

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

Well I not sure how DH 2.0 will help out, but know it will change  things

 

I can say we have Gunslinger in our campaign, and while yes he can be deadly in close combat with his pistols, those same limits effect how he can deal with ranged targets, means bad guys with long guns can keep him at bay if they are ready for him.  He not really broken more a good starting punch, and then has to know his role.  In this case he is one of the groups Face Man

 

I'm not sure that the Crimson Guardman is broken, yes in a normal DH cell he starts off overpowered for rank 1, kinda like a SoB.  But in a game deal with Tech focus I can a Crimson Guardman being there to protect a Tech priest, but I would assume an all "Tech based group"

 

On the other hand the Jedi Knight I mean Templar Calix Psyker, is way overpowered as designed we have 1 that was designed as excercise by a player and damm he is powerful and can fill # of roles, so good if the team is going to be a small group.

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I'll kep an eye on that Templar Calix guy. Seems like he's quite OP!

 

As for the Gunslinger - yes it is true that the range limits him, but very often range is not an issue. Most fights in DH take place in cramped spaces, corridors, streets etc. Even in a giant hive, there's more probability that he'll face guys at a low to medium range and he can dish out a lot of pain on medium range as well with his traits and adequate gear/weapons. He once held an assault by a 10-man merc team, armed with 2 rocket launchers, practically by himself. Suppression and then sniper pistol shots and... voila!

 

The Arbites player will not continue with that character, so it dosen't matter, but he didn't start with Justice, not Law. He was simply corrupt, a crooked cop.

 

My players do try to act as investigators, but very quickly it escalates into "shho 'em all" kinda play style. I hope that this time I'll be able to trim that a bit, especially since they also want more intrigue and less shooting/blowing stuff. We'll start in 3 weeks. I'll post our playthroughs here probably, at least some of them. Again thanks for the help and your ideas in general. They'll benefit me greatly.

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How good is your gunslingers WP? I mean if it gets to a shoot-out with underhive gangs i throw in fire bombs and Volg VI 'Crank Cannon's. Suppressive fire with it's initial -20 to WP can mess up his day. Being set on fire is no slouch either. And as soon as the acolytes are running between buildings there is more than enough space for a 'sniper' Hell, just let the baddies take up position in an official building with a park or square in front of it. Gunslinger, meet hunting rifle. Dangerous enough in a Hive.

Or have the sniper hide in the rafters (for lack of better word) or rooftops. In order to get to him your gunslinger has to either run through the house (booby traps!) or scale the outside. Give the sniper sprint to keep his distance. and maybe an grapple gun.

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How good is your gunslingers WP? I mean if it gets to a shoot-out with underhive gangs i throw in fire bombs and Volg VI 'Crank Cannon's. Suppressive fire with it's initial -20 to WP can mess up his day. Being set on fire is no slouch either. And as soon as the acolytes are running between buildings there is more than enough space for a 'sniper' Hell, just let the baddies take up position in an official building with a park or square in front of it. Gunslinger, meet hunting rifle. Dangerous enough in a Hive.

Or have the sniper hide in the rafters (for lack of better word) or rooftops. In order to get to him your gunslinger has to either run through the house (booby traps!) or scale the outside. Give the sniper sprint to keep his distance. and maybe an grapple gun.

 

Generally my players have a nice set of stats, especially WP since they've learned the hard way how important that is. Oh and since they've seen some stuff, their corruption points are so high that most of the lesser scary stuff no longer scares them. Combine that with bonuses to supression and you can guess how hard it is for me to actually create a challenge for them. Altough those firebombs and snipers are both good ideas. :)

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Sniper is relative. But if you compare the levels of a hive city to say Coruscount out of the Clone Wars show ... there are huge open areas, market places, boulevards, ... You can hunt them from a safe and hard to reach distance.

 

Corruption points don't migitate fear, Insanity points do. Corruption points cause mutations that make it impossible to work certain jobs. Worst case you get kicked out and go radical. Fun too if you like causing a mess, but in the end those chars will fry/die.

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Sniper is relative. But if you compare the levels of a hive city to say Coruscount out of the Clone Wars show ... there are huge open areas, market places, boulevards, ... You can hunt them from a safe and hard to reach distance.

 

Corruption points don't migitate fear, Insanity points do. Corruption points cause mutations that make it impossible to work certain jobs. Worst case you get kicked out and go radical. Fun too if you like causing a mess, but in the end those chars will fry/die.

 

My bad, I meant Insanity. Coruscant comparison is good, but I've always envisioned Hive Worlds as bit more cramped. Still there are enough opportunities for a crafty marksman to do his job. ;)

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Oh yes, there's probably lots of differences between individual hive worlds, too. Some grow vertically, others are more about horizontal expansion, yet others might be a huge hole in the ground with lots of tunnels and urbanised caves. There's potential for open spaces in all of them, though, and Coruscant could also get quite cramped once you got away from the prestigious surface levels with the fancy squares.

 

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I think a lot of hive worlds would incorporate large squares for public gatherings or prestige at various stages of their development, it's just that stuff gets built on top of them later on, sometimes bulldozing what's been there before, other times by establishing a new layer/ceiling above these spaces. Some hives are so large that the sheer weight begins to press down on these spaces later on, causing catastrophic cave-ins for the lower levels of the city and leading to entire sectors being abandoned by the government, and later occupied by squatters, refugees and criminal elements.

 

If you've got the opportunity, I would also recommend hunting down the "Redeemer" comics from 40k about the Necromunda Redemptionists. Apart from being a very fun read, they also give a good impression of Necromunda's rather diverse environments.

 

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I've read both the Redeemer (not a fan) and the Kal Jerico comics (awesome) and they do show a nice glimpse of living in a Hive. One of the HH novels, "Prospero Burns" I think, told the story of the Hive of Kairos (Cairo) in Egypt, that got destroyed when it collapsed upon itself. Also Scintilla is basically a Hive City, where the lower levels are strewn with rubble and debris, to the point that people live amongst it. I'll need to refresh my memory on that. ;)

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I’ve played and GMed quite a lot of Dark Heresy (and other WH40K games) over the years and encountered many of these issues.

 

How I deal with them now is;

  1. House Rules

The universal house rule I use is that Righteous Fury always confirms and anyone including NPCs can use Righteous Fury.

 

This immediately makes combat dangerous again as any opponent has a 1 in 10 chance of getting a lucky hit.Combine that with auto fire and even facing scum with an autopistol while not exactly dangerous for seasoned acolytes isn’t something just to laugh at either.

 

Also remember modifiers for opponents.Said scum running up to their opponent and blasting at point blank will get +30 for point blank +20 for autofire and probably has a BS of 25 or so anyway for a total of 75.Likely getting several hits.

 

  1. Looting and money.

Looting and money can often be a problem for acolyte groups when you are trying to evoke a particular gritty style. 

Before I get into the meat of my solutions to this problem I would say that you mentioned wanting to avoid ‘artificial obstacles’ such as pedantic Inquisitors and so forth.  I would say that depending on how these solutions are handled they can actually be used.  The key is to make sure they are organically included into the game rather than simply being a proxy for GM fiat.

 

Also don’t underestimate simply talking to PCs.  Sometimes just saying;

‘Look guys from a crunch point of view you’re completely right looting all the guns is the correct tactic but I want the game to be more like the Departed and less like Commando so I was wondering whether you could consider whether your characters would actually loot the bodies to this extent’ will be enough

 

However, if you don’t want to break the fourth wall and ask the players to change their behaviour rather than guiding them in the right direction then I would suggest the following.

 

  1. Barter Skill and evaluate.  Do the PCs have these skills? The merchants they are selling to almost certainly do.  Sure the player may know a lasgun is worth 200 creds (or however much it is) but Grux the Feral world assassin doesn’t. In fact Grux the Feral world assassin was only introduced to the concept of money 2 weeks ago.

Absolutely fleece the PCs if they aren’t willing to buy the appropriate skills at buying and selling.

 

Example:

PC Grux: Cool I take the cultist leader’s chainsword.Now to find a vendor to sell it

[Time passes a weapon smith is found]

Grux: I sell the chainsword.I think that 200 creds….

GM: Woah not so fast.Could you make an evaluate check.

Grux: Uh…I don’t have evaluate.That’s half my intelligence of 38, so that’s 19.Erm I fail by 2 degrees of success.

GM: Ok please make a barter check.

Grux: I don’t have barter.I fail by 3 degrees of success.

GM: Oh dear the merchant passed his barter check by 1 degree of success.Could you make a scrutiny check as well.

Grux: I don’t have scrutiny.I failed.But with no additional degrees.

GM: Ok well the merchant saw you coming.He could least have the decency to wear a maskYou walk out of the shop the proud owner of a new necklace of coloured beads.

[Grux returns to group]

Tylan the cleric: You sold the chainsword for a necklace worth 2 creds!

 

 

  1. Suppliers.  The PCs are on the trail of some Space Pirates.  They track them down to a Feral world.  There is a fight and lasguns get looted.  OK now what? Are any of the cave men on the Feral world actually going to want to buy the lasguns and even if they do what they can give in return?  This is an extreme example but the point is valid there are plenty of planets in the Imperium where just selling a gun you took from an enemy is not going to be possible. 

 

If I decided to become an independent investigator took on some terrorists and came into possession of an Uzi I wouldn’t have the faintest idea how to actually sell it.For one thing it would be illegal.

 

Likewise in the Imperium on plenty of planets there are likely to be all kinds of restrictions on selling and buying weapons which have nothing to do with cost.

 

For example a gunsmith’s guild may not take kindly to selling weapons on the market without guild membership.Now sure the PCs may be in the Underhive and are selling these weapons to criminals who don’t care.But don’t treat the weapons like credit tokens.Ask the PCs how they are going to sell the weapon, make them consider who they are selling the weapons to.Be very clear they are supplying illegal weapons to malcontents.This could include criminals, mutants and even cultists.In the worst cases the Arbites might even get involved.

 

  1. Heresy!

Look at the art work of WH40K.The denizens of the 41st millennia don’t always practise weapon discipline, by which I mean they are quite happy to adorn their weapons with all kinds of insignia.If you’re PCs are fighting Chaos cultist for example it’s perfectly possible the weapons are adorned with the 8 pointed star.Your average citizen might not know much about Chaos but they will likely recognise such a symbol as evil.

 

Essentially if the PCs start trading weapons that were previously in the hands of Chaos cultists or other enemies they might as well be trading in Daemon Weapons for the fear and revulsion they will face.

 

Overequipped

As for players being over equipped this is slightly more difficult to solve.This is because PCs will naturally gravitate towards the best equipment (and why not?).

Just remember two things.

 

  1. Death and destruction can strike anywhere in the WH40K universe.
  2. There are occasions when it is not appropriate to wear full military/riot suppression equipment.

So for example Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe is the real life head of the Metropolitan Police in the UK.  It is exceedingly unlikely that when he meets with the Home Secretary he wears full riot gear.

 

In the same way make the equipment a hindrance to the mission.   If the players have to infiltrate a party and are wearing carapace amour simply have them turned away at the door.

 

Equally non-lethal weapons such as haywire grenades can force the PCs to come up with novel solutions that don’t rely on an abundance of equipment.

 

The Imperium has a strange relationship with technology.  While it is abundant it is poorly understood and often a planet will mass produce a few examples of the same types of items.  For example a planet may be expert at producing laser weaponry but have no understanding of plasma weapons or cogitator units. 

 

A PC which is equipped with bespoke weapons and equipment acquired from across the galaxy will stand out.  Sometimes this will be an advantage.  A PC so equipped should reasonably have a bonus if trying to convince someone they are a member of the Inquisition. 

 

However if they are trying to conceal their activities or they are being tracked substantial penalties should apply. 

A novel way of having ostentatious PCs see the problem of standing out is to have them need to reject powerful would be allies.  For example after a particularly public battle maybe the local Bishop asks them to defeat some heretic.  However this would be massively out of the PCs way and they have to turn down the Bishop.  This will naturally embarrass and anger this powerful man.

  1. Enemy Power Levels.

First off I would avoid just taking enemies straight from the book.  You need to write up the stats yourself to ensure you challenge your PCs. 

 

Second make sure you think about the terrain of where the battle will be fought.  A battle against gangers where the PCs are outnumbered is one thing.  A battle where the PCs are trapped in a Hive swamp while gangers take pot shots at them from the gloom of the Hive rafters is something altogether different.

 

Third; Enemy motivations.  By thinking about enemy motivations you can include enemies that are far more powerful than the PCs and really make them think about how to survive.

For example if the PCs had to go up against a Night Lord warband they would undoubtedly be crushed.  However if a Night Lord warband attacked the city in general and didn’t even know the PCs existed then the scenario is completely different.  The PCs can use a variety of tactics and strategies to drive off the Chaotic forces (rallying the pdf/arbites etc) or just try to flee.

 

Fourth; assassins and mercenaries.  At a certain point it is likely the PCs aren’t going to be the ones bursting in the door to a cultist lair.  Instead it will be enemy mercs or assassins who will be doing the knocking (to coin a phrase).  The PCs are the specific targets of these mercenaries.  It is perfectly likely that they will have thought about how to defeat them.  If a PC likes using fire then the mercs might have fire resilient armour.  If the Arbite uses carapace then high penetration weapons will be used and so forth.

 

These are my thoughts on the matter.  Hope they were helpful.

Edited by Visitor Q

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They were, thank you. I agree in 100% with everything that you've wrote. So far I'm a player, not a GM. One of my players took the mantle of Game Master and yesterday we had out first session. It was great, and I'm really in the mood for some girm and dark roleplaying.

 

I will use your ideas about equipement and cash and will generally utilize the 2ed requisition system. Also if my PC's will try to sell some looted autoguns on the streets, they may find out that the helpful clerk has ratted them out to the guns' owners. Somebody suggested that in this thread.

 

My PC's have already been the target of a mercenary raid in Purge the Unclean. That was painful as most of them lost some FP's. That was generally a very good idea on the writers part and I'm going to use it again someday. ;)

 

I will also place more emphasis on social interactions and everyday life in the Imperium. They will find out that in this regime, big guns and suppressive fire won't always solve all of their problems... ;)

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If you want to use acquisitions, check out the one in ascension. It's by and large the same, only it hasn't been "improved" as much, so it actually works and does what it's supposed to in the proper frame of reference.

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If you want to use acquisitions, check out the one in ascension. It's by and large the same, only it hasn't been "improved" as much, so it actually works and does what it's supposed to in the proper frame of reference.

 

As opposed to 2nd edition? I've heard that it's not so bad actually, as it is mainly based on OW rules.

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So we've played two games, and so far it goes great. My buddy is GM'ing and I'm playing a crippled Adept with a mysterious past. We have a Tech-Priest who dosen't know anything about WH40K which is both a blessing and a curse, a crazy Priest who dosen't know how to fight (just like me) and our 4th player will probably be a Ganger, and the only combat-oriented character. Fun times ahead. Advanced DH 2.0 rules are implemented piece by piece, so the "culture shock" won't hit both players and GM too hard and overall the theme is awesome. I hope that this time it will work. I'm already planning my very own campaign, based in the Jericho Reach and centering around occupation of an imperial planet by Tau sympathizers. We'll see how it will work out in the end. Anyway I wanted to once again thank you all for your ideas. They've really helped us a lot.

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Just wanted to say that our game is going great. All it took was a decent GM and a new party (quite frankly the previous one sucked hard, which was the main reason why I didn't liked the game itself. The characters were simply horrible and unlikable, a bad set of cliches and mary sues). We've finished the first part of a campaign and now I'm running a short adventure set on Malfi, while our GM prepares the next part of his grand campaign. Thanks again for all your ideas and suggestions. They've really helped me get in the mood for DH, which turned out to be a decent game after all, even without the 2.0 custom rules.

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I'm glad that we all could help! And glad you're enjoying the system (Personally I prefer 1st Ed. to 2nd anyways....)

 

I really do and it's getting better and better. It was just a case of open mindedness. Thank you all, once again. :)

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They've really helped me get in the mood for DH, which turned out to be a decent game after all, even without the 2.0 custom rules.

 

Whatever game you'll play, systems are just tools. The point is being with people that want to have fun, and having a great storyteller in front of you.

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They've really helped me get in the mood for DH, which turned out to be a decent game after all, even without the 2.0 custom rules.

 

Whatever game you'll play, systems are just tools. The point is being with people that want to have fun, and having a great storyteller in front of you.

 

Yep. And if something is missing you can borrow from other systems.

But There is one thing can happen. If you try to change things in order to "balance" (I dont believe there is such thing in this WH universe), and GM is changing in your group (players become GM for his campaign to continue game), eventually shiit storms are going to the fan. Personally I do not like to change core things even thought some things are OP, because a good GM has good Imagination hqdefault.jpg how to create some problems. That must be agreed on from start. Rule Zero only helps when you are the GM.

Edited by Rese

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They've really helped me get in the mood for DH, which turned out to be a decent game after all, even without the 2.0 custom rules.

 

Whatever game you'll play, systems are just tools. The point is being with people that want to have fun, and having a great storyteller in front of you.

 

 

That's true and it's something I'm always going for in my games. ;)

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