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Could Dark Heresy 2E Work As A Living Campaign?

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I've wondered for a while why FFG hasn't done any kind of Dark Heresy organized play. It seems to be one of the more popular RPGs out there - behind stuff like D&D, Pathfinder, Star Wars, obviously - but still, you'd think that they would want to invest in cultivating a player base.

 

I've had a ton of ideas kicking around, and I'm really hoping FFG kicks something off eventually.

 

Bi-weekly/monthly one-shots would be cool, as would an overarching story that slowly gets released piece by piece. Organized play is definitely a great way to slowly inject content into the game, make gradual tweaks, test out new ideas, etc.

 

Sems like a solid way to build and maintain a revenue stream. From a project management standpoint, it really wouldn't even be that crazy to organize and run.

Edited by enentol

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The game and setting certainly offer the potential. The players are not the only agents of their organisation, but merely one team of several. Likewise, the many threats assaulting the place are enough to keep lots of people busy.

 

Obviously, there should be some back-and-forth between the players and the "central authority" that manages the campaign, so as to occasionally create narrative snippets that are not only relevant to everyone's game but simultaneously serve as a reminder that it's a shared setting. Fortunately, the secrecy within the Inquisition as well as generally unreliable means of communication could easily explain why the amount of information exchanged between the individual teams remains comparatively small and thus manageable by the administrators.

 

Personally, my biggest fear would be that there is too much information exchanged and I am confronted with other groups' characters or incidents I would consider inappropriate to the setting, but I realise that I'm a bit "special" when it comes to expectations on the setting as far as consistency is concerned. :P

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I would like to see organised play like they have in Pathfinder.  A monthly short adventure that ties in to the yearly meta-plot (and subplots for different factions/Ordos/Organisations), and with a few big combined events.

As a player you can take your character between different groups.  But there will have to be certain conditions on character creation like there is in Pathfinder. 

+Characteristics will have to be done by points allocation

+Hit-points and fate would have to be predetermined rather than roll (average result)

+Certain Backgrounds and Roles etc will have to be modified or excluded

+Certain equipment would have to be modified or excluded

+Experience points given will have to be standardised in the adventures

+Players can only get credit for an adventure the first time he doe it

 

So I guess what will be needed is

+First a catchy name (The Askellon Conclave?)

+A Character guide that state the rules for organised play.

+A registry for GM’s (probably online) to send their results to.

+A registry for Players characters records (which adventures they have played, experience gained, faction/Ordo bonuses etc)

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I don't think that Dark Heresy lends itself well to this type of play.  The rules are pretty fuzzy at best.  Pathfinder is written for rule lawyers.  Dark Heresy is written to simulate the tropes of the 40k verse.  It would be interesting, but I don't think it would take off.  

Edited by fog1234

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To add insult to injury, the quick announcement of Enemies Beyond makes me believe they are trying to tie up the Dark Heresy 2.0 line and move on to another, probably more profitable venture. 

 

Or they get the line to a point where they've now satiated most expectations and can release whatever cool stuff they want.

 

New campaign book? Sure. Extended bestiary? Why not? Ascension 2.0/Elite Advance handbook? Yes please.

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To add insult to injury, the quick announcement of Enemies Beyond makes me believe they are trying to tie up the Dark Heresy 2.0 line and move on to another, probably more profitable venture. 

 

Or they get the line to a point where they've now satiated most expectations and can release whatever cool stuff they want.

 

New campaign book? Sure. Extended bestiary? Why not? Ascension 2.0/Elite Advance handbook? Yes please.

 

 

I would like to think that is the case - but the trends with Only War and Black Crusade would suggest otherwise.

 

The Star Wars RPGs are quite popular, and are likely to see even more new customers when Episode VII drops. FFG has also started several card/board games from licensed settings that are raking in money, and I am inclined to believe that is their new focus. 

 

Compare all that to their Warhammer 40k RPG line. They have several different games following niche parts of a niche setting that is quickly becoming irrelevant. 

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It would be nice if there would be something of a frank discussion on this topic with the devs along the lines of where are we are going together, but it doesn't seem like they want to have that discussion.  

 

There will probably always be an interest in 40k roleplaying and thereby money to be made.  Prior to Dark Heresy people were running bastardized versions of DnD and GURPS with bolters.  If Fantasy Flight freezes the line, as they have with their other 40k based RPG's, then we, the consumers, will have to make some decisions.

 

I'd like to see some more campaign books for Askellon.  

Edited by fog1234

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It would be a very nice feature for the game. But I don't think something official will be done about it any time soon.

 

You always could try to do it in a private manner, but it would be a lot of work and you would need a good campaign. Can you do polls in this forum? Maybe this would be a possibility to find out, if people would be interested in a live campaign and if it would need to be an official one...

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On the plus side, a private living campaign with only 3-4 groups would at least be more open for actual interaction between the characters.

 

Imagine, the PCs writing letters to each other across parties! You could quickly build a bona-fide Inquisitorial cell just like it was portrayed in GW's d100 game.

 

Inquisitorial_Cell_Diagram.png

 

And then you can have different PCs specialising in different things, each group being given different clues, and the player characters have to figure out by themselves how to combine them.

 

Possibly all the while following conflicting end goals depending on their Inquisitors. :P

 

Hell, you could even hire forumites here to act as empowered NPC contacts available as potential long range correspondence for player characters actively engaged in a campaign. The GM of the group would of course double-check any letters to make sure the NPC deals appropriately with any clues they were given to "hoard", but it could provide the players with a bit of RP even outside their normal gaming sessions.

Edited by Lynata

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It's a great idea, and obviously you've put a lot of thought into it, but the higher coordination is quite complex.  It's another layer over top of the participating GM's.  We're talking about a game where multiple GM's effectively play 'beside' each other.  Like with the multiplayer component of the new Sim City.  I mean obviously it sounds cool and the internet makes large scattered groups easier to manage, but at the end of the day you need massive coordination to see an interesting result.  I know the VtM people get up to this a lot, but we don't.  I have enough problems keeping small groups together and I'm at the top of my game and only able to run one to two games a week before burnout sets in or quality drops like a stone.

 

I do recall FF putting out a product called 'Solace' in 2014 where they had a con game where you had Only War, Rogue Trader, Black Crusade, and Deathwatch groups all taking part in a short multigroup game.  

 

http://www.geeknative.com/47273/doomed-review-shedding-light-rogue-trader/

 

OW - Salvaging Solace

BC - Binding Contracts

DW - Falling Star 

RT - Shedding Light 

 

I might one day run a game where multiple groups played beside each other, but i'd be the GM of all of them.

Edited by fog1234

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One thing that might work would be having the whole setting run by 3-5 GMs working in tandem; running their own individual games and taking place on different planets (or different sectors of the same planet), but communicating with each other and having things slowly come together and have a crazy climax.

 

It'd take some work to get it running properly from a logistical standpoint, but it would be cool.  Each GM has an NPC inquisitor leading the party, which allows you to share information back and forth by way of these characters communicating with each other IC as well.

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Would work just as well with PC Inquisitors, of course -- personal preferences, but I've always been of the opinion that the "traditional" Inquisitorial warband, one Inquisitor and a bunch of agents, is the most interesting method of portrayal. :)

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I just wrote it the way I did because then all the people who are running the games and the overall campaign can communicate in such a way that they can incorporate each others' in-game knowledge into their own games without metagaming.   :P

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Yet isn't the increased participation and responsibility one of the premiere drawing points of a Living Campaign? It sounds like you'd waste a lot of potential if the players just end up being told what to do by the GM again anyways.

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Just because the players aren't Inquisitors doesn't mean that they don't have autonomy.  They get given a mission.  It's up to them how they solve it.

 

The project though still remains kind of untenable.  I mean I do a lot logistics to support my games.  I have enough trouble holding together small groups that show up every week.  Basically, a team of refs would have to present a very well written and well supported set of ideas to peak any interest from me.  

Edited by fog1234

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I've seen living campaigns fall apart in several ways:

 - One GM for both games. He didn't make one group aware what the game was about. My group was told it was an intrigue game. The other group thought it was an action focused game. Neither of us were told that we were meant to be competing against the other group until we worked it out out of character. All their moves against us backfired horribly without our involvement, so we didn't feel the need to make any moves against them, but we still forced their game to have too much intrigue for their liking.

 - University games club tried to have a massive Pathfinder living campaign. 4 GMs. All the GMs worked together on a shared setting. Then GMS ignored those details. For example, one detail was that the city they were all supposed to run things in was on the banks of a river that was completely uncrossable. One GM railroaded his players across it in the first session. Three of the GMs were players in the other games, leading to such fun stuff as one GM forbidding some character options in his game. Options that he was using in a different GMs game. Some players had characters in multiple games, leading to rules lawyers going "but other GM allows it". As for the forth GM, he pulled out of the shared setting idea when he noticed that the other GMs hadn't looked at the shared Google Doc they were using to keep track of things for over a month.

 

 

The other thing to consider is the passage of in-game time getting out of sync. One group decides that they want to do something that will be a week or two of nothing much happening (travel, recovering from injuries, etc), then visit an important building on the 14th of a month. The other groups, with their sessions running later in the week, decide to do things which would involved multiple sessions for a single day. Then one of them blows up the important building on the 1st of that month. How do you handle that paradox ?

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