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Increasing willpower

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A small change that did happen, compared to Only War, is that they have added an extra level for Characteristic Advances. 

 

So instead of a maximum of +20, you have a maximum of +25 for Willpower and other Characteristics.

Edited by Gridash

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Well, as I can see (and as I have experience with DH1, RT and OW), they didn't want to make fear worse, they wanted to make it more common.

 

To make DH1 character scared you need to came dozen barriers, with rerollings, flat bonuses, mitigating table, mitigating effects and so on. So it was just impossible to make characters JUST BE TERRORED TO THEIR DEATHS when they see Demon Prince of Khorne going to to dismember them. So dozens of methods to reduce and ignore fear was deleted.

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But. All your noticed archetypes are somebody who is not so usual. 

 

Yes. Unusual is the realm of roleplaying games. Character Archetypes, as played by people in games, are rarely "Joe Average" citizens of whatever world or setting they happen to inhabit. They are, almost by definition, unusual. Sure, someone might want to play a common Imperial Guardsman who runs at the first sign of danger unless there's a Commissar standing there with a laspistol to his head; the DH2 rules support this. If, however, you wanted to play the Imperial Guardsman that will one day become that Commissar, the rules discourage you from doing so.

 

I'm not saying that the rules disallow it, by any means, just that the rules as they are do not encourage some "heroic archetypes" (to modify the term for clarity, even though adding "heroic" is also misleading) which should, in my mind, be staples of the game.

 

Yes, there are Talents that can mitigate a low WP, but they are very specific; to take the example of Frenzy, the subject must be actively frenzied to ignore Fear, Pinning, etc. This might do for one character, but not another. Same goes for Jaded, or the others. The character with those Talents, but without the Psyker Aptitude, will still likely have a lower WP than one who does and if his character archetype is one that wants a high WP, then the rules have stymied him.

 

I actually agree that fear should be more common, but where I disagree is with the way they have gone about it. Just removing a few Talents will make more players fail fear tests, sure, but it really doesn't add any atmosphere, variation or anything else that might make fear a central trope of the system. What it does, in fact, do is make fear less central in the mind of anyone reading the rules; "Oh, there's not many rules for fear related circumstances, I must not have to worry about them or use them too much. After all, as GM, I don't want my players to get bored or frustrated by being able to do  literally nothing whilst these demons rend them limb from limb".

 

A system "geared for fear" should have more rules for it, not less; it should differentiate between "creeping dread" and "outright terror", between "paranoia" and "justified fear", among others. You can use different tables, or different status effects or any number of ways to do this, but nope; DH2 has one table to govern all fear effects and that table has, functionally, three effects; 1)static penalty to tasks, 2)reduced agency and 3)no agency for the duration of the effect. DH2 not a system that encourages the use of fear and the limiting of access to Willpower increases (and thus characters that are resistant to fear) only reinforces this.

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I'm not saying that the rules disallow it, by any means, just that the rules as they are do not encourage some "heroic archetypes" (to modify the term for clarity, even though adding "heroic" is also misleading) which should, in my mind, be staples of the game.

 

 

YES!

You're quite right. Rules are not encourage "heroic archetypes", because we're speaking about grimdark universe of war and fatality. There is a song on Russian, "40K ways to die", it's quite describing. "I'm dreaming for the future of infinite possibilities: you can be eaten by mad fungi there, you can be raped by xenos there, you can be shooted, you can be gutted, nothing good can happen with you". I'm asking sorry for my bad translation, it's really sound good on Russian: 

"...мне снится сон о будущем, где множество возможностей - 

Там можно быть съеденным безумными грибами;

Там Вас изнасилуют инопланетяне!

Там можно быть застреленным, а можно выпотрошенным -

Там с Вами точно не случится ничего хорошего!"

As I said, it's not Lensman Saga. And DH is, as it written (1st and 2nd editions same), something close to noir, not something about Rambo. Noir in a grimdark world. Heroic archetypes? You must be kidding.

But, of course, player CAN play a man who will become a commissar one day. I don't want to say it's impossible; I just want to say it shouldn't be easy. "Guardsman who will becoming a Commissar" is not something laying just in definition of "Imperial Guardsman" archetype, it is not something with his training and bio, is not something his background is helping. It's easy to be field marksman when you're in the Guard, it's hard to be Commissar. So aptitude system is modeling such kind of things, and looks like aptitude system is doing it good.

 

The character with those Talents, but without the Psyker Aptitude, will still likely have a lower WP than one who does and if his character archetype is one that wants a high WP, then the rules have stymied him.

 

Yes. There is no many archetypes to have a high WP in WH40K setting. There is an archetype for noble knight for humanity here, and... well. "Space sailor is flying through interstellar void. He have a chainsaw, he is a vanquisher of evil. "Kill the heretic, burn the mutant" - life of space sailor is full of greater good and noble deeds!"

But we're not playing Space Marines here, who Shall Not Know Fear.

P.S. ****, we're speaking about a world where absence of fear is one of defining characteristics of Space Marines - something Emperor highligted creating them! He had millions, billions on his disposal, he had whitches, psykers, feral warriors, disciplined soldiers, blanks, anything humanity could offer - and he needed somebody who shall not know fear.

I believe it's indicative. 

 

A system "geared for fear" should have more rules for it, not less; it should differentiate between "creeping dread" and "outright terror", between "paranoia" and "justified fear", among others.

 

And that's a better point then "not enough archetype options", but I'm not sure it's valid.

Problem is that more rules means more complexity; more compexity means more feverish rolling the pages; that's creating hand waving on fear at all - or mechanization, when "fear" becaming just system abstraction, not narrative tool. I've been there playing Unknown Armies, so I'm not encouraged.

Well, everything can be worse, so DH2 system working just adequately for me. Yes, it can be better too, but I'm sure that simple adding five more tables with different conditional fear effects is not helping.

Edited by Aenno

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I knew mentioning "heroic archetypes" would be misleading, hence why I mentioned it being potentially misleading. Allow me to expand.

 

You say DH2 is a sort-of grimdark noir, not Rambo. Great, I don't want Rambo either (well, not in most games...maybe a few!). What you seem to be implying 40k should be is not noir, though, and only on the border of grimdark. Noir is typified by its atmosphere, tension and its characters that are (often) caricatures of reality. Grimdark is not about lethality, but about the fragility and insignificance of the individual.

 

Now, in the kind of game you describe, everyone plays a "Joe Average" and gets a new character every other session because there's "40k ways to die". This does not make a good game, noir, grimdark or otherwise; it's a meatgrinder. A good grimdark game involves the characters rising above the darkness, facing off against the grim fatality and whether or not they succeed, at least they tried (if they didn't try, then there's no game to play). This sounds pretty "heroic" to me. If not in a "famous and recognised" way, at least one that matters within the confines of the narrative. They don't have to be Superman or Rambo or a Commissar, but in order to be an interesting character that a player will want to play from game to game, they will have to be something a little bit un-real, something a little bit special and above the norm. Like in the noir sense as I described it, they have to be a bit of a caricature of what is "real" within the confines of the setting; the over-the-top Ministorum preacher, the "Judge Dredd-esque" implacable Adeptus Arbite, etc.

 

In many RPGs and much fiction, these caricatures are often regarded as archetypes and by being something greater than the norm, they might also be described as a "heroic archetype". The Imperial Guardsman recruited by the Inquisition is not a run-of-the-mill Imperial Guardsman, otherwise he would not be recruited by the Inquisition and would not be a character in this RPG. If we are to look at the kind of "heroic archetypes" that players might want to play in Dark Heresy, DH2 fails to provide adequate facility to accomplish some of them.

 

I would argue that the "Guardsman who will one day be a Commissar" archetype is embedded in his background, somewhere. Commissars are born, not made; they are a cut above the rest because there is some spark within them, something that makes them a cut above the common ground-pounder, something that mere experience or training cannot instill. If you're not going to model that with this character having a suite of Aptitudes that represent this in-born proficiency, given the rules at hand, I don't know what will.

 

I disagree with the notion that there aren't many high-Willpower archetypes in the 40k setting. There are plenty; I've mentioned a few and they were just off the top of my head. You don't have to be a Space Marine to have high WP; heck, at most, any given character can only add 25 to his starting WP anyway, so 65 tops and that's only if he rolls a 40 Willpower to start with. Hardly immune to fear when you factor the Fear rating of your adversaries. Why are these "upper-echelons" of WP only available easily to Psykers? Sure, they deal with the mind-altering nature of the warp and have undergone trials that "normal" minds only balk at, but shouldn't some of that already be factored into their starting WP? Doesn't the game itself recommend that a character should have at least a WP of 35 before even considering playing a psyker?

 

As for more rules being more complex. Why not? Dark Heresy is already a rules-heavy game. If you want a simpler game, I can recommend FATE Core, Risus or any number of lighter games that can provide a better narrative experience than DH. If the focus of DH is supposed to be fear, horror, atmosphere, etc. then take some of the combat rules out and put in some rules about fear, horror and atmosphere, not the other way around.

Edited by Jolly P

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If they wanted to make Fear worse, wouldn't they be better off expanding the amount of Fear related traits? Add Fear 5-8, add traits that boost the result of the shock table, all while also adding tools players can use to combat it?

 

Remember how the original beta reworked Fear to be both simpler and more interesting? That was pretty cool. Shame they threw that baby out with the bath water.

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Well...

First of all, I'm agree with you perfectly about "human need something extra to be noticed and used by Inquisition". This is called "fate points". This people can be just average Joes, workers on their factories, but they are touched by the fate.

But to be Commissar (living saint who can supprass all fears, unbreakable noble or warchief and so on) is difficult. What's aptitudes? It's something areas you can learn in your background facilities, homeworld schools, role biography. Character who created by his aptitudes IS "generic Joe with fate points". Just another Guardsman, not somebody who will became Commissar one day. The Commissars are not generic Joes, so they should be somebody outside their aptitudes. And it's hard to be outside their aptitudes, so you're supposed to spent you xp non-average (and non-cheap so) way.

Commissars are born, yes, they are touched by fate, you can say. But there is not enough. They are going to complete best training course Humanity can offer, became Storm Troopers elites, THEN complete best training course Humanity can offer again, and only then they get their bolt-pistoles and their bad-ass-looking hats. It's difficult, and Commissars are not so differ their Storm Troopers fellows in combat (well, they had their melee training, a little) - but they have their rigorous faith and conviction. 

It's not common for Imperium Citizen to be mental fortress. And when I'm telling "not common", I mean not "impossible". I mean that you can't just follow the stream of your even fate-ruled life and except your "mental fortressness" to grow itself. It need hard working, really hard, and spending xp is a way, base way in xp-based games as I know, to show this hard working.

Psykers are another cause. They have streams of their live that makes them mental fortresses. Generic, Average Psyker Joe is somebody who expected to be mental fortress. He is supposed to bend reality with his will. High WP is something that define psyker, as ability to shoot (BS) is something that define Guardsman. And psykers supposed to have their heads exploding and their sights to fail and their minds to falter - EVEN when they're mental fortresses. So their high WP is "growing itself", like Guardsman BS. And playable psykers are rogue psykers (and of course it's possible to meet rogue psyker without WP aptitude) or somebody who is few among few among few already at start.

Yes. To create somebody differ from "common joe archetype" is not the most xp-efficient way. And it shouldn't be! It's easy to be "Average Joe" and it's hard to be someone differ, and high xp-cost shows it. Yes, players have something for free - they are Touched of the Fate (2+) from the boxes, and it's big. 

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Basically, something like a Commissar would be an Elite Advance rather than something you can start out with. 

 

And with the complaints about Fear, I wasn't in beta so I don't know what was thrown away. I only know that the current system in DH2 works and that you're able to boost your Willpower as high as a Psyker can, but you have to pay slightly more for it since this isn't your main field. You do get reductions in other fields instead however.

 

The Jaded talent is enough for most mundane things a person would encounter. Corpses, Xenos, horrific murder scenes do nothing for this person. Only when things like warp manifestions/daemons/unnatural effects start happening, only then will that person have to roll for Fear like anybody else.

 

Also don't forget that you can still get the Resistance(Fear) talent to get a +10 to Fear tests.

 

So what was removed :

Unshakable Faith: May Reroll Failed Fear tests. 

Fearless : Immune to Fear and Pinning

 

Edit: And Radiant Presence

 

What was added:

Adamantium Faith: Reduces DoF from failed Pinning and Fear tests.

 

So Adamantium Faith seems like a toned down version of Fearless and Unshakable Faith was simply removed.

 

So that's 1 Talent less than before. This doesn't seem to be too disrupting to me.

 

It just seems like they wanted the top part of the fear generating things to have an actual effect, rather than being denied by rerolls of Fear tests or worse, being immune to Fear altogether.

 

If you find it too disruptive, you can still simply add Unshakable Faith again, I know that's not the point of this discussion but it's basically this 1 Talent that we are arguing about in terms of Fear tests.

 

There is also the Command skill to Inspire (+10 bonus to Characteristic or Skill tests) and Terrify to overcome the effects of Fear.

 

Last but not least, you can always use Fate points to reroll failed Fear tests if you consider the consequences for failing to be too great.

Edited by Gridash

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Nerves of Steel was mentioned before, but that's about rerolling Pinning tests, not Fear tests.

 

So in case of Pinning tests, it's really about ranged characters since melee characters have Frenzy to counter Pinning tests.

 

The best thing you can do here is avoid getting shot for a round, get +30 bonus to your next willpower test and then you can act normally again.

 

Adding a Sacred Inscription to your weapon gets you a +10 to Pinning tests and the Command skill also helps to overcome pinning by giving another +10 bonus. It should be fine once you get Adamantium Faith.

 

Some Frenzon also helps to temporary gain the Frenzy talent when you're desperate, but it's more a melee character thing. 

Edited by Gridash

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@Gridash: The fact that there are Talents and other options that can mitigate a lower Willpower is somewhat beside the point. It's like saying "Oh, there's a bunch of Talents to improve your marksmanship, so you don't need a high Ballistic Skill". At the end of the day, you're unlikely to consider your character a good shot unless his BS is above 40. Same applies to Willpower. If your character concept involves mental strength, you're going to want a high WP and probably a few of those Talents as well, not just one or the other.

 

@Aenno: I can see your argument about being a Commissar not being easy and it being why you need to spend a greater amount of XP. It's certainly a valid one and it clearly works for you. I just don't agree with it.

 

I don't think we're going to see eye to eye on this one. I think we have a fundamental difference in opinion about certain aspects of the game. For instance, I consider Aptitudes a construct to represent the ability of the "average joe" to become "more than average". After all, without XP, Aptitudes do nothing. Heck, you only get a single Aptitude each from your Homeworld and Background; it can't represent your training to date that much.

 

The majority of Aptitudes come from your Role, which is a metagame concept representing the "ideal" of what you've conceived your character to be. It is, I think, the fact that characters in DH have a Role that makes them special; much as in 3.5 D&D, characters with an adventuring Class (Fighter, Rogue, Wizard, etc.) are a cut above the rest of normal society, who only have an "NPC Class" (Expert, Warrior, Commoner, etc.). Without a Role, a given character would have 2 Aptitudes (one Homeworld, one Background) and outside of fringe cases, they will rarely (if ever) combine to allow a "common citizen" to achieve much of any renown, let alone face off against the grimdarkness of the 41st millennium. With a Role, however, said citizen becomes something more. You gain a way to utilize your Fate points to greater effect and you gain a Talent; both very tangible benefits of immediate use. You also gain five Aptitudes (5!). What do they do? Nothing. Not immediately, at least, not until you get some XP to spend.

 

I can only conclude that having a Role, in and of itself, is like having a destiny, being that "cut above the rest" and that only those who have the potential for greatness have one. The potential Commissar who does not have a Role (and is an "average joe") will indeed struggle to meet his dream and spend a vast quantity of XP to meet it, if he doesn't die first (which he probably will). The potential Commissar who is truly born to be one, on the other hand, has a Role and doesn't have to struggle at it nearly so much; he has the innate Aptitude that means he can achieve his goal with much greater ease (i.e. spend less XP to do so).

 

Now, all this is fairly irrelevant and diverting from the point at hand. You were trying to tell me that there are no high-Willpower archetypes in the 40k setting except psykers, non-psyker members of the AAT and those that need to spend extra effort to get there. I simply do not accept this as true. Yes, it's a grimdark universe where the majority are cowardly, insignificant and corrupt, but this does not preclude the few that are quite the opposite; the brave guardsman, the righteous zealot and the iron-willed leader of men. The stories we tell involve the insignificant masses, but they're about the heroes, the archetypes of the narrative and those characters can have (and are often defined by) their strength of will. This willpower can come from years of experience (such as with a grizzled veteran Guard Sergeant), which is represented by the character without the Aptitude(s) spending greater XP, but can likewise come from something more innate or ephemeral; inborn mental strength or a towering ego, indoctrination/true faith in the Imperial Creed and so on. These latter characters are not provided for in DH2. If you don't think they should be, great, you've got a system that works. I disagree.

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@Gridash: The fact that there are Talents and other options that can mitigate a lower Willpower is somewhat beside the point. It's like saying "Oh, there's a bunch of Talents to improve your marksmanship, so you don't need a high Ballistic Skill". At the end of the day, you're unlikely to consider your character a good shot unless his BS is above 40. Same applies to Willpower. If your character concept involves mental strength, you're going to want a high WP and probably a few of those Talents as well, not just one or the other.

 

This was meant as a response to a previously made remark about the amount of talents that has been cut down in DH2 compared to Only War.

 

Again though, nothing stops you from getting 5 ranks in Willpower, it's not like that a non-Psyker only gets as high as 3. Having 1 Aptitude to get cheaper Willpower does increase the cost slightly, but you can compensate in other fields for that. Or are you really creating a character that's a mental fortress and useless in any other field? In that odd case, pick the Psyker aptitude without being a Psyker, heh...

Edited by Gridash

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@Gridash: The fact that there are Talents and other options that can mitigate a lower Willpower is somewhat beside the point. It's like saying "Oh, there's a bunch of Talents to improve your marksmanship, so you don't need a high Ballistic Skill". At the end of the day, you're unlikely to consider your character a good shot unless his BS is above 40. Same applies to Willpower. If your character concept involves mental strength, you're going to want a high WP and probably a few of those Talents as well, not just one or the other.

 

This was meant as a response to a previously made remark about the amount of talents that has been cut down in DH2 compared to Only War.

 

Again though, nothing stops you from getting 5 ranks in Willpower, it's not like that a non-Psyker only gets as high as 3. Having 1 Aptitude to get cheaper Willpower does increase the cost slightly, but you can compensate in other fields for that. Or are you really creating a character that's a mental fortress and useless in any other field? In that odd case, pick the Psyker aptitude without being a Psyker, heh...

 

I'm all aware that you can still buy your 5 ranks of WP. What I'm arguing is the notion that the game does not provide for the high-WP character archetype as much as it does, for instance, high-BS ones. It implies that high-WP archetypes don't exist within the setting outside of the AAT and Psykers, when I think they do (or should).

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I mean it more as how few talents even deal with fear. That we might have 20-30 talents that certainly have some use in combat, pages upon pages of guns and armour, even pages of skills for interacting with the world and other characters, but then when you get to fear, insanity, and corruption, there is the GM section which estabilishes it as a gameplay mechanic, and a grand total of about 10 things at the average character's disposal to interact with those game mechanics.

 

Obviously mitigating the whole effect shouldn't be the case, its more that we no longer have things like Nerves of Steel or Unshakable Faith, and instead the system jumps from having to roll the test with piss poor stats, to the games closest approximation to Fearless. Player's only interaction with the mechanic is apparently to either take talents that prevent them from getting IPs, get a flat bonus to the test, pseudo-Fearless, or Jaded.

 

What we should have:

-Talent to reroll a failed fear test

-Talent to reroll the shock table and take better result

-Talent to apply a flat modifier to shock table to reduce severity

-Talent to give a bonus to "Snap Out of It"

-Talent to inflate the amount of IPs a character has for purpose of ignoring Fear

-Items that do things similar to above

-Social skills/talents that confer effects similar to above to allies

 

Instead all we have now are crappy flat bonuses, and functionally all out immunity. No back and forth, no interplay of mechanics, no subtlty.

 

I am not saying that my opinion is right or yours wrong, but this particular bit is actually one of the few things I am really glad they got rid of in 2ED. In first edition, those talents and skill made the shock, insanity and fear test all moot. Sometimes characters could have four talents dedicated to resisting and ignoring fear tests and on top of that re-roll for each, making it pointless to have (late game of course).

 

I'll just give my reasoning why I am glad those particular skillsets are gone: my favorite part of Dark Heresy was that you are not a superhero, you were/are cannon fodder, a disposable tool for an inquisitor and the gameplay did and still does demand that your character will die, go insane or no longer be considered human, or all of the above at some point. To me this fitted the grim dark and it was a stark contrast to all other RPGs I have played: your character is above average, or super or exceptional. Albeit second edition explicitly states that it is going more for the heroic approach but as we all know, the game is still terribly lethal. All test are hard, and until mid to late game, you can expect to fail at most things. I like that.

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...second edition explicitly states that it is going more for the heroic approach but as we all know, the game is still terribly lethal. All test are hard, and until mid to late game, you can expect to fail at most things. I like that.

 

I agree with this completely. Having said that, whilst I don't necessarily agree that we need more Talents to mitigate fear, I do think that the systems regarding fear and insanity should be more detailed. Adding more Talents that interact with these concepts is one way to generate greater interaction and it's an easy one to crowbar into the existing mechanics; "If you can't overhaul it, modify it" being the mantra.

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I feel like OW had more interaction with Fear because of the prevalence of Inspire, Terrify, and talents like Radiant Presence and Iron Discipline.  Notably, it was easier to acquire Leadership.  It was harder to acquire Defense, and separately purchasing Unshakeable Faith, Nerves of Steel, and Resistance Fear felt almost punishing.

 

BUT, OW has Fearless, which is a silly talent.

When I look at DH2 system, I think it is designed for players to more easily take heroic roles, hence the existence of Adamantine Faith, a super-consolidated anti-fear talent.

 

If you want to play a fear resistant non-psyker non-AAT, you should play a Shrine Worlder (Willpower), an Arbites (defence), Desperado or Warrior.  Of course, in DH2, anybody can pick up a Willpower aptitude just by overlapping something.  The difference between two aptitudes and one aptitude for characteristics is generally 5, presuming equal attention to the characteristic; so the real advantage of being a Psyker is that you can weaponize a stat that is otherwise purely defensive.  This has also gotten better since OW, since many psyker powers now have additional characteristic requirements.

 

That being said, Parry defends using an offensive characteristic, and Agility has several benefits apart from Dodge.

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Cool, so now we have a solid number for exactly how screwed you are for not having two matching aptitudes for WP advances. That number of course can be generalized to any advance, and that post does a great job laying out how the system punishes you for straying outside the bounds of class you rolled up at the start of the game (since in this example you're paying 28.8% more XP in 'tax' that another player is spending on cheap 2-match abilities to affect the game and increase their own narrative influence).

 

That's all a great tear-down of why the aptitude system is bad, but that's only tangential to the topic at hand. Namely that WP is incredibly important for all characters, but unavailable at cheap cost to non-psykers.

 

So given you've demonstrated an understanding of how aptitudes work, what is your rationale for why making certain character archetypes impossible is okay?

 

Derp. Your main concern is that the cost of something, that one "class" specializes in, is cheaper for them than other people?

Are you paying attention to your complaints here? Various roles/backgrouds are better at different things. Sure Willpower is useful for a lot of people. But so is toughness. No one is out here on the forums bitching that only Warriors and (whoever else) get Toughness! It's not fair! I have to pay 30% more exp to not get killed by bullets.

 

Boo. Freaking. Hoo. That's the whole point of having distinction between characters.

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Derp. Your main concern is that the cost of something, that one "class" specializes in, is cheaper for them than other people?

Are you paying attention to your complaints here? Various roles/backgrouds are better at different things. Sure Willpower is useful for a lot of people. But so is toughness. No one is out here on the forums bitching that only Warriors and (whoever else) get Toughness! It's not fair! I have to pay 30% more exp to not get killed by bullets.

 

Boo. Freaking. Hoo. That's the whole point of having distinction between characters.

 

 

Are you being willfully obtuse or do you really not understand what my criticisms are?

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Cool, so now we have a solid number for exactly how screwed you are for not having two matching aptitudes for WP advances. That number of course can be generalized to any advance, and that post does a great job laying out how the system punishes you for straying outside the bounds of class you rolled up at the start of the game (since in this example you're paying 28.8% more XP in 'tax' that another player is spending on cheap 2-match abilities to affect the game and increase their own narrative influence).

 

That's all a great tear-down of why the aptitude system is bad, but that's only tangential to the topic at hand. Namely that WP is incredibly important for all characters, but unavailable at cheap cost to non-psykers.

 

So given you've demonstrated an understanding of how aptitudes work, what is your rationale for why making certain character archetypes impossible is okay?

 

Derp. Your main concern is that the cost of something, that one "class" specializes in, is cheaper for them than other people?

Are you paying attention to your complaints here? Various roles/backgrouds are better at different things. Sure Willpower is useful for a lot of people. But so is toughness. No one is out here on the forums bitching that only Warriors and (whoever else) get Toughness! It's not fair! I have to pay 30% more exp to not get killed by bullets.

 

Boo. Freaking. Hoo. That's the whole point of having distinction between characters.

 

 

The point is that only Psykers get that easier access to higher Willpower, even though there are non-psyker archetypes that arguably should have it also (because let's face it, no AAT non-psyker is going to choose the Psyker Aptitude). All the other Aptitudes are available from multiple sources.

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It doesn't bother me from a thematic point, Psykers endured the most when it comes to Willpower so only them having the cheap advances just emphasizes on that. I know this is different when compared to DH1, but it's a deliberate choice from FFG.

 

That said, since the Leadership aptitude is somewhat meh in DH2, I wouldn't mind Leadership to be a third possible aptitude linked to Characteristic Willpower advances. That opens up the cheap Willpower advances to other "classes" and at the same time increase the usefulness of Leadership.

Edited by Gridash

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Cool, so now we have a solid number for exactly how screwed you are for not having two matching aptitudes for WP advances. That number of course can be generalized to any advance, and that post does a great job laying out how the system punishes you for straying outside the bounds of class you rolled up at the start of the game (since in this example you're paying 28.8% more XP in 'tax' that another player is spending on cheap 2-match abilities to affect the game and increase their own narrative influence).

 

That's all a great tear-down of why the aptitude system is bad, but that's only tangential to the topic at hand. Namely that WP is incredibly important for all characters, but unavailable at cheap cost to non-psykers.

 

So given you've demonstrated an understanding of how aptitudes work, what is your rationale for why making certain character archetypes impossible is okay?

How are you screwed for not having two aptitudes for a stat? If Willpower is important for everybody so everyone wants it and everyone is paying a lot for it (except psykers) then it is a wash. Everyone will have used a similar, if large, amount on it.

So really your saying psykers are broken because an important defense stat is cheaper for them and there is a good chance it is their attack stat as well. Is this really broken though? Psykers have essentially a whole other stat to worry about buying in psy rating, have to worry about other characteristic requirements for their powers such as agility or fellowship, some of which are pretty high and they may not have the aptitudes for therefore canceling out the cheaper willpower and their powers all have the potential for catastrophic backfire. The psyker may have willpower cheaper but there is a good chance that other important things will be more expensive canceling it out. The psyker may have less wounds or toughness. In the game I'm in perception has been incredibly important because we are regularly getting ourselves ambushed and avoiding surprise can mean life or death.

Its funny, the psyker in my group doesn't even get willpower for cheap as he doesn't have the willpower aptitude. He is a feral world, astra telepathica, assassin who took defense from his background. He chose to make his willpower stuff a bit worse in exchange for some more physical stats and abilities.

It seems like in these discussions about aptitudes people ignore the fact that if one character gets something for cheap then something else will be more expensive and will likely more or less balance out. If I buy willpower for 500 and perception for 250 and someone else buys willpower for 250 and perception for 500 we are still on equal grounds. As long as everyone occasionally strays outside the bounds of their class then everyone's xp should stay even and the aptitudes mean that everyone will have something that would be useful that will not be cheap for them.   

 

Well...

First of all, I'm agree with you perfectly about "human need something extra to be noticed and used by Inquisition". This is called "fate points". This people can be just average Joes, workers on their factories, but they are touched by the fate.

But to be Commissar (living saint who can supprass all fears, unbreakable noble or warchief and so on) is difficult. What's aptitudes? It's something areas you can learn in your background facilities, homeworld schools, role biography. Character who created by his aptitudes IS "generic Joe with fate points". Just another Guardsman, not somebody who will became Commissar one day. The Commissars are not generic Joes, so they should be somebody outside their aptitudes. And it's hard to be outside their aptitudes, so you're supposed to spent you xp non-average (and non-cheap so) way.

Commissars are born, yes, they are touched by fate, you can say. But there is not enough. They are going to complete best training course Humanity can offer, became Storm Troopers elites, THEN complete best training course Humanity can offer again, and only then they get their bolt-pistoles and their bad-ass-looking hats. It's difficult, and Commissars are not so differ their Storm Troopers fellows in combat (well, they had their melee training, a little) - but they have their rigorous faith and conviction. 

It's not common for Imperium Citizen to be mental fortress. And when I'm telling "not common", I mean not "impossible". I mean that you can't just follow the stream of your even fate-ruled life and except your "mental fortressness" to grow itself. It need hard working, really hard, and spending xp is a way, base way in xp-based games as I know, to show this hard working.

Psykers are another cause. They have streams of their live that makes them mental fortresses. Generic, Average Psyker Joe is somebody who expected to be mental fortress. He is supposed to bend reality with his will. High WP is something that define psyker, as ability to shoot (BS) is something that define Guardsman. And psykers supposed to have their heads exploding and their sights to fail and their minds to falter - EVEN when they're mental fortresses. So their high WP is "growing itself", like Guardsman BS. And playable psykers are rogue psykers (and of course it's possible to meet rogue psyker without WP aptitude) or somebody who is few among few among few already at start.

Yes. To create somebody differ from "common joe archetype" is not the most xp-efficient way. And it shouldn't be! It's easy to be "Average Joe" and it's hard to be someone differ, and high xp-cost shows it. Yes, players have something for free - they are Touched of the Fate (2+) from the boxes, and it's big. 

Just to support the bit about needing "something extra to be noticed and used by the inquisition" on top of fate points, not sure its mentioned in 2nd ed but I believe there was something in 1st ed that suggested civilians should pretty much instantly go crazy/die/mutate if exposed to any source of insanity or corruption. This further separates the player characters from average joe citizen because they get to actually test to resist these things and even after failing can still bounce back both in the encounter and more long term. Takes much more for them to suffer permanent psychological damage. This by itself shows something special that would make someone valuable to the inquisition.

 

@Gridash: The fact that there are Talents and other options that can mitigate a lower Willpower is somewhat beside the point. It's like saying "Oh, there's a bunch of Talents to improve your marksmanship, so you don't need a high Ballistic Skill". At the end of the day, you're unlikely to consider your character a good shot unless his BS is above 40. Same applies to Willpower. If your character concept involves mental strength, you're going to want a high WP and probably a few of those Talents as well, not just one or the other.

 

If the person has high starting Willpower and the willpower aptitude they will be able to represent a mentally fortified character as they will still have a leg up on most of the party outside of the psyker.  While the psyker may have an advantage in willpower they may need to pick up more expensive crap for the sole purpose of meeting prerequisites equaling it out. It's also perfectly possible to make a psyker who doesn't even get the willpower aptitude and therefore also doesn't get willpower for cheap.

 

@Aenno: I can see your argument about being a Commissar not being easy and it being why you need to spend a greater amount of XP. It's certainly a valid one and it clearly works for you. I just don't agree with it.

 

Game mechanic wise commissars would most likely be elite advances on the level of inquisitor or sister of battle likely costing experience to buy into and requiring a minimum influence. This shows a character would need to be pretty impressive and would need to work hard to gain that position. If a player has a high starting willpower and the willpower aptitude they will likely have an advantage over much of the party and therefore can build the character just fine.

 

I don't think we're going to see eye to eye on this one. I think we have a fundamental difference in opinion about certain aspects of the game. For instance, I consider Aptitudes a construct to represent the ability of the "average joe" to become "more than average". After all, without XP, Aptitudes do nothing. Heck, you only get a single Aptitude each from your Homeworld and Background; it can't represent your training to date that much.

 

The majority of Aptitudes come from your Role, which is a metagame concept representing the "ideal" of what you've conceived your character to be. It is, I think, the fact that characters in DH have a Role that makes them special; much as in 3.5 D&D, characters with an adventuring Class (Fighter, Rogue, Wizard, etc.) are a cut above the rest of normal society, who only have an "NPC Class" (Expert, Warrior, Commoner, etc.). Without a Role, a given character would have 2 Aptitudes (one Homeworld, one Background) and outside of fringe cases, they will rarely (if ever) combine to allow a "common citizen" to achieve much of any renown, let alone face off against the grimdarkness of the 41st millennium. With a Role, however, said citizen becomes something more. You gain a way to utilize your Fate points to greater effect and you gain a Talent; both very tangible benefits of immediate use. You also gain five Aptitudes (5!). What do they do? Nothing. Not immediately, at least, not until you get some XP to spend.

 

I can only conclude that having a Role, in and of itself, is like having a destiny, being that "cut above the rest" and that only those who have the potential for greatness have one. The potential Commissar who does not have a Role (and is an "average joe") will indeed struggle to meet his dream and spend a vast quantity of XP to meet it, if he doesn't die first (which he probably will). The potential Commissar who is truly born to be one, on the other hand, has a Role and doesn't have to struggle at it nearly so much; he has the innate Aptitude that means he can achieve his goal with much greater ease (i.e. spend less XP to do so).

I think this is a flawed view of what Roles represent. Fate points, the ability to resist fear and corruption and mentally recover as I mentioned above, gaining xp and even suffering critical effects rather than just dying when running out of wounds are what separate the player characters from average joes. Homeworld is where you're from, background is the organization you worked for, role is the job you will be doing for the inquisitor and therefore likely the one they were doing for their background organization. For example for an ad mech with chirurgeon role the inquisitor picked him to be the group doctor or interrogator likely indicating that his job for the ad mech was probably similar hence why the inquisitor chose him for that job. I see no reason why role would represent some extra destiny, just the job that the character is inclined to based on their natural talents. You could argue that many NPC doctors have the chirurgeon role however most can't use the role ability because they lack fate.

 

Now, all this is fairly irrelevant and diverting from the point at hand. You were trying to tell me that there are no high-Willpower archetypes in the 40k setting except psykers, non-psyker members of the AAT and those that need to spend extra effort to get there. I simply do not accept this as true. Yes, it's a grimdark universe where the majority are cowardly, insignificant and corrupt, but this does not preclude the few that are quite the opposite; the brave guardsman, the righteous zealot and the iron-willed leader of men. The stories we tell involve the insignificant masses, but they're about the heroes, the archetypes of the narrative and those characters can have (and are often defined by) their strength of will. This willpower can come from years of experience (such as with a grizzled veteran Guard Sergeant), which is represented by the character without the Aptitude(s) spending greater XP, but can likewise come from something more innate or ephemeral; inborn mental strength or a towering ego, indoctrination/true faith in the Imperial Creed and so on. These latter characters are not provided for in DH2. If you don't think they should be, great, you've got a system that works. I disagree.

I agree that there are definitely high willpower archtypes other than psyker in the setting. In terms of representing them though I would say that just beating the rest of the party is more the bench mark rather than beating the psyker and as long as the character persuing that mental fortress archtype takes stuff that is cheap for them as well then it will balance out with the psyker as the psyker will likely need to pick up stuff that they don't have both aptitudes for as well. Most high willpower archtypes I can think of have something else going for them besides willpower, often in social skill or physical stats.

 

I would say the problem with willpower isn't it's cost since its expensive for just about everybody. I'd say the problem is that failed willpower tests suck because they so often remove player agency. Not only does being on fire kill your character but you can't even try to put it out or do anything if your willpower sucks. Oops failed the fear test at the beginning of the fight and passed out or started vomiting uncontrollably, well good chance you won't be able to do much of anything this fight (and combats can take awhile leaving the player with little to do). A character with bad willpower could have this happen to them over and over again. This can create the feeling that if you want to make sure you can actually play the game and participate in combat you need to invest in willpower. I don't think its a good idea to have a "can this player participate in this fight stat". Add to that, most willpower tests have a negative base difficulty, sometimes a very large penalty,  and unlike other stats willpower lacks skills like dodge or parry to improve its defensive effectiveness or equipment to improve the tests and as has been pointed out the talents still feel pretty all or nothing and don't even help with every type of test (looking at you being on fire test).

The place where I would say there is a huge cost issue is for untouchable characters. The willpower prerequisites for some of the talents are ridiculously high (55, seriously?! I think these are the highest prereqs in the game!) for a character that should absolutely never have the psyker aptitude. Even adding the leadership aptitude to willpower as an alternate to psyker doesn't help here since it doesn't make much sense for an untouchable to have leadership either.

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I think this is a flawed view of what Roles represent. Fate points, the ability to resist fear and corruption and mentally recover as I mentioned above, gaining xp and even suffering critical effects rather than just dying when running out of wounds are what separate the player characters from average joes. Homeworld is where you're from, background is the organization you worked for, role is the job you will be doing for the inquisitor and therefore likely the one they were doing for their background organization. For example for an ad mech with chirurgeon role the inquisitor picked him to be the group doctor or interrogator likely indicating that his job for the ad mech was probably similar hence why the inquisitor chose him for that job. I see no reason why role would represent some extra destiny, just the job that the character is inclined to based on their natural talents. You could argue that many NPC doctors have the chirurgeon role however most can't use the role ability because they lack fate.

 

I accept your reasoning as valid, but I disagree. You say yourself that Role is "the job you'll be doing for the Inquisitor". It's all about the future of the character, not the past. Take a good look at what Role offers; Aptitudes, a Talent and (usually) a Fate-point based Bonus. If, as you say, the average citizen doesn't have Fate points and doesn't accrue much in the way of XP, then all a Role will give them is a single Talent. I can't help but extrapolate from this that most inhabitants of the Imperium don't actually have a Role because it, practically speaking, doesn't do anything.

 

For me, the Role part of character creation is what got the character noticed by the Inquisition in the first place. After all, most of the Role Bonuses involve some kind of auto-pass with Fate expenditure. That's some kind of awesome right there. We're not just talking about a mundane Chirurgeon hack-jobbing his way through the drudgery of every-day doctoring, we're talking a top surgeon able to patch up a mortally wounded dude under battlefield conditions. Reliably. An Imperial Guard Medic has the Medicae skill; he's got the training to do the job. Only the Imperial Guard Medic who managed to successfully duct-tape his squad-mates back together after they were blown up by heavy mortar bombardment gets noticed by the Inquisition. The latter dude is a PC and has the Chirurgeon Role, the NPC Imp.Guard Medic does not; he just has the Medicae skill.

 

Sure, there's an aspect of background in a characters Role, but what a Role grants is too...well, heroic, for want of a better word, for the common masses.

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It seems like in these discussions about aptitudes people ignore the fact that if one character gets something for cheap then something else will be more expensive and will likely more or less balance out. If I buy willpower for 500 and perception for 250 and someone else buys willpower for 250 and perception for 500 we are still on equal grounds. As long as everyone occasionally strays outside the bounds of their class then everyone's xp should stay even and the aptitudes mean that everyone will have something that would be useful that will not be cheap for them.

 

This is actually a decent point, and you're right that DH2 somewhat de-emphasizes WP for psykers. That said, this critique would hold a lot more water if the aptitude system were actually balanced 1 for 1 like you suggest. As it is, some combinations of starting options yield drastically better aptitude matches than others. You can have a starting character with 4 cheap characteristic advances and a starting character with only 2 and the one with 4 is going to get a lot better at their thing a lot faster than the one with 2.

 

My real issue is with the aptitude system as a whole. It presents itself as an open character advancement system but is actually a thinly-veiled class system that can be greatly exploited with system mastery or one that can greatly punish the players for making bad choices.

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If they wanted to make Fear worse, wouldn't they be better off expanding the amount of Fear related traits? Add Fear 5-8, add traits that boost the result of the shock table, all while also adding tools players can use to combat it?

 

Remember how the original beta reworked Fear to be both simpler and more interesting? That was pretty cool. Shame they threw that baby out with the bath water.

 

This made me re-read the beta rules on the matter, and while I'll say I think it needed a bit of work, I definitely do like the direction they were going with that. Honestly the whole way that beta went still brings a tear to my eye, as it was quite clear they wanted to advance the system to something a slight bit different, and instead we got a slightly rushed re-hash of what already existed.

 

 

I am not saying that my opinion is right or yours wrong, but this particular bit is actually one of the few things I am really glad they got rid of in 2ED. In first edition, those talents and skill made the shock, insanity and fear test all moot. Sometimes characters could have four talents dedicated to resisting and ignoring fear tests and on top of that re-roll for each, making it pointless to have (late game of course).

 

I'll just give my reasoning why I am glad those particular skillsets are gone: my favorite part of Dark Heresy was that you are not a superhero, you were/are cannon fodder, a disposable tool for an inquisitor and the gameplay did and still does demand that your character will die, go insane or no longer be considered human, or all of the above at some point. To me this fitted the grim dark and it was a stark contrast to all other RPGs I have played: your character is above average, or super or exceptional. Albeit second edition explicitly states that it is going more for the heroic approach but as we all know, the game is still terribly lethal. All test are hard, and until mid to late game, you can expect to fail at most things. I like that.

 

I should point out that all those talents and notions I listed really are meant to be things that help mitigate, but don't entirely remove Fear. DH1 definitely suffered by the very nature of the Fearless talent, and I feel DH2e suffers similarly due to the nature of Adamantium Faith. The lack of a sufficient number of talents that interact with Fear in DH2e is not a good thing, as it basically drives players to get Adamantium Faith, which is for all intents and purposes, a slightly scaled down Fearless talent.

 

By all means players shouldn't be ignoring all effects of Fear by taking 4 talents, but my point is they should be able to interact with the Fear rules. As it stands now, players either commit to spending the xp tax to buy Adamantium Faith, or not waste their time with buying Willpower at all (and hope their party psyker is kind enough to buy the Mental Fortitude psychic power, which I should say, don't get me started on). Buying Willpower itself is really a pretty cruddy way to deal with Fear anyway, and thats partly another side of this discussion. This could be mitigated by adding more Willpower/Defense aptitude talents with attainable pre-requisites that give more meaningful bonuses (while still not negating the effects of) Fear.

 

For example:

 

Compartmentalize

Tier: 2

Pre-Requsitie: 25 Insanity points, Willpower 30

Aptitudes: Willpower/Defense

The character has become apt at comparmentalizing their fear, sticking it away in a corner of their mind and not letting it affect the present. While they still suffer from the terror before them, they do not allow it to cripple their actions. This comes at a cost of long term mental health.

 

When making a Fear test, the player can acquire a number of insanity points equal to their Insanity Bonus in order to gain a +30 bonus to the Fear test. If they do so, after the encounter with the object of the Fear test they must immediatly roll on the Mental Trauma table (8-13), treated as having an amount of degrees of failure equal to their Insanity Bonus. Apply the normal trauma modifer as per table 8-12.

Obviously the idea could use some work, but you get the idea (as unfortuantely, adding IPs really only helps the PC, as it allows them to ignore future Fear checks and gives a great boon to Sororitas). Options for players to interact with the Fear rules that don't blow away the test. Unfortuantely right now it seems all we have is Resistence(Fear) which is one of the most boring talents someone can buy, or they can get Jaded or Adamantium Faith, which just act to make the Fear test less relevant.

 

Really where the system lost was in having it be a plain pass/fail on Fear checks. What should be in the language of the rules is that succeeding on the test has no immedate negative effect (failing having an immediate effect), but for all but extreme successes, the psyche of the character should still be negatively effected.

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