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Aenno

About game balance

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It never fails to amuse me when people argue against game balance by saying it's the GM's job to take an unbalanced game and try to balance it.

"Argue against game balance?" No!

Argue against game balance over realism and versatility, especially in a simulationist system.

Game balance is very important, but it should be second to the "feeling" of the game - for example, Black Crusade was not in any stretch of the imagination "balanced", but it was still a great game! GMs could easily separate the game into 2 "power levels", and although it obviously still had some powerbuilds (and omnipotent psykers when played properly), it was still a fun game that perfectly caught the "feel" if the system, and that was easily adjustable to a desired power level (by allowing or disallowing the Archetypes from the supplements and/or Traitor Marines).

However, a game still needs some form of balance: no one player should be better at everything than another, and everyone should have their moment to shine! This works extremely well if the system and GM are explicit about what play-style it is designed for: who cares if your Chosen makes my renegade useless when I built him entirely because the campaign would be based around infiltrating Imperial worlds? Who cares if your PC is a combat god that can kill anything in one turn when we're playing eclipse phase, a game generally involving a lot of loss of gear and investigation?

 

However, games like d&d 3.0 that had monks being entirely useless at almost every level when compared to good spellcasters or even rogues, you know that there's a serious problem!

People wouldn't grouse about combat balance in the 40K RPGs if the majority of their rules weren't about combat. The combat rules are pretty much on par with those of d&d 3.0 in terms of complexity, with a bit more polish. You can say that dark heresy isn't a game about combat and character building all you want, but the rules beg to differ. I think what you're actually noticing is that for the GM, there are no mechanics to engage with for combat other than using statblocks or making things up as they go. For players, a large portion of the game is stacking up talents and equipment to make fun gameplay combinations.

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For players, a large portion of the game is stacking up talents and equipment to make fun gameplay combinations.

 

True for many players; thankfully not for all.

You're misinterpreting. I'm saying that in the actual rules of the book, a large number of the options for players to deal with are based on combat and have little to no narrative flavoring. Most of the rules presented to the player are about combat effectiveness. Most of the equipment section is about cool weapons and items for combat. This isn't about player behavior; it's about the actual rules given for players to play with.

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Which is exactly the problem. Dark Heresy is a game about investigating the Enemies of Mankind as the Acolytes of an Inquisitor. While you fight these enemies, a significant portion of what you do is interacting with people, finding clues, and tracking down the heresies/cults/demons/xenos before you can eliminate them or what have you. 

 

At least, that's what you would think, and that's what FFG has marketed Dark Heresy as.

 

What you actually get is a rulebook full of the above examples in fluff only. The majority of the talents are for combat. The gear section is mostly for combat items. The rules are all about fighting and injuries and actions.  These are all great for mechanical combat, but there is precious little about what is supposed to happen beyond the fighting. There is a bit on Subtlety and using skills in Investigations, but this is dwarfed by the focus on the martial aspect of the game. 

 

This isn't so much a problem in Only War, where being a soldier and fighting is pretty much all you ever do. However, in a game about interacting with people and investigations, the book's focus should be on that and not combat.

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I'd be fine if they'd refine the combat rules into something more akin to d&d 4e that allowed combat to be a tactical game and then a full fledged system for investigating both socially and through detective work.

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One thing I should mention is that simulationism (as originally conceived in the now-defunct GNS Theory) isn't about mimicking the physics of the world, but rather about mimicking a particular genre or set of material. Thus, for instance, the rules about jumping/climbing/falling in the 40K RPGs aren't simulationist elements as such, but instead rules-as-physics. Instead, the subsystems for fear/insanity/corruption are simulationist because they're intended to emulate the themes of degradation and faceless cosmic oppression in the setting. (We can argue about how well they work in practice, but that's at least their intent.)

Edited by NFK

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Sororitas do not target space marines with bolter. If you look at their army list, you will see they have one thing that makes them ideal for hunting marines in an urban environment, which is what the interior of a fortress monastary is: Melta. Melta everywhere. Melta and artillery. They're pretty much built to wreck marines.

 

To be fair, the army list provided for the Fortress Monastery invasion scenario includes neither artillery (probably not deployable in drop pods) nor a focus on meltas (absence of Retributor squads) -- they get Celestians and Seraphim, and whilst some of those would certainly have meltas and inferno pistols, the standard loadout is bolt weaponry.

But Marines kill each other with the same stuff all the time, so that shouldn't be a problem.

 

Speed would be of the essence here; if you'd want to lay siege to a Marine fortress with artillery, the Imperial Guard would probably do a much better job, but also incur heavier losses as the Astartes would use their favoured hit and run tactics to mess with them. Much harder to do that when the initiative is with the attacker, like with a bunch of drop pods crashing into your courtyard.

 

However, a game still needs some form of balance: no one player should be better at everything than another, and everyone should have their moment to shine! This works extremely well if the system and GM are explicit about what play-style it is designed for: who cares if your Chosen makes my renegade useless when I built him entirely because the campaign would be based around infiltrating Imperial worlds? Who cares if your PC is a combat god that can kill anything in one turn when we're playing eclipse phase, a game generally involving a lot of loss of gear and investigation?

 

Yet what happens to your Renegade once the game shifts into combat? For infiltration, there are arguably much better archetypes to choose from, making the class you've chosen redundant. One could say this is merely a representation of realism and that some characters should be useless, but let's keep in mind that we're playing a game that is already playing fast and loose with realism elsewhere anyways.

 

If a game needs to introduce stuff like the Felling trait, or two different rulesets for Hordes depending on whether they're fighting your Humans or your CSMs, it's not only less realistic for trying to slap a bandaid on it (and one that makes the Humans look like sidekicks who are less likely to die, but also less likely to actually influence the encounter), it also looks as if it's putting the cart before the horse when it chooses such a convoluted "solution" rather than fixing what the designers must perceive as a problem right at the source.

 

This isn't so much a problem in Only War, where being a soldier and fighting is pretty much all you ever do. However, in a game about interacting with people and investigations, the book's focus should be on that and not combat.

 

A big problem with RPGs in general is that anything other than combat has always been an adjunct to the entire genre. Much of it has to do with "established industry wisdom", meaning that many designers may feel a subconscious need that the base of their game looks similar to the other games already out there. Why, for example, is it so common to roll for damage separately from the attack?

 

Not that I personally mind Dark Heresy's approach much. Once again, it's a matter of expectations, and to me the Inquisition in 40k has always been pretty militant, rather than some sort of Sherlock Holmes with a bolter. But that's probably just because I'm used more to the tabletop than the novels. Still, with occult investigations in 40k and the authority that Inquisitors can throw around, it doesn't feel too far-fetched to assume that combat happens in 99% of a case, whereas actual detective work might occur far less often, simply because a lot of Inquisitors are of the crusader mentality and don't mind the God-Emperor sorting the guilty from the innocent.

 

It has to be said that FFG is at least trying to invent and insert a lot of non-combat rules into the various games, like the rather intrigueing rules for Social Combat in BC. It just so happens that they don't appear to be as elegant as the core basics of the d100 combat system, but instead act like an exposé of the entire game line's propensity for clunky mechanics that are added on top of it.

 

Though even this is a biased perception, as I've recently become a fan of rules-lite systems, in part because it's easier to represent more than just combat when your rulebook isn't a 500-page-tome filled with special rules and exceptions and other unique stuff you need to keep in mind, but rather a booklet of short and similar mechanics that just happen to serve different or sometimes even multiple purposes.

 

I'd be fine if they'd refine the combat rules into something more akin to d&d 4e that allowed combat to be a tactical game and then a full fledged system for investigating both socially and through detective work.

 

I hope for the sake of your soul you're not proposing turning DH into a miniature game. :P

 

 

@NFK: You make a good point. In that sense, my criticism of BC above could be unfounded, if one keeps in mind that the game's very atmosphere might intentionally not be designed to appeal to all of us. This would probably be impossible to achieve, anyways, given that we all have our own preferences and perspectives, and expectations resulting from them. Still, in that case the book should probably actively discourage picking some archetypes rather than leaving such critical advice entirely to the GM, who may or may not anticipate the inherent problems.

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Much of it has to do with "established industry wisdom", meaning that many designers may feel a subconscious need that the base of their game looks similar to the other games already out there. 

 

While I wholeheartedly agree that the "It's always been done this way" mentality is a significant factor, I also question how much demand there is for complex mechanics outside of combat.  The demand definitely exists and appears to me to be growing; but it might not yet be to the point that the developers feel that it's worth investing time, testing, and page space into (at least not as core mechanics).  

Edited by Vorzakk

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Seeing as the system as it stands per Vanilla - its only a few steps away from being on parr with the old combat system of AD&D an 3.0 / 3.5...

 

Move out of a threatening square = attack of opportunity
Two Half Actions or One Full Action

The whole notion of Crits ranging from -1 to -10 (Hit Points / death' sdoor in D&D was 0 to -10 HPs)

 

I'm sure theres more that can be illustrated - my point was and still is - "there is only war" - aint that the 40k motto

 

I dont see 40k in the same vein as say Whitewolf Publishing (generally a more RP centric system) - aka a soap opera RPG (nothing wrong with that, rp does breathe life into any tale!)

 

But to argue against beefing up or making the system more in line with a product that lets be frack - didnt D&D (err Chainmail) and WHFRP come out generally in the late 70s? (one could argue they are "cousins")

 

This is only an opinion and in no way do I seek to criticize variant playstyles (at the end of the day you gotta do whats right for your Group first then you second as a GM)

 

Morbid OUT

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@lynata

Well, I think that a big reason for having all the combat stuff in dark heresy is that it's based on a miniatures war game. It would be nice to see it do something like the Iron Kingdoms rpg if it's going to have such a heavy focus on combat.

Plus, the game requires miniatures and a map to actually run combat RAW, anyway. It uses all of those discrete ranges and zones of effect.

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While I wholeheartedly agree that the "It's always been done this way" mentality is a significant factor, I also question how much demand there is for complex mechanics outside of combat.  The demand definitely exists and appears to me to be growing; but it might not yet be to the point that the developers feel that it's worth investing time, testing, and page space into (at least not as core mechanics).  

 

I guess that's true; non-combat stuff almost feels like a niche thing in RPGs, not only in availability but I also rarely see people talk about it on forums or social media.

 

I'm curious about games like Green Ronin's Game of Thrones or Blue Rose rulesets, as they are said to be heavier in terms of social interaction. The upcoming reprint for the Dragon Age P&P is also supposed to come with new mechanics for companionships and organisations, up to and including actual rules for romances. Some of those mechanics may of course only be needed in specific settings, where they are part of the overall atmosphere, but I am intrigued by how it could be done. Combat is so straight forward everywhere; could it be just as simple for something as complex as human interaction?

 

Like I said, BC's social combat rules were something refreshing and different already; their only downside is that it reads like an entirely different game rather than something embedded into the basics.

 

Seeing as the system as it stands per Vanilla - its only a few steps away from being on parr with the old combat system of AD&D an 3.0 / 3.5...

 

Move out of a threatening square = attack of opportunity

Two Half Actions or One Full Action

The whole notion of Crits ranging from -1 to -10 (Hit Points / death' sdoor in D&D was 0 to -10 HPs)

 

Now that you mention it ...

 

I mean, there's nothing wrong with using established and popular mechanics, but in a lot of cases, it feels as if it wasn't done because it works, but simply because it was always done that way, as Vorzakk worded it. Which of course isn't necessarily true, seeing as there are lots and lots of systems out there, but I guess D&D's popularity has been an influence and inspiration to many of them.

 

Plus, the game requires miniatures and a map to actually run combat RAW, anyway. It uses all of those discrete ranges and zones of effect.

 

:/

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I re-did the ranges and reduced movement to better facilitate that type of play - look at the FFG battlemaps - none of which are in excess of say 60 by 60 squares, cmon!

 

Most of whats been presented are gritty in your face combat that includes being fired upon in the same room!

 

This was done to fall more in line with Minis / but in my case has been applied to tokens/virtual gaming table (Fantasy Grounds).

 

On that note - if your playing 40k and don't want to fight / run combat - why are you playing 40k (the foundation of which flavor wise is a military institution/regime - aka the Imperium)

 

Why have half if not more of the Core books dedicated to Combat (rules, weapons, even the gear is war focused for the most part)

 

I wanna be a pacifist in a war, riiiighhht... (let alone "things" not of our reality like flesh and bone xenos & demons?!)

 

For that - whatever your sourcing whether that was your Mini experience or Novels you read or otherwise - would it have gripped your imagination and thusly brought you to the point where you are playing their game in an RPG format...

 

My Point:

 

There are no Mini scenarios or the like in 40k where the little minis walk up to each other and talk it out

I am reluctant to say (for fear of having my head ripped off) find me a novel thats all Soap Opera... (I dont think you can or will)

Videogames; any and all expression of 40k in such a format is always war focused - otherwise you dont have a game?

 

Armchair 40k is no good to me (that's putting it nicely)

 

Anyhow something to think about

 

Morbid

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@lynata

Sorry, but when your game gives a discrete range in meters and area of effect in meters and movement in meters (with movement in particular being tracked down to the single meter), you can't actually run it properly without a map and minis. If you just eyeball things, you're doing a disservice because your agility 6 characters will likely never see the movement benefit they'd have over an agility 3 character. Not using minis and a grid/map makes all of the distance rules in the game superfluous.

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I suppose the issue I am starting to have with this game line is how rules-heavy it is. Echoing my earlier point, it is a very mechanical game, which takes the emphasis away from the role playing part of a role playing game. For some people that is okay, and they want to play mechanically. For me, there should be a lot more to it than just numbers on paper in a game of chance. 

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My Point:

There are no Mini scenarios or the like in 40k where the little minis walk up to each other and talk it out

I am reluctant to say (for fear of having my head ripped off) find me a novel thats all Soap Opera... (I dont think you can or will)

Videogames; any and all expression of 40k in such a format is always war focused - otherwise you dont have a game?

 

Whilst I agree on the crux of your argument (it's 40k, combat has more right to have rules than anything else) -- I think the noncombat stuff is just because at least a section of the playerbase just "wants something more" out of their experience. With Dark Heresy, I think the intention was to offer both: a game where you could focus on combat, but also a game where investigations, occult research and schemes could play a role, with the ratio being solely up to the GM and their players. For this, the noncombat section of the rules does feel somewhat light.

 

Sorry, but when your game gives a discrete range in meters and area of effect in meters and movement in meters (with movement in particular being tracked down to the single meter), you can't actually run it properly without a map and minis. If you just eyeball things, you're doing a disservice because your agility 6 characters will likely never see the movement benefit they'd have over an agility 3 character. Not using minis and a grid/map makes all of the distance rules in the game superfluous.

 

I know what you mean, I just wish this wouldn't be the case. Miniatures should not be a necessity for any RPG. This isn't a strategy game, and it seriously hinders online groups.

Edited by Lynata

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@Morbiddon: I believe the point is more combat in an inquisitorial setting needs a proper set up and reason. If all you do is kill heretics all day, and that's fun for you, that's fine. For a lot of people, the opposite is true (especially in a combat system this bad).

Edited by DeathByGrotz

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Nimsim; I agree somewhat on your perspective!

 

What Ive done is keep the two modes of play Narrative Time vs Structured Time (known as an Encounter)

 

Narrative:

 

This mode of play is done in your head using your imagination. The GM describes the circumstances (aka the battlefield) knopwn to the PCs (i.e. you can see some cover here and some dudes here and a vehicle over there, etc). From that the players engage with the foes and have a battle... Now I would and do gloss over much in this "gamemode" - only revealing specifics like "meter" ranges when said player or foe moves into said potion (generally i take a balanced approach to this for any boon or benefit it is offset by a drawback - for instance you can get close to the foe and receive cover but that cover comes from a huge tank - of which you dont know if it still has fuel in it, what do you do?).

 

Benefits of Narrative:

- Ranges and movement is increased and individualized - this is a double edged sword because NPCs benefit as well.

- Melee may not even occur if the combat is extended over difficult or impassible terrain features (say I shoot you form a rooftop)

 

I only opt to use this mode when either the PCs or NPCs are aware and instigate the fight from afar (someone was in control of the situation and opted to act from very very far away)

 

Drawbacks of Narrative:

- You as a GM have to play in a "pulp" manner not in a virtual simulation (Gumshoe system calls this "Purist")

- Back to benefit vs drawback - sure your PC can now lob a grenade into that group of NPCs - its up to you to determine how benficial that position/action was for the PC as opposed for the group of NPCs there are pitted against

 

Radius concerns - if you want to get all 6 guys with your grenande your going to have to move in to that ledge you noticed (described when the battle stated with battlefield features, or or using an Awareness test to find "better" options, etc whatever)

 

If they play it safe then the yield of their action should reflect that - fine you can only get 2 of em in the radius from there but - they dont have line of sight on you from that position, as an example (its up to you to dress the field of engagement and add to it as you go along the battle).

 

- Melee; unless a PCs or NPCs sneaks up or surprised their target - good luck running up on me from 150 meters away - let alone my team of fellow players who will focus fire and light you the F up LOL)

 

Take out a blank piece of paper; list in real time what yu tell the players are the battlefield factors (cover, terrain, special things, whatever)

This is is good because as the PC opt for new options (like looking around for a better position or sneaking up around the target or whatever) - you can maintain consistency in the "picture" you and your players are cooperatively imagining together!

 

Benefits of Encounter Mode

- All facets of play can be measured and expressed commonly by a visual medium (minis or tokens)
- Specifics like Flanking and or "Facing" (I dont know how you can dodge  a bullet from behind, but hey that's just me - called Flatfooted in D&D)
- With a reduction to ranges and movement / facilitation of play can be kept more in line with whats presented as default in the publish scenarios
- Melee is a possible prospect without running their a salvo

 

Drawbacks of Encounter mode (Structured Time)

- Each side is much much closer to one another

- Much crunchier taking into account finer details (when I play you only receive Range Bonuses vs. a Foe/Target that is offering you Combat Advantage - again playing with ranges converted in boxes/squares rather than meters)

 

Summary:

 

The ranges shown are good and all but both FBI statistics and wartime documentation will show that people shoot from those far ranges either in a salvo (like old fashion musket fire in a line or like a volley of arrows being fired from a group) - not an individual shooter trying to hit a single moveing / reacting target from over 50 meters away - do you even know what that looks like down a weapon sight - its a very small target to hit, not used in normal engagements only group vs group battles where your bullet is sure to hit something over in that group of foes. The distinction of sniper fire should be given - unsuspecting foe or one that offers some sort of consistency to target - a whole other ball of wax!

 

RPGs have been written fro the most part by people who looked at a book while researching ranges and just penned it in without though to the logistics of firing at singled out foes from vast distances (aka BS)...

 

Back to FBI statistics - most people shot are shot within 50 feet of each other (if you think thats easy - try it against both a moving target and one that is moving and firing back at you)

 

There is even a video on youtube showing a jewelry store gun fight between two rival gang factions in the same store - literally 15 feet away from each other if not less, no one gets "hit"...

 

So the distinction is blanket fire = those numbers you're reading off in meters (is the practice of game designers - never taking into account solitary fire)

That's basically the gist of what I had to do to fall more in line with what you are talking about - I did post everything in total if your interested in seeing the numbers...

 

I can post a link

 

Morbid

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However, a game still needs some form of balance: no one player should be better at everything than another, and everyone should have their moment to shine! This works extremely well if the system and GM are explicit about what play-style it is designed for: who cares if your Chosen makes my renegade useless when I built him entirely because the campaign would be based around infiltrating Imperial worlds? Who cares if your PC is a combat god that can kill anything in one turn when we're playing eclipse phase, a game generally involving a lot of loss of gear and investigation?

 

Yet what happens to your Renegade once the game shifts into combat? For infiltration, there are arguably much better archetypes to choose from, making the class you've chosen redundant. One could say this is merely a representation of realism and that some characters should be useless, but let's keep in mind that we're playing a game that is already playing fast and loose with realism elsewhere anyways.

 

If a game needs to introduce stuff like the Felling trait, or two different rulesets for Hordes depending on whether they're fighting your Humans or your CSMs, it's not only less realistic for trying to slap a bandaid on it (and one that makes the Humans look like sidekicks who are less likely to die, but also less likely to actually influence the encounter), it also looks as if it's putting the cart before the horse when it chooses such a convoluted "solution" rather than fixing what the designers must perceive as a problem right at the source.

 

This isn't so much a problem in Only War, where being a soldier and fighting is pretty much all you ever do. However, in a game about interacting with people and investigations, the book's focus should be on that and not combat.

 

A big problem with RPGs in general is that anything other than combat has always been an adjunct to the entire genre. Much of it has to do with "established industry wisdom", meaning that many designers may feel a subconscious need that the base of their game looks similar to the other games already out there. Why, for example, is it so common to roll for damage separately from the attack?

 

Not that I personally mind Dark Heresy's approach much. Once again, it's a matter of expectations, and to me the Inquisition in 40k has always been pretty militant, rather than some sort of Sherlock Holmes with a bolter. But that's probably just because I'm used more to the tabletop than the novels. Still, with occult investigations in 40k and the authority that Inquisitors can throw around, it doesn't feel too far-fetched to assume that combat happens in 99% of a case, whereas actual detective work might occur far less often, simply because a lot of Inquisitors are of the crusader mentality and don't mind the God-Emperor sorting the guilty from the innocent.

 

It has to be said that FFG is at least trying to invent and insert a lot of non-combat rules into the various games, like the rather intrigueing rules for Social Combat in BC. It just so happens that they don't appear to be as elegant as the core basics of the d100 combat system, but instead act like an exposé of the entire game line's propensity for clunky mechanics that are added on top of it.

 

We can agree on this: FFG really is trying! Stuff like 4e was unashamedly full-combat (and that is why I didn't like it much - I won't get into edition wars here, but I think we can agree that Dark Heresy and Black Crusade are much more fun to play!), but their games at least make an effort to allow non-combat PCs (and they can just perform suppressive fire every turn and still be useful).

In my opinion, the game should be playable both as "Sherlock Holmes with a bolter" and "Moist Von Lipwig and his hidden power dagger" - and that's where the renegade comes in! If the game is unashamedly "Moist Von Lipwig and his hidden power dagger", there will be no Traitor Marine to overshadow the renegade, and if the party imporbably has both a Renegade and a traitor marine, they will presumably build thelmselves in ways that complete each other, like an Infiltrator/melee/assassin and a Legion heavy weapon specialist (and the GM will probably arrange the adventure so it has both infiltration+combat and brute combat, so as to give their moment to shine to both PCs).

I frankly think that the game and setting has something for both archetypes - although as I said earlier, I wouldn't put them both in the same party if I could avoid it.

 

Most of whats been presented are gritty in your face combat that includes being fired upon in the same room!

 

On that note - if your playing 40k and don't want to fight / run combat - why are you playing 40k (the foundation of which flavor wise is a military institution/regime - aka the Imperium)

 

Why have half if not more of the Core books dedicated to Combat (rules, weapons, even the gear is war focused for the most part)

 

I wanna be a pacifist in a war, riiiighhht... (let alone "things" not of our reality like flesh and bone xenos & demons?!)

 

For that - whatever your sourcing whether that was your Mini experience or Novels you read or otherwise - would it have gripped your imagination and thusly brought you to the point where you are playing their game in an RPG format...

 

My Point:

 

There are no Mini scenarios or the like in 40k where the little minis walk up to each other and talk it out

I am reluctant to say (for fear of having my head ripped off) find me a novel thats all Soap Opera... (I dont think you can or will)

Videogames; any and all expression of 40k in such a format is always war focused - otherwise you dont have a game?

Yes, combat is essential. However, combat is not everything! Seeing as combat is so "gritty", PCs should also do their best to lie, cheat and backstab their way to the final, bloody battle that will decide everything (the one that is represented in the miniature and video games!).

That's how I envision the Inquisition, at least - as capable of diplomacy, interrogation, and high-end dinner parties as bloody battle with underhive gangs, chaos cults and the vilest of abominations the galaxy can throw at them!

The diversity of characters and ruels should reflect that.

Whilst I agree on the crux of your argument (it's 40k, combat has more right to have rules than anything else) -- I think the noncombat stuff is just because at least a section of the playerbase just "wants something more" out of their experience. With Dark Heresy, I think the intention was to offer both: a game where you could focus on combat, but also a game where investigations, occult research and schemes could play a role, with the ratio being solely up to the GM and their players. For this, the noncombat section of the rules does feel somewhat light.

Yes! I quite agree with you.

 

@Morbiddon: I believe the point is more combat in an inquisitorial setting needs a proper set up and reason. If all you do is kill heretics all day, and that's fun for you, that's fine. For a lot of people, the opposite is true (especially in a combat system this bad).

Voilà! You get it - you been listening to Tzeench lately? That kind of knowledge of the Holy Ordos is supicious...

YOU SHALL BUUUUUUUUURN!

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If the game is unashamedly "Moist Von Lipwig and his hidden power dagger", there will be no Traitor Marine to overshadow the renegade, and if the party imporbably has both a Renegade and a traitor marine, they will presumably build thelmselves in ways that complete each other, like an Infiltrator/melee/assassin and a Legion heavy weapon specialist (and the GM will probably arrange the adventure so it has both infiltration+combat and brute combat, so as to give their moment to shine to both PCs).

I frankly think that the game and setting has something for both archetypes - although as I said earlier, I wouldn't put them both in the same party if I could avoid it.

 

One problem of the ruleset is that there's literally no reason not to take a CSM if you want to go the combat route. They can do anything better than Renegades, including infiltration jobs. Sure, Renegades get a whopping 500 XP more at the start of the game, yet CSM start with higher characteristics, which also means they can raise stuff like Agility or Fellowship to higher levels. Power armour has no penalties for Sneaking, and the best thing: because CSM have the Black Carapace, they don't even count as a Size larger. The 1,75 dude in Human-sized powered armour is considered easier to spot and to hit than the 2,10 CSM in bulky, extra-spikey Legion PA. It boggles the mind.

 

Some people like to add that CSM would be much harder to hide from the public eye during infiltration, but at the end of the day, your Chaos-buffed Renegade with their 8-spiked star tattoo and tentacle arm isn't going to look any less odd, especially in a society where a 7 feet hulking monster could just pass as a large Catachan or a mutant slave, depending on their looks. That is, if you are even playing on an Imperial world rather than BC's actual setting - the Vortex - where there is literally no reason to hide your religious affiliation.

 

The niche that may exist for characters in various codex short stories or the novels or GW's Inquisitor game just doesn't seem to be present in BC.

 

 

Other than that, I guess we are largely in agreement, though! :)

Edited by Lynata

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Balance for me involved creating a system where each character's role offers a varied, yet equal importance in all aspects of a game.

I look to DnD as the bellwether for this (though many hate to make similarities). You can choose to play as an elf/dwarf/human/gnome/giant in any number of roles. Generally speaking, some builds synergies better than others, but the rule-set was designed so a gnome/fairy bard can be as important as a Goliath Barbarian in BOTH combat and roleplay. 

 

In narrative situations, the Bard may coerce while the barbarian intimidates with a potential success on either side based on dice roles and the NPC's disposition. DH honors narrative time in a similar way and it works very well (i'd say even better with built in mental narrative mechanics like subtlety/corruption/insanity/and influence to keep player actions in check).

 

In DnD combat, the Barbarian may be uncontested in strength and power, but the Bard, with very little offensive skills, still has the ability to use his charisma to Buff, heal, or protect his warriors contributing invaluably to the fight while staying true to his character. 

 

The current build of DH does not support its "non-combat" player builds in this fashion. If you decide to avoid advancing a broken dodge skill and investing heavily in battle-based aptitudes, to instead be a Nobel bureaucrat, you would very well have little to nothing to contribute in structured combat and will be left as a by-standard to a very large mechanical aspect of the game.

Though this may make sense realistically, at the end of the day this is a game designed to be played for enjoyment first and foremost. The lack of meaningful inclusion in a gaming situation based on build is "imbalance" IMO and only further encourages power builds.

 

DH could have countered this by investing more in-combat abilities for people advancing in Leadership/social/fellowship/influence. These characteristics are perfect for stat boosting, removing fatigue/fear/stunned effects, and introducing more entertaining out-of-combat skill talents, and controlling reinforcements. 

 

I actually made a list of about 16 talent options for players who wish to build characters with social aptitudes, and the really sad thing is most were pulled right out of existing official supplements and NPC rules from the Rulebook itself! Even worse, most are far more flavorful and fun than the existing talent options.

 

I know that some would argue it's the genius of the game is to allow you build this into your campaigns, but in practice, players design characters based on what they know is available at creation. If these options aren't readily available, players will shy away from perceived fluff builds in lieu of visibly effective combat builds. You could say I may have fixed my own complaint by simply building these house rules, but in truth, most of these "built talents" have 0 play testing and may get out of hand if they make up too much of a campaign.

 

------

DH RULEBOOK TALENTS

 

Socially Resilient: Once per conversation, the magnate may make
another character in the conversation re-roll one successful skill test
which targeted him.
 
Do You Know Who I Was?: The dissolute noble can, as a Full
Action, make an Ordinary (+10) Deceive test. If he succeeds on
the test, a number of characters in line of sight and earshot (up
to his Fellowship bonus in metres) suffers one level of temporary
Fatigue from his sordid presence. This effect lasts for a number
of rounds equal to his Fellowship bonus and does not stack with
multiple uses. When used in narrative time, this action can be taken
as part of conversation.
 
Leverage: Once per round, the Rogue Trader may use his
Influence in place of another characteristic for a single test.
If used in narrative time, the effects of this last for one hour.
 
Dig In: As a Half Action, the Cadre Officer
may make an Ordinary (+10) Command test to
instruct his allies to take cover. If he succeeds,
a number of allies in line of sight and earshot
of the character (up to his Intelligence bonus)
increase the armour granted to them by their
current cover by 2. This bonus lasts until
those characters leave their current cover,
and does not stack with multiple uses.
 
Haggle: A merchant gains a +20 bonus when
making an Opposed Commerce test.
 
Entertaining: A performancer can re-roll a Charm test.
 
Holy Oration: Once per encounter, as a Full Action, a preacher
may make an Ordinary (+10) Command test to inspire his allies.
If he succeeds, a number of allies in line of sight and earshot
of the character (up to the character’s Fellowship
bonus) immediately gain one temporary Fate point.
These points last until the end of the current
encounter, and can be spent in the same
way as a normal Fate point
 
Shady Deals: A dealer can use his illicit connections to acquire
hard-to-find items for PCs. If a PC uses this, he gains a +10 bonus
to his next Requisition test. If the test fails, however, the warband’s
Subtlety value decreases by 2d10.
 
TAU Rogue Trader TALENTS
Perfect Lure
Type: Full Action
Subtype: Movement, Fellowship
The Explorer makes a Challenging (+0) Fellowship Test.
If he succeeds, one enemy within 30 metres gains a +10 bonus to Weapon Skill and Ballistic Skill Tests to strike the Explorer and suffers a –30 penalty Weapon Skill and Ballistic Skill Tests for attacks made against the Explorer’s allies. For every Degree of Success he scores on the Test, he can affect one additional foe within range this way.
 
GREATER THAN THE SUM
Prerequisites: Fellowship 45, New Allies
Once per session, the Explorer may spend a Fate Point and
either gain the benefits of a Talent an ally possesses or grant
the benefits of a Talent he possesses to an ally. The character
temporarily receiving the effects of the Talent need not meet
its Prerequisites to benefit from it. This effect persists until
the end of the encounter
 
Follow My Lead
Type: Half Action
Subtypes: Concentration
Until the beginning of his next Turn, each allied Tau
character within 10 metres who undertakes the same
Half Action this Explorer performs after his Follow My
Lead Action gains a +10 bonus to any Tests associated
with that Action.

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Sorry, but when your game gives a discrete range in meters and area of effect in meters and movement in meters (with movement in particular being tracked down to the single meter), you can't actually run it properly without a map and minis. If you just eyeball things, you're doing a disservice because your agility 6 characters will likely never see the movement benefit they'd have over an agility 3 character. Not using minis and a grid/map makes all of the distance rules in the game superfluous. 

 

I never used maps and all the problems you're mentionning never happend to me. Range has importance, agility bonus also and a lot of other things.

The only rule i dropped is weight.

Edited by InquisitorAlexel

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Sorry, but when your game gives a discrete range in meters and area of effect in meters and movement in meters (with movement in particular being tracked down to the single meter), you can't actually run it properly without a map and minis. If you just eyeball things, you're doing a disservice because your agility 6 characters will likely never see the movement benefit they'd have over an agility 3 character. Not using minis and a grid/map makes all of the distance rules in the game superfluous. 

 

I never used maps and all the problems you're mentionning never happend to me. Range has importance, agility bonus also and a lot of other things.

The only rule i dropped is weight.

How are you able to differentiate the movement speeds of an agility 3 versus agility 4 character each round the two of them move and do so in a consistent and non arbitrary manner?

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How are you able to differentiate the movement speeds of an agility 3 versus agility 4 character each round the two of them move and do so in a consistent and non arbitrary manner?

The trick is to do it in an eyeballed, arbitrary manner.

 

Speaking from experience.

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